A prayer for openness

Leader: Disabled & Gracious God, Open our ears to the cries of the unheard and impaired, those who plea for justice.
Response: Open our communities to be sacred listening places where all are valued no matter their impairment.

Open our eyes to those who are not valued as whole human beings created in God’s image.
Open our communities to be sacred places of new vision and insight.

Open our minds to challenge those with abusive attitudes and prejudices that are closed to those who appear different, who lash out rather than understand.
Open our communities to be sacred places of new attitudes, compassion and understanding of people with disabilities.

Open our arms to embrace all in our community.
Open our communities to be truly accessible and welcoming to ensure every opportunity of full participation in the life of our Church community.

Together, then, let us pray in union with Jesus Christ.
We pray that all may be one just as you are in us and we are in you.

All: May all be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me.

cf John 17:22-23

This prayer was composed in response to a young person with disability  who was abused, and regarded as a lesser human being, because of her physical impairment.

adapted from
Australian Catholic Disability Council
Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life
GPO Box 368

T (02) 6201 9868
F (02) 6247 6083

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A Prayer seeking genuine welcome


As we seek to have open hearts, open minds and open doors…

Help us to move beyond opening the door to welcome only those who can climb the steps to enter.

Help us to move beyond opening our hearts to love only those who look like us.

Help us to move beyond opening our minds to accept only those who think like us.

And help us to create an environment, in our church and in our community, where all are welcome.

In your name we pray. Amen


adapted from Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Binford, III

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Beatitudes from a person with a disability

Blessed are you
who take time
to listen to difficult speech.

Blessed are you
who walk with us in public places and ignore the stares of strangers.

Blessed are you
who never  bid us 'hurry up.'

Blessed are you
who stand  beside us
as we enter new and untried ventures.

Blessed are you
who ask for our help,
for our greatest need is to be needed.

Author unknown,
"That All May Worship," p.19
cited in "In the Shelter of Each Other," p.31

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Loving and All-Embracing God,
you who created
all people in your image,
you who regard
all people as precious,
direct our communities
to hear the stories
of those who experience
exclusion and oppression
because of their impairments.

Challenge your church
to stretch out her arms wide
to people who live
with disability,
who so often experience
prejudice, misunderstanding
and indifference.

May your warm
and enthusing Spirit
overcome feelings of charity
with acts of
mutual respect and care.
Replace fear of difference
with joy in diversity.
And substitute comfort
in sameness
with community
of vast possibilities.

In Jesus name we pray.

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For Human Regard

O God
who embraces all,

may we mirror your compassion,
and imagination,
as we work to reshape
our society
into one in which all are valued
as people of worth,
and no one is labelled as
'economic unit'
'productive' or

Teach us
regard for one another,
not on the basis of
ability or
nor for what they offer us,
or we offer them,

but for who we all are
as valued members
of your creation.

In Jesus' name we pray.

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Living Our Gifts

Loving God, author of all gifts;

We praise and thank-you for all the gifts you have entrusted to us.

Pour out your Spirit upon us
so that,
true to our baptismal promises,
we may form faith communities
that recognise and promote the gifts in all people
so that we may all share in the mission of Jesus.

Inspire us to be a Church that is welcoming and accepting,
and which sees everyone as an expression of Christ.

May our faith communities nurture and commission all members
to live our particular gifts as a reflection and imitation of Jesus' life.

Give us the courage to be the light of welcome in the darkness of exclusion,
a voice of gentleness in the wilderness of the unheard,
and an outstretched hand of love to those longing for community.

Author: Trish Mowbray
Copyright: Australian Catholic
Bishops Conference 2004

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Prayer of L'Arche (adapted)

O All-Embracing God,
we ask You to Bless us,
and keep us in Your love.
May this community of faith be a true home,
where the poor in Spirit may find life;
a place where those who are suffering,
may find comfort and peace.
Gracious God, give us hearts that are open,
hearts that are humble and gentle,
so that we may welcome those You send,
with tenderness and compassion.

Give us hearts full of mercy,
that we may love and serve;
and where discord is found,
may we be able to heal and bring peace;
and see in the one who is suffering
the living presence of Your son.

Compassionate God, through the hands of You little ones,
we ask You to bless us.
Through the eyes of those who are rejected,
we ask You to smile on us.

All-embracing God, grant freedom and fellowship,
and unity to all the world;
And on the day of Your coming,
Welcome all people into Your Kingdom.


L'Arche is a world-wide series of religious communities for people living with an intellectual impairment. See

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Dear God,

When the losses are too great, I ask for strength to isolate
Each loss, to roll them slowly in my hand
To gently feel the weight of each
To trace the grazes gingerly
To touch the underbelly, bruised
To risk to know their drowning weight.

To take this journey slowly is my prayer
As I release these losses to your care.


Written by Marianne Vreugdenhil, who lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Used with permission

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Thanksgiving & Remembrance

(Adapted from a prayer commonly used in the Motor Neurone Disease Association (SA) Annual Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance)

Creator God, we remember and give thanks for loved ones who have died, those whom you graced with many gifts.
May we too share our gifts.
Creator God, hear our prayer.

Response: Creator God, hear our prayer.

Patient God, we remember all those who bore their pain with dignity.
Help us likewise bear our burdens in life's journey.
Patient God, hear our prayer.

Response: Patient God, hear our prayer.

Caring God, we give thanks for all who have cared, and who have given of their compassion to make each day special.
May all of these be blessed.
Caring God, hear our prayer.

Response: Caring God, hear our prayer.

Comforting God, we pray for those who are on a new journey.
Grant them your deep, abiding peace.
Comforting God, hear our prayer.

Response: Comforting God, hear our prayer.

All:   Amen. 

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Let us pray for all God's people.

For people who are blind and cannot see, and for those who can see but are blind to people around them.

God, in your mercy help us to touch each other.

For people who move slowly because of an accident, illness or disability, and for those who move too fast to be aware of the world in which they live.

God, in your mercy help us to work together.

For people who are deaf and cannot hear, and for those who can hear but who ignore the cries of others.

God, in your mercy help us to respond to each other.

For people who learn slowly, for people who learn in different ways, and for people who learn quickly and easily but often choose ignorance.

God, in your mercy help us to grow in wisdom.

For people who have chronic illnesses with no known cure or relief, and for people who live in unholy fear of developing a chronic illness.

God, in your mercy help us and heal us.

For families, friends and caregivers who serve people with disabilities, and for those who feel awkward in their presence.

God, in your mercy help us to see each other with your eyes.

For people who think they are worthless and beyond your love, and for people who think they don't need your love.

God, in your mercy help us to accept your love.

For people who feel isolated by their disabilities, and for people who contribute to that sense of isolation.

God, in your mercy change our lives.

For all the people in your creation, that we may learn to respect each other and learn how to live together in your peace.

God, in your mercy bind us together. Amen.

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