Friday, June 17, 2016

Prayers of the Church, 6.19.16

God of all, we marvel at the beauty of your world.  Even with all its blemishes and scars, it is a majestic creation. 

And even though we are part of it, even though we are surrounded by it, many of us fail to see the world’s grandeur.  Instead, many of us see your world through the lens of addiction.

Regardless of the cause, our addictions can get in the way of serving you, of doing your will.  Our addictions can hurt those around us.   

Help us be honest with where we are, Lord.  Help us look starkly at ourselves and see the challenges we face.  At the same time, let us not be overcome by what we see, what we realize.  Do not let us be overcome by guilt and shame.  Instead, allow us to remember that you love us supremely and that you have made our imperfect lives white as snow in the name of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Forgive us for the hurt we cause others, and allow them to experience forgiveness for us, too.

If we fail, when we back-slide, remind us that you are there for us always, with open arms, calling us back to you.

Give us the gift of perseverance – to carry on, and to continue our efforts to be more Christ-like, even in with our feelings of inadequacy.  Help us ever strive to break the chains of bondage that often stand in the way of allowing us to do your will.

Thank you for our Christian family – our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.  Help us open ourselves up to them and allow them to surround us with love, just like the love that Jesus showed to us.

Help us move forward without fear, focusing our lives on service to your world, loving those around us, and glorifying you with our words and our deeds.

In the silence, gracious God, hear us.

Hear our cries, O God.  Listen to our prayers.

And now we pray together, as a family, the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Prayers of the Church, 6.5.16

Great and majestic Lord,

We come before you today grateful for your limitless love and thankful for your unending grace.  Our actions or inaction would most certainly cause an earthly king to question our loyalty, to consider turning us away.

Selfish desire makes us prone to wander.

Hardship makes us prone to leave the God we love.

We grieve for loss.  We lament the passing of people and things we love.  In our sorrow, we can believe that you don’t exist, and in our mourning even worse – that this is what you are really like – the God of pain.

In our pain, people can try to comfort us with the consolations of religion.  We don’t want or need that!  We need Jesus Christ, not something that resembles Him. We need the close embrace of Christ-like brothers and sisters who will nurture us and point us toward the cross.

Help us remember the resurrection.  Help us remember you are the God of love – a love so deep that you gave up what you loved most for people like us.

In the silence, Father, hear our prayers of loss…….and hear our prayers of thanksgiving that your love is the only love that is pure, unselfish, and totally full of the grace that saves us.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

And now we pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us:  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Prayers of the Church, 2.7.16

No longer slaves to sin.

Lord, that is our prayer as we come before you today… that we are no longer slaves to sin.  Help us embrace the gift of your son, the gift of our baptism -- our cleansing -- and the grace that they represent and that has truly set us free.

We are slaves to sin because we are slaves to ourselves, our typically selfish wants and desires…

We think we can love, when the love we think we are experiencing is really all about us.

We think we can serve when the act of service is really about us and about us feeling good about what we’ve done.

We think we can live Godly lives when the purpose of such lives is really so we can control our goodness and show others how wonderful we are.

Free us from this sin, Lord.  Wash us clean.  Put us down in the water, Father; hold us down until we shed our love of self to such a great degree that the love of Christ is all that is left.

Set us free from the sin of loving ourselves too much or hating ourselves the same.  Regardless, the focus is on us and not your kingdom.

In the silence, Father, bathe us in your presence, cleanse us with your spirit.

You call us to seek first the kingdom of God.  Help us be Christ-like as we seek your kingdom.  Help us be Christ-like as we love our neighbors and even more so our enemies.  Help us be Christ-like as we dig in and get mixed up with the messiness of this world in your name.

In the name of Jesus, we ask that we love as Jesus loves.

In the name of Jesus, we call upon you to help us seek your kingdom above all else and then follow where that focus leads.

In the name of Jesus, we cry out to you, O Lord.  Cleanse us.  Help us commit ourselves to you.

Allow us to trust you to move forward, not relying on ourselves, but in the one who set us free by his death, burial and resurrection…Help us remember our baptisms.  Help us remember when we were still so focused on pleasing you. 

Help us understand your freedom, the freedom that is ours through your grace and the sacrifice of your son who taught us to pray:

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Prayers of the Church, 9.20.15

Dearest Father, holy, holy is your name.  We bow before your greatness and majesty.  Thank you for allowing us to call you Father.  Thank you that we belong to you.  Thank you for never separating us from you and for allowing us to be your children. 

We pray that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Help us to mean this.  Reveal your will to us, and help us follow it.  Your will, not our will; your plan, not our plan; your direction, not our direction.  We thank you that when we stray from your will, you are ready to lovingly and gently accept us back…any and every time.  Help us remember that you never promised us a world or lives free from pain, suffering, or discomfort.  Help us remember, help us internalize, that what you promised through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is that we don’t have to endure alone.  You are with us, and you have given us the body – our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ – as our earthly support, guidance, and care.  Help us be present for each other.

We ask, Lord, that you give us what we need, every day.  We have that promise from you.  Help us expect it.  Let us be satisfied with what you give us; let us be generous, we pray, and give us caring and sharing spirits.  Help us to be aware and to act to bless those you constantly put in our paths.

We ask your forgiveness for our sins.  We are thankful that we have this promise, too, and that you are always ready to forgive.  Help us be forgiving of those who wrong us or who we think wrong us.  Help us be forgiving of our own failures.  Bless those who are different from us, and help us bless them, too, recognizing and focusing on our similarities.  Bless our enemies.  Help us make the effort to understand them and see them how you see them – as loved, as valuable, and as made in your image.

Father, help us fight all the temptation that we constantly face.  Give us strength to constantly seek your kingdom first, putting our personal desires and wants away while we focus on what you want for your world, your kingdom, your children.

In the silence, accept our thankful prayers and our hopeful petitions. 


Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. 

As we thank you for your love and your care, we thank you also for the wonderful servants you raise up, prepare, and send out to every part of the globe.  We are grateful for the Headens and their decades of selfless ministry to the least, the last, and the lost.  Thank you for their example of sacrifice.  Thank you for their example of seeking your kingdom first over all else.  Thank you for allowing us to serve with them to better your world.

Now, gracious God, we raise our voices together and pray as Jesus taught us to pray: 

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today our food for the day
And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prayers of the Church, 9.28.14

Loving God, as we worship today, we are grateful for the opportunity to do so.  We are grateful for our Christian family, our brothers and sisters with whom we serve.  Thank you for providing us with such a wonderful, loving community in which to live and serve.

We bow before you now, ready to hear your call once again.

We know the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

We hear your holy scriptures.  We hear the voice of the Savior as he calls those to follow Him, as he calls US to follow him.  In our strongest voices, we reply, “we will, Lord Jesus!” but much too often we add the words “but first…”

But first, let us get our children through school
But first, let us pay off our debts,
But first let us secure our futures
But first let US take care of ourselves
But first, let us live our lives as WE WILL them
…even as you call us

You call us to feed your sheep, to minister to the sick, the distraught, the dying
You call us to bring back the lost, to share the Good News to the far reaches of the world
You call us to glorify you.

Lord God, strike the words, “But first” from our hearts, our souls, our minds.  Teach us what it means to truly be Your disciples, not just people who want to please You once it fits into our schedules, but as people whose faith allows us to follow You with abandon, knowing You will provide for us.

Help us free ourselves from the love of our comfortable, easy lives…even if we don’t always see them as comfortable or easy.  Help us internalize the knowledge that there is no other first, but following you.

In the silence, Father, speak to us…allow us to know, by faith that you prepare us for the work ahead of us.

Thank you, gracious God, for the Son of Man, divine, but made human, whose sacrifice reunited us with you. 

We now specifically ask your blessings on Emmanuel Christian Seminary, on the faculty and the staff.  Give them strength, wisdom, and peace as they work to prepare men and women for a lifetime of effective ministry.  We ask your blessings on Emmanuel’s students as they seek to learn and prepare while discerning the path You set before them.  Help all those associated with Emmanuel see your hand as it touches the seminary and guides it through a sea of change.

And now, we pray as Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God, taught us to pray:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Prayers of the Church, 3.2.14

Great and wondrous God, we are grateful to be in your presence.  We come before you now, worshiping and praising your name, singing, sharing, and loving as you have called us to do.  

We marvel at your great love, a love that is so pure that we cannot fully comprehend it as much as we try.  At the same time that we acknowledge your greatness, your majesty, Father, we are often darkened in our understanding, alienated from you because of our hard hearts and our ignorance.  We have become greedy, insensitive, and have embraced recklessness and immorality.  This is not the message of Jesus Christ.  This is not how we were taught. This is not your agenda, Father.  This is not your truth. We know from the Gospel, Father, that your word is truth.

Your word is truth, gracious Lord.  Your word teaches us how to worship, how to serve, how we should live our lives of obedience to you.    We know it pleases you when we study your word, your truth, and then use it to remake ourselves as mature followers of the Way.

Your word is truth, Father, evidenced by your limitless patience, your steadfast faithfulness.  We know you shall never forsake us.  In times of stress, help us remember that you are THE constant in our lives.

Sanctify us in the truth, O God.  Clothe us in your truth so when the darkness of evil, when the selfishness of the world closes in on us, we can break free into the light that is your love.

Send us into the church, mature Christians, ready and able to disciple, using your strength and your truth to gird up our brothers and sisters, those both new in the faith and those long-suffering servants who never give up in their efforts to glorify you.   Help us center our lives around you, your people, and your call to share the Good News with the world.

Send us into the world to share your truth, the truth that is in Jesus Christ.  Send us into the world, Father, to share your love, to turn enemy into friend, to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, and forgiving all in your name, all to glorify you.

In the silence, hear our prayers of thanksgiving for this truth, this love.  We also know you welcome our joys and sorrows and we bring them to you now.

Your Truth is in Jesus.  Our truth is in Jesus.  Praise be to you, Lord God almighty.

We now remember one of our own family, Cody Spencer, who is faithfully serving with Globalscope in Spain.  Strengthen him and his team as they work to share your truth with university students who often believe in nothing. 

And now we pray together the prayer that our truth, Jesus Christ taught us:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Prayer of the Church, 11.24.13

The Lord is our righteousness.  The Lord is our righteousness.  You, O God, are our righteousness. 

Thank you, wondrous Father that we may make a statement like that.  Help us understand the overwhelming nature of such a statement…that without you, we have nothing; without you, we are lost.

Thank you that you let us be a part of your world.  Thank you for the privilege of being your children.  Thank you for Jesus Christ who you have placed before us as our king and savior.

King Jesus of the peasant’s birth; born in lowly settings; raised the son of a tradesman.

King Jesus ridiculed for his good deeds, for his good works done in the wrong way, for his Good News.

King Jesus mocked, beaten, scourged, spat upon because he would not bow down before false gods and false religion.

King Jesus killed for our sins, crushed for our iniquities, made unclean when he took on our imperfection.

King Jesus raised from the dead and reigning forever, calling us to a life imitating him, calling us to a life of sacrifice and discomfort, calling us to a life of service, calling us to a life of glory when we are all united in the truth that is Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.  All glory to the Father that he sacrificed his son to reunite us with him…royalty made peasant…perfection made unclean.  All glory to the Father who raised King Jesus from the dead and placed the Son beside the Father.

In the silence, let us reflect on the implications of such knowledge and how it should impact our daily lives, how we should strive to follow the life, teaching, sacrifice, and love of our King and Savior, Jesus.

Thank you, wondrous Lord.

Father, as we regularly pray for those ministering in your name, we specifically bring before you some of our brothers and sisters serving in Tuebingen, Germany.  We ask your continued blessings on the European Evangelistic Society as they strive to develop international Christian leaders and Unterwegs Campus Ministry as they minister to non-Christian students at the Eberhard-Karls University.  Give them zeal for their missions, wisdom for their decisions, and patience for their toils.

And now Lord, we pray together the prayer Jesus, our King and Savior taught us: