Prayer for the United Nations International Day of Social Justice

& the celebration for the unity on the

50th Anniversary of the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services

Karakia for Social Service Agencies for the beginning of the dayWednesday 20 February 2019

(created for use in our social service agencies – but great for morning office – use as much or as little as your like)


E kore, e kore, e po, e po    the void, the void, the night, the night, the unknowing, the nothing

E ao, e ao                           beyond the nothing the world is becoming

Takiri mai te ata,                 the flesh of the sky is painted

Rahiri nga manu,               the birds call their greeting, their awe

tino awatea,                      it is dawn

Ka marama, ka marama   Light and enlightenment

Ka ao, ka ao,                    It is, it is, the world is forming anew

ka awatea                         The dawn is here – a new day

Tihei Mauriora!                  This is life in all its fullness


Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”                                                                                                                                  Mark 12: 30 -31


How blest are those who are poor in spirit:
the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
How blest are the sorrowful:
they shall find consolation.
How blest are those of a gentle spirit:
they shall have the earth for their possession.
How blest are those who hunger and thirst to see right prevail:
they shall be satisfied.
How blest are those who show mercy:
mercy shall be shown to them.
How blest are those whose hearts are pure:
they shall see God.
How blest are the peacemakers:
they shall be called children of God.
How blest are those who have suffered persecution
for the cause of right:
the kingdom of heaven is theirs.                                                                                                Matthew 5: 1 – 10

 Karakia and Reflection:  (use one of the following)

In a time of quiet and stillness

Today we give thanks

for all those who will work for peace and justice,

for reconciliation and compassion,

that all might have life – in all its fullness

We look back on those who have gone before us (pause)

We stand with those who are in this space now (pause)

We prepare the space for those who will continue this mahi in the future (pause)

Into this space we bring hope – the hope of God in our midst

God walking with us, God longing for wholeness, God full of compassion, AMEN


God our Creator,
E te Atua tō mātou Kai-hanga,
when you speak there is light and life,
ka tīaho te māramatanga me te ora, i āu kupu kōrero,
when you act there is justice and love;
ka tīmata āu mahi, ka mau te tika me te aroha;
grant that your love may be present in what we do together ,
meatia kia ū tonu ki a mātou
tōu aroha i roto i tēnei mahi – mahitahi.
so that what we say and what we do
Whakakī ā mātou whakaaro ā mātou mahi katoa,
may be filled with your Holy Spirit.

e tōu Wairua Tapu.  AMINE.                                                                        A New Zealand Prayer Book p.141


In a time of stillness, at the beginning of this day, we place in God’s presence

All this day who will struggle

All who seek help

All who need help but don’t seek it

All who offer what little they have that others might have more

All who encourage others to seek help

All those who offer help

All those who wish to help but don’t know how

All those who seek to change unjust structures

All those who know something must change but don’t know what or how

All who struggle to see that unjust structures need to be changed

All this we place in your presence today God

In your great compassion – for in you we have hope.

(Stillness), AMEN.


God of rest and work and pleasure

Grant that what we do this day may be an offering and a blessing, not a burden

We give thanks for those entrusted to us to care for, to pray for, to serve

May our offering be an echo of your great compassion

May it met their need not our assumption

With open hearts may we see in them the gift they are to us

That together we are your people.

Inspirational quote to guide your day

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson (Activist, Artist, Academic, Indigenous Australian)


Go as far as dare, for you cannot go beyond the reach of God

Give as extravagantly as you are able, for cannot spend the riches of God

Care as lavishly as you are able, for you cannot exhaust the love of God

Keep journeying, for God will always be with you.


May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.


A Franciscan Blessing



These resources are designed so that you can use one or all of them in a service of worship, or they can be used as prayer stations for a prayer vigil. Please add your own ideas and feel free to share them with us.

1.Unity: Gather together as a group of churches for worship. Bring a symbol of your church and the social service / community / justice work you do.

2. Create a mural – collage – story board of all the great things you have done &/or are doing individually and collectively for social service, community development and social justice. Lay your mural on the ground and take some time to pray for each of those things. You might like to light a candle for each one (one the mural or in another space)

3. All the Mahi in your Community Invite people to reflect on all that you do in your community (you could use your mural as inspiration) and to write a prayer / psalm of thanksgiving. You might like to offer a refrain so that the thanksgivings can be read together. Something like: Our God is good. God’s love endures forever. We give to our God our thanks and praise!

4. NZCCSS organizes its policy groups into these three areas:

* Children and families,

* Poverty and exclusion,

* The older person.

Make a poster for each of these groups. Invite people to add their prayers for these areas – write them directly on the poster or use post it notes. Or you could use three baskets /jars with these three things written on them. People could write their prayer on a slip of paper and place it in the basket. Or they could pick up a small stone / pebble / marble and place it in the basket/ jar.

5. NZCCSS current justice work. Visit the NZCCSS website and make a list of the range of legislative / submission / government / structural work that the Council are working on, on the churches behalf. Print list off with enlarged font and cut out each one. Hang them on a line (with pegs) and invite people to come and take one off the line to pray for that aspect of mahi – to reflect on it and then invite them to place it in a basket – on the altar.

6. Prayer for Justice.

He Karakia Tīmatanga me te Whakakapi Kaupapa

Kia tau ngā manaakitanga a te mea ngaro
ki runga ki tēnā,

ki tēnā o tātou
Kia mahea te hua mākihikihi
kia toi te kupu,

toi te mana,

toi te aroha,

toi te Reo kia tūturu,

ka whakamaua kia tīna! Tīna! Hui e, Tāiki e!


Let the strength and life force of our (ancestors) forbears

Be with each and every one of us

Freeing our path from obstruction

So that our words, spiritual power, love, and language are upheld;

Permanently fixed, established and understood! Forward together!

7. James K. Baxter – Jerusalem Daybook (p11-12)

Feed the hungry;

Give drink to the thirsty;

Give clothes to those who lack them;

Give hospitality to strangers;

Look after the sick;

Bail people out of jail, visit them in jail, and look after them when

they come out of jail;

Go to neighbours’ funerals;

Tell other ignorant people what you in your ignorance think you know;

Help the doubtful to clarify their minds and make their own decisions;

Console the sad;

Reprove sinners, but gently, brother [sister], gently;

Forgive what seems to be harm done to yourself;

Put up with difficult people;

Pray for whatever has life, including the spirits of the dead.

Where these things are done, Te Wairua Tapu comes to live in our hearts, and doctrinal differences and difficulties begin to vanish like the summer snow.

8. A prayer for our earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe

and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exits.

Pour out upon us the power of your love,

that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live

as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,

help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,

so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives,

that we may protect the world and not prey on it,

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts

of those who look only for gain

at the expense of the poor of the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,

to be filled with contemplation,

to recognize we are profoundly united

with every creature

as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.

Pope Francis – Laudato Si’ On Care for our Common Home (p115)

9. A Creed of Social Service from the Anglican Care Network adapted from Mike Riddell (2008)

1 Because all people are created in the image of God (Gen 1:26) and have their beginning and end in God, we believe:
All people have worth and dignity, and are to be treated with respect. We seek to recognise the handiwork of God within each person.
2 Because human beings are a mixture of the dust of the earth and the breath of God (Gen 2:7) we believe:
There should be no devaluing of either the physical or spiritual circumstances of human life, but that people in the totality of their existence must be addressed. What God has joined, let no one separate.
3 Because God has made us to be in relationship with one another and share responsibility for the welfare of all (Gen 4:9, 19) we believe:
We cannot turn away from those in suffering or need, but must in compassion recognise our belonging to the one family of God, and hence our responsibility for others.
4 Because the human community has united together in separation from and in defiance of God (Gen 11:1-9) we believe:
The corporate structures of human life are flawed, resulting in alienation, injustice and oppression.
5 Because God is loving and just (Deut 32:4), and hears the cry of those who suffer (Ps 12.5), we believe:
God is the protector of the poor and defenceless, and the community of God is witness to this.
6 Because God is merciful and compassionate toward a humanity lost and alienated through sin (Psalm 103:8-14) we believe:
God has chosen to enter the structures of human existence through Jesus Christ, through him making known the divine love and forgiveness, and through his reconciled in relationship with their Creator. We acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and the unique hope of humanity.
7 Because Christ has called us to follow in his footsteps (Mk 8:34-36) and bestowed on the community of faith the continuation of his mission (Jn 20:21) we believe:
We have a responsibility to make concrete the love of God within our own history and surrounding, declaring in word and deed the purposes and character of God.
8 Because Jesus has called us to love our neighbours (Mk 22:39) and defined our neighbours as those in need (Lk 10:25-37) we believe:
Obedience to Christ requires of us the practical and self sacrificing love of people in need, whatever their belief or condition.

10. Reflection on a section of the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father,
give us today our daily bread.
E tō mātou Matua,
hōmai ki a mātou āianei
he taro mā mātou mō tēnei rā.

God of seed and growth and harvest,
creator of need, creator of satisfaction;
give us, we pray, our daily bread,
sufficient and assured for all.
Give us also, we pray, the bread of life,
and we shall have a care to feed the hungry,
and to seek for peace and justice in the world.
Help us, then, to remember and to know
that you are our life today and every day;
you are the food we need, now and for ever. Amen          (Prayers for Thursday NZPB p 125)

11. Some Beatitudes reworked – adapted from Dallas Willard

Blessed are the physically repulsive,

Blessed are those who smell bad,The twisted, misshapen, deformed,

The too big, too little, too loud,The bald, the fat, and the old—

For they are riotously celebrated in the party of Jesus

Blessed are the seriously crushed ones: the flunkouts and dropouts and burnouts,

The broke and broken, The brain damaged and incurably ill,

The barren and the pregnant too many times or at the wrong time,

The overemployed, the underemployed and theunemployed, as well as the unemployable,

The swindled, the shoved aside, the replaced,

The lonely, incompetent, and foolish,

The emotionally starved or emotionally dead…

Blessed are the spiritual zeros—the spiritually bankrupt, deprived and deficient, the spiritual beggars, those without a wisp of ‘religion’—when the kingdom of the heavens comes upon them

Use this rewrite and attempt to rewrite your own beatitudes using the world around you and our cultural context as a reference point.

12. Nadia Bloz Weber Blog (Sarcastic Lutheran) on the Beatitudes –

13. Song: BRING FORTH THE KINGDOM Marty Haugen

You are salt for the earth, O people:

Salt for the Kingdom of God!

Share the flavour of life, O people:

Life in the Kingdom of God!

Bring forth the Kingdom of mercy,

Bring forth the Kingdom of peace:

Bring forth the Kingdom of Justice,

Bring forth the City of God.

You are a light on the hill, O people

Light for the City of God!

Shine so holy and bright, O people:

Shine for the Kingdom of God!

Bring forth the Kingdom of mercy …

You are a seed of the Word, O people:

Bring forth the Kingdom of God!

Seeds of mercy and seeds of justice,

Grow in the Kingdom of God!

Bring forth the Kingdom of mercy …

We are a blest and a pilgrim people:

Bound for the Kingdom of God!

Love our journey and love our homeland:

Love in the Kingdom of God.

14. Prayer:

God, who calls us by our name, in whose image we are made

R.Come in from the cold, make your home in our hearts.

 God, who does not pass us by, who hears the cries of the poor.

R. Come in from the cold, make your home in our hearts.

 God, who has given us unique talents and skills and gifts to share

R. Come in from the cold, make your home in our hearts.

 Jesus of no fixed address, come into this house, your home.

R. Make your home in our hearts.

 Take refuge and shelter with us here – your feet must be tired, your heart must be heavy.

R. Make your home in our hearts.

 Sit down with us, Lord. Tell us your stories, open our eyes to you.

R. Make your home in our hearts.

(adapted from Neil Paynter Holy Ground)

Concluding Prayer

O God, open our hearts to prepare the way for the coming of Christ. Instruct us in your ways of compassion so that we may extend your love and mercy to all people. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Eternal Word, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.

 15. Blessings / Benediction:

May God bless us with Discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial responses, so that we will live from deep within our heart.

May God bless us with Anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that we will work for justice, equality, and peace.

May God bless us with Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we will reach out our hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.

May God bless us with the Foolishness to think we can make a difference in this world, so that we will do the things which others tell us cannot be done. Amen.

(A Franciscan Prayer)


Go as far as dare, for you cannot go beyond the reach of God

Give as extravagantly as you are able, for cannot spend the riches of God

Care as lavishly as you are able, for you cannot exhaust the love of God

Keep journeying, for God will always be with you.