Prayer Service Honoring 2020 Loss and Hope

Fill the Table Facebook Event (1)

2020 has been one devastating heartache after another. This prayer gathering seeks to name our individual and communal loss.

For me, writing prayers and liturgy helps me process pain. I need to say it out loud. I need to lament. It also helps me reclaim the promises of God. This reconnects me to hope.

This service was designed with the pandemic in mind- an outdoor gathering, less than 45 minutes, with no singing. We call ours Candles in the Garden because of the location of the service.

This service is also designed to be easy to organize and lead. It could be lead by one or more persons. No programs or projection are needed. The music could be live or prerecorded.

Lastly, this service is designed as a community gathering. Persons with little or no faith, and persons from less liturgical traditions, will be able to participate without jumping through “churchy” hoops.

My prayer is that this gathering will be honest and safe with all we are experiencing. I trust our good, good God will meet us there with compassion, blessing, and balm. – Lisa <><

Those who gather will bring their own chair and their own candle. The candle should be in a container so it can be placed safely on a flat service during the gathering. If the service is outside, be sure the candle is in a container which will protect it from the wind. 

As persons check in, they are welcome to name losses they would like mentioned in the service on their behalf. They are also welcome to name their own losses at that point in the service. 

Gathering Music

Welcome  

Scripture: Psalm 61:1-5, adapted    
ONE: Hear our cry, O God; listen to our prayer.
From the ends of the earth we call to you, we call as our hearts grow faint;
Lead us to the rock that is higher.
For you have been our refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
We long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For you, God, have heard our vows;
You have given us the heritage of those who revere your name.

Instrumental Meditation   
Transition music as the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning the Loss of Life due to COVID-19    
Light a candle. Update the statics for your gathering. 

ONE: We light this candle honoring the loss of life due to COVID-19.
15,595 deaths in our state
216,000 deaths in our nation
1,090,000 deaths in our world

Lord of Life and Light, bring healing and hope. Hear our prayer for
The grieving
The suffering
The isolated
Those who need access to testing and treatment

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
Medical professionals and researchers
Health Departments, the CDC, and the WHO
Cleaning crews and sanitation workers

Hear our prayer for an end to the pandemic.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer.

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning Loss due to the Economy   
Light a candle. Update the statics for your gathering. 

ONE: We light this candle honoring the loss due to our struggling economy
Over 1 million persons out of work in our state
Over 12 million persons out of work in our nation
Over 190 million persons out of work in our world

Lord of Life and Light, bring provision and hope. Hear our prayer for
The unemployed and underemployed
Those who need access to relief, training, and technology
Those trying to keep a roof over their head, food on the table,
Their family together, their business open

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
Those who work in shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries
Social Workers, Teachers, and Civil Servants
Frontline workers who face the public everyday

Hear our prayer for an economic recovery for all.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer.

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning the Loss of Life due to Natural Disasters    
Light a candle. Update the statics for your gathering. 

ONE: We light this candle honoring the loss of life due to recent natural disasters
Over 13 million acres burned in our nation this year
25 storms including 9 hurricanes, over $26 billion in damage

Lord of Life and Light, bring home and hope. Hear our prayer for
The devastated and displaced
Broken earth, broken spirits, broken systems
Broken lives, broken communities

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
Firefighters and First Responders
UMCOR, FEMA, and other agencies
Generous people opening their homes, their wallets, and their hands to help

Hear our prayer for an end to the destruction.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer.

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning the Loss of Life due to Injustice     
Light a candle. Update the statics for your gathering. 

ONE: We light this candle honoring the loss of life due to prejudice and systemic injustice
In 2018, the average black worker earned 62% of the average white worker
Of the 535 voting members of congress, only 57 are black
Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more, killed by those entrusted to protect them

Lord of Life and Light, bring justice and hope. Hear our prayer for
An end to evil and oppression
An end to hate and discrimination
An end to apathy and silence

Hear our prayer for all who live in constant fear
All who are beaten down, profiled, and held back
All who mourn and rage
All who are called to protect and serve

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
The prophets, awakening us to truth
The witnesses, opening our eyes with their stories
The just, working to change hearts and systems

Hear our prayer for peace and dignity for all.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning Loss due to Division 
Light a candle

ONE: We light this candle honoring loss due to our division
Religious division
Racial division
Political division
Economic division

Lord of Life and Light, bring community and hope. Hear our prayer for
Empathy
Understanding
Trust and Grace

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
Peacemakers and Artists
Mediators and Neighbors
All who gather and nurture
All those working for an honorable election, no violence or corruption

Hear our prayer for compassion and the common good.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Candles in the Garden  
ONE: Who or what loss have you lit your candle for? Name it as you place your candle in the garden now.

ONE: read the petitions collected as folks check in. Allow folks to name their own petition. 
This moment includes social distancing and musical underscoring. After all persons have placed their candle, the following is read. 

Reading: For Life by Steve Garnaas Holmes
For the empty seat, we hold silence.
Love, have mercy.
For the two hundred thousand, we weep.
Love, have mercy.
For the homes incinerated, we mourn.
Love, have mercy.
For the rule of law, we lament.
Love, have mercy.

For kindness and nonviolence, we pray.
Love, have mercy.
For courage to stand, to speak, to act, we pray.
Love, have mercy.
For faith in one another, that we still hold the future in our hands, we pray.
Love, have mercy.

For justice that dismantles oppression,
hope that overcomes despair,
for faith that overpowers dread,
for love that defeats fear,
for joy that will not be taken from us, we pray.
Love, have mercy.

In the face of all that oppresses,
give us trust in grace unseen;
give us hearts to rise, to serve,
yes, even to sing
for life, for life.

Scripture: Hebrews 10:23-24
ONE: Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.

Closing Blessing

Departure Music

Consider a time of distanced listening following the gathering. Participants may need compassionate persons to listen as they continue to process what they experienced or what the experience revealed.

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Candles in the Garden © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Midweek Devotion- Psalm 3

There is a Balm in Gilead
African American Spiritual
Public Domain

Chorus
There is a balm in Gilead,
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead,
To heal the sin-sick soul.

Sometimes I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again. (Chorus)

Don’t ever feel discouraged,
‘Cause Jesus is your friend,
And if you lack for knowledge,
He’ll not refuse to lend. (Chorus)

If you cannot preach like Peter,
If you cannot pray like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
And say He died for all. (Chorus)

You’re encouraged to use the following process as you read scripture.
We use this process together on Wednesdays at 8:00AM EST.
https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMCSarasota

Scripture: Psalm 3, NRSV

Breath Prayers
IN: I cry aloud to the Lord
OUT: and he answers me from his holy hill

IN: I lie down and sleep
OUT: I wake again, for the Lord sustains me OR for the Lord sustains me

STILLNESS: Spend 5-20 minutes in silence looking to God and listening for God.

ATTENTION: Read or listen to the Scripture. What word, phrase, or verse captures your attention? Underline it or copy it onto a piece of paper.

CONNECTION: What connections do you see to other scriptures? To your own experience or current situation? Or, to the character or promises of God?

ACTION: What is God inviting you to trust, say, or do? How will your life be different because of this scripture?

PRAY: Talk to God about what you just experienced or anything else on your heart.

Contact Information:
941-924-7756
trinity@iTrinity.org

Recorded 7/1/2020

Bind Us Together
CCLI Song # 1228; CCLI License # 686715
Bob Gillman © 1977, Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Bind us together, Lord, bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord, bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together in love.

There is only one God, there is only one King,
There is only one Body, that is why we sing:

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Midweek Devotion- Psalm 3 © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

My Needs, My Hopes- a prayer based on Matthew 4

left human hand photo

Photo by Jonas Ferlin on Pexels.com

What would it be like to turn toward Jesus right now and place everything into His healing hands? All you are planning and working for. All you are feeling and longing for. All that weighs heavy upon you – for yourself, those you know, and our weary world.

God is near. God is good. God is strong to save.
Let us pray…

Jesus, my Light, my Savior
Breaker of Chains
Bringer of Grace and Hope

I’ve been carrying this by myself
I hear your call to repentance
The turning will save me
Save me
Save us

I’ve been trying to make it right in my own strength
I hear your Good News
The trusting will save me
Save me
Save us

I place every need into your healing hands
name your needs

I place every hope into your divine care
name your hopes

I’m listening
pause in silence

Thank you for receiving it all
Receiving me

In you, I find rest and wholeness
In you, I find life
Now and New and Forever
Blessed be your Name
Amen

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My Needs, My Hopes, a prayer based on Matthew 4 © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Praying for the Pandemic (Matthew 8)

Fasting Prayer graphic

How are you doing, dear one? Really, how are you?

A friend said our situation reminded her of the polio epidemic. She told stories of the precautions and the fears and those she knew who got sick.

I have nothing to compare this to. Over and over again I find myself saying, “We’ve never been through this before.”

Folks are working so hard. There’s wonderful information on steps to take to keep yourself and others safe. Please be wise and compassionate and wash those hands!

Below are some suggestions for how to pray. That’s how I process stuff that feels big. I write prayers and pass them along hoping they’ll be helpful. ⁠

There’s, of course, no one way to pray or the right way to pray. I’m offering a way to pray using a passage of scripture as a guide. It’s a rich, long-standing practice that’s broadened both the content and language of my prayers. It also keeps me grounded in God’s character and promises.

I find this prayer practice especially helpful in times of great need, as we are in right now. I hope it is helpful for you. 

Matthew 8 found me Thursday morning as I was using the Lenten Bible Reading Plan. In this one chapter, there are five diverse stories of Jesus’ healing power. I chose this passage (or it chose me) to guide the prayer. ⁠

Let’s use this passage to guide our prayers today. Leave a comment below with other scriptures which would be helpful to guide our prayers.

Keep praying dear ones. Prayer is doing something. The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. – Lisa <

Jesus, we see you healing the leper (Matthew 8:1-4). Hear our prayer
For the quarantined
The stranded
The vulnerable
Those feeling isolated
And those being treated as diseased outcasts
End the prejudice and mistreatment
Make us one in you
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, we hear the Centurion and see you healing the paralyzed servant (Matthew 8:5-13). Hear our prayer
For those feeling paralyzed
by fear
by uncertainty
by the markets

For business owners and all unable to work
For students and educators as schools close
For congregations unable to gather
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, hear our prayer
For those, like the Centurion, risking much to help others
Medical professionals and researchers
Health Departments, the CDC, and the WHO
Cleaning crews
First responders
Those who work in assisted living facilities and nursing homes

Like the Centurion, grant us all great faith
And the strength to ask for help
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, we see you healing Peter’s mother-in-law, bedridden with a fever (Matthew 8:14-17). Hear our prayer
For equal access to testing and treatment
For virus carriers and authorities to make wise choices
For an end to this pandemic

Heal all who are sick with the virus and those who will become sick
Raise them from their sickbeds to bless their homes and communities
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, we see you crossing to the other side to heal the Gadarene Demoniacs (Matthew 8:28-34).
Deliver us from evil, Jesus
End its destructive influence
Turn the hearts of all who use this pandemic for selfish gain

Deliver us from panic, Jesus
Help all who are struggling with their mental health
All who’s souls are screaming
We welcome your presence and peace
Lord, hear our prayer

Jesus, we see you calm the storm (Matthew 8:23-27)
The situation is beyond us, Jesus
It feels out of control and dangerous
We are swamped
We are perishing

Save us, Jesus
The waves of news and need overwhelm us
But not you
You calm the storm
You bring good out of this great need
You hear our prayer
Glory to your Holy Name. Amen.

Be sure to also check out Sarah Bessey’s Breath Prayers for Anxious Times. Grounded in scripture. Centering. Honest. 

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Praying for the Pandemic © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
(by Lisa Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com). Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer: Standing in the Love of Jesus

There’s power in the name of Jesus
So Jesus, we speak your Name
For you are Savior, you are Lord
You are King of Kings
You are Emmanuel, God with us
You are the Bread of Life
The Way, Truth, Life
You are the First and the Last
The Beginning and the End
You died and behold, you are alive forevermore

Jesus, thank you for the chance to praise your Name
To experience you in prayer and song
To experience you in the beauty of community with each other

Jesus, we’ve gathered with many, many needs
Just like those who gathered long ago
Needs that are our own
Needs of those we love
Needs of those we don’t know
But we know about them because we’ve heard the stories
Your beautiful Name makes our hearts soft to the needs of the world

In your Name, Jesus, we lift up needs
The need for healing of bodies
Healing of minds
Healing of spirits
Healing for families
Healing of broken, corrupt, unjust systems

Jesus, we call on your Name
For first responders who see us everyday
At our most broken and at our worst
For teachers, doctors, nurses
Those who work in halfway houses,
Soup kitchens and homeless shelters
Those who serve in prisons
Those who serve in places hard and uncomfortable
Those who put food on our table by the sweat of their brow
Those who are looking for work

Jesus, we call on your Name
For those who have no one to pray for them
Those who are thinking about hurting themselves
Those who feel they have no place to belong
Those enslaved by their choices
Those who seek to do evil
Those who feel they have no need of you
Those who feel they are beyond your love and grace
Because of you, none of us are

Your arms are open wide in welcome
Your hand is reaching forth in healing and belonging
Thank you, Jesus, for your saving embrace

This prayer was inspired by the song Stand in Your Love by Josh Baldwin, Bethel Music

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Prayer: Standing in the Love of Jesus © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.