Prayer: In the Midst of the Storm

Typhoon in Hong Kong via Wikimedia Commons.

Typhoon in Hong Kong via Wikimedia Commons.

The story of Jesus calming the storm:
Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:22-25

Prayer: In the Midst of the Storm
ONE:
Jesus, we see You calming storms
Storm tossed seas and stormy lives
Extend Your power and grace again,
Upon us and our fear-filled world

Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits
overwhelmed by the crashing waves of circumstance

ALL:
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

ONE:
Speak peace and protection over minds and hearts
adrift in confusion or drowning in fear

ALL:
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

ONE:
Speak peace and hope over people, families and communities
swamped by loss after loss

ALL:
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

ONE:
You are the Prince of Peace.
You are the Resurrection and the Life.
You are strong to save.
Our hope and trust are in You

The congregation is invited to offer prayers of intercession, silently or aloud

ONE:
When the waves rise high above our ability to see your face…

ALL:
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

ONE:
When the howling wind and the pouring rain drown out the sound of your voice…

ALL:
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

ONE:
When the thunder and the lightning distract us from Your presence
amidst the roaring ocean…

ALL:
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me
Amen

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Prayer: In the Midst of the Storm © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia and Nicole Sallee. You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: Boats and Storms

St Martin's Church Ceiling, Birmingham, UK. Photo by Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons

St Martin’s Church Ceiling, Birmingham, UK. Photo by Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons

This prayer is especially appropriate to accompany scriptures with boats and storms, including the story of Noah and the Ark (Genesis 6-9) and the story of Jesus calming the storm (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:22-25)

If you worship in a space where the roof is designed to look like the underside of a boat, consider adding the following introduction before the prayer. You could also show a picture of such a worship space.

Optional Introduction: Invite congregation to look at the ceiling or picture of ceiling.
In many churches, the ceiling of the sanctuary is designed to resemble the underside of a boat or ship. In the Old Testament, that ship of safety and salvation would be Noah’s Ark. In the early days of Christianity, believers often had to hide when meeting together for worship, fellowship or study due to persecution. Some believe they may have taken refuge inside over-turned fishing boats on the shore line. Later, as church buildings were built, the ceilings continued to resemble the bottom of a ship. Over time, this took on deeper meanings reminding us that God’s house is to be a place of safety and shelter, that Jesus is always near in the storms of life, and that Jesus is strong to save.

ONE:
Lord God Almighty, who is like You?
You who rule over the surging sea
When its waves mount up, You still them (Psalm 89:8-9)

ALL:
We worship You
We adore You
We rest in You
We call on Your Holy Name

ONE:
Meet us again with Your saving power
Have mercy on us

The congregation is invited to offer prayers of confession or intercession,
silently or aloud

ONE:
Open Your Word to us today,
That we may love You and trust You more and more
Fill us with Your Holy Spirit,
Fill us with Your strength and encouragement

ALL:
Let Your church be a vessel of healing and wholeness for all
Let Your people be a vessel of compassion and comfort for all
That we with one voice may share Your story of forgiveness and new life
That we with once voice may share Your story with power and faith and grace
That we with one voice may give glory and praise to You alone

ONE:
We ask this in the name of Jesus,
Who makes all things possible by His death and resurrection,
And who taught us to pray…

Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer

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Prayer: Boats and Storms © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

#LukeActs2014: Woe, Woe, Whoa (Luke 11:37-54)

repentance4Read Luke 11:37-53 NRSV

When Jesus wondered out loud if he would find faith on the earth when he returned (Luke 18:8), I thought he meant that evil would increase to such an extent that it would extinguish faith. And that may well be. But lately, I have added another thought to my mind about his words. I wonder if he might have meant that faith would be so misrepresented by those of us who allege to have it, people would not touch it with a ten-foot pole. But whatever Jesus meant, we can never abide the notion that faith may diminish as time goes by. And to whatever extent we contribute to this through our contaminated witness, all we can say is, “Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!”
– Steve Harper, Contaminated Witness

A wise person once advised me, when you come across scriptures where Jesus is instructing or correcting the Scribes and the Pharisees, stop, listen, and allow the Holy Spirit to examine your own heart. We are often more like them than we want to admit. They were the “churched people” of their day. They too took their faith seriously, worshiped deeply, prayed and read the scriptures searching for God, answered a call and studied hard to prepare themselves for leading God’s people, bore the responsibility and sacrifice of leadership.

Reflection and meditation on these texts keep us humble and soft in God’s hands. We need God’s grace and leading to avoid falling into the same enslaving practices.

In this light, let us reflect on Jesus’ warnings from Luke 11, often referred to as “the woes.”

Opening Prayer: Psalm 51:10-13 NRSV
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Verse 42: Woe to you … for you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God
God reveal in me where have I focused on rules and details above you. Free me from the need to control myself, others, and access to your love and grace.

Verse 43: Woe to you … for you love to have the seat of honor … and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces
God reveal where my pride, ego and need for attention have become false idols. Forgive me and heal me of the judgmental attitudes which separate me from you and from others.

Verse 44: Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it
God reveal every hidden thing I think and do which hurts others. Reveal my hypocrisy. Reveal where my attitudes and actions bringing contamination rather than community. Lord, have mercy upon me and raise me to new life in you.

Verse 46: Woe also to you … for you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them.
God reveal how my actions and expectations are burdening others unnecessarily. Forgive me for placing myself above others and beyond accountability. Humble me and grow in me a love and solidarity with all people.

Verse 47: Woe to you! For you … are witnesses and approve of the deeds of your ancestors
God how am I perpetuating the prejudices and injustices of previous generations? Help me to join you in breaking this cycle.

Verse 52: Woe to you… for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.
God how am I making you and your ways confusing? Grant me a hunger for your truth and help my words to match my actions so others find you easily.

Closing Prayer: Psalm 51:10-13 NRSV
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

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Woe, Woe, Whoa © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

Reading for the week of March 16: Luke 11
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Reader’s Theater: Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Ludolf Backhuysen. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Ludolf Backhuysen. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Reader’s Theater: Jesus Calms the Storm
Based on Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)
Parts: NARRATOR, JESUS, ALL (congregation as the disciples)

Feel free to adapt the script to Matthew or Luke’s version of the story. Also, feel free to add sound effects for the storm, either recorded or a portion of the congregation live as another role in the storytelling.

NARRATOR
Jesus had been teaching and healing all day in Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee.
When evening came, Jesus said to his disciples,

JESUS
Let us go over to the other side

NARRATOR
Leaving the crowd behind, the disciples took Jesus along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.

A furious squall came up,
and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.
The disciples woke him and said to him,

ALL
Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?

NARRATOR
Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves

JESUS
Quiet! Be still!

NARRATOR
Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

JESUS
Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?

NARRATOR
They were terrified and asked each other,

ALL
Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!

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Looking for more on this scripture passage? Click here for a wonderful excerpt of the book Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life by Michelle Cushatt.

Adapted from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Reader’s Theater: Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41) © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: Bring a Saving Work

Window from Kirche Enge in Zurich Switzerland. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Window from Kirche Enge in Zurich Switzerland. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Merciful God, bring
a peace that passes understanding
a unity beyond any human creating
a love that dispels all hate and fear
a hope centered in your resurrection
a persevering rooted in your promise of new life
a humility that breaks down dividing walls
a strength that binds up the brokenhearted

Bring a saving work, Holy One
a healing and wholeness
that goes far beyond all we can ask or imagine

All for your glory
All for your glory
All for your glory
Amen

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Need more prayers? Click here for Steve Garnaas Holmes honest and hopeful Psalm for the Brokenhearted. 

Prayer: Bring a Saving Work © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

Click Here for more information on today’s photo from Wikimedia Commons

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

#LukeActs2014: Luke 11

LukeActs logo week 11Reading for the week of March 16: Luke 11
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

Consider reading the chapter in several translations and choosing a few verses to memorize. This week I chose:
Luke 11:13 NRSV
Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Luke 11:17b NRSV
Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house.”

Luke 11:28 NRSV, adapted
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

Luke 11:34-35 The Message
Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky.

Main events of this chapter (with links to previous posts):
Jesus on Prayer
Luke 11:1-13 (Matthew 6:9-13, 7:7-11)
Quotes: What is Prayer?
Quotes: Be the Change (Your Kingdom Come)
Devotion: Thy Will Be Done
Sermon: Love One Another, Receiving Gifts

Jesus on Beelzebub and Demons
Luke 11:14-26 (Matthew 12:22, 24-29, 43-45; Mark 3:23-27)
Quotes: A few thoughts on Demons
Quotes: Good and Evil

The Sign of Jonah
Luke 11:27-32 (Matthew 12:39-42)

Be Full of Light
Luke 11:33-36 (Matthew 6:22-23)
Quotes: Reflecting God’s Light

Beware Being Religious: The Six Woes
Luke 11:37-54
Sermon: Look Like the One You Love

Worship Resource: Lord of My Heart

eye heartWorship Resource: Lord of My Heart
ALL SINGING: Be Thou My Vision
United Methodist Hymnal #451, verses 1 and 2

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word,
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
Great God of Heaven my treasure Thou art

Instrumental music continues during the prayers.

ONE or ALL: Adapted from a traditional Celtic prayer
Lord of my heart, give vision to inspire me,
that working or resting, I may always think of you.
Lord of my heart, give light to guide me,
that, at home or abroad, I may always walk in your way.
Lord of my heart, give wisdom to direct me,
that thinking or acting, I may always discern right from wrong.

ALL:
Heart of my own heart, whatever may befall me,
Rule my thoughts and feelings, my words and actions.

ONE or ALL: Adapted from a traditional Celtic prayer
Lord of my heart, save me from worldly wealth,
that I may always look to the riches of heaven.
Lord of my heart, save me from military prowess,
that I may always seek your protection.
Lord of my heart, save me from unnatural pleasures,
that I may always find you in your wonderful creation.

ALL:
Heart of my own heart, whatever may befall me,
Rule my thoughts and feelings, my words and action.

ONE or ALL: Adapted from a traditional Celtic prayer
Lord of my heart, give courage to strengthen me,
that amongst friends or enemies, I may always proclaim your justice.
Lord of my heart, give trust to console me,
that, hungry or well-fed, I may always rely on your mercy.
Lord of my heart, save me from empty praise,
that I may always boast of you.

ALL: Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory forever. Amen

ALL SINGING: Be Thou My Vision
United Methodist Hymnal #451, verse 3

Great God of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Son
Heart of my own heart, whatever be fall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of All

Option: Begin the worship sequence with the following Confession and Pardon
ALL: Confession and Pardon
United Methodist Hymnal, page 8

Merciful God,
We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
We have broken your law,
We have rebelled against your love,
We have not loved our neighbors,
and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Time of silent confession

ONE:
Hear the good news:
Christ died for us while we were yet sinners;
that proves God’s love toward us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
Glory to God! Amen.

Click Here for a wonderful prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled The Heart of Christ
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Lord of My Heart compilation © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the music, scripture translation, art and the use of this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.