Tag Archives: reformed

Spirit of Fire: Prayers for Pentecost

These are the prayers I shared in worship at Central Presbyterian Church of Atlanta this Sunday. May the words bring you a glimpse of the Spirit of peace and comfort, passion and compassion, water and fire.

Peace,

Anna

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Spirit of fire,

descend upon our hearts,

and dare us to join the dance of your flames.

Fill us with your presence,

and inspire us with your passion;

Let us see the world wrapped in Pentecost red,

so full of life that joy is bursting at the seams.

Challenge us by your spirit to be bearers of your peace,

midwives of your new life,

followers of your compassion.

 

Move us to recognize your spirit sweeping across the city and the world,

ready to release us from unjust systems and lifeless routines.

Move us to know the fragrance of your sweet spirit,

ready to revive us and breathe life into old bones.

 

Spirit of fire, descend upon our hearts,

and dare us to join the dance of your flames.

 

On this Pentecost day we give thanks for the birth of the church,

and we give thanks for the new life bubbling up on the margins.

We pray for new churches, seeking to follow you in a new way,

and old churches, seeking to follow you in a new day.

 

On this week of the anniversary of D-Day,

we pray for people impacted by war, families shattered by war,

lives ended by war, children who only know a world at war.

Spirit of peace, descend upon our world,

and dare us to follow your lead.

 

Spirit of fire, descend upon our hearts,

and dare us to join the dance of your flames.

Amen.

 

 

 

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O Gentle Shepherd: Prayers of the People on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is not a liturgical holiday.

On the Sunday of Mother’s Day each year, there is an unspoken expectation that all women be joyful, be dressed in their best sundress, and have reservations for a fancy brunch after worship. That expectation is unfair, and I hope this prayer, leaning on the imagery of the 23rd Psalm, can carry the range of emotions you may feel today.

Feel your feelings, be kind to yourself, and know that the gentle shepherd has grace enough for you. 

Hear our prayers, O gentle shepherd,
and lead us to the waters of grace.

We give you thanks, O God,
for the good news of your love and our lives:
for all that brings us laughter and joy;
For the honor of worshiping you,
and the blessing of being sent to serve your reign.
Hear our prayers, O gentle shepherd,
and lead us to the waters of grace.

We give you thanks, O God,
for the love of community,
and we pray for people among us who are in need:
For our mission partners around the world,
speaking your peace in the midst of violence;
For our neighbors in this city,
serving together to bear witness to your justice.

Hear our prayers, O gentle shepherd,
and lead us to the waters of grace.

On this mother’s day,
we give thanks for the people in our lives
who have reflected your mothering love.
And we pray, O God, for all for whom this day is difficult:
for people whose mothers have died,
or who have painful relationships with their mothers;

For people who long to be mothers
or parents who have lost their children.
For mothers whose children are far away,
and children whose mothers have been separated from them.
Hold the range of our emotions in your tender care.
Enliven us in joy, comfort us in sorrow, encourage us in despair,
and show us how to care for one another.

Hear our prayers, O gentle shepherd,
and lead us to the waters of grace.

Amen.

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Good News to the Poor: A Prayer from Luke 4:16-20

The following prayer was written for worship at Central Presbyterian Church on January 27, 2019.

Hear the words Jesus reads to begin his earthly ministry:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

  because he has anointed me

    to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

  and recovery of sight to the blind,

    to let the oppressed go free,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

 

Let us pray.

 

We pray, O Lord, for people who are poor:

the ones to whom you came with good news.

Challenge us to bear that good news:

to be agents of change and witnesses of love;

to be makers of peace and sharers of bread.

 

We pray, O Lord, for people who are captives:

the ones to whom you came with release.

For people who are victims of war or violence;

for people who are captured by ideologies and systems.

Release us, O Lord. Release them, O Lord,

and teach us to unbind one another’s chains.

 

We pray, O Lord, for your spirit,

the spirit which blew over the waters of creation,

the spirit which was upon you at baptism,

the spirit which sustains your church through the ages.

As the spirit was upon you, O Lord,

may we notice her in our world:

Calling us to lives that reflect your justice and your mercy.

Amen.

 

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Remembrance: A Baptismal Prayer

Central Presbyterian Baptismal FontIn water, you create life, O God.

In water, you wash us.

In water, you claim us.

In water, you bind us in the presence of the Spirit.

In water, you mark us in the love of Jesus Christ.

 

In the act of baptism,

we hear your promises and we make our own:

promises to teach the stories of your love;

promises to support one another in faith;

promises to care deeply for your children:

not only the children in our own churches,

not only the children in churches,

but all the ones whom you call blessed.

 

We give you thanks, O God, for baptism

and ask for lives shaped by its waters.

Pour your holy spirit out on these waters,

that they may be the sign and seal of your grace for us.

In the name of the holy trinity we pray. Amen.

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Christmas in July: The Prayer of the Angels

I have the joy of serving as liturgist for a conference at Massanetta Springs this week, and tomorrow in worship, we will hear the Christmas story.  Turns out the song of the angels was just what I needed on a steamy July week, and I hope it sings to you as well.

Massanetta Font

Glory to God in the highest heaven,  and peace on the earth God loves.

That was the prayer of the angels, O Lord,

and that is our prayer as well.

Glory to you in the highest heaven,

and peace on the earth you love.

 

We pray for peace indeed, O Lord,

peace that is not the absence of conflict

but the presence of justice and love;

Peace that is not bound by our attempts at compromise

but is stretched across the world in the fabric of your love.

Glory to you in the highest heaven,

and peace on the earth you love.

 

We give you thanks for that earth, O Lord,

and for all the good things in it:

For the mountains which hint at the beauty of your reign;

For the waters which carry the message of your grace;

For the fruits which teach us the sweetness of your love;

For the animals which show us what it is to be joyful;

We give you thanks, O Lord,

For friends and family united by blood or spirit;

For the church seeking to be your body;

For your spirit, guiding us all along the way.

Glory to you in the highest heaven,

and peace on the earth you love.

 

Peace, we pray, O Lord, for the earth and all people in it.

Where there is strife, make peace rain with the waters.

Where there is violence, show us how to start again.

Where there racism, convict us, challenge us,

forgive us, and transform us.

Wherever we are broken, love us into wholeness.

Glory to you in the highest heaven,

and peace on the earth you love.

 

We pray all these things boldly in love,

in the name of the one who was Love for us. Amen.

 

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A Mighty Love: Prayers for Reformation Sunday

A mighty fortress are you, O God,

Creator, redeemer,

Protector, provider.

 

The earth is yours, and all that is in it.

We give you thanks for the bounty of our lives,

and the abundance of your creation.

Move us to recognize your gifts, O Lord,

and challenge us to share them.

 

A mighty fortress are you, O God,

Creator, redeemer,

Protector, provider.

 

A mighty love are you, O God,

Parent, teacher,

Comforter, friend.

 

You walk with us through joy and heartbreak,

and you bind us together in holy community.

You poured out your grace in the life of Christ,

and we witnessed your love in his resurrection.

 

Move us to know the depth of your love,

and challenge us to share it.

 

A mighty love are you, O God,

Parent, teacher,

Comforter, friend.

 

A mighty Spirit are you, O God,

Reformer, sustainer,

Challenger, change-agent.

 

On this Reformation Day,

we give you thanks for the saints of our faith,

who have followed your leading at any cost:

For Mary, John, and Peter,

who were there to tell the news of the first Easter Day;

For Paul, Lydia, and Chloe,

who built the church on the foundation you laid;

For Martin, John, and Marie,

who dared to lead your people in Reforming;

For all the reformers since,

who have dared to challenge the status quo.

 

A mighty Spirit are you, O God,

Reformer, sustainer,

Challenger, change-agent.

 

As we remember the Reformation 500 years ago,

do not let us sit idly and reflect on the past.

Move us to follow your Holy Spirit

into the leading of the future.

 

Help us to be your church, reformed and still being reformed.

Help us to be your people, formed and still being formed.

 

Glory be to you alone,

Soli deo Gloria.

 

Move us to be people reformed and reforming,

standing on the cornerstones of our faith:

Scripture alone, Christ alone,

Faith alone, Grace alone,

Glory always, to you alone,

Knowing that we are never alone.

Amen.

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Awaken Us: A Confession for Romans 13:8-14

Living God,

You beckon us to wake from our sleep,

to open our eyes to the goodness of your reign,

the injustice of our world, and the gap in between.

You call us to follow in the path of your love.

Forgive us, O God, when we choose the easy way.

Forgive us, O God, when we choose the selfish way, the fast way,

the successful way, the nice way,

the friendly way, the comfortable way.

Convict us, awaken us, empower us, and enliven us

to follow the Way of justice and love.

Amen.

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