Peace, Be Still: Five Prayers Based on Mark 4:35-41

“Calming the Storm” by Jim Janknegt. Used with permission.

Mark 4:35-41 NRSV
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Prayer by Junius Dotson, The Africana Worship Book, Year B
You who are weary
Sleepless
Tired
Depressed
Discouraged

Do not be afraid!

You who are fed up
Hopeless
Visionless
Fearful
Tearful

Do not be afraid!

God is present in your suffering.
God will calm the winds and waves of your soul!

Prayer by Patricia Wilson, Quiet Spaces
Ever-present God, thank you for being here with me right now.
In the chaos of my life, I often forget that you are always with me,
always seeking to bring me peace. …

I feel overwhelmed, as if the world around me
is a heaving, crashing sea;
and I am adrift in a small boat,
unable to keep the waves from closing over me.

Only you can bring order out of this chaos.
Say the word, All-Powerful God,
and I know that the seas will be calmed,
and I will be safe.

Even as I say these words,
I can hear how foolish they are.

You, the God of my life, are also the God of order.

Bring order to my life, and in doing so,
take care of all those concerns that rise up
around me like storm waves.
Calm the seas of my busyness;
still the waters of my “doingness.”
Let me drift on the gentle swells of your love and care.

Prayer by Mark Dugger, devozine, November/December 2012
Peace. Be still. And the winds obeyed.
Be now as the winds.
You are my child.
I knew you long before you were knit in your mother’s womb.

Peace. Be still. My breath brings form to dust.
You were created a little lower than the angels,
created in my image.
You are my child. Peace. Be still.

Be as these winds, exhaled.
Wait on me, and I will give you rest.
The ninety-nine I would leave to find you.
The fall of a sparrow catches flight in my loving eye.

With my words, the worlds were.
My voice is small, still.
The waters know the sound of my voice and are stilled.
Wait on me, be renewed, and rise.

Calm the Storm in Me by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
The words in regular print are spoken by one voice.
The words in bold print are spoken by all.

When the waves rise high above our ability to see your face…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

When the howling wind and the pouring rain drown out the sound of your voice…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

When the thunder and the lightning distract us from Your presence in every circumstance…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
calm the storm in me

A Prayer for Storm Survivors by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
The words in regular print are spoken by one voice.
The words in bold print are spoken by all.

Jesus, we see you calming storms-
storm tossed seas and stormy lives.
Extend your power and grace again,
especially upon these most recent storm victims.
Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits broken by the chaos.
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

Speak peace and hope over families and communities devastated by sudden loss.
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

Speak peace and unity over diverse groups of people
so they would come together for greater provision,
just distribution, and effective rebuilding.
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

Speak peace and protection over rescue workers
as they reach out to those who are suffering.
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

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. Amen.

************
Click Here for Prayer: In the Midst of the Storm, a longer prayer sequence using elements of A Prayer for Storm Survivors and Calm the Storm in Me plus optional sung responses.

For more wonderful, moving work by today’s featured artist, James B. Janknegt, click here. Please consider patronage of him and other artists.

For a reader’s theatre version Mark 4:35-41, click here

A Prayer for Storm Survivors © 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Calm the Storm in Me © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use these works in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish these works in any form.

Prayer: Prince of Peace, Hear our Cry

Pāhoehoe lava meets Pacific. Photo by Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

Pāhoehoe lava meets Pacific. Photo by Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

A pastor friend wrote me asking for prayer. Her congregation is experiencing a season of tremendous change and loss due to circumstances far beyond their control. My imagination turned to swirling storms: the hurricanes we experience here in Florida, the shadowy swirl of chaos in the Creation story (Genesis 1:1-2), the overwhelming storms the disciples experienced on the Sea of Galilee. (Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25; Matthew 8:23-27)

Then I found this powerful picture of lava meeting the water by Brocken Inaglory. How does anything survive the crushing collision of boiling rock and endless waves of stinging, salty ocean? You cling to the hope of things made new. – Lisa <><

Prince of Peace, hear our cry
The winds of change are howling
Hurling us to and fro
We can’t get our footing
We can’t get our bearings
We’re drowning in loss

Prince of Peace, hear our cry
Pull us up for air
Hold us together
Anchor us in grace

Reveal what is real

For You are the Blessed Word
Creating new life from chaos
You are the Morning Star
Lighting a way bright with hope
You are the Prince of Peace
You hear our cry

*********
Prince of Peace, Hear Our Cry © 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.

Poem: In My Beginning

The Spirit Hovering by Nicora Gangi

The Spirit Hovering by Nicora Gangi

In my beginning
Formless
Chaotic
Swirling nothingness
Murky, inky emptiness

You are there

Your Spirit moves in the silence
Expectant
Brooding

You breathe
You speak

Light begins
Life begins

*************
I was overwhelmed recently by memories of life before knowing God. It reminded me of the chaos and emptiness of Genesis 1:1-3. Thankful those days are no more and that God offers light and life to all, even me. – Lisa <><

For more information on today’s featured artist, Nicora Gangi, and her comments on her work click here. Please consider patronizing her work and the work of other artists at Spark and Echo Arts.

In My Beginning © 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.

Blessing: New Life Out of Chaos

Deep Breath by Melanie Weidner

Deep Breath by Melanie Weidner

Transforming Our Pain by Richard Rohr
All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. Great religion shows you what to do with the absurd, the tragic, the nonsensical, the unjust. If only we could see these “wounds” as the way through, as Jesus did, then they would become “sacred wounds” and not something to deny, disguise, or export to others.

If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become negative or bitter. Indeed, there are bitter people everywhere. As they go through life, the hurts, disappointments, betrayals, abandonments, the burden of their own sinfulness and brokenness all pile up, and they do not know where to put it. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.

Exporting our unresolved hurt is almost the underlying storyline of human history. Biblical revelation is about transforming history and individuals, so that we don’t just keep handing the pain on to the next generation. Unless we can find a meaning for human suffering, that God is somehow in it, and can even use it for good, humanity is in major trouble.

Genesis 1:1-3 NRSV
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Isaiah 45:17-18 NIV
Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am the Lord, and there is no other.

May the God of the heavens
and of the earth
enter into the place within you
that holds the keenest chaos,
the deepest mystery,
the most intense darkness

and there
may the God of
sun and moon
stars and seasons
breathe the words
that will bring forth
a new world.
-Jan L. Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women

*********
It is with great joy that I recommend the art, writing, and speaking ministry of Jan Richardson. It’s a blessing to know Jan and to live near her, so I’ve sat in her circle many times as God used her to break open a new place in my heart that was in need of light and love. You’ll find the door to her many blogs and offerings here.

Photo Quote: Calm the Storm

storm clouds with quote

**********
Click here for a collection of quotes entitled Jesus, Calm the Storm
Click here for a worship resource entitled Stand by Me

Recently, I discovered PicMonkey, a free, online picture editor. It’s super easy to use and has lots of great fonts, filters and other editing goodies. Someone with limited artistic abilities (like me) can feel very accomplished very quickly. – Lisa <><

PS- The picture of the storm clouds came from here on wikimedia commons.