Blessing the Women: A Prayer for Mother’s Day

Mother and Child by Howard Weingarden

Loving God,
You knit us together in our mother’s womb
and breathe us into being.
Thank you for the gift of life
and for bringing us into this world through our mothers.
We recognize the risk they took
to carry us, nourish us and protect us within their bodies.

Thank you for the women in our life,
for our mothers and for those who have been like mothers to us.
We are grateful for their tenderness when we were helpless or hurt,
We are grateful for their encouragement and wisdom when we were unsure,
We are grateful for their correction and perseverance so we would stay true,
We are grateful for the way 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, gather us all to the safety of your breast.
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 mother or the loss of their child,
on families separated by distance or disagreement,
on families plagued by disappointment, abandonment, addiction or abuse.

Compassionate One, shelter us all beneath Your outstretched arms.
Bring your healing, consolation, and peace
to women whose desire to be a mother has not been fulfilled,
to mothers and guardians who are exhausted
as they labor to balance work and raising children,
to mothers 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 girls and women 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 every woman and girl 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 women and women in the making
for they are precious to us and to You.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

_____________________
© 2011 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.

A Prayer for Thanksgiving- Most Blessed, Most Beautiful Christ

christus-hand-lds-adapted1 Corinthians 3:21-23 NRSV
So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ,
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes growth, so you give us guiding-
saints and sages and scripture
Thank you for the guiding

The receiving takes others, so you give us the world-
nature and neighbors and nations
Thank you for the world

The receiving takes change, so you give us seasons-
life and death and new life
Thank you for the seasons

The receiving takes time, so you give us time-
present and future and forever
Thank you for the time

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ
You give us yourself
And in you, O Christ
We belong
To you and to God and to all
Thank you for the giving

For a worship setting, consider the following version. One voice prays the portion in regular print while the congregation prays the portion in bold print.

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ,
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes growth, so you give us guiding-
saints and sages and scripture
Thank you for the guiding
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes others, so you give us the world-
nature and neighbors and nations
Thank you for the world
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes change, so you give us seasons-
life and death and new life
Thank you for the seasons
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes time, so you give us time-
present and future and forever
Thank you for the time
in you we receive all things

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ
You give us yourself
And in you, O Christ
We belong
To you and to God and to all
Thank you for the giving
in you we receive all things

The congregation now offers their own prayers of thanksgiving, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer

*************
Most Blessed, Most Beautiful Christ © 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 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.

_____________________
© 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.

Blessing the Women: A Prayer for Mother’s Day

Mother and Child by Howard Weingarden

Loving God,
You knit us together in our mother’s womb
and breathe us into being.
Thank you for the gift of life
and for bringing us into this world through our mothers.
We recognize the risk they took
to carry us, nourish us and protect us within their bodies.

Thank you for the women in our life,
for our mothers and for those who have been like mothers to us.
We are grateful for their tenderness when we were helpless or hurt,
We are grateful for their encouragement and wisdom when we were unsure,
We are grateful for their correction and perseverance so we would stay true,
We are grateful for the way 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, gather us all to the safety of your breast.
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 mother or the loss of their child,
on families separated by distance or disagreement,
on families plagued by disappointment, abandonment, addiction or abuse.

Compassionate One, shelter us all beneath Your outstretched arms.
Bring your healing, consolation, and peace
to women whose desire to be a mother has not been fulfilled,
to mothers and guardians who are exhausted
as they labor to balance work and raising children,
to mothers 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 girls and women 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 every woman and girl 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 women and women in the making
for they are precious to us and to You.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

_____________________
© 2011 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.

Whisper Day 1: Brother Saul

Ananias baptizing St. Paul, a statue outside Ananias' house in Damascus. Photo by Mark Mina Doss.

The Power of a Whisper Reading Plan
Day 1 Reading: Acts 9:1-19

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 9:17 (NRSV)

Observation
This passage is often referred to as the conversion of Saul. Saul is a powerful Pharisee who’s been given a license to hunt and kill followers of Jesus. Saul thinks he’s serving God by defending the Jewish faith and power structure. He’s on his way to the next town when ZAP! God turns Saul’s world upside down, literally knocking him to the ground and blinding him. In three short days Saul will arise a changed man; a man who will spend the rest of his life serving God by defending and spreading Christianity.

What’s often overlooked is the second conversion story in this passage. Saul the Persecutor to Paul the Apostle is dramatic. It’s a go-to text for sermons and Sunday School alike. Yet Ananias’ conversion is equally profound. God comes less dramatically to Ananias but the message is equally radical, equally turn your world upside down: mentor your lethal enemy. Ananias is justified in his concern. Meeting Saul is a death sentence. God assures Ananias and he chooses to step out in faith.

Ananias enters his enemy’s room and the first words out of his mouth are remarkable, “Brother Saul.” Ananias is a changed man, as changed as Saul. God has been working in both men’s lives at the same time and now their lives intersect in a spectacular moment of redemption. Ananias’ words and actions show his attitude has been transformed from grave concern to acceptance. He accepts God’s call to action and in turn accepts his enemy into his circle of trust. Ananais’ acceptance paves the way for Saul/Paul to be accepted into the Christian community that fears him, and to eventually be accepted as a leader in that community.

He who learns teaches, he who teaches learns.
– African proverb

Application
Listening and responding to God’s whispers brings transformation and new life, for us and for others.

Prayer
Redeeming and Gracious God, thank you for your transforming love. You are always at work for our good and for the good of others. Help me to listen and respond with courage and faith, as Ananias did. I want to join you in your saving work. I want to do your will. Make the needed changes in me that you are already making in others. Bring us together to love you and trust you and serve you in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

***********
For more information on the Power of a Whisper campaign or for a copy of this reading plan, click here

As you read, you are encouraged to use 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 or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you learn to better listen and respond to God’s whispers in your life. – Lisa <><

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