Three Prayers for Ukraine

Benn-(Benejou-Rabinowicz--1905-89)--Psalm-120-7_900

Psalm 120:7 “I am for peace, but when I speak they are for war” From a French publication of paintings by Benejou Rabinowicz based on the Psalms entitled Benn

PRAYER: Hear Our Cry
Holy One, we recognize the deep pain of our world, in Ukraine and so many other places.⁠ We join those who mourn the tremendous loss of life and home, those who mourn the loss of freedom. ⁠

ALL: Holy One, we trust you weep with us. ⁠Your healing, saving work continues. ⁠

Hear our cry for those running to a new home in a new place. Bless and provide for all who are welcoming the refugees, especially the children separated from their parents. ⁠

ALL: Holy One, we trust you welcome them. ⁠Your healing, saving work continues. ⁠

Hear our cry for those resisting the destruction and violence of the invasion, for those in Russia and Ukraine pushing back against evil, revealing truth from falsehood, for those trained to lay down their lives for love and justice and for civilians taking up arms to defend their beloved land.

ALL: Holy One, we trust you never abandon. Your healing, saving work continues. ⁠

Hear our cry for your work of peace to be fulfilled.⁠
No more war⁠
No more tears⁠

No more separation⁠
⁠No more tyrants

No more devastation⁠
No more death⁠

Jesus, save your beloved from overwhelm⁠ and occupation
Strengthen faith, hope, and compassion
We trust the triumph of your goodness and grace.⁠
For you are the Resurrection and the Life. ⁠
Amen. ⁠

PRAYER: Choices
Holy One,
Your word provides examples
Examples to follow and examples to avoid

You do not sugarcoat life
You reveal the destructive consequences
of vain, self-serving lives
You reveal the vicious injustice
of fear-full, pride-full, impulsive choices

We see this right now in Ukraine
and far too many other places in our world

We call on your mercy and healing
for faith-full living
Grant us and all people
compassionate, courageous, teachable spirits,
so we may choose your way and life
no matter the cost

In Jesus’ name we trust and pray
Amen

PRAYER: Calm Our Hearts
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 hearts in Russia and Ukraine
soften and open hearts
encourage and strengthen hearts
turn hearts to goodness and life

Calm hearts
So they may beat in unison with yours
So healing may flow into all brokenness
So hope may fill all devastation
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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Three Prayers for Ukraine © 2022 You are welcome to use the original portions of this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Strong, Fierce Love – a St. Valentine’s Day reflection and prayer based on Song of Solomon 8.5-7

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Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning upon her beloved?

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
leads us out of the dry, barren places
bears weight, we can lean on it

Under the apple tree, I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you;
there she who bore you was in labor.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
opens, quickens
is more intimate than our first breath

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
makes a lasting impression
a tattoo of everlasting grace

for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
comes for us all
an unrelenting longing for our good

Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
is unchanging
unquenchable
unstoppable

If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
is precious
priceless

Will you accept the gift of God’s love?

Rabbi Jesus
Promised Messiah
Son of the One, True, Living God
Fill me with your Spirit
Make me your love

It is your command
It is your way
It is your gift
It is You and your work

Yes, make me your witness
And yes, make me your will
But first and always, make me your love

Pause in silence to receive

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Strong, Fierce Love © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

The Visitation- Christmas Reflections for Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1)

old and young hands

Based on The Visitation, Luke 1:39-56

There They Stand
Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
– Luke 1:40

There they stand
breathless
belly to belly
the maid and the elder cousin
full of grace and truth

John leaps for joy
Covered in the flesh of Elizabeth
Unborn, yet already at work
In the wilderness of her womb
He will not wait to make the Way known

Elizabeth extends her arthritic hands
One wrapping Mary in welcome
The other in blessing
Encompassing the inexperienced traveler
in affirmation of faith

Worship overwhelms worry
In the sanctuary of her solace
Mary is safe enough to sing

As You Have Said
Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said… The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” – Luke 1:38, 49

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

Our Steadfast Savior
Mindful of our frailty
Looks on our lowliness
and responds with greatness
Great grace and Greater grace
for us and for all

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of Your glory
It is as you have said

Your mercy extends
Floods and Flows
Through time and place
Through need and pain
Body and Soul to
Soul to Soul to Soul to…

You show true strength
Bringing down those who bow the knee to no one
Scattering those who set up their own kingdoms
be it castle or corporation
Revealing it to be ashes
and emptiness

You show true strength
Lifting up those bowed low
Face in the dirt
Bearing the weight of excess and greed
Buried beneath crushing injustice

You show true strength
Raising up
Filling up
Faithful, Covenant Keeper
Remembering and
Re-membering

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

It is and will be
as You have said
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord

Believe by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment
of what was spoken to her by God. —Luke 1.45

This time of year we’re told to “believe.”
But what does that mean?
Judging from the movies to believe
means to believe in magic, or Santa, or romance,
to be optimistically wishful and naïve.
In many Christian circles to believe means
to think, as in believing certain doctrines are true.
But the word “believe” comes from old English,
rooted in German, belieben—to love.
In scripture to believe means to give your heart:
to lovingly entrust yourself, not to an idea but to a person.

Blessed is she who trusts God, and the power of love.
Blessed is she who trusts
that God’s promise will be fulfilled in her.
Blessed is she who trusts
that her love is more powerful than empires.
Blessed is she who entrusts herself
to the One who births her,
and who is in her, and whom she births.
Blessed is she who trusts her worthiness,
that her calling is sure and her gift is needed
and her voice carries weight.
Blessed is she who gives herself over
to the divine work of bearing love into the world.

Blessed are you,
and blessed is the fruit of the womb of your heart.

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There They Stand © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
As You Have Said © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Making Room, A Christmas Prayer Poem based on Luke 2.1-7

change sheets
Reading: Luke 2:1-7

She gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
– Luke 2:7

Prayer: Making Room
No room in the inn
I can understand this
There’s only so much space
And it’s already taken
It’s simple
Factual

But your blessed Word says more
No room for them in the inn

Them
Joseph and Mary are them
Unlike me and mine
Suspicious strangers
With complicated needs

I can’t bring them in
No time
No room

I won’t bring them in
Give them access to all I have
All I’ve worked for
All I love

It isn’t wise
It isn’t safe

The stable is for them
Stay there
Over there
that hidden place
that place in the back
that place for animals
away from where I live
not here with me and mine

But
I want Jesus
and
Jesus is them

There’s no room for him
if there’s no room for them

That’s who Jesus is
That’s what Jesus does
He makes room

Born in a stable
making room
for the humble and the homeless

King of kings
making room
for the rich and the royal

An outsider
making room
for those who’ve been
turned away
left out
rejected

An insider
making room
for the distinguished and established

A laborer
making room

A wise teacher
making room

A refugee
making room

making room
making room
always making room

That’s who you are Jesus
That’s what you do
You make room

You’ve even made room for me

Now make room in me
Open me
Awaken me
Release me
To do what you do
To make room

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Prayer: Making Room  © 2014, updated 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Like our sister Mary, an Affirmation of Faith for Advent and Christmas

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Like our sister Mary, we say yes

Yes to your favor
Your presence
Your blessing

Yes that we are enough just as we are
Where we are

Yes to your calling
and the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon us to fulfill it

Yes to bearing and birthing
Your Word and your Promises and your Kingdom
in this time and place

Yes to all things being possible with you

Like our sister Mary we say
Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant
As you have said, let it be done to me
in me
through me

Like our sister Mary we sing and celebrate you
Our God, Our Liberator
For though we are your humble servants
You have noticed us

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This affirmation is offered for all, but especially for those who lead God’s people during the holy-days of Christmas. It can be an weary and stressful time. It’s easy to miss the wonder and grace of God’s intimate presence with so much responsibility. The stakes feel sky high. Breathe, trust, receive brothers and sisters. The promises are for you as well.

We use this as our Affirmation of Faith during Advent by adding the following
ONE:
God is calling, inviting. Christians, what is your answer?
ALL:
Like our sister Mary, we say yes…

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas! – Lisa <><

Like our Sister Mary © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information/permission to publish this work in any form.

Based on Luke 1:26-48, The Voice translation