Gracious and Almighty God, we’re here because, “relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done” (C.S. Lewis) and we “receive (our) nourishment by serving the will of the One who sent (us)”(John 4:34). Speak to us. Say something that compels us to hear truth that forces us to stop looking down on others and start looking above ourselves. We’re all sinners. And that’s ok because Grace covers all. So call us out from death and shame and encourage us to step out in faith onto the solid ground of the Living Word of God.
It’s time to release our fears and to be the church; “a community of healing not hiding, embracing not excluding, of life and not death” (Rev. Mike Kinman). “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for (us) to wake up from (our) slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). We do all of this, in the name of the Living God, Amen.
Tags: #stepoutinfaith, bible, Christ, Church, ELCA, Faith, God, Prayer, truth
Lord God, You are “our light and our salvation” (Psalm 27:1). Strengthen us by “reviving whatever peace and love has died within us” (Christian Today) so that we can see as you see. Open our eyes to see a world that needs so much more than us. Show us a world that needs You. Shift our minds to experience how love works and how love never fails. See, we don’t know You but we want to know you…because You know us, and “to be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known” (Chris Kinsley & Drew Francis). Help us to know You, Lord. We need to know You.
“Christ has no hands or feet on earth but ours” (Teresa of Avila). So let us be His body and feed those who are hungry. Not with bread alone but with the Love of God. Break down the walls of fear and hatred with the realness of looking at one another, straight in the eye, and seeing a child of God; someone who is in need of as much grace and forgiveness as we are. In the end, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Tags: bible, Body of Christ, Christ, Christian Today, Church, ELCA, Jesus, love, lutheran, Prayer, Psalm, Romans, Teresa of Avila
Author of Life, speak so that we can hear. Illuminate so that we can see that “our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring time” (Martin Luther). “Bring clarity to replace our confusion. Reveal possibilities to replace our pessimism” (Pr. James Phillips). Resurrect us from the graveyard of no expectations and the status quo. Instead, raise our expectations of ourselves, of each other and of this faith community so that we can share in the movement of the Holy Spirit, here on earth, as it is in heaven.
“When there is a mighty movement of God, no one can stop it” (Pr. James Phillips) and we need not fear, for “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the Love of God” (Romans 8:39). Faith isn’t stagnant. Faith moves. And as we move forward together, with God and with each other, let us seek Love. Let us seek Grace. Let us seek God in every divine expression.
Tags: bible, Christian, Church, ELCA, God, lutheran, Martin Luther, Pastor James Phillips, Prayer, Romans 8:39
God of comfort, envelop us in Your truth. Stop us from pointing fingers and remind us that we are unified by our humanity. Lead our hearts into Your presence. Forgive us when we forget You and each other. Instead, create a community of grace and action. Send us out there, outside of what is familiar, to the places that need grace the most, so that we can be part of building Your kingdom here in this place and in our hearts.
“When something bad happens, we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us,” (Frank Langela). Strengthen us, O Lord, to see and hear the needs of Your people. So many lives that we need to see, remember and honor. Don’t let us ever forget. Don’t let us forget.
Tags: bible, Christ, Christian, Church, ELCA, Frank Langela, God, Gospel, grace, Jesus, lutheran, Prayer, Spiritual
Guide us now, oh Great Redeemer, to a place of community with You and with each other. Engage us with a needy world, so that when we see each other, we see God in every expression. Equip us with the understanding that, “it doesn’t matter if we’re right, it matters if we are in relationship” (Pastor Leila Ortiz) with each other and with our Creator. Give us the strength to let go and let God, so that we can invite those who are thirsty and hungry for more than what this world can offer.
Other’s might laugh and gossip, but God knows and walks with each and everyone us. So let’s walk with each other, not against each other, and let’s do what God does; care about those that the world does not.
Tags: bible, Christ, Christian, Church, ELCA, God, Jesus, lutheran, Pastor Leila Ortiz, Prayer, Spiritual
Beautiful and loving God, we cast our gaze towards You as we bring our own sacrifice and praise into the house of the Lord. Once lost, now we are found for “Where can we go from Your spirit? Or where can we flee from Your presence? If we take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead us, and Your right hand shall hold us fast” (Psalm 139: 7, 9-10 NRSV). Teach us all things about You. Unfold Your revelations and bind us to Your word so that we can be a blessing to all who know us and to those who don’t.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) but it is not the end, because the completion of love is the end of fear. Yes, it is a scary world but because of God’s love we will not fear, we will not falter, and we will not accept the darkness of the world. We will move forward in light and truth because God is never anywhere other than with us. “And even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4), God is always with us.
Tags: bible, Christian, ELCA, Jesus, lutheran, Prayer, Proverbs, Psalm
Almighty God, we come to You because we need shelter. We come to You because we’re wrestling with divisions that bring chaos and not community. We need to unlearn so many things because there is something wrong with saying words of grace and doing nothing. “Tune our ear(s) to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding” (Proverbs 2:2) because we need to listen to the Word of God through the cries of the forgotten. Bring us back to being part of the change that needs to happen. Bring us back to being beacons of light in the darkness. Bring us back to You.
We cannot un-see what we have already seen. This past week forces us to see the work that is far from over. You tell us that, “if Your people, who are called by Your name, will humble themselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from their wicked ways, then You will hear from heaven, and You will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Heal our land. Heal our hearts so that justice will flow. Speak to our fears, our frustrations and our anger so that we can stand firm on Your Word when the enemy is scattered. Deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen
Tags: 2 Chronicles 7:14, bible, Christian, ELCA, God, Jesus, lutheran, Prayer, Proverbs 2:2
“God our provider, You have not fed us with bread alone, but with words of grace and life” (ELW p. 64). Lord, stop our confusion because we seem to always be running to or from something. Always going in circles. Remind us that You are always right beside us.
We come here because we want more. We want a deeper relationship with You and with each other. We want to learn how to live a more fulfilling life. We want to know that we belong. We want so many things but the only thing standing in our way is doubt and fear. And the only thing stronger than our doubts and fears is You, the God who loves us so much that You sent Your only Son to die so that we could see just how much we are worth to the One who created us.
There is a time when we have to lead others but it is always time to be led by the Holy Spirit so that we can know that life is worth living. Give us the knowledge that illuminates the world and the courage to believe in the impossible again. Let us be Your witnesses, Your advocates, and the ones who tell Your story. And when the world throws our mistakes back at us, we have the Word of God that tells us that “God has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12) and that “this world is not our home” (1 Peter 2:11).
Tags: 1 Peter 2:11, bible, Christ, Christian, Church, ELCA, Jesus, lutheran, Prayer, Psalm 103:12
Memorial of four girls killed in the 16th Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham Alabama on September 15, 1963
Author of life, reconnect us to the human story by anchoring us in Your truth. The truth, that tells that us that we are all beloved children of the most high God. We have been right, we have been wrong, but we have always belonged to You O Lord.
Thank You for Your forgiveness and mercy. Deconstruct our insatiable need to conform to a world that is not our home. Teach us how to unlearn anything that is not of God. Bring us back to where all humanity is one family in the kingdom of God.
Unite our hearts so that we will love and serve all people living in the margins of life. “We will never change the world by going to church. We will only change the world by being the church” (Unfundamentalists Christians). So let us “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15) using our words only when necessary.
Tags: bible, Christ, Christian, Church, ELCA, Gospel, Jesus, lutheran, Mark 16:15, Prayer
Stained glass window at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Henderson, NV
Lord Jesus, You are the One who bore the cross for all of our sins so that we could live. Create a space within, where change can happen in our hearts and minds because we’re guilty of doing “anything…to avoid facing (our) own souls.” (C.G. Jung) Give us the courage to look at our own hearts and see what You see and not what we want to see.
We are not the activators of our own healing or growth. You are. So strengthen us to take up our cross and walk with You. Help us to tell a different story of compassion. A story where we feed the hungry, aid the sick, and give to the poor because “whatever (we) did for one of the least of these (we) did to (You).” (Matthew 25:40)
Lord God, don’t let anything stop us from embracing the truth that we can make a difference in this world. Remind us that it’s not about tomorrow or yesterday. It’s about today. Right now, right here, with the God who will never leave our side. In the name of the all knowing and ever loving God we pray. Amen.
Tags: bible, Carl G. Jung, Christ, Christian, Church, ELCA, God, Jesus, lutheran, Matthew 25:40, Prayer