Prayer for Doing the New, Hard Thing

do hard things

Jesus, thank you for the gifts of time and talent. Thank you for calling and missions, for gracing me with purpose and meaning.

Forgive me for squandering your gifts – for hiding them, abandoning them, labeling them, dismissing them, postponing them for another season.

The time is now. Life is precious and short.

Shower me with your courage to try. Fill me with your perseverance and focus. Flood me with your Holy Spirit, for with you all things are possible.

I am listening. I’m following.

May all I do and say point to your saving love, your steadfast presence, and your empowering hope. Glory to you alone. Amen.

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Prayer for Doing the New, Hard Thing  © 2017 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.

Order of Worship for a Spring Healing Service

sprout-seed 4

Pre-Service Set up

  • Helpers to welcome and pass out programs
  • Purple strips of paper in the pews
  • Packets of seeds with a tag containing Psalm 126:5-6. Place the packets on communion rail as a gift to take home.
  • Containers of anointing oil on the communion rail to be used by the prayer helpers
  • Tissues at communion rail and in the pews
  • Table with 4 purple candles and 1 white Christ candle
  • Box of Matches

Feel free to change the music as best fits your setting. In the provided songs, UMH stands for United Methodist Hymnal and FWS stands for The Faith We Sing.

Gathering Music
Quiet music as people arrive

Welcome
ONE:
Welcome. We’re so glad you came.

Why have you come? The reasons for coming are many. There’s so much which is painful in our lives and in our world- so much in need of healing and wholeness. We gather in the midst of suffering to remember- to remember God is good. God is strong. God is near. We are not alone and we have every reason to hold on to hope.

Opening Prayer
ALL:
Merciful God,
In this season of new buds and blooms, we come to you weary and grieving
In this season of fresh fruits and vegetables, we hunger for healing and relief
In this season of sweet spring light, our hearts are veiled in sorrow and shadow
Will this season ever end?

“Yes.” We hear your, “Yes.”
Those who are weary will find rest
Those who mourn will be comforted
Those who hunger will be filled
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.

Strike a match and light the white Christ candle

Lighting the Christ Candle
ONE:
We welcome you O Christ, our Savior, Healer, and Hope.
In the midst of our suffering, help us to worship you in spirit and in truth.

Song
I Want Jesus to Walk With Me (UMH 521)

Scripture: Psalm 126, The Voice Translation
Remember when the Eternal brought back the exiles to Zion?
It was as if we were dreaming—
Our mouths were filled with laughter.
Our tongues were spilling over into song.
The word went out across the prairies and deserts,
Across the hills, over the oceans wide, from nation to nation:
“The Eternal has done remarkable things for them.”
We shook our heads. All of us were stunned—
The Eternal has done remarkable things for us.
We were beyond happy, beyond joyful.

And now, Eternal One, some are held captive and poor.
Release them, and restore our fortunes
As the dry riverbeds of the South
Spring to life when the rains come at last.
Those who walk the fields to sow,
Casting their seed in tears,
Will one day tread those same long rows,
Amazed by what’s appeared.
Those who weep as they walk and plant with sighs
Will return singing with joy, when they bring home the harvest.

Message

Candle Lighting
Instrumental underscore during the candle lighting. Stop underscore at the instructions for the prayer time.

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of truth.
There is no need to hide or deny. God welcomes us as we are.

ALL:
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. ~Psalm 86:1

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of lament.
We recognize our wounds and cry out to God.
We accept God’s invitation to express every feeling and question.

ALL:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. ~ Psalm 22:1-2

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of courage.
Courage to be honest, to seek help, to comfort one another.
Courage to dare to love and dream again.

ALL:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of hope.
God is good. God is strong. God is near, leading us to a day without tears and pain, without sin and death. Healing and deliverance are coming; if not now, then on that day.

ALL:
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. ~Psalm 65:5

Song
I Need Thee Every Hour (UMH #397, 1-3)
The song leaders sing the verses, all sing the chorus

Prayer Time
ONE:
You are encouraged to write your burdens and sorrows on the purple strips of paper and then place them on the table with the candles. Following that, make your way to the rail. Persons are available to pray with you as you stand or kneel. Anointing oil is also available. Please take a packet of seeds with you as you return to your seat as a reminder of the good things God is planting in your life today.

Following the instructions, provide an instrumental underscore during the prayer time.

Offer the following prayer after everyone is seated again following the prayer time

ONE:
Jesus, you are full of compassion, you understand our pain. Our suffering changes our experience of you and our experience of everyday life. We are caught in the midst of remembering happier times, grieving what might have been, and navigating a new normal. In our loss we feel cut off- disconnected, adrift, alone.

Root us in your steadfast love. Plant deep within us in your faithful promises.
Hold us, and all who weep this spring throughout the world-
those who mourn, those far from home, those looking for work,
the lonely, the addicted, the abused and their abusers,
the estranged, the oppressed, the enslaved,
the poor, victims and oppressors of war, the sick and dying.

Shelter and sustain us all with your healing and hope, your peace and light.
We love you, we need you, we trust you,
We ask this in your name Jesus, praying as you taught us…

ALL:
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 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, the power, and the glory forever. Amen

Song
Change My Heart, O God (CCLI Song # 1565, FWS #2152)

Affirmation: For Grace to Bear Suffering
© 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

ALL:
I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
With Dignity, Humility, Forgiveness

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
With Compassion, Truth, Perseverance

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
Knowing my sufferings are not like his
And not like others
Yet shared with the universal longings of all humanity
Real and Painful and Deep
No need for comparison, only companionship

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
As Christ bore his for all
All I will ever suffer
All we all will ever suffer
Will be made known, will be made whole
Through his love and self-giving

In this I believe and trust and follow and hope
In this I am made new
We are made new
Thanks be to God! Hallelujah! Amen!

Passing the Peace

Songs
He Has Made Me Glad (CCLI Song #1493; FWS #2270)
I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me (FWS #2151)

ONE:
Following the blessing, you are welcome to stay as long as you like. Persons are available to speak with you further about your situation. If it would be helpful, the pastor would be glad to set an appointment with you. You can reach the pastor at…

Blessing

Sermon Recording- Down to the Bone (Genesis 32)

Jacob Sermon Series

Sermon Series – Jacob, Punk to Patriarch
Jacob’s journey to faith and accepting his place in God’s plan is full of schemes, betrayal, and family dysfunction. Yet, in the midst of the mess, God remains steadfast- offering relationship, provision, purpose, and new life. In Jacob’s story, we see our own mess and God’s saving grace for us as well.

Message: Down to the Bone
Scriptures: Genesis 32:9-13; 24-28
Offered 9/25/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

God desires to do more than “help out” a bit. God wants to completely transform us. God wants to take a timid heart and set it ablaze with strength and courage, so much so that people know something supernatural has taken place. – Francis Chan

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis reminds us of the divine-human struggle. Susan and Lucy ask Mr. and Mrs. Beaver to describe Aslan (Lewis’s representation of Jesus). They ask if Aslan is a man. Mr. Beaver replies. “Aslan a man? Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion– the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about being safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: Jesus, Help Me Breathe

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust by Cheesysteele

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust by Cheesysteele

Matthew 6:27 NRSV
Jesus said, “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”

Jesus, help me breathe
My flimsy barricades of control are failing
Again
Worries pressing in
Closer
Closer
Closer
Stifling
Searing
I’m suffocating in ashen dreams
Help me breathe

Help me believe
All my failure and foolishness
Brokenness and indulgence
Are made whole in your greater grace
Help me breathe

Help me trust you Jesus
And help me trust all you provide
New Life
Perspective
Truth
Hope
Peace
Breathe

What is your will?
What is your desire?
You make the way
You are The Way
Breathe
Breathe
Breathe

John 20:19-22 NRSV
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

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Jesus, Help Me Breathe © 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.

Prayer for another test, another treatment

test-tubesMy friend Sue is long suffering and courageous. She asked for prayer as she entered into yet another round of tests and treatments. May this prayer for her also be a blessing to you and to others you may know. – Lisa <><

Merciful and Mighty God,
You are our Rock
Our Shield
Our Deliverer
Our Help
Our Hope

Remind Your beloved daughter Sue how much You love her
How near You are
How good You are
How strong You are
As she enters another round of tests
As she waits and wonders for the results

Your grace is greater than our every need and fear
You are surrounding her
and filling her
and leading her
and saving her

You are Comfort and Peace
Healing and Wholeness
Light and Life

We love You
and praise You
and trust You
Father, Son, Spirit.
Amen.

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Prayer for another test, another treatment © 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, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 16, Strong

cross of peopleThe thought behind the photo:
Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
We are weak but he is strong.

Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.
– Anna B. Warner and David Rutherford McGuire

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The December 16, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 35:4-7, The Message
Tell fearful souls,
“Courage! [Be strong!] Take heart!
God is here, right here,
on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”
Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped,
Lame men and women will leap like deer,
the voiceless break into song.
Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness,
streams flow in the desert.
Hot sands will become a cool oasis,
thirsty ground a splashing fountain.
Even lowly jackals will have water to drink,
and barren grasslands flourish richly.

Good preaching and interpretation is able to take old texts for new situations and helps us see things in scripture we may have missed before.

In this season of Advent, how are you seeing this poem of invitation?

How are these promises and call to action to “Be strong!” and “Take heart!” resonating with you this Advent?

There are a number of longings we hear in this text: changes in ability, the flourishing of dry land, songs for the voiceless.

What are your prayers and longings this Advent?

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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 <><

Prayer for God's Wisdom and Strength

If you know the name of this work or its creator, please let me know so I may give proper credit.

If you know the name of this work or its creator, please let me know so I may give proper credit.

1 Corinthians 1:25 CEB
The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Holy One,
Your wisdom is beyond what we can fathom
Your strength beyond what we can muster
You are Sovereign
We are your little children
We struggle and strive and stress
We need so very much
It is beyond us, but not beyond you
You are God. We are not.
We surrender our grasping, trusting in your provision
We surrender our confusion, trusting in your light
We surrender our fear, trusting in your goodness and hope
Amen.

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Prayer for God’s Wisdom and Strength © 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.