Prayer: As You Have Said (Luke 1:46-56)

deliverance freedom chain2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Day 5 Reading: Luke 1:46-56
Mary’s Song

Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
– Luke 1:38

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
– Luke 1:49

Prayer: As You Have Said
Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim

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

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim

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

Days 6 and 7 are set aside for worship and rest.

This post is part of the 2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas. Click here for more information, including a list of all the readings.

Prayer: As You Have Said © 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.

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

Worship Resource: Joyful Praise

Colours of Happiness by Camdiluv ♥ via Wikimedia Commons

Colours of Happiness by Camdiluv ♥ via Wikimedia Commons

Worship Resource: Joyful Praise
ALL SINGING: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee vs. 1
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!

Instrumental music continues during the prayer

ONE OR ALL PRAYING: from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto
You alone are holy, Lord God, Worker of Wonders.
You are mighty
You are great
You are the Most High
You are omnipotent, our holy Father, King of heaven and earth.

ALL SINGING: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee vs. 2
All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heaven reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.

Instrumental music continues during the prayer

ONE OR ALL PRAYING: from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto
You, Lord God, three and one, are our every good.
You, Lord God, all good, our highest good-
Lord God living and true.
You are charity and love.
You are wisdom.
You are humility.
You are patience.
You are security.
You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.

ALL SINGING: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee vs. 3
Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.

Instrumental music continues during the prayer

ONE OR ALL PRAYING: from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto
You are justice and temperance.
You are riches altogether sufficient.
You are beauty.
You are meekness.
You are our protector.
You are our strength.
You are our refreshment.
You are our hope.
You are our faith.
You are our most profound sweetness.
You are our eternal life, great and admirable Lord,
omnipotent God, merciful Savior!

ALL SINGING: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee vs. 4
Mortals, join the mighty chorus
which the morning stars began;
love divine is reigning o’er us,
binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music leads us sunward,
in the triumph song of life.

Prayer from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto
Orbis Books (April 1, 1982)

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.
The United Methodist Hymnal #89
Text: Henry Van Dyke
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven
Public Domain

Colours of Happiness by Camdiluv ♥ via Wikimedia Commons

Joyful Praise compilation © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 10, Holy

nativity setThe thought behind the photo:
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
– Phillips Brooks

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 57:15 NRSV
For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

The December 10, 2013 devotion from 
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 11:6-10 NRSV
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Verses 6-10 are famously known as the “peaceable kingdom.” In this beautiful vision of harmony inaugurated by the Messiah, all of creation participates—people, animals and even the land. The place of peace will be the holy mountain of God, and the land will be filled with the knowledge of God.

But the way knowledge is spoken of in this passage isn’t in the way that we understand knowledge. In Hebrew, it is the full living into and experiencing of what is known. So the holy mountain; the earth, will be infused with the reality of God.

What would that look and feel like to enter into what is fully known?
Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><

God in My Image: an aha moment from Proverbs 6:16-23

Graphic from Dustin Beasley's blog, Endure Life

Graphic from Dustin Beasley’s blog, Endure Life

SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 6:16-23 The Message
Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion:

  1. eyes that are arrogant
  2. a tongue that lies
  3. hands that murder the innocent
  4. a heart that hatches evil plots
  5. feet that race down a wicked track
  6. a mouth that lies under oath
  7. a troublemaker in the family

Good friend, follow your father’s good advice; don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings. Wrap yourself in them from head to foot; wear them like a scarf around your neck. Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you; whenever you rest, they’ll guard you; when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next. For sound advice is a beacon, good teaching is a light, moral discipline is a life path.

The seven items on the list are destructive choices. They bring separation, pain, and injustice. God offers us the way of goodness and life. Following this path brings direction and protection.

The first two vows of the United Methodist Baptismal and Membership Liturgy
1. Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
2. Do you accept the freedom and power that God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?

Ephesians 4:26-27 NRSV
Be angry but do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and do not make room for the devil.

I am very comfortable with the God of grace, mercy and love. So much so that when a friend in my Bible study class asked me about this passage I didn’t know what to say. God is love and yet God hates. God hates not only evil actions but God also hates people who choose them. How can this be?

Humans can love and hate at the same time, but our hate usually leads to sin. Prejudice, sectarianism, gossip, judging others, labeling, bullying, violence. Hate is not a healthy or faithful option for me.

There is such a thing as the wrath of God. God cries out that oppressors be stopped, that violence end. The cry [in Psalm 137] is not literally to kill babies, but to utterly destroy the offspring of greed and exploitation, to end the line of succession of violence and abuse, to chop off the family tree of hate and fear and selfishness. The change is built on love of the oppressors— but God’s merciful justice requires that some things get destroyed. As Revelation 11:18 says, “Your wrath has come, and the time… for destroying those who destroy the earth.” – Steve Garnaas-Holmes, About That Psalm

God is without sin. Always. God can love and hate without sin. Maybe I’ve tried to box God in to my limitations. Scriptures like this are a reminder that God is greater. God isn’t an enabler who tolerates destructive choices passively. To love means to take a stand. Evil and foolish choices have serious consequences, the main one being they put us in opposition to God. God is good, holy and just and thus opposes all that is not. The wonder and grace of God is that God continues to extend the offer of reconciliation and new life to the opposition.

A God small enough to fit inside your head is not big enough to meet your needs.
– Chuck Missler

PRAYER: Your Word, Your Way
Lord God, help me love you
All of you
I want to know you, follow your path
I want to be wise
Far from foolishness and evil

Help me love your word
All of it
I want to cherry pick passages
Box you in to what is comfortable for me
What I understand and want
Fashion you in my image

You are greater
Your thoughts are greater
Your greatness draws me close
Your greatness weakens my knees in awe, respect and worship

Save me from extremes
too soft, too hard
too tolerant, too legalistic
too much love, too much law
too much me

Help me love you
your word
your way

God in a Box graphic courtesy of Dustin Beasley’s blog, Endurelife

This devotion is based on the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here

Prayer: Your Word, Your Way © 2013 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 art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Prayer Service: Naming and Claiming the Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit by Sheila Yackley

Naming and Claiming the Holy Spirit
A service of prayer, scripture and song inspired by Francis Chan’s excellent book, Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.

For a PDF of this service,
click here –> Prayer Service: Naming and Claiming the Holy Spirit

This service may be led by one or more persons. If you are using multiple readers, invite persons to read prior to the service or invite persons to read as they are gathering before the service. If they accept, hand them a full service script with their portion highlighted. When it is time for their reading, they arise from their place in the congregation and move to one of several microphones preset throughout the congregation. Choose a variety of persons to read.

This service may be offered in place of the sermon or following the sermon.

Scripture and Meditation
Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is a Person, not an indistinct “power” or “thing.”

ONE: John 14:16-17 (NRSV)
Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is God, not a lesser or different kind of Being than God the Father or God the Son.

ONE: 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NRSV)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

In his book Forgotten God, Francis Chan wrote, “How ludicrous it would be for anyone to say they were going to explain the Holy Spirit. The Bible says we cannot fully understand God, and I am certainly not the exception to that rule. There are things about God that are mysterious and secret, things we will never know about Him. But there also are things revealed, and those belong to us (Deut. 29:29)….The point is not to completely understand God but to worship. Let the very fact that you cannot know God fully lead you to praise…

For Illumination by Christina G. Rossetti   
United Methodist Hymnal #477
Open wide the windows of our spirits, O Lord,
and fill us full of light;
open wide the door of our hearts,
that we may receive and entertain Thee
with all our powers of adoration and love.

The following songs or others may be used.
Come, Holy Spirit
by Bill Gaither
CCLI #10934

Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome
by Dottie Rambo and David Huntsinger
CCLI #12994

Holy, Holy, Holy 
United Methodist Hymnal #64

We Exalt Your Name
by Kari Jobe & Matt Maher
CCLI #5866478

by Brooke Ligertwood
CCLI #4785835

The following testimony or another may be used.
The testimony of Dave Phillips who founded the Children’s Hunger Fund as retold in Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God (pp. 135-136).

Scripture and Meditation
Basil the Great said, “What does the Spirit do? His works are ineffable in majesty, and innumerable in quantity. How can we even ponder what extends beyond the ages? What did He do before creation began? How great are the graces He showered on creation? What power will He wield in the age to come? He existed; He pre-existed; He co-existed with the Father and the Son before the ages. Even if you can imagine anything beyond the ages, you will discover that the Spirit is even further beyond.”

The Holy Spirit is omnipotent, all powerful.

ONE: Zechariah 4:6 (NRSV)
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, always everywhere.

ONE: Psalm 139:7-10 (NRSV)
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

The Holy Spirit is omniscient, all knowing.

ONE: 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NIV)
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

The following prayers are printed on an insert. Other prayers may be substituted as desired. Persons are invited to pray at the communion rail, pray in their seats, or to move from pew to pew praying for the Spirit to fill all who come into the sanctuary. Persons pray at their own pace, in silence or aloud. Soft instrumental music or silence may accompany the prayer time. The prayer time concludes with The Lord’s Prayer.

Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition                           
United Methodist Hymnal #607
I am no longer my own, but Thine.
Put me to what Thou wilt, rank me with whom Thou wilt,
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for Thee or laid aside for Thee,
Exalted for Thee or brought low for Thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to Thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am Thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen

Come, Holy Spirit by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Come, Holy Spirit
Breathe into us the breath of new life
Come, Generous Spirit
Bring peace and bring hope
Bring courage for change
Bring freedom from all falsehood and fear

Come, Holy Spirit
Embolden us with the fire of Your heart
Come, Pentecost Spirit
Bring light and bring strength
Bring tongues filled with truth
Bring passion for the world to know You

Come, Holy Spirit
Unify us in the ways of Christ
Come, Creating Spirit
Bring gifts and bring fruit
Bring life to dry bones
Bring wisdom to live justice and love

For Renewal of the Church by John de Gruchy                                                       
United Methodist Hymnal #574
Renew your church, Lord,
Your people in this land.
Save us from cheap words
and from self-deception in your service.
In the power of your Spirit
transform us, and shape us by Your cross.

Scripture and Meditation
Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit prays with us and for us.

ONE: Romans 8:27 (NRSV)
And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit brought creation to life and continues to sustain it.

ONE: Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

ONE: Job 33:4 (NIV)
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

ALL: Psalm 51:10-12 (NRSV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is eternal and holy.

ONE: Romans 5:5 (NRSV)
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

The following testimony or another may be used.
The testimony of Esther Ahn Kim, who was imprisoned for her faith, as retold in Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God (pp. 97-98).

Offering and Doxology
The following songs or others may be used.
Holy Spirit, Truth Divine                                               
United Methodist Hymnal #465

All Creatures of Our God and King
David Crowder version
CCLI #3608102

The following songs or others may be used.
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
United Methodist Hymnal #103, v. 1, 2, 4

by Chris Tomlin and Reuben Morgan
CCLI #5677399


The following songs or others may be used.
Sweet, Sweet Spirit
United Methodist Hymnal #334

I am Free by John Egan
CCLI #4220974

Books Referenced:
Francis Chan, Forgotten God (David C. Cook, 2009)
Esther Ahn Kim, If I Perish (Moody Publishing, 2001)

Scripture quotations marked NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

For more of Sheila Yackley’s artwork, click here

Prayer: For Renewal of the Church © 1986 John de Gruchy

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Service Compilation: Naming and Claiming the Holy Spirit
© 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use my work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact me for information and permission to publish a work in any form.