A Prayer for Restoration

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A Prayer for Restoration by Rev. Macon Armistead
God our Creator, who from nothing made all things, You are the source of life and love. In You we find our deepest longing to be re-created, re-formed, and made new. Create in us, O God, a heart for love and grace. May we now lift up to You those in need of love and grace.

Say their names silently or aloud

God our Redeemer, You became flesh in Jesus Christ. You lived among us as one of us, and came near to the hurt and brokenness of our world. Through Your love and grace, You brought us into deeper community with You and with one another by restoring all creation on a cross. Redeem us, O God, so that we might find healing, justice, and forgiveness. May we now lift up to You those in need of healing, justice, and forgiveness.

Say their names silently or aloud

God our Sustainer, You hold together all life through the in-breaking of Your Holy Spirit in us. Through mighty winds and fire, or your still small whisper, Your Spirit is among us, calling us to be a part of Your mission, to continue Your restoration for all the earth. Sustain us, O God, so that we might discover Your purpose and peace for us. May we lift up now to You those in need of purpose and peace.

Say their names silently or aloud

God speak to us now. Reveal to us, Your Church, how we might be with and for another in this world, as You are with and for us. May we be co-agents of Your love and grace, Your healing, justice and forgiveness, Your purpose and peace, so that all the earth might be made new, redeemed and restored, through You — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And now, let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us, saying:
Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us as our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever.
Amen.

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A Prayer for Restoration © 2021 Rev. Macon Armistead
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
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Prayer for Louisiana and Afghanistan

Prayer for Haiti and Cuba (2)As we gather for worship, we recognize the deep pain of our world- Haiti, Cuba, the fires out west, Louisiana, Afghanistan, and so many other places.⁠

We join those who mourn the tremendous loss of life and home ⁠

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

Hear our cry for those who continue to live in destruction, violence, and oppression. Those running to a new home in a new place. And all who are welcoming the refugees ⁠

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

Hear our cry for American and Afghan families as they cry for their loved ones who died in the terror attack on the Kabul airport, as they pray those who remain are safe, as they wonder about 20 years of war and the future of that land.⁠

Hear our cry for those in the path of Hurricane Ida as they cry for the powerful storm to lessen, as they pray those who remain are safe, as they wonder about the destruction to come on the anniversary of Katrina.⁠

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 storms⁠

No more tears⁠
No more separation⁠

No more evil⁠
No more devastation⁠
No more death⁠

Jesus, save us from helplessness⁠
Strengthen our minds, our bodies, our resolve. ⁠
We trust we are part of your healing, saving work. ⁠

Jesus, save us from overwhelm⁠
Strengthen our faith, our hope, our calling.⁠
We trust the triumph of your goodness and grace.⁠
For you are the Resurrection and the Life. ⁠
Amen. ⁠
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Prayer for Louisiana and Afghanistan © 2021, Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
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Prayer for the 20th Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks

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Image by David Mark via Pixabay

We come together with persons all over the world to remember the day our world changed. We come together in faith, in hope, in God’s infinite love.

Heavenly Father, we commend to your mercy and grace all who died in the September eleventh attacks and all who have died in the past twenty years while laboring to end terrorism.

In New York City: 2,342 persons
In Arlington, Virginia: 184 persons
In Shanksville, Pennsylvania: 40 persons
411 New York City rescue workers that day plus so many more from the aftereffects
Thousands of military personnel and civilians in the following years of war

Over 70 countries lost loved ones that day: family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, heroes. In the face of all this loss we claim your grace, your faithfulness, and your power to bring good out of evil.

Compassionate One, it’s been twenty years, yet the pain is fresh and the need is great. Comfort all who continue to mourn the loss of loved ones. Come with assurance and peace for all who remain traumatized, anxious, or fearful for the future. Come with protection and freedom for all who continue to live in the midst of hostility and oppression.

Bring wholeness and hope to every broken place- to broken bodies, broken hearts, and broken spirits. To broken relationships, broken systems, and broken faith.

Draw together leaders of every nation. Give them ears to hear your wisdom and the courage to respond. Inspire them to work together for peace, justice, and freedom. Inspire us, too.

Strengthen all who risk their lives to protect others. Guard and favor all who work to make your world a place of peace. Guard and guide us, too.

God of the Nations, hear our prayer for our enemies and for ourselves. Help us love and pray for those who hate us. We claim your abiding, your humility, and your strength as we strive to fulfill this call.

Save us from revenge, false teaching, and blind suspicion. Help us recognize our contributions to conflict. Help us understand the hurt that feeds the hate.

Change the hearts of all who seek their way by evil and violent means, by coercion and corruption and privilege, including our own. Create in us clean hearts that beat with your unconditional compassion.

Leave no one in the shadows of evil and death, O God.
Fill us all with your light and make us all instruments of your peace.

Our world remains a dangerous place, O God, but with you there is shalom and hope. With you there is persevering and purpose. You are our Rock, our Shield, our Defender forever.
Amen.
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9/11 Anniversary Prayer © 2011, Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia and Nicole Sallee
Updated 2021

You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
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Independence Day Prayer for Unity (Psalm 133)

Psalm 133 Ben Shahn

Psalm 133 by Ben Shahn

Psalm 133
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.

On this Independence Day, I long for our neighborhoods and nation to experience the freedom of this psalm- the freedom of true unity. I long for the dividing walls to come crashing down. I long for an end to destructive division.

In this Psalm, the goodness of God-breathed unity is compared to the anointing of Aaron as high priest and dew on the mountains of Hermon and Zion in Israel.

True unity is precious, like sacred, costly oil or a trusted source of water in the wilderness.

True unity brings abundant blessing to an entire community. It is generous and lavish. There is so much oil it runs down Aaron’s beard and on to his robe. There is so much dew it can sustain plants, animals, and people on a rugged mountainside.

True unity means goodness for all. It is pervasive, crossing unjust boundaries. The anointing oil is mixed with spices so the aroma pervades the gathering. The dew makes way for fragrant flowers, fruits, and crops which are enjoyed by the whole community.

True unity is holy and unique. The oil is set apart for the ritual anointing of a priest or king. It is used for no other purpose. Mount Hermon is set apart for its height and snow, the highest point in the region at over 9,000 feet. Mount Zion in Jerusalem is set apart for the worship of God. True unity sets a group of people apart, a rare and beautiful light in our world.

Holy God
One yet Three
Reach into the abundance of your companionship
Bring forth unity and healing in our land
Pour out peace on violent homes and hearts
Shower compassion on selfish and short-sighted motives
Rain down justice, generosity, and goodness
so all are covered in blessing and harmony and life
Forevermore
Forevermore
Amen

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Independence Day Prayer for Unity © 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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The Story of the Scars, a Sermon for Easter Sunday

The Story of the Scars, a Sermon for Easter Sunday
Scripture: John 20:1-20; Isaiah 53:5

Offered Sunday, 4/4/2021 via Facebook Live at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Gates of heaven joke

Mary goes to the tomb early in the morning. Can you imagine the conversation that’s happening the rest of the day! Jesus shows up in the evening. He shows up with “Peace be with you.” He shows up with his scars.                                

Where they nailed his hands and feet. Where they pierced his side with a spear. Where they slapped him and pulled out his beard. Where the flogged him on his back. Where they placed a crown of thorns on his head.

Every one of his scars tells a story- Injustice. Betrayal. Denial. Grace. Truth. Love. Victory.                  

What scars have you brought with you today? What stories do they tell?

Maybe they aren’t scars yet,  maybe they’re still wounds.

Scott Erickson, quote adapted. It starts with our own wounds. Because to bring your own wounds is to ask the Divine “Are you involved in my life at all?” Then we will encounter the wounds of those we love, and ask “are You here too?” Friends, strangers, every wound in the world begs the same question…. IS NEWNESS POSSIBLE?

Yes, newness is possible. This is the story of Jesus’ scars.

Isaiah 53:5, NIV UK. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; (wrongdoings) the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

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© 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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