Prayabouts

A place for collecting and curating things I find myself holding before God in relation to climate change and environmental concerns. Some are alarming, some a little more hopeful, most have links to help dig into the story more fully. Additions and subtractions will take place over time. I’m very happy for you, dear reader and fellow-prayist, to make suggestions or offer updates in the comments. It may be that some comments could become further ‘prayabouts’.

A brief note on format. Mostly there are no directions or suggestions about how to pray: these are things to hold before God and over time to get a sense of the right sort of petitions that may be inspired as we pray about them.

Andii

So, holding before God

  • Corporate courts give fossil fuel companies the power to sue governments for taking action on the climate emergency. They are an obstacle to a clean energy transition and to achieving climate justice …Industry insiders reckon the amounts at stake could be over $9 trillion. The UK needs to drop corporate courts in new trade deals, and exit the Energy Charter Treaty …the UK has dropped corporate courts from the UK-Australia and UK-Canada trade deals. Now we need to keep up the pressure for the UK to exit the Energy Charter Treaty and stop joining Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • The IGSD paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed the huge potential for “buying time” to change the world’s energy systems by concentrating on cutting methane, and other SLCPs including soothydrofluorocarbons, ground-level ozone and nitrous oxide. These substances contribute almost as much to global heating as CO2, …Dreyfus said sharp cuts to methane and other SLCPs could result in temperatures lower by 0.26C by 2050, which is almost four times greater than the benefit of pursuing CO2 cuts alone
  • We urgently need to diversify global food production, both geographically and in terms of crops and farming techniques. We need to break the grip of massive corporations and financial speculators. We need to create backup systems, producing food by entirely different means. We need to introduce spare capacity into a system threatened by its own efficiencies. –Source article.
  • Climate change has been holding back food production for decades, with a new study showing that about 21% of growth for agricultural output was lost since the 1960s. That’s equal to losing the last seven years of productivity growth, according to research led by Cornell University and published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study was funded by a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • …soil can break down so quickly when it’s farmed. Under certain conditions, when farmers apply nitrogen fertiliser, the microbes respond by burning through the carbon: in other words, the cement that holds their catacombs together. The pores cave in. The passages collapse. The soil becomes sodden, airless and compacted. More here. …Almost single-handedly, through trial and error, Tolly has developed a new and revolutionary model of horticulture. At first it looks like magic. In reality, it’s the result of many years of meticulous experiments….
  •  “US right-wing groups with links to big oil are desperate to stop action against the climate crisis. Now they are trying to extend their reach into UK political debate.” A registered UK charity, the GWPF is one of the most vocal groups in British politics opposing the government’s ‘net zero’ plans and has been at the forefront of recent calls to restart fracking. The Tufton Street-based group’s trustees include former chancellor Nigel Lawson and Steve Baker, who leads the ‘Net Zero Scrutiny’ group of backbench Tory MPs and was recently criticised for sharing a paper by the group that denied the climate crisis…Of the £1.45m that the GWPF has received in charitable donations since 2017, at least 45% has come from the US….Craig Mackinlay and Steve Baker, the MPs leading the group, are regularly quoted on press releases from Net Zero Watch and have repeated some of its lines on the economic cost of net zero word-for-word. Read More
  • The world’s biggest fossil fuel firms are quietly planning scores of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits with catastrophic global impacts, a Guardian investigation shows. The exclusive data shows these firms are in effect placing multibillion-dollar bets against humanity halting global heating. Their huge investments in new fossil fuel production could pay off only if countries fail to rapidly slash carbon emissions, which scientists say is vital. (Originating article)
  • Last year, the folks at Our World in Data published an article and some graphics about how human diets affect land use. The conclusion, …is that if everyone in the world ate a vegan diet – one without any animal products at all – global agricultural land use would decrease by 75%. Rapid advances… in precision fermentation (PF), a process that allows us to program micro-organisms to produce almost any complex organic molecule (especially proteins), and cellular agriculture (CA), a process that involves growing animal tissue cells outside the animal. In Rethinking Food and Agriculture, we found that PF will make protein production 5 times cheaper by 2030 and 10 times cheaper by 2035 than existing animal proteins, before ultimately approaching the cost of sugar. They will be up to 100 times more land efficient, 10–25 times more feedstock efficient, 20 times more time efficient, and 10 times more water efficient than animal products and they will also produce an order of magnitude less waste. This means that, by 2030, modern food products will be higher quality and cost less than half as much to produce as the animal-derived products they replace. \-But note this from George Monbiot: “threatened by intellectual property rights: it could easily be captured by the same corporations that now monopolise the global grain and meat trade. We should fiercely resist this: patents should be weak and anti-trust laws strong. Ideally, this farm-free food should be open source.”
  • NewClimate Institute, one of Net Zero Tracker’s partner groups, released an initial “corporate climate responsibility” report. It found net-zero pledges by 25 top global companies added up to, at best, an average 40% cut in emissions, not the 100% promised… fast and reliable systems to document, track and compare action on net-zero commitments will be crucial to efforts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from rising hunger and migration to more extreme weather… Net Zero Tracker’s work uses an algorithm to scrape the web for key terms such as “net zero” or “climate neutral” while filtering out irrelevant information, to more easily track and document publicly available pledges… The algorithmic approach can be at least 5-6 times faster than a manual search by people… More on this here.
  • The Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass three times faster now than in the 1990s and contributing to global sea level rise.
  • On Nov. 1st 2021, the @_GlobalAssembly‘s declaration was presented to world leaders at #COP26 stating that #Ecocide should be “enshrined in internat. & national laws, and firmly enforced alongside existing environmental protection laws.”
  • This yeast oil comes from right here in Gerboin’s own bakery. At the end of the day, he roasts his unsold leftover bread, grinds it up and delivers it to TUM, one of Germany’s most innovative universities. There, Brück’s team ferments the stale bread with a special yeast, and within two days, a yellowish oil is dripping steadily out of the lab’s centrifuge. This oil is then sent back to Gerboin, who uses it for baking and frying. “The yeast oil lasts longer than palm oil,” he says. “I can reuse it up to 60 times. I even make my Bavarian cream with it.” More importantly, it is a zero-waste, 100 percent sustainable solution. “We replace the conventional palm oil monocultures with a truly circular bio-economy without waste,” Brück says.
  • Women make up 80 percent of those forced to leave their home during climate catastrophes according to UN studies. They are also 14 times more likely than men to die during climate change related disasters.
  • The need to tackle what the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) has identified as the five key drivers of biodiversity loss: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of natural resources; climate change; pollution; and invasion of alien species.
  • “We call on Cop27 to establish an international financing mechanism for climate change loss and damage in solidarity with victims least responsible for, and least equipped to withstand, the increasingly extreme shocks driven by climate change,” (Finance ministers of the V20 group of vulnerable nations, a coalition of 48 developing countries, report here)
  • A Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law. AOSIS Member States … are starting to reject handouts, rather demanding debt relief and fair access to vital financing for mitigation and adaptation as a right. They are now going even further: threatening, in very clear terms, to take their claims for loss and damage to international courts and tribunals.
  • Making QE available to the global south. If the right partnerships were built at the next UN climate summit, COP27 in Egypt, then money created in richer nations could be directed to developing countries to fund climate action. It’s not the only approach. An alternative is the use of IMF Special Drawing Rights. These increase the amount of credit that a government has with the IMF, which it can then use to settle payments due to other countries. If SDRs could be directed towards mitigation and adaptation efforts and limited to those countries with the greatest financing need, they could, with climate QE, meet that funding challenge set out by Mottley in Glasgow when she called for an additional $500bn worth of SDRs to be issued every year for 20 years to unlock the carbon-cutting investments needed to limit heating to 1.5C.
  • The work of Client Earth, using not just legal angles but diplomatic ones to push for the end of coal, will continue to be really significant next year. Comfortingly, that extends far beyond Europe to very-hard-to-read China, where Client Earth claims to have trained 1,000 judges and prosecutors on regional pollution laws.
  • …many cities have done a good job at reducing local emissions. But, … urban dwellers consume a great deal of stuff from beyond their boundaries.

When a product or service is bought by an urban consumer in a C40 city, resource extraction, manufacturing and transportation have already generated emissions along every link of a global supply chain. Together these consumption-based emissions add up to a total climate impact that is approximately 60% higher than production-based emissions.

 The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5°C World, by Arup, C40 Cites and the University of Leeds.

So it’s not enough to just cut direct emissions, we also have to cut the footprint of all the stuff that we consume… biggest source of emissions is a usual suspect – buildings and infrastructure. Here, the first thing to do is use less steel and concrete, substituting lower carbon materials and just building less …food, at 13 percent of emissions, actually has a bigger carbon impact in cities than cars. So we have to cut waste, eat less meat and dairy (preferably none), and even limit calories. I suspect that this will be a hard sell. … upfront emissions of building cars matters, totally a third of their total emissions. So we need to cut the numbers significantly (ambitiously, to zero), make them last longer, and reduce their weight by half, which could be done easily by banning SUVs and light trucks for non-commercial uses. …clothing and textiles have 4 percent of total emissions. It’s twice as high as aviation. So no more big shopping sprees for fast fashion; ambitiously, no more than three new items per year. Full article here. Also:  The single biggest factor in the carbon footprint in our cities isn’t the amount of insulation in our walls, it’s the zoning.

  • Science shows that to avoid ecological meltdown we need a two-third reduction in the impact of consumption in just 10 years, starting with rich countries. And yet, even our best examples of sustainable society still show huge and growing consumption emissions. This is because on their own, better technology and policy can’t green fast enough to keep up, when our mindsets, our cultures and our economic, political, technical and education systems are focused on more stuff.” -a movement where you take the jump—a movement fittingly named The JUMP. https://www.treehugger.com/take-the-jump-less-stuff-more-joy-5215018
  • From this article: …carbon footprint of those things that we can control of 2.5 tonnes of carbon per person per year as the 2030 target.
  • In early 2009 Danish oil and gas company DONG Energy began to change. … 2008 …DONG announced it would be pushing forward on a new vision, the 85/15, which stated that the 85% fossil fuel 15% renewable split in its power generation mix would be swapped within a generation and that this would be done through closing coal fired power plants and scaling up offshore wind power… in 2017, DONG, which had oil and gas in its name, sold its final oil and gas production assets and to reflect its fossil fuels-free future, the company rebranded as Ørsted, after the Danish scientist who discovered electromagnetism, Hans Christian Ørsted… “Now that we have transitioned, we want to help governments and businesses do the same and achieve their decarbonisation goals. That’s how we will realise our vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy.” -Article.

Reduce and remove plastic packaging: “Nearly three-quarters of British people have experienced “anxiety, frustration or hopelessness” at the amount of plastic that comes with their shopping and 59% think supermarkets and brands are not doing enough to offer refillable, reusable or packaging-free products,”

Footprints of 10 Countries
Hot or Cool Institute

But as the table shows, some people are not even close to this. The Canadians, with a lifestyle pretty close to that of Americans, lead at 14.2 tonnes per year, followed by Finland. [I think that this may illustrate the impact of dairy produce]

diet
Hot or Cool Institute

Some of the differences between countries are surprising: Canada consumes more of everything, even more meat than Brazil.

  • The youth movement has moved on from school strikes …. We cannot have another Cop that holds them at arms length. Cop27 in Egypt must have proper representation built into the structure (in 2018 UN protocols were changed to allow youth leaders to participate in more of the process, but they still don’t have a seat in negotiations).
  • The Amazon rainforest is becoming less resilient, raising the risk of widespread dieback, new research shows. The study found that resilience – the ability to recover from events such as droughts or fires – has declined consistently in more than three quarters of the rainforest since the early 2000s.Experts believe the Amazon could soon reach a tipping point, crossing of which would trigger dieback and turn much of the forest to savannah, with major impacts on biodiversity, global carbon storage and climate change. / The collapse of the Amazon rainforest is inevitable if Jair Bolsonaro remains president of Brazil, … the far-right leader is more interested in placating the powerful agribusiness lobby and tapping global markets that reward destructive behaviour.

Consultancy Crondall Energy has been awarded a share of a £6.7 million UK Government pot to try to use North Sea infrastructure to solve the puzzle of energy storage. In partnership with Durham University, the pair have been awarded nearly £150,000 to develop a project which may ultimately help deal with the problem of intermittency in renewable energy sources like offshore wind. Over a five month period, the pair will explore the cost of using electricity to compress air and store it offshore in the UK North Sea. When such a system is reversed, the compressed air could be used to power a turbine to produce flexible electrical energy.

Something to pray to see more of expressed in the life of the world.

Doughnut economics diagram

A growing gap in green space provision divides the UK according to recent research, with people in northern cities having access to fewer parks than their southern counterparts. Nationwide, ethnically diverse communities and people living on low incomes are more likely to live in areas without accessible or high-quality wild places or parks, according to data from Natural England and the Office for National Statistics. These communities are more likely to suffer poorer health outcomes, with higher incidences of heart and lung disease, depression, diabetes and obesity. To address this inequity, a coalition of environmental charities has called for equal access to nature to be enshrined in law. This echoes proposals for a legal right to nature, which have been discussed by the United Nations. https://theconversation.com/green-space-access-is-not-equal-in-the-uk-and-the-government-isnt-doing-enough-to-change-that-177598

Actions and rituals

On this page, there are a number of ideas for actions and rituals that could be used with, for example, the climate lament ideas on this site.

Please try to use materials with a view to their recyclability, compostability and sustainability.

Mourning Armbands. There is a long tradition -now largely only seen on sports’ teams when they are remembering the death of one of their own- of wearing a black armband to signal a bereavement and to show one is in mourning. So the basic idea is simply to wear one for extinct species or habitats. Make your own and customise it. https://www.ehow.com/how_5143632_make-armband.html. Suggestion: to add to it a simple symbol or a word or two to make it clearer what is being mourned. Further development of this idea: to have a making workshop with prayers for the activity and to ‘bless’ the wearing of the completed armbands. The activity of donning the armband can be a significant moment to reflect and hold before God the grieving and the cause of grieving.

Sackcloth and ashes. The biblical phrase “repent in sackcloth and ashes” is still sometimes in use as a byword for recognising one was wrong about something. It harks back to times when these things were part of rituals expressing grief and/or repentance. Sackcloth could then, be used as an armband (see the armband section). Smaller pieces could be used as badges to be added to a coat or jacket. It is simple to use a safety pin to hold it in place. The suggestions about armbands could be brought to bear in the making and ‘commissioning’. One of the things that could be added might be an ashen symbol (maybe a cross maybe something else). It might be helpful to use a mix of oil and ash ( https://www.ehow.com/how_7530818_mix-palm-ash-oil.html ) to make the symbol. Other materials could be used, of course.

Imposition of humus &/or ash. ‘Imposition’ is a traditional church term which means ‘putting on’ -usually a forehead or hands are in mind and it’s commonly used for the act of smearing ash-oil mix on a forehead on Ash Wednesday. This idea is development of that. Humus is, of course, the dark soil-building material (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/humus/) rather than the chick-pea paste!

Anointing and smearing. See also the imposition of humus/ash section. Other materials -symbolic crude oil (apparently vegetable oil with red or dark food colouring can work for this). Symbolic blood has also been used. It can be applied to people or objects.

Prayer wall. For many people the go-to mental image of this might be the so-called Wailing Wall which is a foundation wall of what remains of the Temple in Jerusalem and is a place where Jewish pilgrims go to pray. One of the activities there is to place a written prayer into the cracks between the stones. Some places emulate this way of praying using small pieces of paper and a suitable wall (sometimes a pinboard or netting is used to ‘receive’ the paper).

Tears -symbolic the psalmist writes/recites of God storing our tears in a bottle. This could provide an action. An eye dropper is an effective way to deliver drops of water (symbolic tears) if some precision is needed about where they land. If not then fingers may well be suitable. Symbolic tears could be dropped into a bottle (try to find an attractive one which is transparent to allow the ‘tears’ to be seen. A flask or a caraffe might be suitable rather than a fairly standard thin-necked bottle. ‘Tears’ could be dropped onto objects or words or pictures as a way to specify symbolically the occasion of, or reason for, lament. People could be invited to moisten a cheek below their eye to symbolise tears. The dropping action could accompany particular words in a liturgy and be done in such a way as to be seen by most people present or it could be even more fully participatory and members of the congregation could be invited to come to where the tears may be dropped to drop them themselves.

Tolling a bell. Most people in western cultures would associate a single bell tolling slowly with an occasion of mourning, and this association is the basis for this symbolic suggestion. It could be done as a standalone action, perhaps with a symbolic number of rings. It could be done to accompany particular liturgical words.

Slow walk. Funeral processions often have a slow walk. This could be used and is most effective if done silently. It is probably most effective to be done with participants wearing sombre clothing and/or mourning armbands and with some people carrying some kind of symbolic object to make evident the occasion for mourning.

Penitential parade. This could be similar to the slow walk though there might be other actions accompanying it and perhaps a litany being recited as the walk takes place. It is recommended that if a litany is used, that the call and responses be clear and fairly succinct to enable onlookers and over-hearers to get a sense of what it is about. This might be an action that would suit a bell tolling or a unified action.

Cairn-raising. This is a traditional funereal practice in some parts of the world -placing small rocks and large stones over a body. The association with remembering and commemorating is widely understood and so inviting people to help to build a cairn to remember extinct species, for example, could be helpful.

Composting griefs. This in simple terms would involve writing griefs, words of lament onto a compostable material (using a non-toxic writing/drawing medium) and burying them or placing them into a compost bin or similar. The symbolism could be taken to be a recognition that our laments can become something that may in due course nourish life.

Earth Overshoot days

Earth Overshoot Day is the date in the year when humanity’s use of planetary resources and  ecological services in a given year exceeds what Earth's ecosystems can regenerate or replace in that year. In 2021, it falls on 29 July. Individual countries will also have different national dates most in the West will be well before July. The liturgy below is offered to be used in part or in whole for penitential-feeling gatherings for prayer. The materials are made available under Creative Commons licence to be freely used for non-profit purposes though please acknowledge the source with a link to this page and please put emendations and additions into the comments to share-alike. You can find ideas for symbolic Actions and rituals on another page on this site.

As we pray on this day when we recognise that we humans have collectively begun to use up more of the earth’s resources than can be replenished in a year, we gather in penitence. We recognise our greed, our pride and our selfishness. We recognise our lack of charity to our neighbours who consume so much less. We are appalled by the harms that we have built into our ways of life and infrastructure. We are penitent before our future selves, our children and their children.

Creator God, we are in awe of the cosmos you have made: its vastness, its minuteness, its beauty, its intricacy. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

O God, how gracious you are -bestowing upon us good gifts we don’t even deserve. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name.

How merciful you are -overlooking our unwholesomeness to hold us in good relation with you. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

Your compassion is wide and deep -slow to be offended and quick to mend our brokenness. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

You delight in all you have made and generously invite us to share in your delight. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

——————————-

Woe to us because humans are moving the created boundaries: exploiting natural systems faster than they can regenerate.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to us because human enterprise is financing its growth and development by liquidating the biophysical “capital” essential to our own existence.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to us because our lifeways are dumping waste faster than nature can absorb and recycle them.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who delay collective effort to reduce atmospheric carbon.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who overturn the godly wisdom of our forebears. O God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who harm their neighbours by unseen pollutants.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward from injury to the integrity of nature.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who finance the extraction of fossil carbon and its emission into the air.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward to foul the land or sea or air.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward to mislead by greenwash and disinformation.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who devise and promulgate laws which harm God’s good earth and its living creatures.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who employ algorithm or trick of mind to delay our collective efforts to justly reach net zero.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

————————

As ecosystems fray and wither,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As soils erode and become poorer,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As poisons accumulate and pollutants spread,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

Knowing the frailty of the systems that bring us our daily bread

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As the air heats, the oceans warm and biomes move,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As we observe the growth of deserts

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As we see the loss of glaciers and diminishment of polar ice,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

We cast our anxieties upon you, generous and faithful God

You open your hand:

supply us in season

Wise us up to respond

Grace us to share your provision

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
Into what will sustain earthly life, lead us

————————

Hearing again the woeful consequences as we err and stray from the ways of wisdom …

Mindful that tipping points into runaway environmental feedback effects glower above our heads…

let us throw ourselves upon the mercy and grace of God.

Bewailing and lamenting the saws at the trees, the fires of fossil carbon, the droughts ever more frequent and storms increasingly tempestuous, we return with anguish of heart to our Creator and Upholder.

Pause.

Who can we turn to for help but to you, O God -who shares our righteous indignation for these sins?

When we have followed too uncritically the habits of our nurture in housing and transport, diet and energy use:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we continued complicity with financial and organisational failures to account for ecocidal business models:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we have failed to push back against the influencers and greenwashers promoting and normalising unsustainable lifestyles and aspirations:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we have unquestioningly accepted bad laws and have not pressed for better laws.

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

Blessed are they whom the Lord forgives, whom God softens with compassion and fiercens with boldness for the poor and the planet.

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who fend off apathy, censoriousness and hard-heartedness

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who pursue justice: the righting of wrongs; restoring true peace.

For they live in the kindom of God.

Blessed are they who nurture life and the relationships that support it

For they live in the kindom of God.

Blessed are they who consume as planetary good neighbours

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who reuse, recycle and reduce their consumption

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who pursue the way of the cross, the path of nonviolence.

For they live in the kindom of God

————————

Keep us, Creator of nature’s cycles, from wasteful habits, steer us from carbon fuel conformity, defend us from the wiles of adverts, deflect us from unsustainable choices.

Lead us into gracious and merciful living;
generous and respectful within all you have made.
As we contemplate your creation, O God,
we see wildness and order,
chance and necessity,
Freedom and limits.
Grant us to use lovingly our freedoms
to be wise in living the order of things
And wary of our vulnerability to misleadings.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory.
Now and forever, amen

Jesus comes to us and says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
He breathes on us and says; “Receive the Holy Spirit”
       ….Pause, breathe in, recognising God’s Spirit is with us.
Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God
Who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Abba Father: sung prayer

The song ‘Abba Father, let me be…’ (Dave Bilbrough) seemed ripe for ‘tweaking’ into a sung version of the Lord’s prayer. I had in mind using it, say, as a midday prayer. There are a couple of points where the scansion may trip you up and I think it might be helpful for me to see whether I can sort a musical notation version to help at those points. Specifically: v.1 line 4, ‘grace’ should be sung on the third note, ‘your’ should extend over the first two notes. On line 6, ‘you never’ is sung one syllable per note -the original version may mislead you into having two notes for the first syllable. Similarly for line 6 of the third verse.

Abba, Father, hallowed be
hallowed be your name.
You are loving, just and kind
your grace ever the same.
We your children, you our God;
You never let us go.
Abba Father, hallowed be
hallowed be your name

Loving Parent, may your peace
grow in all the earth.
your agenda be fulfilled;
bring your will to birth.
As we seek your kindly reign
give us bread and means.
Loving Father, may your peace
grow in all the earth.

Lay aside our sins O God
bring us back to Life;
we forgive each others’ wrongs
-save our souls from strife.
Keep us on your path O God
Save us from going astray.
From temptation lead us, God
Out of wrong show the way.

To hear the basic melody with unobtrusive accompaniment, try this.

Canticles

Benedictus (Song of Zechariah) | Magnificat (Song of Mary) | Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon) | Message of the Cross| What we have received | The Song of Christ’s Glory | Song of the Cosmic Christ | You are worthy | Great and Wonderful| Canticle of Solomon| Canticle of Salvation | Canticle of God’s Word | A Song of Ezekiel

‘Canticles’ is a word used to label portions of the Bible which are traditionally used in prayer together in daily offices. These ‘little songs’ (which is what the word roughly means) are often presented as songs or poetry in scripture. Sometimes the term is used of poems or prose pieces which are like the scriptural canticles but not actually found in the Bible or the Apocrypha.

This collection is gathered in this place to make it easier for you to find other canticles if you want to use them instead of ones set within the texts of the offices in the book. Some of those in this section are not found in the daily or seasonal prayer-forms. To get back to where you were, it is probably easiest to use the ‘back’ button on your e-reader.

The following are all in bold to remind us that the default for group-prayer is to say them together. However, they could be said back and forth using alternate lines or each person taking a line or in some other way.

Each of these can be followed by this form of words:

Hallowed be your name Father, 
through the Son, 
in the Holy Spirit: 
As in the beginning; 
so now; and forever. Amen.

That is a version of a traditional doxology:
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to The Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever. Amen.

The “Hallowed be…” version is an attempt to present it in a way that preserves the Father-centred focus of the Lord’s prayer. It is not meant in any way to indicate a disagreement with the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Benedictus, “The Song of Zechariah”

“Benedictus” is from the Latin word for ‘blessed’ which is the first word in the canticle. This version has been changed slightly from the contemporary English one most contemporary prayer books would use. It has been change in form so as to directly address God as ‘you’ rather than referring to God less directly as ‘he’ and ‘him’. A couple of lines which are an aside to the Christ Child in the original text in Luke chapter 2, have also been omitted.

Blessed are you, Lord God of Israel;
you have come to your people and set us free.
You have raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
born of the house of your servant David.
Through your holy prophets you promised of old
to save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us;
to show mercy to our forebears
and to remember your holy covenant.
This was the oath you swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship you without fear,
holy and righteous before you, all the days of our life.
In your tender compassion, O God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Based on the English translation of the Benedictus copyright © 1988, by the English Language Liturgical Consultation..

The Magnificat: “The Song of Mary”

“Magnificat” is the first word in the Latin version of this canticle and means ‘magnifies’ or ‘proclaims the greatness of’. This version of the canticle has been changed slightly from the contemporary English one most contemporary prayer books would use. It has been change in form so as to directly address God as ‘you’ rather than as ‘he’ and ‘him’.

My soul proclaims your greatness O Lord;
my spirit rejoices in you O God our Saviour,
You have looked with favour on your lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call us blessed:
Almighty, you have done great things for us,
and holy is your name.
You have mercy on those who fear you
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel,
remembering your promise of mercy,
the promise made to our forebears,
to Abraham and his children forever.

Based on the English translation of the Magnificat -The Song of Mary, Luke 1:46-55- copyright © 1988, by the English Language Liturgical Consultation.

The Song of Simeon:.”Nunc Dimittis”

“Nunc Dimittis” comes from the first two words in the Latin version of this canticle and means, roughly, ‘Now let leave’. Traditionally it is used in Night prayer and on the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple (“Candlemas”) when Simeon’s prophecy over the infant Christ is recalled.

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

English translation of the Nunc Dimittis, Luke 2:29-32, copyright © 1988, by the English Language Liturgical Consultation. Used within terms of licence

The Message of the Cross

This is not a traditional canticle, but it has some of the character of one and some may like to use it at various times.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom,
God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation,
to save those who believe.
For some demand signs and others desire wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling-block to some and foolishness to others.
But to those who are the called,
Christ is the power of God
and the wisdom of God.
For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom,
and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

                                               From 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

What we have received

What we have received
is not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand
what God has freely given us.
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,”
except by the Holy Spirit.

                                             1 Corinthians 12:3b

The Song of Christ’s Glory

Though in the form of God,
Christ did not regard equality with God as something to be held.
He emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave.
Jesus was born in human likeness;
and found in human form.
He humbled himself
and was obedient into death
even death on a cross.
Therefore, God highly exalted Christ
giving the name above every name.
So at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

                                             from Philippians 2

A Song of the Cosmic Christ

Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in Christ all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

                                              From Colossians 1:16ff

You are Worthy

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you made all things,
by your will everything persists
and was created

                                                Revelation 4:11

Great and Wonderful

Great and Wonderful are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty.
Just and true are your ways, O ruler of the nations.
Who shall not revere and praise your name, O Lord?
For you alone are holy.
All nations shall come and worship in your presence:
for your just dealings have been revealed.
To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and might, for ever and ever.
Amen.

                                                       Revelation 15.3,4

Canticle of Solomon

Blessed are you,
O God of our ancestor Israel
for ever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, are the greatness,
the power, the glory,
the victory, and the majesty;
for all that is in the heavens
and on the earth is yours;
yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
and you are exalted as head above all.

                                                 1 Chronicles 29:10-11

A Canticle of Salvation

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of darkness, a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased its joy.
The people have rejoiced before You
as they rejoice at harvest time
For You have shattered their burdensome yoke
and the rod on their shoulders,
the staff of their oppressor,
For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
He will be named Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace.
The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end.
He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness
from now on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

                                                   Excerpted from Isaiah 9.2-7

A Canticle of God’s Word.

O God, Your thoughts are not our thoughts,
nor are our ways your ways, O Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are your ways higher than our ways
and your thoughts than our thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall your word be that goes out from your mouth;
it shall not return to you empty,
it shall accomplish what you purpose,
and succeed in what you sent it for.
For we shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

                                               see Isaiah 55.8-12

A Song of Ezekiel

You take us from the nations,
you gather us from every land,
You sprinkle clean water upon us,
and wash us from all our uncleannesses,
as from all our idols you cleanse us.
A new heart you give us,
a new spirit you put within us.
You remove from our body the heart of stone
and give a heart of flesh.
we are your people,
and you are our God.

                                        based on Ezekiel 36.24-26,28b

Church of England and canons

There are two strands of canons which are pertinent here. One is about what forms of service are authorised, the other is what a priest is meant to do in terms of daily office.
In short CofE priests are supposed to say Morning and Evening prayer each day (Canon C46) and those services are defined by canons in terms of what they are and should or may contain.
So the issue for the forms of service on this site and in the Book of Our Common Prayer is whether they can be considered as Morning and /or Evening Prayer. This, then, leads us to what constitutes or could constitute those services in canonical terms.
This covers the issue of public worship: for the ordained MP and EP are obliged upon them. At this point then, the form of prayer becomes notable and the Service of the Word may apply.
The authorisation under B1 (which constitutes the forms of service which may be used) extends, by the powers of B2, to the Service of the Word (in Common Worship). Meaning that a Service of the Word as defined in Common Worship may be a form of Morning or Evening Prayer.
The MP & EP forms published on the CofE website are considered thus:
“The orders for Prayer During the Day, Morning and Evening Prayer and Night Prayer comply with the provisions of A Service of the Word, which is authorized pursuant to Canon B 2 of the Canons “
The main thing for our purposes, then, is that the BoCP may “comply with the provisions of A Service of the Word” in such a way as to be considered Morning or Evening Prayer. To do this they must comply with the ‘shape’ of the SotW and with any particulars within that shape.
A Service of the Word (details can be found here):
“…consists almost entirely of notes and directions and allows for considerable local variation and choice within a common structure…”
Overall the aim is to have a liturgy with a preparatory phase, liturgy of the Word, prayers and conclusion. Here are the directions:

Preparation

  The minister welcomes the people with the Greeting.
  Authorized Prayers of Penitence may be used here or in the Prayers.
  The Venite, Kyries, Gloria, a hymn, song, or a set of responses may be used.
  The Collect is said either here or in the Prayers.
In BoCP mostly a set of responses constitutes this phase. A collect is sometimes commended (and could be used additionally in any case). See below for some further comment on prayers of penitence but note here that in the Lord’s prayer, the petitions to do with forgiveness are late in the prayer which is the pattern for BoCP ordering.

The Liturgy of the Word

  The people and the priest:
  ¶ proclaim and respond to the word of God
In BoCP, there are usually prayers or responses to lead into the readings and some to encourage reflection (ie ‘response’). Because of a sense of continuity, canticles are also encouraged as part of a response. A number of the forms also have scriptural phrases which make explicit a response of faithful following.

Prayers

  The people and the priest:
  ¶ pray for the Church and the world
The BoCP patterns this section after the Lord’s Prayer and most of the petitionary sections explicitly or implicitly fulfil the gloss.

The Dismissal

  The people and the priest:
  ¶ depart with God’s blessing.
With regard to BoCP a little more needs to be said. Departing with God’s blessing is a vague phrase, but I note that the final section of the Lord’s prayer as played out in these prayers involves us in committing our ways to God and asking God’s help as we go further into the day, this can be construed as going with God’s blessing.
There is a further consideration also. In the Notes section we find the following further instruction:
“Only authorized Prayers of Penitence should be used. They may be omitted except at the Principal Service on Sundays and Principal Holy Days”
So, there is an issue about authorised forms of penitence since most of the BoCP forms do not contain authorized Prayers of Penitence. Even though the penultimate section of the Lord’s prayer deals with forgiving and being forgiven the words used are not drawn from the collection of authorised prayers of penitence.
One thing we might note is that the prayers of penitence may be omitted (except on Sundays’ principal service etc). With regard to BoCP, we might say that prayers of penitence in the CofE sense are being omitted but note that included in the Prayers section are some ‘reflections’ or more general prayers on forgiving and being forgiven -following the pattern of the Lord’s prayer.
It is worth noting, in this connection that often intercessions in a main service, such as Holy Communion, contain phrases to do with forgiveness that are not ‘Prayers of Penitence’. So there is a case for simply not regarding the forgiveness prayers in BoCP as official Prayers of Penitence in this context. That is, not construing these forgiveness prayers in BoCP as Prayers of Penitence so much as part of praying for the church and the world. In some of the BoCP orders of service, in fact, this is made plausible by having responses which are strongly linked to the rest of the prayers. As a further reference point in authorised provision of texts, we might also consider as a precedent the litany which has prayers asking for mercy and forgiveness.  These petitions for God’s mercy etc are not Prayers of Penitence under canonical provision but rather penitential parts of more general prayers. So we may regard the forgiveness prayers in BoCP orders of service.
Recall further that none of the CofE Prayers of Penitence include an explicit section corresponding to the Lord’s prayer’s line on forgiving others, so that the BoCP forgiveness prayers are not covering the same ground as the Prayers of Penitence in official provision since these latter do not generally make explicit an exercise in forgiving others.
Also note: “a Creed or authorized Affirmation of Faith may be omitted except at the principal service on Sundays and Principal Holy Days”. Note that this refers to a principal service so this means that in many circumstances a creed need not be added to BoCP orders of service. But if a BoCP service was being used as a principal service on such a day, it would be easy enough to add one at an appropriate point (probably at the end of the liturgy of the word section and before the prayers section or possibly at or towards the end of the prayers or dismissal section.

Some Canonical quotes for reference

The overarching thing for ordained and licensed lay ministers is Canon B1.
Section 2 of which says:
Every minister shall use only the forms of service authorized by this Canon, except so far as he may exercise the discretion permitted by Canon B 5. It is the minister’s responsibility to have a good understanding of the forms of service used and he shall endeavour to ensure that the worship offered glorifies God and edifies the people.
In addition we may note the discretion to vary orders of service given in Canon B5.1
 The minister who is to conduct the service may in his discretion make and use variations which are not of substantial importance in any form of service authorized by Canon B 1 according to particular circumstances.
In B5. 3 .his we find a principle that

All variations in forms of service and all forms of service used under this Canon shall be reverent and seemly and shall be neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter.

With regard to daily prayer,
Canon B11:
2. On all other days the minister of the parish, together with other ministers licensed to serve in the parish, shall make such provision for Morning and Evening Prayer to be said or sung either in the parish church or, after consultation with the parochial church council, elsewhere as may best serve to sustain the corporate spiritual life of the parish and the pattern of life enjoined upon ministers by Canon C 26. Public notice shall be given in the parish, by tolling the bell or other appropriate means, of the time and place where the prayers are to be said or sung.
3. The reading of Morning and Evening Prayer in any parish church as required by this Canon may only be dispensed with in accordance with the provisions of Canon B 14A.

We may note, of course, that this applies to public services in licensed buildings and has no direction for ‘private prayers’.

C 26 Of the manner of life of clerks in Holy Orders

1. Every clerk in Holy Orders is under obligation, not being let by sickness or some other urgent cause, to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer, either privately or openly; and to celebrate the Holy Communion, or be present thereat, on all Sundays and other principal Feast Days. He is also to be diligent in daily prayer and intercession, in examination of his conscience, and in the study of the Holy Scriptures and such other studies as pertain to his ministerial duties.