Monday, April 24, 2017

Prayer for April 23-29, 2017 
Sermon Text: John 20:19-31

That our doubt may be transformed into doxology    

Jesus! Enable us to be your resurrection people! Let every dimension of our lives be made complete in You. Fill us with your energizing and liberating Spirit. Prepare us to be people of forgiveness, but give us discernment of those circumstances when forgiveness should be withheld.

Some days we are full of doubt! We doubt your resurrection. We doubt that God’s resurrecting power could work through our lives. Help us to bring our doubts to You as an act of supplication, a plea for understanding. Forgive us when we use doubt as an act of resistance to the newness that You are constantly bringing into the world.

As You reveal yourself to us in the tumble and turmoil of our days, transform our doubt to doxology. Deepen our trust.  

You are our Sovereign God! We exult in You! Amen.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Good Friday, April 14, 2017 
Sermon Text: Matthew 26:14-27:66

That new hope will form within us even in our bleakest moments

O Christ, how you suffered! How You gave yourself without restraint! We are saddened and humbled because of all that You endured for your people in obedience to the will of God and in service of God’s reign of peace and justice.

Sold and betrayed by one friend, denied by another, failed and abandoned by many; how did You endure?

Arrested like a criminal, lied about, summarily condemned, accused of blasphemy; sentenced to death, flogged, mocked, crucified, insulted during your most vulnerable, painful moments; how did You endure?

Crying out as One abandoned by God; how did you endure?

One loud, last cry and you gave up your spirit, surrendered to the darkness of the moment. But in that moment … a veil was torn, deepest truth exposed. In that moment, a confession was made. Already, in the darkest hour, a new hope was being formed. 

That hope has grown within us, even in the darkness. Even now, even in grief, we hope in You. Amen.
Prayer for April 16-22, 2017 
Sermon Text: John 20:1-18

That we may boldly declare that “We Have Seen the Lord”

Dark morning. Morning of confusion. Morning of loss, tears and panic. Morning of incomplete mourning. Mourning interrupted by You, God of life.

You have fulfilled your promises. You have defeated sin and death. You have defeated every power. You have vindicated your Chosen One by raising Jesus from the dead. You have assured your reign of peace and justice.

You have turned tears to psalms of rejoicing. You have pierced confusion with the light of your presence. You have restored what had seemed hopelessly lost. 

Jesus is alive! We have heard him call our names. We have looked into his face. We have heard his command. We are his witnesses for together we say: “I have seen the Lord!” Amen.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

WISE STEWARDS: LENTEN PRAYERS 2017

Day 40 – Saturday
Psalm 24:1-10

     God, our Creator, we remember, once again, that all of creation has been generated by your word of love and delight. We remember that You have placed us in this complex, beautiful, and often challenging world in order to be your stewards who nurture and enhance the fruitfulness of all that surrounds us.
     We rejoice in the intellect, skills, spiritual gifts and energy You have given us in order to serve the world in wise, compassionate, generous, just and peaceful ways.
     We know that we cannot bring your reign to its fullest and final expression, but enable us, now, to do your will, as completely as we can, in preparation for the day when You will complete your work of renewing and restoring all of creation.
     We pledge ourselves wholly to You. We are your stewards! We delight to do your will! We commit ourselves to stirring up the gifts You have given us so that we may be more effective servants. We anticipate the fulfillment of all of your promises with joy! Amen.

Easter Sunday

Christ Jesus lives! Hallelujah!

Celebrate resurrection. 

In the coming days, contemplate what your stewardship looks like in the light of resurrection. What changes might you make that would suggest that God’s life-giving power is at work, in new ways, in your life?

Friday, April 14, 2017

WISE STEWARDS: LENTEN PRAYERS 2017

Day 39 – Friday
Romans 12:1-8

     Spirit of God, we rejoice in your presence among us. We rejoice that You are able to transform our minds so that we no longer conform to the world’s way of doing things. You enable us to trust God more completely. You enable us to place our whole selves at God’s disposal in glad worship. You enable us to have a clear sense of who we are in relationship to God and to our brothers and sisters in faith.
     Holy Spirit, we rejoice that You give us many gifts with which to nurture the faith and care for the needs of that portion of the body of Christ in which You have placed us. You enable us to place the needs of the body before our own and help the body to serve and witness effectively in the world. We rejoice in your work of empowerment among us! 
     You enrich our life together with many gifts, but we pray, Spirit of Wisdom, that You will give many of us the gift of giving, so that God’s generosity will flow freely to the world through our lives. For those of us who are not gifted in this area, help us to stretch ourselves to learn new practices of generosity. 
     We rejoice that You have linked our lives, inextricably, to one another. Help us to employ all of our gifts for glad service that brings honor and praise to God in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

WISE STEWARDS: LENTEN PRAYERS 2017

Day 38 – Thursday
2 Corinthians 9:1-15

     God, our Provider, we rejoice that You have provided so generously for us. You have given many of us much more than we need. With your generous gifts, You also give us many opportunities to act with glad generosity.
     Open our hearts! Open our eyes! Shape our wills! Unclench our hands! Fill us with deep gratitude and joy. Help us to see the opportunities for sharing that You place before us. Enable us to scatter gifts freely among people who are poor and in need.
     Forgive us when we forget that You have enriched us so that we “can be generous on every occasion.” Forgive us when we anxiously clutch what You have given to us and when we give in miserly ways. 
     Enable us to “abound in every good work.” Help us to do so without seeking the approval or acclaim of others. May your people be encouraged and strengthened when we act with generosity, and may You receive all of the glory and all of the thanks. We ask in the name of Jesus who gave everything for us. Amen. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WISE STEWARDS: LENTEN PRAYERS 2017

Day 37 – Wednesday
2 Corinthians 8:8-15

     God, our Redeemer, we thank You for the mercy and generosity that You have shown to us through Jesus, your Chosen One.  With humility and awe, we thank You that Christ divested of wealth, power, privilege and prestige in order to come among us and enrich our lives by your boundless grace. This is a great mystery to us, but we know that it means life for us.
     Enable us, who call ourselves by the name of Christ, to take Christ’s model of self-giving to heart. Enable us to hold loosely to our many resources and to share or give them away gladly when opportunities come to enrich the lives of brothers, sisters and neighbors.
     Help us to remember that our resources are yours. Help us to remember that all of us are dependent upon You and that the resources You give are intended for sharing. Help us to give gladly and eagerly. Help us to receive with joyful gratitude. Give us a heart for equality so that we readily redress the vast inequalities among us.  
     Help us to be satisfied with enough so that we may give with freedom. Amen.