Harvest Prayers by Erik Cramb
Harvest Festival this year will be hard for many that have been adversely affected by Foot and
Mouth Disease. The last few months of loosing livestock, cleaning up and coping with the lack
of income has been hard enough, it may well be that the Autumn will bring about a slough of
depression for many as they wake to the enormity of their loss. Not only has Foot and Mouth
affected farmers, there are other rural businesses and individuals who have suffered greatly too.
It might be a good thing for us to observe a minute's silence or toll a bell in remembrance of the
businesses and livelihoods that have been ruined as well as the 3.5 million animals that have so
far perished. For those in rural congregations it might be good and imaginative to hallow the
process of restocking by saying prayers over new herds of livestock and to bless in prayer those
places where livestock were slaughtered before their use again.
Our celebration of Harvest needs to be tempered this year with sensitivity to the fact that we
have witnessed a calamity of a magnitude rarely seen in the developed world, yet flood, famine
and pestilence of many kinds is the lot of many in the poorer parts of our world.
A Harvest Prayer of Approach, confession and supplication
(Worship leaders should feel free to amend, adapt or copy this material in any way they see fit, if
they judge that it might be helpful).
Almighty God, the Provider Supreme, everything is in your hands,
We walk and love, feel and imagine, produce and experiment
Because within your gracious love, you give us this freedom.
We rejoice for the created order, that you saw was good
And for our privileged role as stewards of the world you love.
Help us to remember that we are a part of the complex
Web of creation and not separate from it.
We ask you to give us the gift of your Spirit today,
So that through our thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth,
We might see anew the glory of your provision
And the wonder of renewing life that mirrors
The resurrection of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Compassionate God we bring before you now
The remembrance and shame of our defiant and heedless ways.
There are things about our individual lives and the life of our world
That mock your creative goodness and scar our world.
We confess the greed that tarnishes the earth you make fruitful
And our indifference to your demand for fair-trading.
We admit our often lazy preference for convenience food,
That takes no account of the welfare of animals,
Or the people who labour in harsh conditions to supply our demands.
As we reflect on the fact that we live in a world of plenty where many go without,
We remember that you have provided sufficient for our need, but not for our greed.
So, we confess before you in silence.
As we hear the Lord Jesus declare, your sins are forgiven, I give you my peace, may we trust that
you are making all things new, may we learn that our prosperity is assured not by possessions or
power, but by healthy food and just relationships.
As you have shown us, O Christ, human community achieves its fullest expression in the sharing
of Bread. So, help us to reflect on our priorities and habits and find ways to become more
responsible and thoughtful co-workers with you, in the garden of your creation, through Jesus
Christ our Lord.
A Harvest Prayer of Thanksgiving, Intercession and Hope
Almighty God our thanksgiving for the Harvest this year is tempered by the knowledge that this
has been a year of calamity in our countryside.
We give thanks for the rich provision we see on supermarket shelves overflowing with produce
from around the world. But we ask ourselves, at what cost, to land, livestock and those who
We give thanks for the promise in which you are constant, that while the earth remains, seedtime
and harvest, shall not cease. Yet we know that the things we do can blight the land and threaten
We give thanks for the diversity and companionship of birds, animals and plants. But we know
that animal welfare is sometimes compromised in our demand for cheap food and the diversity of
plants is threatened by overgrazing and mono-culture.
We give thanks for the labours of farmers, vets, food processors and shop staff. Yet we know
that all of these, here and around the world, are at the mercy of market forces, and many loose
their livelihood by the day.
As we give thanks for all that is fruitful in your creation and all who bring the Harvest of sea and
land to our tables, we are conscious of so much that we get wrong. So we give thanks too for the
renewing strength of your grace and the opportunities that we have to be transformed in the light
of your Gospel, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bless all whose work it is to provide for the needs of others by harvesting the fruits of sea and
land; may they be strengthened in that which is beneficial to the creation and know their work as
Bless all who govern us, implement agricultural and environmental policy and those who
adventure in science and technology; may they all be guided by your wisdom and put their
talents at your disposal.
Bless all who work for greater sensitivity towards livestock, greater responsibility towards the
environment on which we depend and a more equitable sharing of the world's resources amongst
the rich and the poor, may they know that they are amongst the blessed on the earth.
Bring town and countryside closer, O Lord. Help us to recover a feel for the land, to value the
importance of food and the sharing of it in our in our lives. Help us to recognise the
interdependence of all of life and the importance of just relations and responsible stewardship of
all you continue to give us, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Harvest Collect;
Holy God, creator, sustainer and renewer of life,
Grant that, secure in your goodness in the past,
and rejoicing that you meet our needs in the present,
we may work and pray for the coming of your future
Kingdom, which is peace and prosperity, justice and joy;
through Jesus Christ, who lived and died and was raised to life that all may share.