A Parent’s Prayer

parenting-paper-dolls

Heavenly Father, Mother
You understand the heartbreaks of parenting
Silent Children
Hurting Children
Children far from home

We wonder and we worry
It’s torture not knowing
But you know
You are near to them and to us

Protect and Provide
Encourage and Empower
Bring wisdom and light
That we may love as you love
That we and they will make good choices
That we will see and hear you and each other
That we will be one as you are One
Parent, Child, the Love Between
Amen

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A Parent’s Prayer © 2016 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.

Blessing the Men: A Prayer for Father’s Day

father guardian with childLoving God, Heavenly Father
Maker of all that is seen and unseen
We adore You and bless You

Thank You for the gift of life
Thank You for adopting us as Your children and heirs in Christ Jesus our Lord
Thank You for making a home for us in Your church and in heaven forever

Thank You also for the men in our life,
for our fathers and for those who have been like fathers to us.
We are grateful for their protection and provision,
for their encouragement and wisdom,
for their correction and persevering love.
We are especially grateful for the ways they guided us into Your saving embrace.
Too often we took their love and sacrifice for granted. Forgive us.
Help us to live in such a way
that our words and actions bring honor to them and to You.

Merciful One,
For many, this day is full of joy and celebration,
but for others it is an especially painful day.
Pour out Your healing, consolation and peace
on those who are grieving the loss of their father or the loss of their child,
on families separated by distance or disagreement,
on families plagued by disappointment, abandonment, addiction or abuse.

Compassionate One,
Bring Your healing, consolation and peace
to men whose desire to be a father has not been fulfilled,
to fathers and guardians who are exhausted
as they labor to balance work and raising children,
to fathers and guardians who are overwhelmed as they struggle
to bring up children in the midst of poverty, disease or war.
The need is deep. Come quickly. Our hope is in You.

At this point in the prayer, all the boys and men in the room are invited to stand as they are able. Those who are seated are asked to place a hand of blessing upon those who are standing.

Gracious God, thank you for the every man and boy here today
and for every one we have brought with us in our hearts.
Reveal Your purpose and plan for their life.
Bless them and protect them.
Deepen their love and trust of You.
Strengthen them, empower them, and anoint them with Your Holy Spirit
that their faith, influence and achievement would bring You honor and glory.
Receive our thanks and praise again for these men and men in the making
for they are precious to us and to You.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

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© 2015 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.

Commissioning and Blessing of Newly Licensed Foster Parents

foster careCommissioning and Blessing of Newly Licensed Foster Parents
PASTOR:
Invite the family members forward and introduce them.
We rejoice that the _____________ family has been approved and licensed as a foster home. Let us bless them and pray for them as they begin this important ministry.

In God’s Word, we read: “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27 HCS)

In another place we read: “Sing to God. Sing praises to His name. … a Father to the fatherless and a champion of widows is God in His holy dwelling. God provides homes for those who are deserted….” (Psalm 68:4-6 HCS)

PASTOR TO FOSTER FAMILY:
____________________________(names), you have heard the call of God to care for the most vulnerable among us – children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves separated from families who have failed them. Will you rely on the power and grace of God to provide these precious children a haven of encouragement, safety and healing? To help them learn to trust again? To live a life that reminds them they are loved and valued, not simply by you, but by others and by their Father in Heaven?

FOSTER FAMILY: We will.

PASTOR TO CONGREGATION:
Will you support this family in their calling?

CONGREGATION IN UNISON:
We recognize and rejoice in God’s calling on your life. We commit ourselves to support you in every way possible, to pray for you and for the children in your care, and to become an extended church-family to them.

At this time, the foster parents/family may kneel or stand in the aisle among the congregation. The congregation is invited to rise, move, and lay hands of blessing and support on the foster parents/family. Anointing with oil is optional.

PASTOR:
Let us pray:

CONGREGATION (OR PASTOR):
God of Grace, we praise you and thank you that you do not leave us orphaned, but welcome all into your family. Shower your blessings upon ____________________(names) as they prepare to receive foster children into their homes and hearts. Prepare and equip them to love these children with Christ-like love. Give them patience to deal with the challenges that are to come. Grant them wisdom to guide and direct the young lives in their charge. When the time comes for the children to move on, fill all involved with peace and hope and trust in the future, knowing they remain forever in your steadfast care.

PASTOR:
We ask all this in the strong name of Jesus, the One who brings new life, the One who taught us to pray… conclude with the Lord’s Prayer

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Click here for more information on Open Hearts Family Services, the Foster Care division of the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home

Click the following link for John Gill’s original Blessing-Celebration of Newly Licensed Foster Parents

Commissioning and Blessing of Newly Licensed Foster Parents
© 2013 John Gill, adapted with permission by 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 scripture translation, art and the use of this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Reader's Theater Script for Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday by William Hemmerling

Christians celebrate Palm Sunday the Sunday before Easter, remembering Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This event is mentioned in all four Gospels. (Mark 11:1–11, Matthew 21:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19).

Palm Sunday is also the first day of Holy Week, a time when many Christians reflect on the last week of Jesus’ life in preparation for Easter.

Click for a Palm Sunday Reader’s Theater Script based on Matthew 21:1-17 (NIV). You are welcome and encouraged to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.

Please consider patronizing the beautiful work of William Hemmerling, today’s featured artist.

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

Little Hands Christmas Tree

My friend and colleague Corey Trinkl, Director of Children’s Ministries at Community UMC in DeBary FL, created this terrific bulletin board from the efforts of many little hands. Literally! The children traced their hands and cut out the shapes, decorated the fingers, and then Corey arranged them into this display.

There’s something about the intersection of children, creativity and Christmas that struck me as profound. Our Evergreen Creator becoming the frail flesh of a child so we might be welcomed and forgiven. That’s Good News worthy of celebration and acceptance. – Lisa <><

For more information on the CUMC Children’s Ministry, including Voices ‘N Volume, our afterschool arts program for children grades PreK-5th, click here.

What Breaks God's Heart?

Community United Methodist Church in DeBary FL, offers a midweek, afterschool arts program for children ages 4 through 5th grade. Each child chooses from one of three tracks: music, drama or creativity (hands-on projects including crafts and their favorite, LEGO construction).

Recently, the children in the creativity track explored the question “What breaks God’s heart?” by making a quilt. They discussed family life and school; the consequences of choices, sin, confession, repentance and God’s forgiveness. They realized that when we hurt others we also hurt God.

The first step in creating the quilt was to paint a red broken heart in the middle of a square of muslin. The children then wrote their prayers in the rest of the square. The squares were tied together into a quilt which was later used on the altar table during a worship service. During worship, some of their prayers were read leading into a time of confession for the entire congregation.

The quilt was later untied and each square made into a pillow that the children took home. The children were encouraged to continue to use their pillow to help them spend time with God, or to even scream into it or hit it rather than their sibling.

How might you teach the faith through a hands-on activity with children? How might you then use their work in worship to lead the rest of the congregation into discovering or practicing what they have learned? – Lisa <><

PS- A huge THANK YOU to Corey Trinkl, Director of Children’s Ministries at CUMC, for leading the children in this project and sharing it with the rest of the congregation. And to Kim Evans for designing the altar table to display their work in such a beautiful way.

Reader's Theater: The LORD Calls Samuel

This simple reader’s theater version of 1 Samuel 3:1-10 brings together different generations to share a profound Biblical truth: God seeks and God speaks. God cries out to little Samuel in the quiet of the night, before Samuel has a relationship with God. Even though his aging guardian Eli has failed God many times, Eli’s heart is still soft enough to recognize God reaching out to Samuel. Eli instructs Samuel, and us, in how to respond to God’s call, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

Click Here: Call of Samuel: Reader’s Theater PDF