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Content about Prayer

February 11, 2019

As we enter the season of Pentecost it is good to be reminded that the Holy Spirit came not to make a splash and then exit again, but to continue the work that Christ was doing. The Holy Spirit continues to be active in the world, and we as followers of Christ are called to join the Spirit’s work. This prayer is for those of us who are on the front lines, working in the trenches, or completing more tedious assignments for God’s glory and the advancement of his kingdom.

O Lord, our gracious God and heavenly Father,

February 11, 2019

People often wonder what difference Christ’s ascension makes. The Heidelberg Catechism, written to answer this and so many other questions of the faith, teaches us about the ascension in Q&A 49. Though written in 1563, its summary of Scripture rings as true today as it did then, regardless of our particular denominational affiliation.

February 11, 2019

People often wonder what difference Christ’s ascension makes. The Heidelberg Catechism, written to answer this and so many other questions of the faith, teaches us about the ascension in Q&A 49. Though written in 1563, its summary of Scripture rings as true today as it did then, regardless of our particular denominational affiliation.

February 11, 2019

This article first appeared in Public Justice Review and is reprinted here with permission.

September 11 fell on a Tuesday. Five days later, on Sunday, September 16, millions of American Christians, shocked, angry, and grieving, filed into church.

The music began to play. Some were invited into the defiant and militant melodies of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “God Bless America.” Some were invited into a time of mournful silence, prayer, and reflection. Others just sang the same old songs as if nothing had changed at all.

October 25, 2018
April 17, 2018
April 17, 2018

Lord, you are the great Healer.
Today we pray for those who live with mental illnesses.
For those crippled by depression and anxious feelings,

bring healing, bring peace.

For those who suffer from the high and lows of severe mood swings,

bring healing, bring peace.

For those who are tormented by voices and hallucinations,

bring healing, bring peace.

For those who find it difficult to cope with tasks of daily living,

bring healing, bring peace.

April 17, 2018

Refrain: “Dans nos obscurités/Within Our Darkest Night” Taizé, LUYH 417
God, our Creator,
who spoke light into the darkness,
we gather to offer our sacrifice of praise.
While it is right to give you our thanks and praise,
we acknowledge that there are some in our midst enduring a deep pain
and for whom joy and praise seem impossible.
Wherever we find ourselves today,

April 17, 2018

I work as a chaplain at a private, nonprofit, intentionally Christian agency that offers residential treatment for boys and girls ages seven to nineteen. The majority of the residents are wards of the state, waiting to be adopted or to enter foster care. On average, the youth stay in the program six to eighteen months, allowing for significant relationships to be built. I offer spiritual care to the clients through pastoral counseling, weekly worship services, Bible studies, and off-campus volunteer opportunities.

January 22, 2018

While I was planning our Trinity Sunday worship service, I was inspired by my study of 2 Corinthians 13:11–13. In verse 11, the word that is often translated “be perfected” or “put things in order” is the same word used in the gospels to describe the mending of fishing nets. In this prayer, the joys and concerns of the congregation are lifted up to the triune God, who is the mender of our nets and our lives. This idea became a theme for this prayer.

December 11, 2017

As Christians we often struggle with how to pray communally. Simply, it is hearing God speak to us in God’s Word and through God’s creation and then responding. This service was written to help the body engage in the dialogue of prayer together following the simple acronym ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. The service is designed to focus first on God. As we focus on how great God is and on the wonders of God’s salvation, we are drawn to confess our sins and failures. Standing in wonder of the forgiveness God offers when we confess, we rejoice and offer thanksgiving. Finally we recognize our need for God in all areas of life and bring our requests to God, knowing God is faithful and good.

December 11, 2017

Here you will find two services based on the same prayer outline: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. These services are meant to be fairly simple, with opportunities to pray through Scripture and song. Neither service includes a sermon, but one could easily be added as a reflection on one of the Scripture passages. —JB

February 4, 2016

A Psalm Prayer and Blessing for Children

Note: Words in bold type indicate congregational response.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold
against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
(Ps. 8:1b-2)

February 4, 2016

Golden Bowls

At Third Christian Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, when planning a series on prayer the imagery of Revelation 5:8 captured our imaginations. The elders were before the Lamb, each holding a harp and “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

February 4, 2016

It’s safe to say that most Christians have memorized the Lord’s Prayer. But when we do so, we often become attached to the wording of a specific Bible version. As a result, some of us find it distressing when we hear a different reading of the Lord’s Prayer. When planning worship you might have been surprised by the strong response of some when you use an unfamiliar version. “What next?” they say. “Is nothing sacred?”

June 18, 2015

How long O Lord, how long?
How long will our news be filled with reports of violence?
How long will neighbor turn against neighbor with words, and fists, and guns?
Why are people filled with such fear and anger that they desire to kill?
Sovereign God we cry “Lord have mercy!”
 
Sing: Kyrie Eleison (such as Lift Up Your Hearts #637 or another appropriate refrain.)
 
Sovereign God, we pray for comfort and healing.

November 11, 2014

May 21, 2014

"Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

February 14, 2014

Who pastors your pastor? The answer, all too often, is “No one.” But, like the rest of us, your pastor needs spiritual support. Your pastor needs people to lift him or her up in prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. If you or a group of people in your church would like to support your pastor in prayer, here are four “need categories” to consider.

February 19, 2013

Many congregations wrestle with the question of who should lead them in worship, especially in spoken prayer. Historically this has been the task of the pastor, but there is much to be gained by including the different voices of the congregation in the leading of prayer and in other parts of worship. Read the following testimony from one church that has moved toward such a practice and what they discovered along the way.

—JB

May 3, 2012

This guided intercessory prayer could be used for a variety of liturgical occasions, but may be most appropriate for Pentecost, World Communion Sunday, or another service that focuses on church unity.

March 1, 2011

In this prayer, Julia Esquivel teaches us the meaning of each intercession of the Lord’s Prayer as we pray, opening our minds and hearts to a greater understanding of our great God and to the experience of brothers and sisters in Christ in another part of the world. Though our congregations may not experience many of the situations mentioned, we can pray on behalf of those for whom these things are realities.

—JB

Note: You may choose to read the boldface portions either in English or in Spanish.

June 1, 2010

My quest to understand the psalms of lament began in the midst of a deep period of depression. I had spent a wonderfully rich two months in Ethiopia, recording Christian Somali music for broadcast from Ethiopia over Somalia. During my time there I received numerous “prophetic words” that doors would open for me when I returned to Canada. But within a few short months of my return I was unemployed and living in the basement of a friend’s parent’s house. My familial home had burned down and a friend of mine had committed suicide.