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.

Strengthen,
encourage
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.
Amen.

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

Christmas Day

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Glorious Father,
you have revealed your glory,
your grace and your truth
by sending your only Son
to become flesh and dwell among us.
Enlighten darkened hearts
with this true light
that shines on everyone,
that all might hear, believe, and receive
the right to become children of God;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Newly composed by Paul C. Stratman in Now and Forever: New Collects for Modern Lectionaries, #16. ©  2019 Paul C. Stratman

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Christmas Eve

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O Lord,
you have filled this holy night
with the brightness of the true Light,
Jesus Christ.
You have revealed
your peace and goodwill through him
and have given us blessed hope.
Increase our joy
with that news that a child is born to us,
a Son is given to us;
your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Opening phrase based on the historic collect for Christmas Eve, newly composed by Paul C. Stratman in Now and Forever: New Collects for Modern Lectionaries, #15. ©  2019 Paul C. Stratman

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Terrorism

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.

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.
Amen.

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)
Amen.

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. www.wartburgproject.org.

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.

 

Prayer When a Storm Is Approaching

NOAA: 'Exact forecast track' of Dorian no longer matters ...

God, our refuge and strength,
help us in times of trouble.
When the earth dissolves
and the mountains tumble into the sea
and its waters roar and foam,
remind us of your might,
and your good and gracious will.
All creation is groaning
as it suffers the corruption of sin,
but you have promised
to make all things work together
for the good of those who love you.
Hear our prayer, “Deliver us from evil,”
and save your people from all disaster.
Give patience and endurance
to those who serve, help and rescue.
Calm the anxious.
Comfort those who suffer loss.
Turn thoughts from earthly to heavenly things,
that we look to you,
our only Savior and help.

Source: Written for A Collection of Prayers, August 31, 2019.

Prayer Reflecting on the Shooting in Colorado, May 7

Colorado school shooting: 8 students injured at STEM ...

Guard us, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
preserve us from violent men.
Psalm 140

O Lord, you know the minds of all,
and your plans are often hidden from us.
But you have given us this promise:
“For those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.”
(Romans 8:28)
We cry out to you,
calm the rage of all who plan evil.
Heal the wounded.
Comfort those who mourn.
Strengthen those who serve.
Draw us closer to you.
Move our hearts to love and mercy,
and our actions to compassion and service.
Remind us all that
“the present form of this world is passing away,” (1 Corinthians 7:31)
and that around your throne,
Good Shepherd,
you will wipe every tear from our eyes. (Revelation 7:17)
Amen.

© 2017 Paul C. Stratman
on A Collection of Prayers

Reposted from Prayer reflecting on the Shooting in Las Vegas, October 1, 2017