Worship Resources for International Women's Day

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Prayers for International Women's Day. 10/3/2015

Published at Christian Aid
Written by Various Authors

 This International Women's Day (8 March), pray for women around the world less fortunate than us.

Community call

Who are we?
We are women born of the past generations,
we are women present in the here and now,
we dream of a future that is yet to be.

Who are we?
We are women made up of all nations and all races,
we include people from all countries of the world,
we come from down the road and round the corner.

Who are we?
We represent all cultures and languages,
we consist of all ages and abilities,
we embrace strangers as neighbours.

Who are we?
We are called to be God’s people.

Welcoming, embracing, relating, creating,

woven together into God’s community on earth.

© Clare McBeath, 2011


Oh Lord, we pray that you may strengthen us with power and revelation,
so that Christ may live in our hearts through faith.
Make us firm in love.
Help us understand your will, audaciousness and wisdom in order to fight for your justice.
We pray that you may make our hands strong and our voices heard.

Grant us humility firmly, and discernment passionately,
so that we may fight, not to conquer, but to liberate.
To liberate the women silenced by the violence,
from inequality and abuse,
from unjust and discriminatory cultural or religious practices.

This we ask, in the name of Jesus Christ who,
with You and with the Holy Spirit,
lives and reigns, one only God, now and forever.

(SADD Gender Violence Manual, Brazil)

Transforming God,
You turned the Samaritan women from the excluded ‘other’,
to become a bearer of the gospel of peace,
putting in her mouth the song of testimony.
Today we pray for ourselves:
grant us that same insight and courage,
that same witness of women on the margins,
that we too may recognise our place in the gospel story,
and live it in our lives.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession

Hidden and mysterious God,
we seek you in darkness and unknowing,
and you come to us with tender love.
Today we pray for:
• women who suffer because what should be uncovered is covered up
• women who have been humiliated, harassed and stigmatised and dare not tell
• women who have been beaten, tortured, threatened, and cannot tell.

Forgive us, and your church, our complicity in silence and concealment.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

And we give thanks for the witness of women,
most of them unnamed and unsung,
who have refused to be shamed or silenced,
who have stood up and stood out for justice and truth.
Blessed are you, gracious God
who has created women in your image.


Beloved God,
in desire and intimacy you come to us
and know us as a lover.
Today we pray for:
• women whose bodies have been violated by rape and degradation
• women whose bodies are bought and sold as commodities
• women whose cultures reflect them as inferior, as stereotypes, as less valuable than men

Forgive us, and your church, our failure to proclaim the true personhood of all people,
regardless of race, gender or sexuality.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

And we give thanks,
for the persistence of those who struggle for equal rights for women,
for an end to sexual violence, trafficking and discrimination,
and for the power of human dignity.
Blessed are you, gracious God,
who has created women in your image.


God of power and presence,
midwife of our lives,
you encourage and calm us into creativity.
Today we pray for:
• women who must give birth in dangerous or squalid conditions
• women who are in anguish because they do not have the resources
to care for their children adequately
• women whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change.

Forgive us, and your church, our failure to overcome poverty,
and to resist the assault on the poor
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

And we give thanks,
for women across the world,
whose leadership, resilience and resourcefulness,
in raising families, resisting despair, embracing new livelihoods,
is transforming their communities to challenge poverty.
Blessed are you, gracious God,
who has created women in your image. 

Wounded God,
you took defenceless flesh and died on a cross.
Today we pray for:
• women who are casualties of war and the arms trade
• women who mourn the violent deaths of loved ones
• women whose potential dies a little more every day.
Forgive us, and your church,
our failure to confront the forces of death.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

And we give thanks,
for women who have confronted warring powers, challenged violence,
and whose lives, directed by necessity, are moved by compassion.
Blessed are you, gracious God,
who has created women in your image,
and in whose name we pray.

Where is justice?

Oh my heart's heart, in love and anger I will turn to you,
for my soul cries out, 'Where is justice,
when will the balance be redressed,
for the fearful dreams of children who sleep with knives,
for the beaten women, and the shamed and helpless men?'
Where is justice?
For the agony of hunger is not to be set,
against the insatiable appetites of jaded palates.
In the villages and camps, the children lie bleeding,
and great wounds gape in their throats and sides.
In the city, there is no safety for them;
as the leaves blow through the night streets,
they are swept away, they disappear without trace
as if they had never been.

An affirmation of faith

We believe in the goodness and value of women,
in our strength and health,
in our capacity to cry,
in our capacity to sustain each other instead of being rivals,
in our capacity to respond to the demands of children
and carry the weight of daily life,
in our openness and desire to continue working,
in our spiritual and earthly being,
full of life – birth, death and resurrection.

We affirm the history of women
as the history of humanity.
We are gatherers of fruits,
peasants, farmers, sewers, workers,
mothers, scientists, doctors, housewives and economists.

We give our life, we are hidden workers,
without wages at home and breadwinners in society.
We recognise this diversity and versatility.
We rejoice in our intuition and our thinking.
We confess our faults and fragility,
because we have accepted violence and injustice
in relationships between men and women.

We expect a future of faith and hope,
working for the day to come in which we and all our sisters
will no longer have to adapt to a stereotype
because we will be free
to express ourselves as we are
and we will be free
to share in all the benefits of human life and work.

We hope for a time of peace,
when violence will disappear
and men and women can love and be loved,
and the work and riches of our world can be justly shared.

Written by women of the Presbyterian Church in Colombia.


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Catholic Bishops of Australia Parish Kit

The Parish Kit contains prayers, reflections and ways in which parishes might mark the crucial place of women in the Catholic Church. It has been prepared for use on the 3rd Sunday during Lent, which is the 7th of March. International Women’s Day takes place annually on the 8th of March, and will be celebrated by women across the world.

“It’s essential that as a Catholic Church, we recognise women. In Australia, women now make up 66 per cent of mass attendees, and we need to celebrate the enormous contribution they make in areas of ministry, liturgy, music, service, as pastoral associates and in a huge number of roles”, said Director of the Office for the Participation of Women, Kimberly Davis.

“We need to affirm this contribution women are making to the life and mission of the Church and continue to create opportunities for women to contribute their skills and expertise in the areas of leadership and decisionmaking”, she said.

In addition to the Parish Kit, the Bishops of Australia have sent a Letter to Women recognising the unique contribution women make to the life of the Australian church.

Kimberly Davis is thrilled with the response so far from parishes to both the Parish Kit and the Letter to Women.

“Already, we have had numerous requests from parishes wishing to affirm and celebrate the contributions of women. Parishes are taking the time to personally hand out copies of the Letter to Women ensuring the message from the Bishops is widely distributed. The Parish kit was sent to every parish and Catholic Education Office in Australia”, she said.

Below is an excerpt from the Letter to Women from the bishops of Australia.

“Today we wish to reaffirm our commitment to nourishing the positive experience of women in the Church, while addressing the negative in real and constructive ways.....As we look to the future, all of us who are part of the Body of Christ, are challenged to imagine new ways that women can participate more fully in the life of the Church. In this, we remain always open to the fresh stirrings of the Holy Spirit who dwells among us all, inspires us and leads us onward together in faith”

Copies of the Parish Kit are available on the OPW website www.opw.catholic.org.au or by contacting Kimberly Davis, Director of the OPW on 02 6201 9867 or director.opw@catholic.org.au. The Letter to Women is available on both the ACBC website www.catholic.org.au and the OPW website www.opw.catholic.org.au

For media enquiries, please contact Beth Doherty on 0407 081 2560407 081 256.

 Download (PDF, 6p.,1.03MB)

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The Lutheran World Federation - Women’s Daily Bread


An LWF Focus on Issues That Impede Gender Justice and Inclusiveness  

Women’s Daily Bread - Special LWI Edition

GENEVA, 3 March 2010 (LWI) – Women’s Daily Bread is the title of a Lutheran World Federation (LWF) publication drawing attention to some of the critical issues that impede equitable gender progress in the Lutheran communion and beyond.

Published to coincide with events marking the International Women’s Day on 8 March 2010, the special edition of Lutheran World Information (LWI - No. 12/2009) offers further reflections on the July 2010 LWF Eleventh Assembly theme “Give Us Today Our Daily Bread.”

“The prayer for ‘our daily bread’ is a petition for inclusive bodily and spiritual sustenance for all—not for some, as sadly reflected in today’s reality. It also challenges the LWF’s understanding of leadership from the biblical concept of vocation and priesthood of all believers,” says LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko in the publication’s foreword.

Bread for “only some,” adds Noko, “undermines our witness to the gospel and our ability to participate in God’s mission.” The general secretary points out some milestones that have resulted from LWF’s commitment to the equal participation and leadership of both women and men. Still, he urges increased efforts in challenging “the practices, traditions and structures that impede women’s full participation at the table—in church and society.”

The stories in the special LWI edition seek to emphasize the LWF’s core identity as a “spiritual and sacramental,” “confessional,” “witnessing” and “serving” communion.

The publication includes liturgical material, offering creative ways to celebrate the mutual sharing and nurturing throughout the Lutheran communion.

You can download a low-resolution PDF of Women's Daily Bread which includes a liturgy for the International Women’s Day on 8 March 2010.

Click here for the German version (PDF, 24p.) 


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