Ann Arbor First Church Prays

Ann Arbor First Church Prays
A daily prayer offered through June 2, the last day of Michigan’s Annual Conference

On Sunday, May 5, Leadership Council held an information session about the uncertainty in the United Methodist Church after General Conference 2019 and the recent Judicial Council rulings. (You may listen to a podcast of that session here.)

In determining how we respond, Leadership Council encouraged us to pray.

Your church staff embraces the idea of our community praying for wisdom and guidance. We invite you to join us in this daily practice as we wrestle with where we go from here. There are many ways to approach prayer.  The prayers we offer are yours to use as you wish – as we say in yoga, your choice, your practice.  If you have a meaningful prayer to share, please send it to Debbie Houghton at

You can find a new prayer each day through June 2 on the church’s Facebook page, as an email (please contact Adele Roy to receive it in email form), and on this page, below.


Friday, May 10

Psalms can voice our prayers. Nan C. Merril offers this prayer of Psalm 27 in her book, Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness:

Love is my light and
my salvation,
whom shall I fear?
Love is the strength of
my life,
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When fears assail me,
rising up to accuse me,
Each one in turn shall be seen
in Love’s light…

Teach me to be love,
as You are Love;
Lead me through each fear;
Hold my hand as I walk through
valleys of illusion each day,
That I may know your Peace…

Call upon the Beloved,
be strong and trust
in the heart’s courage.
Trust in the power of Love;
the Beloved’s unconditional and
everlasting love for you.


Saturday, May 11

Some of the songs we sing are prayers. Here is an African American spiritual we sing at Green Wood. If you’re not familiar with the tune, you can find it in Faith We Sing # 2208.

Guide my feet while I run this race (repeat 3 times)
For I don’t want to run this race in vain.

Hold my hand while I run this race (x3)
For I don’t want to run this race in vain.

Stand by me while I run this race (x3)
For I don’t want to run this race in vain.

I’m your child while I run this race (x3)
For I don’t want to run this race in vain.

Search my heart while I run this race (x3)
For I don’t want to run this race in vain.

Guide my feet while I run this race (x3)
For I don’t want to run this race in vain.


Sunday, May 12
Try an “eyes-wide-open” prayer:
When you arrive at church on Sunday, pray for people you see seated in the pews around you. Pray for people who are hurried or bored, engaged or distant. Ask God to help them wrestle with their problems and to give each a sense of community and his love.

After church, if you find yourself at a stop light or waiting in line at the grocery store, take a moment to see and pray for other people around you. Pray for the people who are frustrated or distracted; pray for those who are laughing or peaceful. Give thanks for each person and give thanks that God hears your prayer.


Monday, May 13

End of day prayer
by John O’Donahue

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place where the Eucharist of the ordinary happens, transforming our broken fragments into an eternal continuity that keeps us. Somewhere in us a dignity presides that is more glorious than the smallness that fuels us with fear & force, a dignity that trusts the form a day takes. So at the end of this day we give thanks for being betrothed to the unknown and for the secret work through which the mind of the day & wisdom of the soul becomes one.


Tuesday, May 14

Holy God –
Though there are shadows and worries,
You have placed your Word in us to be a lamp for our feet.
You have given your Spirit like a bright shining star.
You fill us with Your Love as glorious as the sun.
You place your Truth like a crescent moon.
Every darkness is overcome with Light.
And every Light contains shafts of your Eternal Light.

— Larry J. Peacock


Wednesday, May 15

Breath Prayer is an ancient method of prayer that the desert mothers and fathers used. It is an easy way to calm yourself and learn to focus your mind. Breath prayer can happen anywhere, anytime.

Try this: Choose a phrase that can be expressed in two parts; for example, “breathe in light, breathe out love”. Other ideas for phrases are listed below. Breathe in, saying or thinking the first part of the phrase, breathe out with the second part of the phrase. Continue this for as long you wish, until you feel calmer, more peaceful, or until you have achieved an inner stillness.

Suggested Phrases (create your own!):

+ Jesus, mercy.

+ Holy wisdom, guide me.

+ Grace in, grace out.

+ Bring me strength, give me peace.

+ Abide in me, Holy One.

+ Move me, groove me.


Thursday, May 16

A Celtic blessing prayer

Christ be with us
As we pick up burdens
And begin journeys we do not want to take.
Christ be with us
As we turn to you to calm racing hearts,
And to guide us forward.
Christ be with us
As we feel strength begin to rise in our souls.


Friday, May 17

Songs can be prayers. Let your soul be encouraged by the song “The Storm Is Passing Over,” by Donald Vails.

The text of this gospel song was written by Charles A. Tindley in 1905. The link below is to a video of a performance from the Detroit Mass Choir.

O courage, my soul, and let us carry on.
For the night is dark, and I am far from home.
Thanks be to GOD. The morning light appears.
The storm is passing over. The storm is passing over.
The storm is passing over, Halelujah…


Saturday, May 18

Holy One,
We bring to You
our worry and unease,
We bring to You
Our prayers for those with whom we disagree,
We bring to You our prayers for wisdom and compassion,
We bring ourselves to You, that we might grow in generosity of spirit,
clarity of mind,
and warmth of affection.

— Iona Abbey Worship Book


Sunday, May 19

When I behold the problems of our world, O Lord,
I pray not to be tempted to quick answers.
When every tongue declares a different truth,
when every people praises its own righteousness,
let me pause before I speak or praise or hope.
Let me look inward seeking to discover eternal truths implanted there by you,
truths greater than those heard in the outer multitude of voices and words.
And let me remember always that
to be loud is not to be right,
to be strange is not to be forbidden,
to be new is not to be frightful,
to be different is not to be ugly.
Thus let me find truths true to you,
that I might live with them, with you, and with myself in peace.

Adapted from a German prayer found in The Little Book of Prayers



Monday, May 20


God of compassion and love, we offer you all our joys and celebrations, but also our suffering and pain. Give us renewed strength to bear our weakness, healing even when there is no cure, peace in the midst of turmoil and love to fill the spaces in our lives. Thanks be to God, the source from whom all love flows. Thanks be to Jesus, who embodies compassion for others. And thanks be to the Holy spirit, who brings light to the darkest places.