Litany of the Nativity

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Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

God, loving Father, you sent your one and only Son, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, you are the Word who became flesh to save the world, have mercy.
Holy Spirit, you connect us to the love and power of God with your Word, have mercy.

Holy Trinity, splendor and majesty are yours.
Holy Trinity, glory and strength are yours.

promised seed of the woman,
our shield and great reward,
Bringer of peace,
One to whom the scepter belongs,
promised Prophet,
Son of David,
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace, have mercy on us.

Shepherd of your people Israel,
from of old, from ancient times,
Word who became flesh,
Lord’s anointed, have mercy on us.

because you were conceived by the Holy Spirit,
because you were born of the virgin Mary,
because you became flesh and made your dwelling among us,
because you became truly human, like us in every way, except without sin,
because you endured every hardship common to humanity,
because you suffered under Pontius Pilate,
because you were crucified,
because you suffered death as the wages of the world’s sin,
because you were buried, hear our prayer.

because you broke the gates of hell,
because you proclaimed your victory in Satan’s realm,
because you rose in glory,
because you recalled faithless disciples and restored their faith by saying “Peace,”
because you ascended on high,
because you intercede for us at your Father’s right hand, hear our prayer.

Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Lamb of God, grant us your peace.

To us a child is born.
To us a Son is given.

Lord Jesus Christ, Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing, give us your blessed hope as we hear again of your first coming. Fill our lives with the glory of your love, and empower us to live to your glory, for you are God’s gift of love, once wrapped in swaddling clothes, now wrapped in the pages of Scripture, no longer in a cattle stall or feeding trough, but living and reigning with your Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, dwelling in the highest glory, granting peace to your people, now and forever.

Litany of the Nativity, © 2020 Paul C. Stratman, written for A Collection of Prayers,

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Prayer for the Nation as the Election Approaches

Father of heavenly lights
we pray for our nation in the coming election.
As we choose our leaders
guide us by your commandments
and teach us not to put our trust
in mortal men who cannot save,
but to trust you alone
for every good and perfect gift.

Lord Jesus, you are the King of kings
and Lord of lords,
and you live and reign over all.
Bless your church
and move us to use the freedoms our nation grants us
to make your Gospel known in our land.

Spirit of life,
stir our faith in your holy Word so that,
even as we do what we can and as we seek to do your will,
we trust your promise that you are our Refuge and Fortress,
and that you alone can work all things
for the good of your holy people.

Gracious God, rule in our hearts alone—now and forever.

© 2012 Pastor Paul C. Stratman

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Prayer for the Nation as the Election Approaches by Paul C. Stratman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact for any commercial usage.

“Father of heavenly lights… …every good and perfect gift” are references to James 1:17

“guide us by your commandments” is a reference to 2 John 1:6

“not to put our trust in mortal men who cannot save” is a reference to Psalm 146:3

“King of kings and Lord of lords” is a reference to Revelation 19:16

“Refuge and Fortress” is a reference to Psalm 46 and Psalm 91:2

“you alone can work all things for the good of your holy people” is a reference to Romans 8:28

“rule in our hearts” is a reference to Colossians 3:15


Lord almighty,
our ever-present help in trouble,
help us not to be afraid when we see people in an uproar,
trying to change the world with violence and terror.
Cool the heat of hatred,
and move people to peace
for the good of all.
Set our hearts at peace
with your peace that is ours in Jesus,
and with your promise to protect
and work all for good.
Move us to proclaim your peace to the troubled.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, © 2019
based on Psalm 46, Psalm 91, Romans 8:28.

A Prayer for Peace

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Lord Jesus Christ,
you told your disciples,
“My peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled,
and do not let it be afraid.”

Give us peace,
peace that surpasses all understanding,
peace and goodwill from you,
peace that guards our hearts and minds
and keeps them focused on you.

Move us
to be at peace,
to reflect your peace,
to maintain peace with everyone
as far as it depends on us.

Teach us
to reflect your love,
to not be overcome by evil,
but to overcome evil with good.

Stir our hearts
to be joyful in hope,
to endure trials patiently,
to persist in prayer
as we wait for you.

Source: Paul C. Stratman for A Collection of Prayers, in response to the unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, August 2020.

A Litany for Peace

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Good God,
gracious Father,
creator of us all,
have mercy on us.

O Jesus,
Son of God and Son of Man,
our brother,
have mercy on us.

True Spirit,
moving over us,
Lord and giver of life,
have mercy on us.

Look at our world, broken by sin.
Look at our hearts, broken in grief.
Look at our minds, shaken in confusion.
Have mercy on us.

Forgive our shortsightedness and open our eyes.
Forgive our hate and empower us to love.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Have mercy on us.

On those who are angry,
on those who are hurting,
on those who are weary,
on those who work for peace,
on those who protect and serve,
on those who suffer loss,
on those who are vulnerable,
have mercy, Lord.

Give wisdom to those who lead,
give patience to those who wait,
give healing to those who hurt.
Have mercy, Lord.

Father, from one man you made every nation of humanity,
you make the sun shine and the rain fall on the wicked and the good,
you so loved the world that you gave your only Son,
have mercy.

Jesus, you took on human flesh and became the brother of the human race,
you suffered great injustice to bear the sin of the world,
you are the tree of life whose leaves bring healing to the nations,
have mercy.

Holy Spirit, you moved the apostles to speak the languages of all nations,
you let your Word go out to all people,
you call and gather your church from all the world,
have mercy.

See our world and our nation.
Help the helpless,
strengthen the weak,
soften the hardened,
warm the loveless,
cool the angry,
cleanse our hearts.

Father and maker of all, you let this world stand because you are gracious. Work that same grace within us that we love because you first loved us, that we imitate you as your beloved children, and live our lives in love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus, Savior of all people and lover of all souls, show us what love is yet again by setting your selfless love before our eyes. You welcomed tax collectors and zealots, and taught them all the way of love. When you were dying you forgave those who didn’t know what they were doing. You gave your friends who deserted you your greeting of peace. Empower us to love, forgive, and give us your peace; Jesus Christ our Lord.

Holy Spirit, you caused Scripture to be written that we might learn love that is the fulfillment of the law, and that we might know Jesus and follow him in love. You give the spark of faith and you fan faith into flame. Move us to put our faith and hope to work with an active love, that we listen before speaking, think before acting, and consider the needs of others before our own.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, written during the violence in early June, 2020

References to Father, Son and Holy Spirit at the beginning, middle and end reflect characteristics of traditional litanies, and this is being written near Trinity Sunday.

The opening phrases “Good God,” “O Jesus” take the exclamations people often make when hearing bad news and develop them into petitions.

The shortening of responses “have mercy on us,” “have mercy, Lord,” “have mercy,” and finally “Mercy!” are intended to show a growing weariness.

In Time of National Distress

O Lord God, heavenly Father,
by our evil doings and constant disobedience
we have deserved your punishment,
but for your name’s sake spare us.
Restrain everything that would harm us
and protect your suffering people,
that your Word may be declared faithfully
and without hindrance, and that we,
amending our sinful lives,
may walk obediently
to your holy commandments;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Freely modified from The Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, 1917, 1918.



Prayer in Time of Pestilence

O God,
you do not desire the death of sinners,
but you want them to turn to you and live.
Look with pity on the weakness of our mortal nature.
Deliver us from this pestilence.
Do not treat us as our sins deserve,
but look on us in mercy
and return your blessings to us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Modified from a Mozarabic Collect.

All Things Are in Your Hands

AAFP President: Prepare Your Office for Novel CoronavirusGod most high and holy,
all things are in your hands.
Your holy Word invites us
to trust in you
and to be fearless
even when the earth gives way,
when the mountains fall into the sea,
when the waters roar and foam,
when nations are in an uproar,
and even in the valley of the shadow of death.

Hear the cries of your people
as we live in a world full of fear.

With your unlimited power,
with your boundless presence,
with your knowledge of all things,
fill our hearts
with your peace that surpasses understanding.

When things are uncertain,
and crises are unseen,
draw us to you,
to your certain Word and promise,
to your dear Son who suffered for us,
and to your enduring promise
never to leave us or forsake us.

and uphold us
in these difficult
and confusing times.

Fill us with faith in you,
with desires to serve our neighbors in love,
and to be strong and take heart
as we wait for you to work your good purpose
for the good of those who love you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, A Collection of Prayers, March 16, 2020, during the COVID-19 / Corona Virus crisis.

Rite for the Welcome of Catechumens

“Catechumen” is a word for someone who is being “catechized,” that is, being instructed in the Christian faith. In the ancient church, anyone who was new to the Christian faith was called a Catechumen, and would be instructed by regular attendance at worship and with other special instruction. The time of the Catechumenate varied. Instruction could last as long as the Catechumen needed.

In Lutheran tradition, Catechumens are students, usually in sixth, seventh or eighth grades, who are instructed in Luther’s Small Catechism. Instruction involves memorization of the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, Baptism, Keys and Confession, the Lord’s Supper and the Lord’s Prayer, along with the explanations (“What does this mean?”) along with selected Bible passages. 

Catechisms and Bibles (if they have not already been presented to the children) may be stacked on a table in front of the altar. The children gather around the table.

If this rite is used as its own service, the rite begins with the apostolic greeting. If used in the main divine service, the greeting is omitted, and the rite immediately follows the Prayer of the Church.

The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
And also with you.

Before his ascension, our Lord Jesus Christ said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

You have been baptized in God’s name, and have learned about God’s love for the world in your Sunday School (or Bible History) lessons. You are now ready to begin a study of the teachings of the Bible as summarized by Luther’s Small Catechism.

Do you wish to confess your faith in Jesus Christ, the faith into which you were baptized, in the rite of confirmation? If so, answer “I do.”

Catechumens: I do.

Will you faithfully attend the services of God’s house, study the Scriptures and the catechism, and strive to lead a life worthy of your Christian calling? If so, answer “I will and I ask God to help me.”

Catechumens: I will and I ask God to help me.

Members of __________ congregation, will you support these young people with your prayers, be examples of faithfulness and righteousness, and encourage them that they may continue steadfast in faith and in communion with the Church? If so, answer “We will and we ask God to help us.”

Congregation: We will and we ask God to help us.

The minister places his hand on the Bibles and Catechisms and addresses the children:

Holy Scripture tells us: All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, well equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

So that the Word of God may be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path, we present these Bibles to you. Here is where God teaches us what he wants us to believe and do. Read the Scriptures so that the Word that is written with ink on paper may also be written in your hearts and minds, and be your guide for life, your comfort and your hope, in good times and in bad.

Receive also these catechisms. Here you will learn the truths of Scripture, and you will be taught “What does this mean?” that is, how to apply the truth of Scripture to your everyday life as you walk in the new life, given you by Christ.

The minister hands out the Bibles and Catechisms to the children.

Let us pray.

O Lord, holy Father, eternal God, let the way of your truth and of the knowledge of you be shown to your servants who live among the doubt and uncertainty in the darkness of this world. Open the eyes of their souls, that they may acknowledge you, the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and enjoy the fruit of confessing this faith both here and in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the Word of the Lord give you wisdom.
May it bring joy to your heart and light to your eyes.
May it instruct you in the fear of the Lord,
and guide you in his truth. (from Psalm 19)

Source: Prepared for A Collection of Prayers, 2019. Some elements adapted from “Acceptance of Catechumens,” which appeared in The Bride of Christ (see below).

Prayer is adapted from Ancient Collects and Other Prayers, William Bright, p. 125.3, Gregorian.

Scripture passages are quoted from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version.

See also Rite for the Presentation of Bibles to Children.

A rite for the  acceptance of catechumens appeared in the liturgical magazine, The Bride of Christ, prepared by Rev. Eric Ash. We share his rite here with his permission. The rite above uses some elements from “Acceptance of Catechumens.”

Acceptance of Catechumens

Pastor: Do you desire to affirm your faith in Christ Jesus, the faith into which you were baptized, and receive the Rite of confirmation in the tradition of the Holy Christian Church at the proper time? If so, answer “I do.”

Catechumens: I do.

Pastor: Will you faithfully attend the services of God’s house, will you diligently study the Scriptures and the catechism, and will you strive to lead a life worthy of your Christian calling? If so, answer “I will and I ask God to help me.”

Catechumens: I will and I ask God to help me.

Pastor: I ask you, the congregation, will you support these young people with your prayers, will you be examples to them of faithfulness and righteousness, and will you care for them and help them in every way God gives you opportunity that they may continue in the covenant of their baptism and in communion with the Church? If so, answer “We will and we ask God to help us.”

Congregation: We will and we ask God to help us.

Pastor: You are hereby officially accepted as the catechumens of __________ Evangelical Lutheran Church. May God bless you as you prepare and study. Please accept these Bibles and these copies of Luther’s Small Catechism as aids to your study and as tokens of the affection this congregation bears toward you.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for these young people you have called to be your own. Bless them as they prepare to make an affirmation of their faith and strive to keep the commitments they have made this day. And bless this congregation as it strives to help all its young people grow into the full stature of Jesus Christ. Amen.