Speaking Peace in the Face of the Storm

Quotefancy-806355-3840x2160As I write this, Hurricane Ian is gaining strength and making its way to Florida. I have family and friends in the Tampa Bay area. I serve a congregation located beachside between the Atlantic Ocean and the intercoastal waterway, Coronado Community Church in New Smyrna Beach. We have 10 sister churches in Cuba.

There’s much to warrant true concern. There’s much that is unknown. In the midst of it all, God is near. God’s well of hope, safety, and belonging is deep and it is for you. Love one another, make the best decisions you can, pray and trust God. You are not alone.
Your sister and servant in Christ- Lisa <><

Jesus, we see You calming storms
Storm tossed seas and stormy lives
Extend Your power and grace again,
Upon us and all in need

Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits
overwhelmed by the crashing waves of circumstance
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and perspective over minds and hearts
adrift in confusion or drowning in fear
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and hope over people, families, and communities
swamped by danger and loss
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and truth over the media.
Inspire them to use their influence
to build hope and goodwill rather than stir up anxiety
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and protection over first responders –
firefighters, law enforcement, medical personnel,
power workers, government workers, and shelter workers-
as they risk their lives to keep people safe
and help those who are suffering.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and belonging over those who are displaced by evacuation –
those in shelters, those stranded on highways,
those in hotels, those far from loved ones.
Keep them safe.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and well-being over those who are hunkering down-
the well prepared, the foolish, and the vulnerable,
especially those who are poor or alone.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of 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

Offer your own prayers. Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

If you are using this prayer in a group setting, one person reads the light print and everyone reads the bold print. 

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Speaking Peace in the Face of the Storm © 2017, updated 2022 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.

Prayer: Wisdom and Reverenace, based on Psalm 111


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. – Psalm 111:10

Wisdom consists in doing the next thing that you have to do;
doing it with your whole heart and finding delight in doing it.
And this delight is the sense of the sacred.- Helen Luke

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
– William Shakespeare

Observation
In Psalm 111, the author praises God’s works (great, full of honor and majesty, wonderful, faithful, just) and God’s character (righteous, gracious, merciful, provider, trustworthy, redeemer, eternal covenant keeper, holy, awesome). All of this leads up to the last verse, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.”

Are we to fear God? For most of us, fear implies dread, horror, and terror. We fear bullies, monsters, or tyrants- powers far greater than our ability to oppose.

This understanding of “the fear of the Lord” isn’t helpful or truthful. It doesn’t encourage growth or trust. It doesn’t draw us to God or reveal the true character of God. It often results in a less than healthy fear response- fight, flight, freeze, or fawn.

The point of the psalmist is literally lost in translation, the translation of the word fear. I find it helpful to replace the word fear with respect or reverence. When the deepest understandings of respect and reverence are linked with God’s awesomeness and otherness, we have a translation that draws us into worship, relationship, and the pursuit of God’s transcendent wisdom.

Reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.

Assuredly, Loving Souls, you should go to God with all humility and respect,
humbling yourselves in His presence,
especially when you remember your past ingratitude and sins.
– Alphonsus Liguori

Truly humble people are grounded in reality;
they neither preen under illusions of greatness
nor suffer agonies of self-hatred.
– Paula Huston, Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Re-new Your Spirit

Fullness of knowledge always means some understanding of the depths of our ignorance; and that is always conducive to humility and reverence. – Robert Millikan

Prayer: Wisdom and Reverence
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
Great and Faithful One
God of Honor and Majesty
Wonderful and just are your deeds
Your ways are trustworthy, gracious, and merciful

Draw us into reverent relationship with you
Save us from shallow understanding and falsehood

Pour out your wisdom upon us
That we may know you and adore you
That we may trust you and follow you
That we may receive your gifts
and use them to heal and bless and welcome
as you do

We ask this in the Name of Jesus,
Your Truth made Flesh,
Your Light to us and the world. Amen.

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Wisdom and Reverence © 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayers based on Matthew 25.14-30

week 10Prayers Based on Matthew 25:14-30
The Parable of the Talents

Prayer: In My Hands
Generous One
You place the needed solution in my hands
An extravagant opportunity

Fear whispers in my ear
Bury it
Abandon it
Get rid of it as fast as you can

The warning comes strong
Persistent
Working hard to twist my perspective and your truth
The gift is a trap laid by your harsh master

Fear loves waste and chaos
Your love casts out fear

Deliver me, Jesus
Cast out my fear
Give me eyes to see blessing, not burden
Free me to seize what you offer
To delight in the adventure
To risk and reap

I long to be named “good and trustworthy”
I long for your “well done,” my Jesus

Prayer: Bring You Joy
Creative, Powerful God
Generous Author of Life
You make
You bless
You give

You entrust us to care and tend your gifts
You call us to be fruitful and multiply
You empower us with abilities and opportunities

Your goodness is in our hands
We will use it and risk it
We will be trustworthy
May our efforts bring you joy
Amen

Be sure to also check out Spent, a powerful prayer of commitment by Steve Garnaas Holmes.

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For the next few months, I’ll be posting prayers to accompany Bishop Ken Carter’s Bible Study on Facebook. Each week, Bishop Carter will bring in a guest to speak about the passage. We’ll be walking through the last chapters of the Gospel of Matthew. 

You’re most welcome to read along and to join this Facebook discussion group. You don’t need to be a Methodist or attend a Methodist church. All are welcome and all means all.

May the grace of God’s word, the challenge, and the call, inspire us to great faith and great good works in Jesus’ name. – Lisa <

In My Hands © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Bring You Joy © 2020 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.

Two Prayers Based on Luke 12-13

summer in the scriptures luke (5)

Prayer based on Luke 12:22-34

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
– Jesus, Luke 12:25

Eternal One
Overcoming One
Author of Life and New Life

Free me from worry
Break the chains of dread
Loose the doors of perspective

So I may see your path of hope
and follow

Luke 13:10-17
Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

Lord of the Sabbath
King of Glory
Lift up our face

We are bent
Bowed low in stature and spirit

So much is out of our control
So much we have brought upon ourselves

What can we see with our eyes on the dust?

You see our need
Your blessing twisted
Your word weaponized
Fear and Falsehood
Shame and Gatekeeping

Lord of the Sabbath
King of Glory
Lift up our face

Enter in with Your blessing
Your welcome
Your healing
Your strength
Your truth
Your salvation
Your glory

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For the next few months, I’m reading a chapter from the Gospels each day. This is part of the Summer in the Scriptures reading plan sponsored by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Click Here for the reading plan.

You’re most welcome to read along and to join the Facebook discussion group, Summer in the Scriptures. You don’t need to be a Methodist or attend a Methodist church. All are welcome and all means all.

As part of the Facebook group, I’ve been supplying prayers based on the day’s reading. Feel free to post your prayers and observations based on the readings here or there as well.

May the grace of the Gospels, the challenge, and the call, inspire us to great faith and great good works in Jesus’ name. – Lisa <

Worry Prayer © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Lift Up Our Face © 2020 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.

Midweek Reflection- The Cup of Our Life

Inspired by this prayer by Joy Rupp from her wonderful book The Cup of our Life 

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
with my empty cup
a beggar of the heart
devoid of nourishment
depleted of energy

and you have filled

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
afraid of unknowns
full of negatives and no’s
fighting the challenges
closed and resistant to growth

and you have opened

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
a stranger to my spirit
crammed with cultural noise
caught in endless clutter
crowding my inner space

and you have emptied

Generous God
I come to you again
holding out my waiting cup
begging that it first be emptied
of all that blocks the way
then ask for its filling
with love that tastes like you

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Midweek Reflection- The Cup of Our Life © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia