Prayers of the People/Intercession on Labor Day

Sermon Illustrations on Work

Blessing for Those Who Labor

This prayer may be offered with or without the congregational response. Due to its length, consider using two or more liturgists to lead the prayer.

VOICE ONE:
Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, you declared your work good and so do we. Empower us to
continue your good work through the labor of our minds and hands.

VOICE TWO:
This Labor Day Weekend, pour out again your blessing and strength on all who labor.
On those who make it possible for us to have food on our tables:
Farm workers, truckers, grocers, cooks, and restaurant employees
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE ONE:
Bless and strengthen those who labor to keep us healthy:
Doctors, nurses, technicians, researchers, and medical manufacturers
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE TWO:
Bless and strengthen those who inspire us and lead us to greater good:
Inventors and explorers
Religious leaders and teachers
Writers, artists, and advocates
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE ONE:
Bless and strengthen those who facilitate needed products and services:
Office workers, managers, and administrators
Retail workers and those who make deliveries
Bankers, lawyers, politicians, and accountants
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE TWO:
Bless and strengthen those who make our lives easier and safer by the sweat of their brow:
Warehouse workers, construction workers
Janitors and sanitation workers
Police officers, firefighters, and those who serve in the armed forces
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE ONE:
Bless and strengthen those who work with the poor, the abused, the dangerous, and the dying
Social workers, counselors, and therapists
Hospice workers and corrections officers
Those who work in shelters, soup kitchens, and halfway houses
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

The congregation is invited to offer their own prayers

VOICE TWO:
We ask all these blessings in the strong name of Jesus,
the Carpenter of Nazareth, the Rabbi of Galilee, who taught us to pray

Finish with all praying The Lord’s Prayer

Blessing for Those Who Labor © 2011, updated 2023 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com


Blessing for Those Looking for Work

Option: Those who are looking for work are invited to stand. Persons may also stand on behalf of a friend or loved one who is looking for work. Those seated around them lay a hand of blessing and support on them for the remainder of the prayer.

One who creates
One who provides
One who sustains
Glory to your Holy Name

Pour out your blessing and care
On those who are unemployed or underemployed
Guard them against discouragement and discrimination
Relieve them of worry and anxiety
Meet their needs for home and health
Come quickly with a living wage at a fulfilling job with a trustworthy employer

The congregation is invited to offer their own prayers

We ask all this trusting in your life-giving power
We ask all this confident in your abiding love
We ask all this in the name of Jesus, our Savior forever

Option: Finish with all praying The Lord’s Prayer

Blessing for Those Looking for Work © 2011, updated 2023 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com


A Labor Day Prayer for Equity

This prayer may be offered with or without the congregational response. Due to its length, consider using two or more liturgists to lead the prayer.

VOICE ONE:
God of Creation, God of Life,
In your justice
In your mercy
Bring equity to workers across your world

VOICE TWO:
End the suffering of those who work in dangerous facilities
who toil in poison, heat, and filth
who labor long hours for tiny wages
because of our addiction to low-cost goods
ALL: Lord in your mercy, make all things new

VOICE ONE:
End the suffering of those who’ve had their culture destroyed
Their health destroyed
Their land destroyed
because we’ve rewarded destructive business practices
ALL: Lord in your mercy, make all things new

VOICE TWO:
End the suffering of all who labor as slaves
End this evil and the evil apathy within us
Free them and free us now
ALL: Lord in your mercy, make all things new

VOICE ONE:
Dawn a new day of integrity and servant leadership across every land
On those who own corporations
On those who manage them
On those who benefit from them
Fill them and fill us with courage and conviction to do the right thing
ALL: Lord in your mercy, make all things new

The congregation is invited to offer their own prayers

VOICE TWO:
Jesus, you hear the cries of the oppressed and so do we
Inspire us for the common good
Fill us with wisdom for sustainable and just solutions
so workers of all nations mutually prosper
so workers of all nations are treated fairly and with dignity
so workers of all nations experience lasting peace and plenty
ALL: Amen

A Labor Day Prayer for Equity © 2023 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, www.revlisad.com


Prayer for Commerce and Industry

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life
shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your
people where they work; make those who carry on the industries
and commerce of this land responsive to your will; and give
to us all a pride in what we do, and a just return for our labor;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for
ever. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (1979)


O God, you have bound us together in this bundle of life;
give us grace to understand how our lives depend upon
the courage, the industry, the honesty, and the integrity of our fellows;
that we may be mindful of their needs,
grateful for their faithfulness and faithful in our responsibilities to them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reinhold Niebuhr


O Lord, we remember before you
all the workers of the world
Workers with hand or brain:
Workers in cities or in the fields:
Those who go forth to toil and those who keep house:
Employers and employees:
Those who command and those who obey:
Those whose work is dangerous:
Those whose work is monotonous or mean;
Those who can find no work to do:
Those whose work is the service of the poor
Or the healing of the sick
Or the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ
At home or in foreign places.

John Baillie, Language adapted for Contemporary Worship by Stuart Strachan Jr.


Prayer for Agriculture

Almighty God, we thank you for making the earth fruitful, so that it might produce what is needed for life: Bless those who work in the fields; give us seasonable weather; and grant that we may all share the fruits of the earth, rejoicing in your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (1979)


Prayer for the Unemployed

Heavenly Father, we remember before you those who suffer
want and anxiety from lack of work. Guide the people of this
land so to use our public and private wealth that all may find
suitable and fulfilling employment, and receive just payment
for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (1979)


Prayer for Towns and Rural Areas

Lord Christ, when you came among us, you proclaimed the kingdom of God in villages, towns, and lonely places: Grant that your presence and power may be known throughout this land. Have mercy upon all of us who live and work in rural areas [especially ___________]; and grant that all the people of our nation may give thanks to you for food and drink and all other bodily necessities of life, respect those who labor to produce them, and honor the land and the water from which these good things come. All this we ask in your holy Name. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (1979)


Labor Day Prayer

O God, Father of us all, we praise you for so binding humanity together that we must each lean upon the strength and labor of others. We ask your blessing on all men and women who have worked to build and warm our homes, make our clothes, and bring out of the sea and land the food which nourishes us and our children. We pray that they may have health and joy, and hope and love, even as we desire for ourselves. 

Grant us wisdom to deal justly and kindly with every man and woman whom we meet in the business of life. Help us not to unknowingly cause suffering through selfish indifference or wilful ignorance. Because the comforts of our lives are brought to us by people we do not know or see, grant us the wisdom and will to help reform trade and industry, to free them of hardness and unfairness. 

May the time come when we wear and use nothing that is wet in your sight with human tears, or cheapened by wearing down the lives of the weak. Save us, we earnestly ask, from unconscious guilt. Help us to strive for the coming of your kingdom of justice when your merciful and saving will is done upon earth. Amen.

Adapted from Walter Rauschenbush, Expositor and Current Anecdotes (1914).


A Responsive Prayer for Labor Day Program

Almighty and merciful God, we ask you to hear the desires and prayers of our hearts for all who labor.

For all who till the land and break the rocks,
For all those in frequent peril of the sea,
For those in the dark and danger of the mines,
We pray to you, O Lord.

For all who labor in factory, store, and office,
For all who work on the highways of commerce,
For all who teach and transmit the treasures of intelligence,
We pray to you, O Lord.

For all who toil in places of special danger,
For all who are bear and raise children,
For all who add the labor and care for children,
We call to thee, O Lord.

From child-labor, from ill-paid toil, from the drive of greed,
From overwork and the fear of unemployment,
Good Lord, deliver us all.

From toil without joy and hope,
From labor without pride and honor,
Save us, O Lord.

That the oppressed may feel the salvation of freedom;
That the immigrant may live among us without suffering contempt;
That our commonwealth may be loyal to the higher law of justice;
That industry may join all workers in good will and brotherhood;
We ask you to hear us, O God.

Followed by the Lord’s Prayer.

Adapted from Walter Rauschenbush, Expositor and Current Anecdotes (1914).