United Farm Workers Prayer
Prayer for My Brother and Sister Migrants
A Prayer for Work and Workers
Grace over a Thanksgiving Meal – 1
Grace Over a Thanksgiving Meal – 2
Prayer to Be of Service to Others
Blessing Prayer
Prayer for Forgiveness
Prayer of Confession
Unison Prayer of Confession
Prayer for Renewal
Prayer for Mindfulness
Navajo Blessing
Words of Assurance


Witness for Peace Pilgrimage Prayer 2014 

Every year thousands of migrant workers; men, women and children, leave their home and take great risk to achieve a better future for them and their families. People forget that these men, women and children labor in the fields, planting and harvesting the fruits and vegetables that we put on our table every day. These farmworkers suffer from squalid housing conditions, dangerous working conditions, and are exposed to harmful chemicals and dangerous weather conditions. Not only do these farmworkers face many health problems, they are also afraid to speak out against injustices in the fields; and suffer from racism, harassment and lack basic working rights.

Let us pray:
Dear God, bless the hands, bodies and minds of the people that harvest our crops. Protect them from harm as they labor the land. Watch over their families and bless the road, which they walk upon. Give them the strength to lose the fear, and to fight against the oppression and injustices, as you guide them towards freedom and justice.
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United Farm Workers Prayer

Show me the suffering of the most miserable, so I may know my people’s plight.
Free me to pray for others, for you are present in every person.
Help me to take responsibility for my own life, so that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others, for in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience, so that I can work with other workers.
Bring forth song and celebration, so that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow, so that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice, for they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us, so we can change the world.
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Prayer for My Brother and Sister Migrants    – Prayer on the wall at CCAMYN (Centro Comunitario                de Atencion  Migrante y Necesitado) in Altar, Mexico.

Heart of Jesus full of love and mercy, I watch over my
sister and brother migrants. Have pity on them and protect them; they suffer
mistreatment and humiliations on their way, looked on as dangerous by most, and
marginalized for being foreigners. Help us to respect them and appreciate their
dignity. Touch with your goodness the hearts of we who see them pass by. Take
care of their families until they return home, not with broken hearts but with
their hopes fulfilled.
May it be so.

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A Prayer for Work and Workers   – from Edie Rasell, NFWM Board representing United
Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries

Worker God, who intends good for all your
children, we seek your wisdom and courage as we work to change the harsh
conditions under which so many labor. We remember the farm-workers, the
growers, and the corporations. We ask that we might be your witnesses for good
work, fair pay, and human dignity. Amen.

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Grace over a Thanksgiving Meal – 1   – from Interfaith Worker Justice

O God of seed and harvest, we pause to give thanks for the table set before us
and the food that graces it.

[The people gathered take turns naming the various foods on
the table being blessed, by saying, “thank you for the ____” until all the
foods have been named.]

In a moment we will eat this food, harvested from many parts
of the nation and world. It will be transformed into the flesh and blood of our
bodies. Keep us mindful of the many workers who labor in field and factory to
bring us this food.

From the bounty and nourishment of the meal, we dedicate
ourselves to work to abolish poverty, unsafe working conditions, workplace
abuse, and unjust wages among those who feed us through their labor.

We pray this in the name of the Creator God, who not only
fed the Israelites in the desert but transformed simple folk like us into
disciples for justice and peace.


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Grace Over a Thanksgiving Meal – 2   – from Interfaith Worker Justice

O God of seed and harvest, we come to this table
mindful of Your graciousness.

It is truly a miracle that this food before us:
the Kansas wheat, the poultry from Alabama, the corn from Iowa,
the potatoes from Idaho, the fruit from California, (foods from
other regions may be added) becomes us.

Our eyes, our hearts, our hands, our bodies –
alive with the cells and juices of our muscles, bones and flesh – are created
and nourished by the food from your bountiful hand.

Keep us mindful of the workers whose labor makes
our meal possible. May the nourishment of this meal strengthen us to work for
justice and equity, in a compassionate and merciful way, among those who labor
in the fields and workplaces to feed us.  Amen.

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Prayer to Be of Service to Others   – from Erin Balleine, former NFWM Staff

May I be fertile ground for grapes of justice for you people
today. Show me how and give me courage to work for justice. In Christ’s name.
Amen. May my branch bring forth good fruit: peace, patience, and justice. May
these flow like a river through my soul enabling me to reach out to hear and
serve the needs of my neighbors. In Christ’s name.  Amen

Let me be a vessel and an instrument as you work in me to
fulfill your will. In the name of the Christ.  Amen.

God, who is the Vine, please take away the briars and thorns
that hide me from the needs of your people. I would be a branch for justice.
This night help me to know what you call me to do.  Amen.

The leaders of the temple recognized that you were speaking
about them. You speak to me also. Dear God, I would be a faithful tenant.
Forgive my waywardness. Help me to produce your harvest.  In Christ’s name.  Amen.

Most gracious God, who causes all things beautiful to grow,
may the seeds of love and compassion planted today blossom.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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Blessing Prayer

Bless the hands of the people of the earth,
The hands that plant the seed,
The hands that bind the harvest,
The hands that carry the burden of life.

Soften the hands of the oppressor and
Strengthen the hands of the oppressed.

Bless the hands of the workers,
Bless the hands of those in power above them
That the measure they deal will be tempered
With justice and compassion. Amen.

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Prayer for Forgiveness

God, we have failed to understand and accept the great
demands placed upon us by your kingdom. We have joined your causes, but have
lost interest. We promised to be courageous, but find ourselves afraid. We want
to be sensitive, but find ourselves hard and callous. We are confronted with
great opportunities for service in the work of justice and peace, but fail to
take advantage of them. Forgive us when we let our comfort stand in the way of
the cries and struggles of the poor, the hungry, the sick, the prisoner. We
have allowed our self to blind us and have forgotten that whatever is done to
any one of your children is done to you. Have mercy, O God, and hear our
confessions. Take our limitations and turn them into possibilities for service.

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Prayer of Confession

Creator God we hold the seed of life that you have
given us, and we confess our need for:
a place to be planted
strength to break our shells,
nourishment for our roots,
light for our life.

We need weeding to rid our lives
of that which robs growth,
fruit to feed the future,
seeds to pass on for other plantings,
space to expand;
a place to die, and something to return to
this soil that nurtured our growth.

Lord God, Grower of all, give us a place where there is room
to grow.

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Unison Prayer of Confession

We are workers, God, just like you. But we confess that our
work is not always done in a manner that affirms and honors each other. Our
work is not always done in a spirit that is pleasing to you. We confess that,
on some occasions, we have blindly bought goods made by people who are paid too
little or work in unsafe conditions. We admit that we have failed to end an
unjust system in which some workers have jobs that provide good wages, health
insurance, sick leave, a pension, paid vacations, and other benefits, while
others have jobs that do not.

Creator God, help us to build a new world out of the ashes
of the old, a world where all workers are valued. One where those who clean
houses are also able to buy houses to live in. A world where those who grow
food can also afford to eat their fill. And one where those who serve us in
stores, schools, nursing homes, and many other places are also served by us. It
will be a world where all workers everywhere share in the abundance that you
have given us.

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Prayer for Renewal

O God of Peace and Love, Renew our minds and our wills that
we may sow love instead of hatred, Peace instead of violence, Equality instead
of dominance.

O God of Mercy and Justice. Forgive us when we turn into
pieces, forgive us when we say we love you, but do not feed your people.
Forgive us when, for the sake of so-called security and development, we make
life for others a series of torture, misery and death.

O God of Song, Dance and Tears of life, Enable us to work
with love. Enlighten us to walk with faith. Empower us to peace with justice.
Praise and thanks to our God. Hope and Peace to all!


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Prayer for Mindfulness

Let us begin by recalling the words of Cesar Chavez: “Every
time we sit at a table at night or in the morning to enjoy the fruits and grain
and vegetables from our good earth, remember that they come from the work of
men and women and children who have been exploited for generations.”

Almighty God, too often we don’t pay attention, we don’t
stop to think that, even in this day and age, injustice remains an invisible
ingredient in much of the food that we eat.

Shake us awake, O God, open our eyes to see our power and
obligation as consumers to help put things right.

Justice demands it.

Love demands it.

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Benediction    –  from Edie Rasell, NFWM Board representing United Church
of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries 

May God our creator, the one who calls us, transforms us, and redeems us, bless
us with the courage, vision and strength to work for justice for all workers


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Navajo Blessing

God is before us.
God is behind us.
God is above us.
God is below us.

God’s words shall come from our mouths
For we are God’s essence, a sign of God’s love.

All is finished in justice.
All is finished in justice.
All is finished in justice.
All is finished in justice.

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Words of Assurance

Our God is a God of grace and transformation. When we ask,
God will give us the courage and strength to live out our faith in the
workplace and the marketplace, as well as in the sanctuary.

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