You Cannot Love Me More, a prayer affirming God’s unconditional love

An Undivided Heart by Gillian Ross

You cannot love me more
You will not love me less
You love me fully
Now and always

Help me accept the gift of your love
Help me trust it
Help me accept it fully

There’s no need to earn your love
No need for anxious striving
No fear of misstep or failure

You release me from falsehood
You free me from shame
You make me alive with promise

You cannot love me more
You will not love me less
You love me fully
Now and always

Hallelujah!

You Cannot Love Me More © 2023 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.

Jesus, You are Speaking – a prayer inspired by Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1:1-2
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.

Jesus, Word of God
You are speaking
Help us listen

You speak words of deliverance
Words of life

Wisdom and Truth
Healing and Hope

Invitations to rest and
Invitations to action

Jesus, Word of God
You are speaking
Help us listen and follow

**********************

Jesus, You are Speaking © 2023 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com
Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12) is read on — Christmas — Nativity of the Lord – All Years
Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12 is read on Year B — Season after Pentecost — Proper 22 (27)

Prayers Inspired by 1 John

Inspired by 1 John 1:7
If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Hallelujah!
Blessing and honor to God, the Beautiful and Holy One!
You are helping us walk together
Helping us walk together in fellowship and light

Hallelujah! You are
Drawing us together in the journey of faith
Cleansing us
Redeeming us
Fulfilling your goodness and hope through us
Making us light as you are light

Hallelujah!
Blessing and honor to God
Blessing and honor to the Beautiful and Holy One!

Inspired by 1 John 2:6
Whoever says, “I abide in him” ought to walk in the same way as he walked.

Welcoming One,
You abide in me, I abide in you
a mystery, a grace, a belonging
May this belonging bear fruit
May this belonging be seen by all
An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace

Make me a sign,
written in your hand, written on your palm

Make me a sign
Aglow in the shadows, lighting the way to you
Lighting the way home to you

Inspired by 1 John 3:14b
Whoever does not love abides in death

Love one another, as Christ commanded
As Christ demonstrated through deed and truth
As Christ made possible through death and resurrection
As Christ sustains through the gift of Holy Spirit

Love is life, choose life over death
Love is truth, choose truth over death
Love is righteousness, right relationship with one and all
Creator and creation, Sovereign and self
Choose righteousness over death

We love in word and speech, deed and truth
We love and abide
We love and live

Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ
Glory to you, the Way, the Truth, the Life
Glory to you, the Resurrection and the Life
Love and Life are made possible through you

Inspired by 1 John 4:16a
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

You love me
You love first
You are Love

You make it possible for me to love and be loved
For me to be born of your love, born again
For me to abide in you, and you in me
For me to abide in your love

Perfectionism is twisted and harmful
It’s not about being perfect for you
Your love for me is already perfect
It’s about you perfecting your love in me
Your love through me

You’re perfecting your love and perfecting my trust of your love
My trust of you, Love
Help me trust you
Help me accept the gift of you and your love

Inspired by 1 John 5:7-8
There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree.

Testify, Brother Water
You who witness
creation from chaos
freedom of slaves
the bearing and birthing of Word Made Flesh

Testify, Sister Blood
You who witness
death pass over
genocide and sacrifice
the bearing and birthing of resurrection and life

Testify, Holy Spirit
You who witness
the way in the wilderness
the fire of Pentecost
the bearing and birthing of courage and call

May your truth and our truth speak the same story
of God’s grace, power, and transforming love

*********************************

Reading through 1 John is part of the 2023 Bible Reading Plan for the New Year. Consider this your invitation to join us. Click here for more information and the plan. 

Prayers Inspired by 1 John © 2023 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.

Listen and Act, a prayer for the new year based on Matthew 2.13-23

Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Luc Olivier Merson
Rest on the Flight to Egypt by Luc Olivier Merson

ONE:
Joseph is silent
He listens and acts

ALL:
Lord, help us listen
Still the noise around us and in us
Still the urgency and anxiety
Still the destruction and falsehood

Lord, help us listen
Break through with your still, small voice
with your calm and clarity
with your leading and light

You reveal the needed next steps
You provide all we need to make the journey

Lord, help us listen and help us act
Amen

****
This prayer is based on Matthew 2:13-23, the Holy Family’s escape to Egypt and return.

Listen and Act © 2023 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.

Recognizing the Longest Night at Home, aka Blue Christmas

blue-nativity

A Blue Christmas Service is offered especially for those hurting during the holidays. It’s often offered on December 21st, the longest night of the year. 

You may not have such a service in your area or are able to get to a service due to weather, health, or some other circumstance. It’s my hope this resource will be helpful to you.

There are many reasons you may need a remembrance like this at this time of year. Maybe you’re mourning the death of a loved one. Maybe you’re far from home. Maybe you or someone you love is suffering from illness, addiction, or estrangement. Maybe you’re lonely, struggling financially, or in conflict with someone. Maybe you’re recovering from a storm or other natural disaster. Maybe you’re hurting because of the great pain, need, and violence in our nation and world.

This is a moment, a safe space, to acknowledge the truth of what we’re feeling and going through. Here we don’t have to be strong. 

This is a moment, to pause in the midst of suffering to remember God is good. God is strong. God is near. We are not alone and we have every reason to hold on to hope.

Set-Up
A quiet place by yourself or with others
Play some soft, instrumental music in the background 
A candle to light 
Optional: Tissues, Journal/Paper, and Pen

Opening Prayer
Merciful God,
In this season of rejoicing, we come to you weary and grieving
In this season of feasting, we hunger for healing and relief
In this season of light, our hearts are veiled in sorrow and shadow
Will this season ever end?

“Yes.” We hear your, “Yes.”
Those who are weary will find rest
Those who mourn will be comforted
Those who hunger will be filled
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness will not overcome it.

Lighting the Christ Candle
Strike a match and light the white candle

We welcome you O Christ, Light of the World. In the midst of our suffering, help us to worship you in spirit and in truth.

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-5, The Voice Translation
On this humbled ground,
a tiny shoot, hopeful and promising, will sprout from Jesse’s stump
a branch will emerge from his roots to bear fruit.
And on this child from David’s line, the Spirit of the Eternal One will alight and rest.
By the Spirit of wisdom and discernment, He will shine like the dew.
By the Spirit of counsel and strength, He will judge fairly and act courageously.
By the Spirit of knowledge and reverence of the Eternal One,
He will take pleasure in honoring the Eternal.
He will determine fairness and equity;
He will consider more than what meets the eye,
And weigh in more than what he’s told.
So that even those who can’t afford a good defense
will nevertheless get a fair and equitable judgment.
With just a word, He will end wickedness and abolish oppression.
With nothing more than the breath of His mouth, He will destroy evil.
He will clothe himself with righteousness and truth
The impulse to right wrongs will be in his blood.

Pause to reflect on the scripture reading. Journal or doodle if you like.

Prayer: In the Light of God’s Love
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of truth.
There is no need to hide or deny. God welcomes us as we are.

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. ~Psalm 86:1

Pause to reflect, journal, or doodle.

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of lament.
We recognize our wounds and cry out to God.
We accept God’s invitation to express every feeling and question.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. ~ Psalm 22:1-2

Offer your lament to God silently, out loud, or in your journal. Be honest and specific.

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of courage.
Courage to be honest, to seek help, to comfort one another.
Courage to dare to love and dream again.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song, I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

Continue to pray silently, out loud, or in your journal. 

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of hope.
God is good. God is strong. God is near,
leading us to a day without tears and pain, without sin and death.
Healing and deliverance are coming; if not now, then on that day.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. ~Psalm 65:5

Jesus, you are full of compassion, you understand our pain. Our suffering changes our experience of you and the celebration of your birth. We are caught between remembering happier times and grieving what might have been. In our loss, we feel cut off- disconnected, adrift, alone.

Root us in your steadfast love. Anchor us in your faithful promises.
Hold us, and all who weep this holy season throughout the world.
offer prayers for the world

Prayer: For Grace to Bear Suffering
I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
With Dignity
Humility
Forgiveness

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
With Compassion
Truth
Enduring

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
Knowing my sufferings are not like his
and not like others
yet shared with the universal longings of all humanity
Real and Painful and Deep
No need for comparison
Only companionship

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
As Christ bore his for all
All I will ever suffer
All we all will ever suffer
Will be made known
Will be made whole
Through his love and self-giving

In this, I believe
and trust
and follow
and hope
In this, I am made new
Thanks be to God!
Hallelujah!
Amen!

***********

Recognizing the Longest Night at Home © 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.