The following prayer can be read out, with the sections in bold read out by the congregation.
The God of Sarah. Esther and Huldah,
The God of Rosalie MacGeorge, Pat Preest, Joan Milner and Vivienne Boyd,
The prophet of old reminds us that what you require of us is:
To do justly,
To love mercy,
and to walk humbly with you, our God.
We confess we have fallen short by not hearing your voice in the experiences of women in the scriptures.
Ruth reminds us that you have told us to share our food with the hungry
and to provide the wandering with shelter –
when we see the naked, we are to clothe them.
We have been promised that if we spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then our light will rise in the darkness and our night will become like the noon day.
Ruth heard your voice and went out with boldness.
We also leave behind our timidity and become the people who claim justice for our people.
The daughters of Zelophehad united together
to ask for justice –
and received justice.
When we see unjust situations help us to bring change.
When we know of others who need help, show us what we can do.
When we can pray,
and give financially to women who do not receive justice
help us to be instruments of change.
For you have said as much as you have done it for the least of these
you have done it for me.
Lord you told the story of the widow who would not give up…
you told this story to teach us, your people, your will.
You invite us as your people to heed the call for the rights of women and all disadvantaged people.
You commission us to be willing to argue for justice for all.
Lord you set out a challenge and an example, help us do what is right, with determination.
Lord we think of Rachel and Leah,
two women who were forced together in unhappy and divisive circumstances.
They had no control in the decisions that affected their lives,
and yet Lord, out of this difficult unjust situation you created a nation.
Out of this nation came our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Lord in this world there are many women who have been deceived and manipulated.
They have no power and no hope.
May they hear your voice promising that what was planned to harm them, in your hands, will bring good.
May they not be afraid but know that you will take care of them and their children.
May we be to these women instruments of your peace, and fight for the justice they deserve.
May we all sing with Hannah “You make us strong and happy Lord.
You rescued us.
Now we can be glad and laugh at our enemies.
No other God is like you.
We are safer with you than on a high mountain.