Prayer Service: Experiencing God s Love

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1 Prayer Service: Experiencing God s Love Leader Script This prayer service is for use with parents and children gathered together. Can be used at the beginning or end of a gathered session/retreat for preparation of First Penance. The focus is on God s forgiveness and love as shared in the story of the Prodigal Son. Consider enthroning the Bible and preparing a parent or other leader to proclaim the Scripture to the group. You may choose to have the assembly sit as the reading is long. A worship aid is included at the end of this script. Leader: Welcome. Please stand and join in singing our opening song. Opening Song: Open My Eyes, Lord Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see your face. Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see. Open my ears, Lord. Help me to hear your voice. Open my ears, Lord. Help me to hear. Open my heart, Lord. Help me to love like you. Open my heart, Lord. Help me to love. Text and music Jesse Mannibusan: 1998, OCP Publications. Leader: Please be seated as we listen to the Word of God proclaimed. Reading: Luke 15: The Parable of the Lost Son. (It is preferable that you read from the Bible, but the text is provided below.) A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke. Glory to you, O Lord. Jesus said, A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me. So the father divided the property between them.

2 After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he (spent) his inheritance on a life of (sin). When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the (pigs). He longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the (pig) fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, How many of my father s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers. So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son. But his father ordered his servants, Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found. Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound. He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who (wasted all your money), for him you slaughter the fattened calf. He said to him, My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.

3 The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ. Prayers of Petition Leader: Please stand (if you were seated for reading) Lord, through your holy Word, we learn much about ourselves and of You. We know that at times in our life we are the younger Son, the older Son and at times, the Father. Lord, hear our prayers of petition: God, when we have acted like the younger son and have made mistakes in our lives, help us to remember that we can always ask you for forgiveness. God, help us to remember that we are loved like the older son was loved, by a God who has already given us everything that we need. Help us to not be jealous of others. God, help us grow to be forgiving as the father forgave his son. May we not hold onto our anger or disappointment and be willing to show mercy to others. Ritual: Praying Over the Children Leader: When the Father saw his son returning home to him, he ran to greet him and threw his arms around him. Human touch is a powerful sense. It can bring comfort or fear; healing or injury; and can express great love. In our Catholic tradition we recognize the sacredness of human touch and use this action in many of our sacramental practices. We touch ourselves as we make the Sign of the Cross. We touch another when we bless them on the forehead, such as an infant at baptism or an adult catechumen at the Rite of Acceptance. The Bishop touches us at Confirmation in the anointing with Chrism, and the ordained have hands laid on them during Holy Orders.

4 Today, I invite the parents to pray for their child while touching them; on their head, shoulder or just hold their hands in yours. Say a prayer quietly for your child and then conclude with the phrase on the worship guide: Children, when you hear your parent say that phrase, then you know they are done with their prayer for you and you can respond, Thanks be to God. Please take a couple of moments now for each parent to pray for their child. Parents will turn to their child and bless them, praying silently, and concluding by saying aloud, Parent: Child: Thanks be to God. Leader: Let us all pray together the Lord s Prayer. Closing Song: This Little Light of Mine I m gonna let it shine; The music and lyrics used in this worship guide are reproduced with permission under the Catholic Diocese of Richmond licenses: OCP LicenSing #302188; GIA OneLicense #A ; WLP # Used with permission. All rights reserved.

5 Prayer Service: Experiencing God s Love Opening Song: Open My Eyes, Lord Reading: Luke 15:11-32 Prayers of Petition Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see your face. Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see. Open my ears, Lord. Help me to hear your voice. Open my ears, Lord. Help me to hear. Open my heart, Lord. Help me to love like you. Open my heart, Lord. Help me to love. Text and music Jesse Mannibusan: 1998, OCP Publications. Ritual Prayer Parents, turn to your children and bless them while touching them on the top of their head, on their shoulders or just hold their hands. Pray silently for your child and conclude by saying aloud: Parent: Child: Thanks be to God. After the ritual, we will all say together the Our Father. Closing Song: This Little Light of Mine I m gonna let it shine; The music and lyrics used in this worship guide are reproduced with permission under the Catholic Diocese of Richmond licenses: OCP LicenSing #302188; GIA OneLicense #A ; WLP # Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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