Welcome to Praying

Here you'll find the Courtyard's complete collection of responsive prayers for use in church services, as well as prayers for personal devotions.

To see prayers grouped by a particular church season, choose the season you want from the All Seasons dropdown in the menu above. There you'll also find litanies for use on high holy days that fall during the season.
Note that in all responsive prayers, the Leader's words are shown in plain text, and the People's response in bold italic.

In Silence

Praying HandsResponsive prayers by Thomas Robb, appropriate for use in Advent or Lent, or anytime that calls for silent prayer. 

More about responsive prayer.


In silence, or aloud, give thanks to God for all that we have… all that we are… all that we may become – be it broken, or complete, or somehow, both.


[Read more…]

Prisoner of Hope

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.
—Zechariah 9:12

Prisoner_of_Hope1 [Read more…]

Prayers as Autumn Turns Toward Winter

Leaf SkeletonResponsive prayers by Christine Hemp, appropriate for use on any Sunday near the end of the Green Season.


Good morning, dear Creator. It’s November. Night comes upon us quickly now, and the Southerlies swirl the leaves of last summer around the corners of our houses. Your Word today, however, is ripe with new creation hidden in the midst of chaos. Yet again, paradox lies at the heart of our relationship with you. May we hold it close.

Blow us toward you, O Creator, for our only true safety is in your hands, in the folds of your skirts. [Read more…]

Prayers to the Lover of Souls

Group PrayerResponsive prayers by Thomas Robb, appropriate for use on any Sunday in the Green Season.


Lord, you are our delight.  Our trust is in you alone.
Quiet our busy thoughts. Let us listen for God’s Voice.


[Read more…]

Sharing the Being of Being

From Margaret's Nature Journal

From Margaret’s Nature Journal

This morning when I settled in for centering prayer (meditation), a robin was chirruping — loud! — just outside. Then a frog — loud! — started to croak, I swear in time with the chirrups. As if answering back. [Read more…]

Prayers for God’s Spirit

Responsive prayers by Roberta Hiday, appropriate for use on Pentecost Sunday.

Our God—we, your people, stand ready and open to receive the flame of your Spirit. Give us the ability to speak your truth so that others may hear.

Come, Spirit of Truth, fill our hearts.  [Read more…]

Prayers for the Breath of God

Responsive prayers appropriate for use on Pentecost Sunday. The opening lines are taken from an invocation written for the Iona Community in Scotland. The main body of the prayers is by Margaret D. McGee.

 Breath of God, Breath of Life, Breath of Deepest Yearning,
Come, Holy Spirit.

[Read more…]

Prayers to Creator, Child, and Spirit – Trinity Sunday

Responsive prayers by Christine Hemp, appropriate for use on Trinity Sunday.

We pray fervently this morning, Lord, for your Church—that it may delight in its mission and tip its ear to the needs inside and outside its doors. We ask that you guide all those who minister, who cultivate your garden.  [Read more…]

Beloved, Embrace Us In Your Mercy

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, appropriate for use any Sunday in the Green Season.


Let us join our voices together in prayer to the One God – Creator, Lover, and Friend:

Beloved, embrace us in your mercy.

We put our trust in you. [Read more…]

Prayers for the Seeds of Love

Responsive prayers by Ann H. Raymond, appropriate for use in connection with Vacation Bible School or other children’s programming.

In peace we pray to you, our God.


For all people who sow the seed of God’s love in their daily life and work; [Read more…]

Prayers in the Courtyard of All Souls

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, appropriate for use at the start of a new season of programming, on All Saints or All Souls day, or any Sunday during the Green Season.

In this courtyard of all souls, let us stand together and pray to the One who brings us, every day, out of death and into life.

[Read more…]

O Holy One, Source of Mercy, Might, and Love

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, appropriate for any Sunday in the Green Season.


O Holy One, source of mercy, might, and love,

Make us your people, so that in life and death we belong to you alone.

[Read more…]

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for All Creation

Written by Bill Dengler, these responsive prayers are appropriate for Thanksgiving Day,  Stewardship in-gatherings, Creation Care Sunday, and Earth Day celebrations.


We offer thanks, O God, for all the wonders of your creation,


Haiku_Moon_Resized_BBthe planets, stars, and all that moves through the infinite expanse of space [Read more…]

Sing aloud, O Mothers and Fathers!

A litany for Easter services, by Margaret D. McGee.

Sing aloud, O mothers and sons! Fathers and daughters, sisters and brothers, rejoice and exult with all your hearts! [Read more…]

Prayers to God of Every Time and Place

Responsive prayers by Brad Offutt, appropriate for use during Lent.

God of every time and place, help all who in their journey, step by step, come to worship you in spirit and in truth. [Read more…]

O God, Who Made the World

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, for use during Easter season.

O God, who made the world and everything in it, we pray with one voice, proclaiming your presence to all the earth. [Read more…]

Arise, O God – Hear Our Prayer

A litany by Margaret D. McGee, for use on Ascension Day or the Sunday after Ascension Day.

With open hearts, let us offer up our prayers together, saying,

Arise, O God,
Hear our prayer.  [Read more…]

Let Us Stand in Grace Together

At the St. Stephen’s Women’s Retreat, held at the Ocean Park Retreat Center and Camp on March 28-30, 2008, we experienced stormy winds, rain, snow, hail, sunshine, laughter, tears, and the fire of God’s Spirit in life and love. [Read more…]

Prayers and Blessings for the Stumbling Path

On February 6, 2010, I met with five other women at St. Placid Priory in Lacey, Washington, for a retreat called “Stumbling Toward God.” At the close of the day, we joined together in a brief worship service, each of us offering a prayer or blessing for our time together.

Here are our prayers and blessings, [Read more…]

On Holy Ground

The labyrinth at H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum, Washington.

The labyrinth at H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum, Washington, the way it looks most of the time.

On New Year’s Eve, I took a morning drive out to H.J. Carroll Park to help repair the labyrinth.

A day or two before Christmas, news had spread among local labyrinthers that the meditative path in the park was all kerfuffled.

Someone—likely more than one person—had come into the secluded glade, pushed stones around, cut branches off encircling cedars, and spread the branches on the labyrinth floor. [Read more…]

Prayers With Lenten Hope

Praying TogetherResponsive Prayers by Tom Robb, for use on the first Sunday of Lent.


With Lenten prayer and Lenten hope the Spirit beckons us on toward Jerusalem.
In Moses’ dusty footsteps we follow Jesus into the howling wilderness – comfort only a memory.

[Read more…]

Prayers to the One Who Created All Things

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, for use on or near Epiphany.


Bathed in starlight, we pray together to the One who created all things, saying,

Show us your child, O God,

For we observed a new star at its rising and have traveled far, bearing gifts. [Read more…]

Prayers For The New Year

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use on the first Sunday of the New Year, or any Sunday in Epiphany or the  Green Season.


Oh God, lover of peace and concord,

Bless and prosper the ministries of all the shepherds you have sent to care for us. Lead our “fractious Body of Christ” to love one another as you love us. [Read more…]

Prayers to the Living God

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, for use on a Sunday near the Presidential Inauguration.

Living God, Friend of the Heart, Spirit of Life, we stand together in your presence.

Your hand is laid upon each one of us.  [Read more…]

A Prayer for Epiphanies

Dear God, who made the rocks just the way they are,
rising from the earth;
[Read more…]

Prayers for the Peace of God

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use in Epiphany season.

May the peace of God be in all his holy places.
May God’s peace be with all who enter here.

[Read more…]

Prayers – Singing Our New Song

A Litany for Christmas services by Margaret D. McGee.


Friends, let us pray together, calling on the blessing of the Savior Child, singing our new song of praise and joy. [Read more…]

Prayers in Joy and Thanksgiving at Christ’s Birth

A Litany for Christmas Services by Margaret D. McGee.


In joy and thanksgiving at Christ’s birth, let us sing to the Lord a new song,
On earth peace, good will among people. [Read more…]

Prayers – In This Small Place Made Glorious

Responsive prayers by Brad Offutt, for use at Christmas services.


God of unimaginable love, on the first Christmas You became one of us.

We celebrate Your love for every person in every place and time. [Read more…]

Prayers in Patience and Hope

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, for use on the third Sunday of Advent.


In patience and in hope, let us offer our prayers to God, saying with one voice,

We rejoice with joy and singing
For the coming of the LORD is near.  [Read more…]

Prayers for New Beginnings

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use on Advent I, or during the Green Season at the start of a new year of programming.


I beg you pray with me this morning for all of the various spiritual leaders of the world, and particularly the clergy of our church whose tasks so often resemble herding cats. [Read more…]

Prayer for New Life

In this season of Advent, dear God, for the sake of new life, let me look ahead with courage and love.

Let me act not from fear, but from faith.

[Read more…]

Prayers of a Quiet Day

“Blessed are those … who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.”  — Psalm 84:5

On December 6, 2008, I joined with some of the women of St. Hugh of Lincoln Episcopal Church in Allyn, Washington for an Advent Quiet Day. Using themes of journeys and waiting, we shared stories and prayers, walked a spiral labyrinth, and shared a meal of soup and bread.

The prayers posted here were written at the Quiet Day and prayed aloud during our closing worship.

[Read more…]

Crossing Over Into Community

Gather a bunch of women to think and talk about community for a day, and ka-boom, you get a community.

Photo by James Hladecek

Forty women from seven local churches met at Grace Lutheran Church in Port Townsend on Saturday, October 6 for a day “Together On the Path – Crossing Over Into Community.”
This photo shows a light moment during introductions.
(All photos in this post by James Hladecek. My thanks to James for letting me share his images of the day.)

[Read more…]

Prayers to God-With-Us

That’s Tom Robb, who wrote these prayers, in the middle row beside his wife, Anita.

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use any Sunday in the Green Season.

Out of the depths of our brokenness we lift our needs and concerns to you, Lord.

God-With-Us, pour out your Holy Wisdom upon us.

[Read more…]

The Web of Time and Place

Caught in the Web of Time and PlaceIn the online nature journal class Looking for New Life, Joan was the first to post a spider web entry. She had encountered the huge web on a hiking trip, and mused in her entry about her own spinning thoughts and plans for the future.

[Read more…]

Prayers For a Safe and Open Place

Responsive prayers by Kathy Couch, appropriate for use any Sunday during the Green Season. 


We pray for the Universal Church, that it may thrive and grow in your world, creating a safe and open place for all your holy people.

May we faithfully serve you as we strive for unity. [Read more…]

Bless the Tangle

Bits and Pieces Found Along the WayBless the tangle
Whether it unravels or not—
It has brought me here

Diane, from the spiral labyrinth retreat at Shalom Prayer Center

On May 12, I joined with seven other women in Mt. Angel, Oregon, and we created sacred space together. [Read more…]

Blessing Teamwork

On a PilgrimageMay flowers spring up where your feet
touch the earth.

May the feet that walked before you
bless your every step.

Macrina Wiederkehr

Those are the first two lines of the blessing that Macrina Wiederkehr sent her friend Joyce Rupp before Rupp set out to walk the ancient pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. [Read more…]

The Beauty of Holiness

Illuminated Labyrinth at St. Paul’s

On September 23, 2010 (the evening of the harvest moon), Christine Hamby, with the help of labyrinth-lovers from the parish, created this illuminated labyrinth in the Parish Hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend, Washington. [Read more…]