Tag Archives: litany

Blessing of Students


Students in Atlanta go back to school this week, and we will pray for students and teachers in worship this morning. This is my prayer, for them and for the students in your community!

O God, we give you thanks,
for the start of another school year and the renewed energy that comes with it.
We pray for the students of this church and this city.
Be present in their classrooms.
Let them be safe, known, and challenged.
Be present in their hallways.
Help them share your loving kindness with one another.
As their knowledge deepens, so may their faith.
As they learn about the beauty and brokenness of the world you love so,
May they find the places where their gifts can make a world of difference.
O Christ, you were called “teacher” by the ones who knew you best.
Bless the teachers in this church family,
and all the teachers who will cross paths with our students.
Give them strength and patience, wisdom and comfort,
And teach us all to be students of your grace.
In the spirit we pray, Amen.

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Prayers from Matthew and Esther: For Such a Time as This

These prayers were written with Matthew 10:34-49 and Esther 4:1-17 in my mind and my transgender friends in my heart.

Let us pray.

Speak to us this day, O God,
and humble us to hear your word.
Make us still enough to notice your presence,
Quiet enough to hear your voice,
Brave enough to speak your good news,
and wise enough to follow your spirit.

So often we pray to you for life:
to preserve life, to prolong life,
to guard life, to begin life.
Today we pray something else.
We pray for courage to lose our life for your sake,
and we pray for the wisdom to find it.

As Mordecai challenged Esther to be faithful at all costs,
make us hear the voices of people oppressed,
whose stories challenge our way of life.

We pray for your children everywhere:

For your people who are suffering,
Discriminated against because of their race, gender identity,
sexuality, or religion.
For your people who are fearful,
Faced with losing their access to healthcare or treatment.
For your people who are isolated,
Living in the shackles of addiction or abuse.

Holy comforter, challenger, redeemer,
We know that you are in our midst.
Help us recognize your spirit on the move,
and empower us to join your work.

Help us be your church, reformed and still being reformed.
Help us be your people, formed and still being formed.
Help us boldly share the news of your love,
For such a time as this.


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Holy Holy Holy: A Prayer from the Lips of Isaiah

Refrain: Holy are you, Lord of Hosts. Holy, holy, holy.

God of mercy we pray to you,
With all our joys and all our burdens.

Holy are you, Lord of Hosts.
Holy, holy, holy.

Your power is beyond our imagination;
Your grace is beyond our comprehension;
Your presence is beyond our senses;
Your goodness is beyond our wildest hope.

We give you thanks for the movement of your spirit:
In the church and in the world,
In the past and in the present,
In our lives and in our neighbors,
In our hearts and in our minds.

Holy are you, Lord of Hosts.
Holy, holy, holy.

Even as we praise you for your power and your might,
We carry the weight of a hurting world.
Where there is pain, breathe your comfort.
Where there hunger, help us share our bread.
Where there thirst, splash living water.
Where there is weakness, help us know your strength.

Hear the prayers of our hearts,
O God our maker,
and hear the prayers we dare not put to words.
Lift them into your being,
Lift our hearts to your presence.
Into our lives, breathe your love.
Into our silence, breathe your mercy.

Holy are you, Lord of Hosts.
Holy, holy, holy.

In the name of Christ,
In the love Christ,
In the grace of Christ, we pray.

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Alleluia Cannot Always Be our Song

Calling all Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Catholics!

Recently, a Lutheran music minister, friend, and blog reader asked me to write a litany for his church–a litany for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, when many churches engage in the ancient practice of bidding farewell to the word “alleluia” during the season of Lent. Without the word “alleluia” in Lent, the church is given space to explore a new vocabulary, one which is honest about the suffering of the world and the solemnity of Lent.

I wrote this litany with the Lutheran hymn “Alleluia Song of Gladness” in mind, and you can view the words and music here.

The litany is written to be said responsively during worship, but I hope that it speaks to all who read it individually as well. What word will replace your “alleluia” during Lent?


We heard an angel speak to Mary, and we sang “alleluia.”

We saw Jesus heal a leper, and his gasp was “alleluia.”

We have seen grace. We have seen good. We have shouted “alleluia!”

But alleluia cannot always be our song.

We see Jesus betrayed and broken, and we hear no alleluia.

We see ourselves betrayed and broken, and we have no alleluia.

We know suffering. We see sadness. We shout out in silence.

Alleluia cannot always be our song.

In Lent, we journey towards the cross, and we leave behind our “alleluia.”

Today, we bury our alleluia, and silence fills its place.


Silence will not always be our song.

On Easter, we will once again claim our “alleluia!”

We will hear that the tomb is empty, and we will shout out “alleluia!”

We will see our risen Lord, and he will look like “alleluia.”

But alleluia cannot always be our song.

Today, we bury our alleluia, and silence fills its place.


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Hear the Prayers of Women

In honor of domestic violence awareness month, a litany for women.

Lord, hear the prayers of women,

        of bodies objectified by culture,

       spirits broken by sexism,

       minds denied access to education.

Lord, hear the prayers of women,

       of mothers who sacrifice their happiness,

       daughters who are sacrificed on the altar of patriarchy,

       sisters who are disempowered and isolated.

Lord, hear the prayers of women,

       of victims who are silenced and ignored,

       advocates who are threatened and disempowered,

       children who are powerless and terrified.

Lord, hear the prayers of women,

       of students seeking to be taken seriously,

       graduates tirelessly searching for jobs,

       professionals repeatedly denied promotions.

Lord, hear the prayers of women,

       and tell us to keep praying.

Tell us to keep dreaming,

       keep chanting,

Keep dancing,

       keep laughing,

Keep asking,

       keep crying,

Keep shouting.

       And may our shouts bring awareness.

May the the awareness bring action.

       May the action bring change.

May the change bring peace.

       May the peace bring joy.

Lord, hear the prayers of women.


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October 3, 2013 · 11:40 am

How Long? A Litany for Peace.

Two years ago, I wrote this litany in response to the Treyvon Martin ruling. In the wake of the Charleston shooting last night, its words seem to be especially relevant. May it bring some peace.

Refrain (Sung)


How long will injustice overwhelm your people? And how long will your people be silent?


How long will we wait until justice prevails–until you are feared more than corrupt laws and unjust court systems? until your peace is more coveted than power and money? How long until love speaks louder than hatred?


How long until we all come to defend what is righteous, instead of defending the status quo? until we ignite flames to melt injustice, instead of pretending we don’t feel its frigid breeze against our skin?


We know, oh God, that you love justice, mercy, and kindness. How long until we learn to love them, too? We know that you walk with the stranger, the outsider, the poor, the oppressed. How long until we walk with them, too?


Hear us, God. Move us, God. Empower us, that our whispers of hope might become shouts for justice–shouts of truth so true that it cannot be ignored, shouts of love so deep that it cannot be overcome, shouts of your spirit so present that you cannot be denied.


And may those shouts someday turn to laughter–the calm, joyful laughter of a peaceful land, where wolf lies down with lamb, neighbor with neighbor, stranger with stranger. And until then, may we keep praying, “How long?”



May it be so.

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