Guidelines for submitting prayers to the

2017 United Reformed Church Prayer handbook


In the 2017 Prayer handbook we will be including non-commissioned prayers; we hope they’ll come in from all corners of the United Reformed Church – and beyond. We are keen to encourage prayer writers of all ages, all traditions, all nationalities, to submit prayers for possible inclusion on the 2017 handbook. If you write prayers we hope you will consider submitting one to us.

There is a general theme – of Feasts and Festivals – to inspire you – as well as some great biblical passages from the 2017 lectionary (detailed below) to guide your writing.

Feasts and Festivals play an important part in the Church’s celebration. In addition to the usual observances, in 2017 the Church commemorates 500 years since Martin Luther’s actions in Wittenberg sparked off the Reformation in Europe. More recently, in September 1917, the first woman Congregational minister, Constance Coltman, was ordained. We have a lot to celebrate.

In his 1971 book Festival, Brother Roger of Taizé helps us see the celebratory but also the ecumenical and multicultural aspects of festivity:

‘If those living in the northern hemisphere, worn out by activities, were to lose the source of

the spirit of festival – when that festival is still so alive in the hearts of the peoples of the

southern continents...’

How can the ‘spirit of festival’ inspire the church in 2017? You are invited to draw on that great spirit in composing your prayer/s. We look forward to receiving your prayers.

General information:

  1. Submitted prayers should relate to one of the set lectionary readings as listed on pages three and four and arranged by season of the liturgical year – you will see that the readings include some well-known Bible passages. Please include the Biblical reference(s) and date your prayer relates to; (e.g. 1 Jan 2017, New Year’s Day, Psalm 8). As we publish two prayers for every Sunday, please consider submitting two prayers for the Sundays you choose, on different readings:
  2. Prayers should not exceed 30 lines, each line a maximum of 50 characters (ensuring you include punctuation, spacing, and any desired indentations in the character count). Shorter prayers are welcome.
  3. Prayers must not be idiosyncratic and should be suitable for use in a wide variety of settings.
  4. Prayers must not be written in rhyme.
  5. Please do not submit more than four prayers for consideration.
  6. We welcome prayers from children and young people.
  7. If your prayer relates to a particular country (other than the UK) or issue please include a short information paragraph detailing the specific needs that have prompted your prayer –and please remember it must be relevant for use within 2017.
  8. When submitting prayers, please include your full postal address, your full name and how you would like to be described (e.g. Jane Jones, local preacher, Townton).
  9. If we publish your prayer in the Prayer Handbook we will send you a complimentary copy of the prayer handbook; no fee will be paid.


All prayers submitted must be your copyright.They can have been used or published elsewhere, provided you have retained copyright. Unless otherwise agreed, your prayer will become shared copyright with theUnited Reformed Church. Extracts from the Prayer Handbook may be used on the URC website and in other online media;by submitting a prayerit is assumed you agree to this additional use. If you do not wish to have your prayers used in these ways, please let the editor know.

If you use phrases from another source within your prayer, please indicate that you have done so and give the source, even if it is out of copyright: plagiarism is theft.

Editing the prayers

Please note that it will not be possible to include all prayers submitted in the prayer handbook. Please also note that we reserve the right to edit your prayers but the editorial team will liaise with the author to ensure that the author is content with any suggested changes. You have the option to withdraw your prayer for publication if you do not approve the suggested changes.

Submitting your prayers

Deadline for submissions:

Phase two: 15 January 2016

We would prefer to receive prayers by email to: with the words ‘Submitted prayer’ in the subject field.

If posting: Please send to: The editors, The Prayer Handbook, The Communications Department, United Reformed Church House, 86 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9RT. Please keep a copy of your prayer for your records; we are unable to return prayers.

If you have any queries, please contact us by emailing email including the words ‘PHB query’ in the subject field.

The set lectionary readings for phase two submitted prayers 2017

Lent and Easter

  • 30 April: Third Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Ps 116:1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1:17-23
  • 28 May: Seventh Sunday of Easter: Acts 1:6-14; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

Pentecost and Ordinary Time

  • 4 June: Pentecost: Acts 2:1-21; Numbers 11:24-30; Ps104:24-34, 35b; 1 Cor12:3b-13; Acts 2:1-21; John 20:19-23;John 7:37-39
  • 11 June: Trinity Sunday: Ps 8; 2 Cor 13:11-13; Matt 28:16-20
  • 23 July: Seventh Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 28:10-19a; Ps139:1-12, 23-24; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
  • 30 July: Eighth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 29:15-28; Ps 105:1-11; Rom 8:26-39
  • 13 August: Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 37:1-4,12-28; Ps 105: 1-6,16-22,45b; Romans 10:5-15: Matthew 14:22-33
  • 10 September: Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 12:1-14; Ps 149; Rom 13:8-14
  • 15 October: Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 32:1-14; Ps 99:19-23; Matt 22:1-14

Advent and Christmas

  • 31 December: First Sunday after Christmas: Is 61:10-62:3; Ps 148; Gal 4:4-7, Luke 2:22-40