Prayer for Paperwork

photograph by Shane Pope via Flickr

Many professions require essays and other types of paperwork to be completed before accreditation. For persons seeking ordination in the United Methodist Church, there are multiple rounds of essays, paperwork, examinations and interviews. This prayer was written with them in mind, with the hope it will be a blessing to others as well. – Lisa <><

clomid and antibiotics

Prayer for Paperwork
Jesus
Holy One
Pioneer and Perfector
You go before us to prepare the way.
Shine your light and your peace
on those preparing paperwork in the midst of life and service.

Calm their hearts and minds.
Defend them from frustration and doubt.
Make space for reflection and creation.

Fill their work with your wisdom, clarity, and faithfulness.
Fulfill your promises and plans for them.
Encourage them and empower them with lives full of your fruit,
Lives which bring honor and glory to your Name.

Most of all, Faithful One,
In the midst of the stress and pressure,
Remind them of their worth in your eyes,
That they are beloved and treasured by you
That their very being brings you delight
now and always, Amen.
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Prayer for Paperwork © 2012 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 use of the scripture, art and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Blessing College Students as They Leave for School

Blessing College Students as They Leave for School
We offer this blessing during worship the second Sunday in August. This is usually the last Sunday our college students are in worship before they return to school.

The students are invited to stand where they are seated. (Option: If the congregation is small enough, the students could be introduced at this time and/or given a gift.) The rest of the congregation is then invited to stand and lay a hand of support and blessing on the student closest to them.

Option: The blessing may begin with an invitation for the congregation to offer their own prayers for the students silently or aloud. The following prayer concludes the time of blessing.

ONE: Holy One,
Bless and protect these college students
as they leave us to begin another school year.

Keep them encouraged and full of hope.
Surround them with godly influences and opportunities.

Fill them with discernment,
that they may remain focused, disciplined and far from foolishness.

Grant these students the mind of Christ-
that they may grow in your wisdom and truth
that they may serve with both power and compassion
that they may carry your light onto their campuses

Thank you for these students
and for providing the resources for them to continue their education.
Thank you for family members, friends, teachers and coaches
who have mentored and supported them so that this day might be possible.
Thank you for creating us with the capacity to think, speak, discover and reason.
We rejoice in these good gifts from you and give you the honor and glory for them.

Receive our thanks and extend your blessing in the name of Jesus,
who saves us and leads us and teaches us to pray…

Finish with all praying The Lord’s Prayer

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Blessing College Students as They Leave for School © 2012 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 and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

A Prayer for Those with Influence

Influence by Joel Washington

Imagine a still, cool pool. You drop a pebble into the water and watch the ripples. That one, small stone influences the movement of the water in many directions. It influences what happens below the surface as well.

All lives have influence. Little comments, kindnesses and prayers ripple through lives in ways we can see and ways we will not know until we go home to heaven.

Some people, however, find themselves in large public forums, where their words and actions are made known to millions on a regular basis. They have the means to shape public opinion on national and international levels.

Consider:

  • Celebrities, editors and producers who influence trends and lifestyle choices
  • Government officials who influence public policy, legislation, and judicial action
  • Educators who influence what children learn and the way they learn it
  • Pastors of huge congregations and denominational representatives who are called upon to speak for Christianity
  • Media outlet executives who influence what information we receive and how we receive it
  • Activist groups who raise awareness on some issues but not others, who control great sums of charitable giving
  • Business interests who influence how things are made, distributed, and priced

Leadership = influence = power

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NRSV)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

As Christ followers, we are to pray for persons of influence on a regular basis. Who will you lift up with the following prayer or a prayer of your own making? Have you ever written a prayer and sent it to a person of influence? – Lisa <><

Almighty God, move with conviction and salvation upon individuals and groups with cultural influence. Make them aware of all you have entrusted to their care. Surround them with godly counsel and give them the courage to heed it, even in the face of great pressures. Fill them to overflowing with the fruit of your Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Raise up in them a deep desire to promote justice and the common good that they in turn may raise up others to lives of honor, integrity and compassion for all persons. Nurture in them a reverence for your power and authority that they in turn may point others to you. We ask this in the name of Jesus and for your eternal glory. Amen.

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For another prayer on this theme by Steve Garnaas-Holmes entitled A Prayer for Justice, click here

For an excellent article about the influences of today’s featured artist, Joel Washington, click here

For a worship resource entitled A Prayer for Those who Govern, click here

A Prayer for Those with Influence © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

For more information on the use of the scripture translation, art and this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Prayer for Bishop Carter

Bishop Ken CarterLast week, several jurisdictions of the United Methodist Church gathered representatives for the election and appointing of bishops. Five new bishops were elected in the SE jurisdiction. (were I live and serve.)

On September 1, my conference (the connection of United Methodist congregations in Florida) will receive a new bishop, Rev. Dr. Ken Carter from North Carolina. You can get to know our new bishop through his blog and through this nomination website. I am already hearing and seeing great things about his wisdom, experience and devotion. Praise the Lord for providing faithful servant leaders!

Thank you for your continued prayers during Bishop Whitaker’s transition into retirement, Bishop Carter’s transition into leadership, and both families as they move to different states. Please also remember the many other conferences that are also in a season of transition. – Lisa <><

Lord of All, thank you for sending us a new bishop to shepherd us, teach us, and preside over us. Fill your son and servant Ken with strength to lead and wisdom to discern. Grant him eyes to see what is needed and eyes to see what you are providing. Protect him from every attack, discouragement and falsehood. Raise up godly people to counsel and companion him. Infuse the influence of your son and servant Ken with prophetic power, so every congregation is cut to the heart with compassion for all people, so your Name is glorified in word and deed. Use him to focus us and unite us in your mission of salvation, reconciliation and new life. We trust the movement of your Holy Spirit in this time and season, and cry out for a fresh anointing upon Ken and upon us. Come Spirit, come. Amen.

Independence Day 2012: A Prayer for Those Who Govern

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the 1957 ‘Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom’.

A Prayer for Those Who Govern
Optional: Begin the prayer with America the Beautiful
United Methodist Hymnal #969, first verse and chorus:

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!

ONE:
Lord of All,
As we celebrate another Independence Day,
we confess our dependence on you.
Thank you for extending abundance, mercy, and protection
to our nation through the years.
Every resource, freedom, and opportunity we have is a good gift from you.
Without you, we are lost.

ALL:
In humility, we seek your face.
In repentance, we turn from our ungrateful, destructive and selfish ways.
In faith, we call on your power to forgive our sin and heal our land.

Optional: Sing another portion of American the Beautiful
United Methodist Hymnal #696, verse two and chorus:

O beautiful for heroes prov’d in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov’d, and mercy more than life.
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness, and ev’ry gain divine.

ONE:
Pour out your Holy Spirit on those who govern our land,
Leaders of our nation, our state, and our community
and all who are running for office.
Grant them a love of justice.

Open their minds with wisdom and compassion,
so that all people may be treated fairly and with dignity.
Open their ears to the cries of the desperate and powerless
so cycles of poverty, disease, and abuse may be broken.
Open their eyes to see how best to respond and
open their hearts with courage to do the right thing,
even when pressured to do otherwise.

Dawn a new day of integrity and servant leadership upon our land.
Shower down your Spirit of collaboration for the common good
that there may be lasting peace and plenty for all.

Congregation is invited to lift up their own prayers for our nation

ONE:
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Leader and Savior forever,
Who taught us to pray,

All pray the Lord’s Prayer.

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For another prayer suitable for Independence Day try A Prayer for our Country by Steve Garnaas-Holmes.

America the Beautiful by Katherine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward.
Public Domain.

A Prayer for Those Who Govern © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

For more information on the use of the scripture translation, art and this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Daily Bread: A Collection of Table Graces

Bread by Think Draw via Wikimedia Commons.

Acts 27:35-36 (NIV)
After he said this, Paul took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.

Traditional Lutheran
Common Table Prayer

Come Lord Jesus, be our guest,
let this food to us be blessed, Amen.

A Slovak Lutheran tradition adds a second verse:
And may there be a goodly share
on every table everywhere.

My friend Kevin Baker modified the text slightly so you can sing it to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”
Come Lord Jesus, be our guest
May all these gifts to us be blessed
Blessed be God who is our bread
May all the world be clothed and fed. Amen.

Traditional Scouting Grace
Neath these tall green trees we stand
Asking blessings from Thy hand
Thanks we give to thee above
For Thy help and strength and love.

Wayfarer’s Grace
May be sung to the same tunes as “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”
or “For The Beauty of the Earth”

For all the glory of the way
For all thy protection night and day
For rooftree, fire, and bed and board
For friends and home we thank thee Lord.

Table Grace by Alcuin of York
Lord Christ, we ask you to spread our table with your mercy. And may you bless with your gentle hands the good things you have given us. We know that whatever we have comes from your lavish heart, for all that is good comes from you. Thus whatever we eat, we should give thanks to you. And having received from your hands, let us give with equally generous hands to those who are poor, breaking bread and sharing our bread with them. For you have told us that whatever we give to the poor we give to you.

Table Grace attributed to Brigid of Kildare
I should like a great lake of finest ale
For the King of kings.
I should like a table of the choicest food
For the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made of the fruits of faith,
And the food be forgiving love.

I should welcome the poor to my feast,
For they are God’s children.
I should welcome the sick to my feast,
For they are God’s joy.
Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place,
And the sick dance with the angels.

God bless the poor,
God bless the sick,
And bless our human race.
God bless our food,
God bless our drink,
All homes, O God, embrace.

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For more information on use of the scripture, art and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Opening Prayer for Relay for Life

The opening survivor lap from the first DeBary/Orange City Relay for Life held May 5, 2012 at Gemini Springs Park. Photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

It was a joy to be invited to offer the opening prayer at our first ever DeBary/Orange City Relay for Life. “Relay” reminds me of “race” which reminds me of Hebrews 12:1-3. As I read the passage, I was taken with how well it spoke to the spirit of the event, especially the image of the great cloud of witnesses.

In its original context, the great cloud of witnesses refers to the deceased faithful who go before us, inspiring and cheering us on in our efforts to follow Christ. As I looked out over the crowd waiting to be blessed, I saw a great cloud of witnesses to the reality of cancer- survivors, caregivers, community leaders, those remembering loved ones overcome by the disease. Their loving, generous and sacrificial witness, and the witness of so many who have gone before them, inspires us to persevere in working to end cancer. – Lisa <><

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NRSV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

Opening Prayer for Relay for Life
Merciful God, we thank you for this great and glorious day
A day to join you in ending cancer

We bless you and thank you for surrounding us with so great a cloud of witnesses:
Bless those who have gone before us, whether living or departed,
who cheer us on in this effort.
Bless all who have gathered here today
and those who are gathering in other locations for their own Relay for Life.
Extend your strength and grace to medical professionals and caregivers,
as they come alongside those who are suffering from cancer.
Pour out favor and wisdom on fundraisers and researchers
as they pour out themselves to defeat all cancer for all time.
Shower comfort, peace and healing on all who have cancer right now.
Meet their needs in body, mind and spirit.

Cancer is a heavy burden, bringing discouragement, pain, and heartbreak.
Help all who are touched by this disease to not grow weary.
Help us to not lose heart.
Empower us to overcome,
to lay aside every weight that would keep us from this noble task.
Fill us with Your Spirit that we may run this race with perseverance and joy and hope.
Strengthen us with the promise that You go before us and with us in this good fight.
May this day draw us to your great love.
May this day bring you honor.
May this day bring victory over cancer. Amen.

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© 2012 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 use of the art, scripture translations and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page

Prayer for Unity

Psalm 133:1 (NRSV)
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

The response to injustice is to share.
The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope. The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness. To work for community is to work for humanity.
- L’Arche Founder Jean Vanier, Community and Growth

This week closes in the shadows of fear: fear of those who are different,
fear of losing power, fear of not having enough…

These fears are seen in the ways political candidates speak of one another, in the struggles of Syria and so many other countries, in the encounter of Martin and Zimmerman. These fears were all made real in the brokenness of my denomination as the governing body met this week. The most painful day fell on the National Day of Prayer.

I long for our congregations, neighborhoods and nation to experience the unity described in this psalm. Unity is unique in our self exalting, win-lose society. Yet when it is born, it is quickly recognized as precious and pleasing. Its abundant blessing pervades and invades in the life giving ways of God.

Let us seek it together in word, action and prayer.

Holy God, One yet Three, reach into the abundance of Your companionship and bring forth unity and healing. Bring it forth in our land and all the nations of the world. Bring it forth in places of power and places of great need. Bring it forth in Your people. Pour out peace on violent homes and hearts. Shower compassion on selfish and short sighted motives. Rain down love and understanding so all are covered in Your blessing and harmony and life, forevermore… forevermore. Amen.

Our separateness is the most seductive illusion.
God’s one kiss awakens us.
You are one with the stranger, the enemy,
the very ones you distance yourself from.
Their blood runs in your veins,
your dreams haunt them.
We breathe in one another.
One hand holds us all.
– Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Made into One

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© 2012 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 use of the art, scripture translations and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Prayer for Earth Day

Antelope Canyon by Luca Galuzzi. Photo via Wikipedia Commons

Glorious One
Maker of galaxies
Maker of mountains
Maker of me
Thank you for your grace
Thank you for reaching out
For speaking through the majesty of your creation
For speaking into the smallness of my soul
Speak again
Help me to listen and to follow
Now and always
Amen

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© 2012 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 photo and the use of this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Call to Prayer for General Conference

God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.
— John Wesley

From April 24 through May 4 of this year, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be meeting in Tampa, Florida. This gathering of laity and clergy are the decision making body of our denomination.

In preparation for the event, a resource has been written entitled 50 Days of Prayer Before & During General Conference 2012. This guide will allow United Methodists all over the world to actively support the spiritual preparation needed before the General Conference and intercede faithfully during the ten days of the Conference.

Through use of this resource, we will unite in prayer for God’s will to be done in God’s way and in God’s time. The kingdom of God comes through prayer and discernment. We want God to lead and shape the future of The United Methodist Church.

This is your official invitation, whether you are Methodist or not, to be part of this prayer movement. It will be a powerful time for God’s people to be praying with and for one another. – Lisa <><

You can receive this resource in several ways:
•   Purchase a printed copy by phoning 855-469-3386 or buy one online through the link on the right side of the page
•   Download a free PDF version to your computer or reading device in English, French or Portuguese. Look for the links on the left side of the page.
•   Have each day’s reading sent to your e-mail address. Subscribe on the right side of the page.