Prayer for Violent Times

call to prayer and action

It breaks my heart to be posting this prayer yet again in the face of another mass shooting. The school shooting in Parkland, Florida marks the 29th mass shooting in the US in 2018, in just 45 days.

Yes, we need to pray.

The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

But we must not stop there. James 2:14-17 reminds us

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.Prayer changes things and changes us. It calls us, leads us, and empowers us to join Jesus in his saving work.

It is time to pray and to act
To seek God’s wisdom and empowerment to respond
To call on God for peace
and to care for bodies before they are zipped into body bags.

This Lenten season I invite you to break from the usual custom of fasting or other form of self-denial and, instead, to fast from apathy. That means you set aside all your noncaring attitudes and move closer to the caring love of God. Even in its mildest form, apathy is a spiritual illness. The cure for apathy is also a spiritual one. … We must move from prayer to action.
– George Hovaness Donigian, A World Worth Saving

How are you responding in prayer and action? – Lisa <

Psalm 46:1 NRSV
God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble

God our Refuge, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They run to lonesome places, screaming an alarm
Calm our hearts so we can find you above the fear

God our Strength, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They race to revenge, pounding with anger
Calm our hearts so we can hear you above the hammering

God our Help, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They rush to human strength, grasping for control
Calm our hearts so we can hold to your way, your truth, and your life

Calm our hearts so they may beat in unison with yours
So healing may flow over bodies and spirits broken by the chaos
So hope may fill families and communities devastated by violence
So compassion and peace and unity may rise up among all people

God our Strength, our Refuge, our Help
We entrust our lives to you
We step forward with you in your saving work
Amen

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Prayer for Violent Times © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

The Tools You Need to Stop Procrastinating and Start Focusing on What Matters

You can bravely do the next thing, because God’s got this thing. Perfect Love terminates The Perfectionist Terrorist — which eliminates the Procrastinator — which liberates you, the Presenter…. to unwrap the gift of right now, your one life. – Ann Voskamp

If you haven’t found Ann Voskamp, stop everything and run to her blog right now. There you will find a woman of deep authentic faith, a kind and generous and vulnerable soul whose writings and resources prepare the way for God to move powerfully in your life.

As we step into a new year, it’s my joy to draw your attention to three Voskamp resources which help me focus on what really matters. One I use daily and the other two I use monthly.

Her free daily planning page template is a Godsend. It’s far more than a scheduling page. It’s everything you need in one place for holistic living- meal planning, hydration reminder, exercise reminder, gratitude journal, relationship building reminder, memory verse, to do list … you get the idea. (Click here for an article on this resource from Voskamp’s blog.)

2017 this is the year voskamp (2)

My 2017 Purpose Page

I’ve been using Voskamp’s daily planning page for a couple of years now, but 2017 was the first year I used her Purpose Page and Monthly Cue Cards. (Click here for an article on these resources from Voskamp’s blog.)

Each month you’re provided a prompt to help you focus on what really matters. You can fill out the entire page at the beginning of the year and live into those intentions or fill it out month by month as the Spirit leads. Once you have your focus words, you write a prayer based on the intentions using the cue cards. Be sure to post your intentions and prayers where you can see them regularly.

I chose the month to month pattern in 2017. Looking back on this list at the end of the year, I can see God’s leading throughout the year. I can remember specific promptings from God- doors opening and others closing, the finetuning of perspective. It’s incredible how something so simple can break through the distractions and excuses.

Here’s my 2017 list. I’m seriously thinking of keeping it for 2018 as well.

  1. Embrace Ceasing: Silence, Solitude, Sabbath, Slowing
  2. Engage Injustice: Speak Up, Pray Up, Speak Out, Show Up
  3. Be Healthy: Track Meals, Drink Water, Move, Go to Meetings (I joined Weight Watchers)
  4. Believe God for the Growth: I trust You. Renew a right spirit within me.
  5. Break the Chains: Poverty, Prejudice, Jealousy, Addiction
  6. Daily Grace: Mind, Body, Soul, Heart
  7. Do the New, Hard Thing: Try, Prioritize, Courage, Focus
  8. Let Go of Fear: Not good enough. Not pretty enough.
  9. Learn to Prioritize: No Time = No Priorities
  10. Live Expectant: Faith, Hope, Trust, Eyes to See
  11. Give it Away: Simplify, Downsize, Bless, Generosity
  12. Grow the Seeds: Nurture, Shine Light, Water, Stake Up

I pray these resources are a blessing to you. Leave a comment with your favorite resources or about these resources. May the grace of a new year draw you closer to God, your true self, and the fulfillment of God’s purpose for your life. – Lisa <><

Advent and Christmas Bible Reading Plans

Live Hope, Give Hope: A Plan to Share the Goodness of Jesus at Christmas
Readings from Isaiah, Matthew, Luke, John, and Psalms
Also includes a sentence prayer and action prompts to Help, Offer, Pray, or Encourage
December 1-31, 6 days per week

Comfort and Joy: A Simple Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Readings from Matthew, Luke and Johnbible luke 2
Some of the readings are even repeated so you can go slow and go deep. Also includes a sentence prayer for each reading.
December 1-31, 5 days per week

Jesus, the Coming Messiah- Advent Bible Readings from Old Testament to New
Old and New Testament Readings
December 1-25, everyday
This reading plan highlights the Old Testament names and prophesies concerning the Messiah which Christians see fulfilled in Jesus.

The Advent Door Reading Plan
Based on Jan Richardson’s book Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas . Her book is structured in the style of a classic Advent calendar, with 25 scripture reflections, each with an original piece of art. This is a true Advent reading plan, with the first 18 readings focusing on the repentance and the 2nd coming of Christ.

Countdown to Christmas
Old and New Testament Readings
December 1-25, everyday

Prayer for Violent Times

pulse-orlando-shooting-001Psalm 46:1 NRSV
God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble

God our Refuge, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They run to lonesome places, screaming an alarm
Calm our hearts so we can find you above the fear

God our Strength, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They race to revenge, pounding with anger
Calm our hearts so we can hear you above the hammering

God our Help, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They rush to human strength, grasping for control
Calm our hearts so we can hold to your way, your truth, and your life

Calm our hearts, so they may beat in unison with yours
So healing may flow over bodies and spirits broken by the chaos
So hope may fill families and communities devastated by prejudice and violence
So compassion and peace and unity may rise up among all people

God our Strength, our Refuge, our Help
We entrust our lives to you. Amen.

**********

Prayer for Violent Times © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Soul Tending, a small group experience based on Luke 13:10-17

soul-tending

As you gather, move chairs into groups of three.

Welcome and Centering
ONE:
Welcome. Let’s center by taking a deep breath in, let it out. Breath in, and out. Let’s pray together.

ALL: An Invitation to Christ by Dimitri of Rostov
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.

Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.

Gratitude and Glory Sightings
ONE:
1 Chronicles 16:34 NRSV
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

Please stand and share with the whole group a word of gratitude or glory sighting from the last week. Did God teach you something or reveal something to you? Was a prayer answered or was God apparent in the midst of a situation? Did God give you the chance to bring peace or hope or share the Good News of Jesus?

Persons stand and share

God’s Word for Today
Adapted from Pray as You Go, a daily prayer app (Jesuit apps)

ONE: I’ll be reading the scripture three times. As you listen to the scripture the first time, place yourself in the story. Who are you and what are you feeling?

Luke 13:10-17 (NRSV) Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman
Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.”

But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?”

When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

Pause

As you listen again, what part of the scene is affecting you most? Be brave and stay with that part. Read the passage again and then pause.

Listen to the passage a third time. Discuss your experience with Jesus and listen to what he says to you. Read the passage again and then pause.

Share your experience with your group of three. When your group is ready, continue with the prayer time, spiritual goal setting time, and closing blessing.

Prayer Time
Jeremiah 29:12 NRSV
Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.

Pray blessing over each other and for each other’s needs
Pray for the needs of your community and world

Spiritual Goal Setting
Care of Soul Question – What devotional practices are you finding most helpful in strengthening your relationship with Jesus?

Fulfilling Your Call Question – What is your mission from God and how are you fulfilling it?

Set a spiritual goal for the coming week.

In your group of three, read the closing blessing together.

Closing Blessing- Psalm 5:11-12, The Voice
Let those who run to You for safety be glad they did
Let them break out in joyful song.
May You keep them safe—
their love for You resounding in their hearts.
You, O Eternal, are the One who lays all good things in the laps of the right-hearted.
Your blessings surround them like a shield.

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Soul Tending, Luke 13:10-17 compilation © 2016 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.

Sermon Recording- Follow the Yellow Brick Road (Colossians 1; 2 Corinthians 4)

finding-god-in-oz

Sermon Series – Finding God in Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a powerful allegory for so many of our foundational Christian beliefs. Walk with us as we Find God in Oz.

Message: We’re Off to See the Wizard, a Message on Perseverance  
Scriptures: Colossians 1:9-14; 2 Corinthians 4:7-11
Offered 10/23/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Sermon Notes
Wizard of Oz is a classic quest, a journey to an ultimate goal. Dorothy sets her face to Oz as a means to go home. Along the way she picks up companions – a bystander (Scarecrow), someone in obvious need (Tin Man), and someone trying to hide his need, an enemy who becomes an ally (Lion). The companions have very different strengths and needs, yet find common ground and commit to helping one another reach their destination. Along the way they encounter setbacks (the angry orchard at first appears a blessing but really isn’t), almost derailments (the poppy field, a not so subtle reminder how addictions can derail us), and evil (the witch and the wizard are equally dangerous), yet persevere. Sounds like our journey of faith

What is perseverance?
steadfastness, intentionality, tenacity
a continuing effort in a course of action/purpose/goal
movement towards a goal despite difficulty, delay, failure, or opposition

Jesus perseveres, it’s why we trust him
We persevere, it’s a gift and grace of God

What does perseverance look like for those who follow Jesus?
From Colossians 1:10
* leading lives worthy of the Lord
* desiring to fully please God
* bearing fruit in every good work
* growing in the knowledge of God

How do I persevere in faith? (Colossians 1:9-14)
1. Prayer- Unceasing prayer for myself and asking others to pray for me
* Prayers to be filled with God’s will, wisdom, and understanding
* Prayers for God’s strength, endurance, and patience

2. Giving Thanks
* naming who God is
* claiming God’s promises
* recalling God’s mercy, provision, and healing work in the past

This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it.
The process is not finished but it is going on.
This is not the end but it is the road. – Martin Luther

Prayer- Bring a Saving Work
ONE:
Jesus, Holy One, bring a saving work

ALL:
a peace that passes understanding
a strength that binds up the brokenhearted
a humility that destroys dividing walls
a love that dispels all hate and fear
a persevering rooted in your promises
a hope anchored in your resurrection

ONE:
Jesus, Holy One, bring a saving work
a healing and wholeness
far beyond all we can ask or imagine

ALL:
All for your glory
All for your glory
All for your glory
Amen!

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon and prayer © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

The Great Commandment for Prayer Beads

Anglican-Prayer-Beads

Anglican Prayer Beads (sometimes known as Protestant Prayer Beads or Christian Prayer Beads) are a relatively new form of prayer, blending the Orthodox Jesus Prayer Rope and the Roman Catholic Rosary. The thirty-three bead design was created by the Rev. Lynn Bauman in the mid-1980s, through the prayerful exploration and discovery of a contemplative prayer group.

Like other prayer bead practices, the rhythm and repetition of the prayers promote a peaceful stillness before a time of silence as we rest in God and/or a time of silence as we listen for God.

prayerbeaddiagramThere are no set prayer patterns for Anglican Prayer Beads. I took that as freedom to compile some of my own. This one is based on a prayer from the Walk to Emmaus Worship Booklet for Pilgrims. The prayer is based on Jesus’ summary of the commandments, what is often referred to as The Great Commandment. (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:30-31).

Begin with the cross and invitatory bead. Pray around the circle of cruciform beads and week beads three times in an unhurried manner then exit with the closing prayers for the invitatory bead and cross.

Cross
In the name of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Invitatory Bead
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Cruciform Beads
A different portion of the original prayer is offered on each of the four cruciform beads.
1. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we love you with all our hearts and souls and minds. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
2. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
3. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we forgive and not hold grudges. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
4. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we take up our cross and follow you. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.

The Weeks
Save us. Heal us. Strengthen us to serve.
or
Give us eyes to see. Ears to hear. Feet to follow faithfully.

Invitatory Bead
The Lord’s Prayer

Cross
Hallelujah! Bless the Lord! Thanks be to God!

Click here for more on the symbolism, use, and several other prayer patterns to use with Anglican Prayer Beads. Click here for even more prayer bead patterns or consider making one of your own like I did. (If you do, post it below!)

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The Great Commandment for Prayer Beads compilation © 2016 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.