The Way of Recovery

The Way of Recovery is a set of twelve devotions based on the Twelve Steps, a recovery program that has its origins in Alcoholics Anonymous.

The wording of the Twelve Steps in the devotions is paraphrased to be:

  • in the present or future tense,
  • addressed from the reader’s point of view as first person singular,
  • made less specific to alcohol to also cover other addictions and problems,
  • and to have a specific Christian emphasis.

The twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous are as follows, without alteration:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The verse before each prayer, “Keep my footsteps on your paths…,” is adapted from Psalm 17:5.

All scriptures are quoted from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version.

The Way of Recovery can be downloaded as a pdf which is printable as a booklet.

First Step: I admit I am powerless over the things that control me—and that my life has become unmanageable.

For at the appointed time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed that someone will die for a righteous person. Perhaps someone might actually go so far as to die for a person who has been good to him. But God shows his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

Your car runs out of gas. There you sit, out in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road, hundreds of miles to the nearest town. You could wait for a passing car, but you haven’t seen another car in hours. You could start walking, but how long will that take? And what shape will you be in when you finally reach civilization? Being helpless is a true horror.

What about when life runs out of gas? There are so many missed opportunities—the time for action has already passed. There are more things that should be done—but lack of time, energy and our helplessness keep us from doing them all.

God’s Word tells us, “while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly.”  He died as “the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world” (John 1:28). A biblical word for that is “atonement.” It means a sacrifice of payment—for our sins, failures, mistakes, willful disobedience, what we should have done but didn’t, what we didn’t but should have done—all taken by Jesus, “while we were still helpless.” “Powerless.”  This is more than just rescue. It’s redemption. This is more than just assistance. It is power—the power of God’s own forgiveness—the power of new life given us by Jesus.

And it’s yours, all because of your Savior, Jesus. It’s yours all because of God’s grace (undeserved love). There is nothing for you to earn, nothing for you to repay—because Jesus has given himself for you. Even when your life was out of gas. Even though you feel helpless—he is your Help.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
You are my only help.
With your Father,
you made all things in the beginning.
In your life on earth
you stilled storms,
fed the thousands,
healed the sick,
and drove out devils.
Help me, dear Jesus.
You alone can still my storms,
fill my hungry soul,
heal my sick heart
and deliver me from every evil power.
Restore my soul,
and make me whole in you.
Amen.

Second Step: I believe that the power of Jesus Christ is greater than myself and can restore me to sanity.

Jesus and his disciples went to the other side of the sea, into the region of the Gerasenes.As soon as Jesus stepped out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs to meet him. The man lived in the tombs. Nobody could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he pulled the chains apart and broke the shackles in pieces. Nobody had the strength to subdue him. Night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was constantly crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down in front of him. He cried out with a loud voice, “What do I have to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you to swear by God not to torment me.” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “because we are many.” 10 He begged Jesus repeatedly that he would not send them out of the region. 11 There was a large herd of pigs there feeding on the hillside. 12 The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs so we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. The unclean spirits went out and entered the pigs. Then the herd of about two thousand pigs rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned. 14 Those who were feeding the pigs ran and reported this in the city and the countryside. People came to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons sitting there clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. Mark 5:1-15

“Possess” is a strange word. In one sense it isn’t scary at all. It means to have or to own something. You possess a book, a house, a car. In another sense, “possess” is terrifying. It is terrifying when it means something has or owns you. The man on the shores of the Sea of Galilee was possessed by a legion of demons. They had him. They owned him. They caused him much terror and harm.

Until he met Jesus. With a short command, the possession was over. The man who was naked, filthy and harmful to himself and others now sat calmly, clothed and in his right mind, all because of Jesus’ compassion and power.

Jesus is the solution to our helplessness. His power is greater than ours. His power greater than those things that have possessed us. The old Sunday School hymn says, “We are weak, but he is strong.” He can restore you to sanity. Sanity means soundness. It means health of mind and spirit. He can do this in his own supernatural way. He can do this through friends and professionals he has given to help you. With Jesus and those he puts around you, you are not working alone. He is your deliverer. He is your strength.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
You shed your holy, precious blood
so that I could be your own.
Dear Jesus, precious Savior,
possess me.
Hold me
in the palm of your pierced hand.
Support me
with your mighty power.
Restore me
with the wholeness
and the holiness
that only you can give.
Drive out
everything that clouds my mind,
everything that twists my heart,
everything that draws me
to look inward.
Lift my eyes upward to you,
and outward to the family, friends and neighbors
you have given me to love.
Amen.

Third Step: I decide to turn my will and my life over to the care of God.

Trust in the Lord, and do good.Dwell in the land and feed on faithfulness.Take pleasure in the Lord,and he will grant your heart’s desires.Commit your way to the Lord.Trust in him, and he will act.He will make your righteousness shine like light,your justice like noon.Be silent before the Lord. Wait patiently for him.Do not fret when an evil man succeeds in his ways,when he carries out his wicked schemes. Let go of anger and abandon rage.Do not fret—it leads only to evil.For evildoers will be cut off,but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the earth.10 After a little while the wicked will be no more.When you search for them at their place, they are not there.11 But the meek will inherit the earth.They will enjoy plenty of peace.  Psalm 37:3-11

What struggles King David had! When Samuel came to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as king, Jesse didn’t think his  youngest son David was a good candidate, so David was left out in the field with the sheep. After David killed the giant Goliath, King Saul was insanely jealous and pursued David like an enemy. When David became king, his generals didn’t want to listen to him. Then there was the struggle of David’s own making. Adultery. Murder. Deception. Loss. And then there were troubles within David’s own family. One son, Absalom, campaigned to be king while David was still living, shouting propaganda against David in the city gate where everyone could hear. When one of David’s men killed Absalom, David was overcome with grief. When David was on his deathbed, he made all the arrangements to hand everything over to Solomon, and another son, Adonijah, made his campaign like Absalom did.

So how did David respond to all of those challenges? He sang. He wrote. He taught about faith. Faith isn’t mere positive thinking. It is trust. It is turning your will and your life over to the care of God. “Commit your way to the Lord.
Trust in him,… Be silent before the Lord. Wait patiently for him.”
David knew his struggles and his limits. He also knew that God has no limits—and that God had forgiven him, and God was working for him, with him, and through him. In another psalm he wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” That is faith—not relying on your strength, but relying on God’s strength. That is faith—not trying to be tough on your own, but letting go, putting everything in God’s hands, and enjoying his peace.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
As I hear your words of promise,
fill me with knowledge
of what you have already done,
and what you promise to do.
Help me see
that your Word is not just true,
but to accept that it is your truth and promise for me.
And finally,
send your Holy Spirit
to soften my hard heart
and create it anew,
built solid and firm
on nothing but trust in you.
Amen.

Fourth Step: I make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.

LORD, you have investigated me,
and you know.
2 You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You understand my thoughts from far off.
3 You keep track of when I travel and when I stay,
and you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before there is a word on my tongue,
you, LORD, already know it completely.
5 You put a fence behind me and in front of me,
and you have placed your hand on me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.
It is too high—I cannot grasp it.
Psalm 139:1-6

In Psalm 139, King David reflects on God’s omniscience. Omniscience is a word that means that God is all-knowing. That’s part of his nature, one of his characteristics. Nothing at all is hidden from him. As David begins his psalm, he doesn’t let us know if he likes God’s omniscience or not. God knows when you sit or stand. Great! God knows when you travel and when you stay. Great!  God knows what you will say before you say it. Uh-oh! He knows every thought. He knows what you alone know. He sees what no one else sees. An old prayer of confession describes it this way: “Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden…”

There are times to forget our sins and relish God’s full and free forgiveness. There are also times not to. When we are denying our sin—denying we have broken God’s commands, denying that we have hurt others, denying how much we have hurt our own body and life, or denying that breaking God’s commands and hurting others is a serious matter—then it’s time to search our own hearts.

Making a “searching and fearless moral inventory” is the first step in confessing our sins to our Savior Jesus. He knows them already. He wants us to lay our sins at the foot of his cross, where he already bore their burden. This is why we don’t need to be afraid.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
To you all hearts are open,
all desires are known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of my heart
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that I may love you completely,
and rightly magnify your holy name;
Jesus Christ, my Lord.[1]
Amen.

Fifth Step: I admit to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.

For I admit my rebellious acts.
My sin is always in front of me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned,
and I have done this evil in your eyes.
So you are justified when you sentence me.
You are blameless when you judge. Psalm 51:3-4

In the beginning, after the fall, Adam and Eve played a game of “not me.” God asked, “Adam, did you eat the forbidden fruit?” Adam answered, “The woman you put here with me, she gave me the fruit.” God asked Eve, “What have you done?” Eve said, “The serpent deceived me.” “Not me.” “I’m not responsible.” What a game to play with the all-knowing God! If he wanted to, God could have shown them an instant replay and given play by play commentary: “See, here you were thinking about what the devil was saying about being like God. …and here you were thinking about how silly a command about fruit was. …and here you were taking bites of the apples. …and here you were dropping the cores on the ground. …and here is the moment you heard me walking toward you and you ran in horror.”

The essence of confessing our sins is saying “I did this.” Adam and Eve never got there. King David did, but only after a rebuke from God’s prophet, “You are the man. You are the one who did this” (2 Samuel 12:7). David wrote in his psalm, “I admit my rebellious acts. My sin is always in front of me.”
“I was the one who was in Jerusalem when I should have been in the field with my army.” “I was the one who was looking at naked women bathing on their roofs in the cool of the evening.” “I was the one who sent for Bathsheba.” “I was the one who took another man’s wife.” “I was the one who tried to deceive him.” “I was the one who gave the order to have him killed.”

King David goes beyond “I did this.” He prays to God. “I did these things against you. You only, because you are the one who gave the commands, ‘Do not commit adultery’ and ‘Do not kill.’”

No more games of “not me.” “It was someone else’s fault.” No other ways of avoiding blame. “I might have done something like that, but you misunderstood.” No. Confession means responsibility because you stand before your God who knows and sees all.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Against you only have I sinned.
You gave me life.
You gave me time.
You gave me people
to serve and to love.
I have failed.
I wasted time.
I used people
only in love and service
to myself.
I did these things.
It was me and no one else.
And I lay it all before you.
Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Forgive.
Amen.

Sixth Step: I am entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Remove my sin with hyssop, and I will be clean.Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.Let me hear joy and gladness.Let the bones you have crushed celebrate.Hide your face from my sins.Erase all my guilty deeds.10 Create in me a pure heart, O God.Renew an unwavering spirit within me. Psalm 51:7-10

I have few memories of when I was very young. I think most people can’t remember much before the age of three or four. One thing I can remember was bath night and the feeling of soap in the eyes and the harshness of a scrub.

In Psalm 51 David uses every word for wash or cleanse he can think of: “Remove.” “Wash.” “Erase.” “Create… pure.” And he uses every word for sin he can think of. “Sin.” “Guilty deeds.” “Rebellion.”

Cleansing can be harsh. Sometimes soap gets in the eyes. Sometimes the dirt or the stain clings to the skin and you have to scrub. It has to be done.

God cleanses us first with the blood of Jesus, which purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7). He has declared us holy and righteous. Then he transforms us with the power of forgiveness through his blood. He works that righteousness in us by the power of his Holy Spirit. When we see that we are not our own and that he has given us a higher purpose and goal, God begins to work the desire to live as his holy people, renewed and restored by him.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Work your cleansing in me
by your holy precious blood,
poured out for me.
Work a change in me.
Take every mistake,
every failure,
every rebellion
against your holy will.
Give me power.
Change what I desire,
and renew me.
Amen.

Seventh Step: I humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV[2]

There are many words for sin. Sin is the word that covers them all. Its basic meaning is missing the mark or falling short of the goal God has set for you. Trespass and transgression both mean to step over a boundary. Iniquity has the flavor of a debt we owe God. We are un-equal to what he demands. Iniquity can also have the meaning of rebellion against God.

Asking God to remove our shortcomings is asking for forgiveness. Isaiah uses many different words for sin: transgressions, iniquity, straying, and words for the consequences of sin: griefs, sorrows, chastisement, wounds. These are the pains we cause by our sins and the pains we endure because of our sins. As much as we want to, we can’t undo these things. The pains remain. There is nothing we can do about them.

There is something we can ask God to do about them. Forgive. And this is something already accomplished by Jesus Christ. He is the one Isaiah wrote about as the one who “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.”  In the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, he invites us to say, “Forgive us…” Because he invites us to pray for forgiveness, it means he is ready to forgive.

The burdens do not need to be on you any longer. Put them all in the hands of your Savior, who has already been punished to bring you peace. Look to him for power and wisdom to face griefs, sorrows, afflictions, transgressions and iniquities. He has already carried them, and he carries them with you.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Forgive me my trespasses,
sins, iniquities, transgressions,
rebellion and disobedience.
Take my burden,
because only an almighty Savior
can bear my sin,
along with the sin of the world.
Have mercy on me,
and grant me your peace.
Amen.

Eighth Step: I will make a list of all persons I had harmed, and will be willing to make amends to them all.

Out of the depths I have called to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to the sound of my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of guilt,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is pardon,
so you are feared.
I wait for the Lord. My soul waits,
and in his word I have put my hope.
Psalm 130:1-5

Our forgiving God does not keep a record of your guilt. Instead, because of Jesus Christ, he has washed it all away, put it as far away from him as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), washed it whiter than snow (Isaiah 1:18), and dropped it into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).

Why should you make a list of what you have done and who you have harmed?  You know that your wrongs have hurt and held you back. They have also hurt and held back others. As you strive to be better and live better, you can’t forget about the impact your self-centered living has had on others. You can no longer say, “Oh, you’re not really hurt by me. You’re just too picky—too quick to find fault.” No. Living for self alone hurts others. Your sins, mistakes, shortcomings and selfish living have impacted others. This is really part of the “fearless moral inventory.” We already learned that an honest confession of sin begins, “I did this…” As you reflect on these dark times in your life, remember how you have affected others:

  • “I wasn’t there for _____”
  • “I missed _____’s event.”
  • “I let _____ down.”
  • “I embarrassed _____ by being drunk, drugged or absent.”

Because of your Savior, Jesus Christ, God keeps no record of sin. Friends and family may still be hurting. Being willing to make amends is the first step in rebuilding bridges to those we love—those we have hurt.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
You have cleansed me
by your own pain,
suffered for me on the cross.
My sin has not been your pain alone,
but has caused pain to those around me.
Move my heart to mercy,
love, service.
Yes, empower me with your love.
Begin that desire for change within me.
Lead me in the way of your peace.
Amen.

Ninth Step: I will make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man named Zacchaeus was there. He was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but since he was short, he could not see because of the crowd. 4 He ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus, because he was about to pass by that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 He came down quickly and welcomed Jesus joyfully. 7 When the people saw it, they were all grumbling because he went to be a guest of a sinful man. 8 Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I am going to give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10

Many debts cannot be repaid. Many deeds cannot be undone. When trust is broken, often it is hard, even impossible to rebuild. Why try to make amends?

The goal is not to repay, undo or rebuild. The goal is to live a changed life—no longer trapped in the pattern of living for self alone, but to live for Christ our Savior, and to reflect his love—to live forgiven.

Zacchaeus was a dishonest tax collector—a cheat. He had gained wealth by taking advantage of his neighbors. We know his lifestyle became more burden than benefit because he was looking for this Jesus, this teacher who welcomed sinners. When Jesus came near him, Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house.  Zacchaeus must have thought, “At last! Someone who doesn’t hate me!”

Zacchaeus’ actions reflected the change within him. “Look, Lord, I am going to give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”  A change had already taken place in his heart. It had to come out in his life.  His desire to make amends went with his desire for new life in Jesus. This was all because of the change Jesus had worked in him.

“Today, salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.” Jesus said. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” The change within and the change in attitudes and actions toward those around you is the work of Christ within you. Forgiveness has power!

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Bring your salvation,
that is, your deliverance
and your rescue
to my house
and my heart.
You alone have paid for my sins.
Work within me the joy of your salvation,
a desire to love and serve others,
and to correct whatever wrongs I can.
There are things
I can never fix,
repay or rebuild.
These I leave in your hands
with continued hope
for healing for me and those I have hurt.
Amen.

Tenth Step: I will continue to take personal inventory, and when I am wrong, I will promptly admit it.

In those days, John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is near!” Yes, this is he of whom this was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.” John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan were going out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit in keeping with repentance! Do not think of saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. 10 Already the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance. But the one who comes after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:1-3

John the Baptist’s best-known sermon is “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is near!” The word repent has some rich symbolism behind it. The Hebrew word for repent is shuv, which also means to turn. The Greek word for repent is metanoia, which means a change of mind.

Both these concepts show us that repentance is not a one-time event. We are to turn from the wrong path to the path of righteousness and keep walking on it. We are to change our mind, our thinking, and continue in it.

John the Baptist said, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance… every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Just as a fruit tree is expected to grow and produce fruit year after year, Christians also are to grow and produce fruit day by day—staying on the right path, growing in understanding of God’s will and in love for neighbor. It will be constant work, constant effort—but not just your work or effort. It will be God and his Word at work in you, transforming you and empowering you.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Keep my feet on your righteous path,
walking with you,
step by step,
day by day,
hour by hour.
Lift me when I fall.
Strengthen me when I am weak.
Guide me when I am wayward.
Empower me to live
in the way of recovery
repentance and love.
For my good,
for the love of my neighbor,
and for your glory.
Amen.

Eleventh Step: Through prayer and meditation I will seek to improve my conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for me and the power to carry that out.

How blessed is the man    who does not walk in the advice of the wicked,    who does not stand on the path with sinners, and who does not sit in a meeting with mockers.But his delight is in the teaching of the Lord, and on his teaching he meditates day and night.He is like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and its leaves do not wither. Everything he does prospers. Not so the wicked! No, they are like the chaff which the wind blows away.Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. Yes, the Lord approves  of the way of the righteous,but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1

Right now, you are holding this book or reading an electronic version on your phone or tablet. You are doing the very thing the Eleventh Step guides you to do. Christian meditation is about filling heart and mind with the Word of God—much like putting gas in the tank of your car. The fuel for your faith is the message of God’s love and forgiveness that are yours in Jesus. Without it, your life of faith will sputter and stop.

There are other things you can put in the tank of a vehicle. I once rented a U-Haul and saw in its rental history, “Diesel pumped out of the tank.” The wrong fuel was put in. Psalm 1 talks about not walking in the advice of the wicked, not standing on the path with sinners, and not sitting in a meeting with mockers. Those are the wrong kind of fuel—things that can gunk up and damage the engine of your faith.

Psalm 1 encourages us to delight in the teaching of the Lord and to meditate on his teaching day and night. This is not just for instruction or information. We meditate on the Word of God because it is the Word of power that brings us forgiveness, love, and the power of new life.

We also pray. Prayer is not power by itself. It is tapping into the power of God. Sometimes prayer comes from our deepest weakness—but relying on the strength of God, strength God alone can give. Think of the many times the Bible talks about prayer as “casting your cares on him” (1 Peter 5:7)or “committing your way to the Lord” (Psalm 37:5).Prayer is a sweet release—your problems are out of your hands and now in God’s.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Turn my heart and mind
from all the things of this world
that want to fill them,
to the sweet message of your Word,
to guide, empower and restore me.
Just as you bore my sins on the cross,
hold out your pierced hands
so I can put all my burdens in them.
With burdens lifted,
with heart and mind,
fueled by the power of your love,
help me carry out your will in my life.
Amen.

Twelfth Step: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, I will try to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all my affairs.

Brothers, if a person is caught in some trespass, you who are spiritual should restore such a person in a spirit of humility, carefully watching yourself so that you are not also tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2

Your Lord, Friend and Savior Jesus Christ is always there for you. He is the one who has called you out of darkness into light. He is the one who has borne your griefs and carried your sorrows. He has given you the most precious gifts of all: forgiveness, faith, hope, love, healing, guidance, strength, and renewed life. Whatever stage of recovery you are in, just realizing the problem, struggling but feeling like you’re losing, struggling and moving forward bit by bit, or months or years free of dependence, but still “sober and vigilant,” “self-controlled and alert,” (1 Peter 5:8), Jesus and his gifts are yours.

Who can you help? Do you know someone else who is struggling, just like you were? Maybe your friend doesn’t see or realize how much he/she is hurting and who he/she is hurting. St. Paul calls us to “restore such a person in a spirit of humility.” You know what those dark times are like. You actually have an advantage in reaching out. You can say, “Friend, I’ve been there.” “I know what it’s like.” You can also help to bear your friend’s burdens. “I’m always here for you. Let me be your hotline.”

Jesus works directly through the reading or hearing of his Word. He also works through Christian friends. You, too, can be an “instrument of his peace,” bringing his pardon, healing, and strength to those who need it.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.[3] Amen.


Notes:

[1] This prayer is based on the Prayer for Purity from the Gregorian Sacramentary, also used in the Sarum tradition and the Book of Common Prayer.

[2] Isaiah 53:4-6 is quoted from the English Standard Version because it has a more traditional rendering of the text and uses a variety of terms for sin.

[3] This prayer is often attributed to St. Francis, however it was first published in 1912. It contains many of the principles of the twelve steps to recovery.

In memory of DPS.

The Way of the Nativity

The Way of the Nativity is a set of fourteen devotions in the same spirit and style as the the ancient Christian devotion of the Way of the Cross. While there are several versions of the Way of the Nativity, there is no official or dominant one. The stations and Scripture selections presented here were prepared for A Collection of Prayers.

The versicle and response, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory, …” is from the Christmas Day Gospel, John 1:14.

The prayers that follow each scriptural devotion are newly written for A Collection of Prayers. The first line of each prayer, “Jesus, brightness of your Father…” is taken from a hymn by Rhabanus Maurus, Tibi, Christe, splendor Patris.

Except where noted otherwise, Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, www.wartburgproject.org.

All art is by James Tissot except for the ninth station. The illustration for the ninth station is by Guido Reni.

The readings, prayers and art are available as a downloadable pdf, printable as a booklet.

First Station: The Annunciation

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” But she was greatly troubled by the statement and was wondering what kind of greeting this could be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.” Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Listen, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age even though she was called barren, and this is her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible for God.” Then Mary said, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:26–38

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
calm our troubled hearts
with the word of your promise,
for nothing is impossible for you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Second Station: The Visitation

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In those days Mary got up and hurried to the hill country, to a town of Judah. She entered the home of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. Just as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? In fact, just now, as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! Blessed is she who believed, because the promises spoken to her from the Lord will be fulfilled!” Luke 1:39–45

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you have shown us your Father’s favor
by coming here to be our Savior.
Grant that we also may believe your promises,
and receive your blessings;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Third Station: The Song of Mary

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46–55 ESV

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you have done mighty things
and looked with favor on us,
your lowly servants.
Help your servants
that we may remember your mercy
and magnify your holy name;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourth Station: The Dream of Joseph

The +  Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother, Mary, was pledged in marriage to Joseph. Before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her. So he decided to divorce her privately. But as he was considering these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son. And they will name him Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.” When Joseph woke up from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. He took Mary home as his wife, but he was not intimate with her until she gave birth to her firstborn son. And he named him Jesus.” Matthew 1:18–25

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you became like us in every way,
yet you were without sin.
Save us from our sins
through your pure and holy sacrifice;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fifth Station: The Journey to Bethlehem

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governing Syria. And everyone went to register, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child. Luke 2:1–5

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
guide every event in our lives
for your highest purpose
and for our good,
until we arrive in your house,
and stand before your throne;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Sixth Station: The Birth of Jesus

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6–7

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
make room for yourself in our hearts,
that you may dwell there
until we dwell in heaven with you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Seventh Station: The Announcement of the Angels

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

There were in the same country shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified! But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people: Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude from the heavenly army, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind.” Luke 2:8–14

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
show us your glory
that we may not be afraid,
but be amazed at your humility
and the hidden glory of your love;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eighth Station: The Shepherds Come to the Manger

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Now let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they told others the message they had been told about this child. And all who heard it were amazed by what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:15–20

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
amaze us
with the good news of great joy,
and open our mouths
to tell all we have heard and seen;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Ninth Station: The Name of Jesus

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After eight days passed, when the child was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you were given the name
that is above every name,
that name that means
Yahweh is Salvation.[1]
Reveal that name to us
that we may know you,
accept your truth,
and trust you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Tenth Station: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. (As it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male will be called holy to the Lord.”) And they came to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the comfort of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, Simeon took him into his arms and praised God. He said, Lord, you now dismiss your servant in peace, according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. Luke 2:22–32

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you fulfilled all of the law,
so that you could be
our holy and righteous Savior.
Reveal your light to us,
be our glory,
and make us your new chosen Israel;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eleventh Station: The Visit of the Wise Men

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, when Herod was king, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this, he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. He gathered together all the people’s chief priests and experts in the law. He asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, because this was written through the prophet: You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are certainly not least among the rulers of Judah: because out of you will come a ruler, who will shepherd my people, Israel.” Then Herod secretly summoned the Wise Men and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report to me, so that I may also go and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. Then the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them, until it stood still over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with overwhelming joy. After they went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Since they had been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route. Matthew 2:1–12

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
shine like the brightest star
in the darkness of this world
and in the darkness of our hearts.
Shepherd us, your people,
and receive our prayer, praise and worship;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Twelfth Station: The Flight to Egypt

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After the Wise Men were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream. He said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, because Herod will search for the child in order to kill him.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and left for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod. This happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:13–15

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
as Israel lived in Egypt
until you led them out by Moses,
you lived in Egypt
until you could return in safety.
Bless and keep
all who live under the shadow of trouble,
and when the time is right,
lead them on;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Thirteenth Station: The Death of the Innocents

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Wise Men, he was furious. He issued orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under. This was in keeping with the exact time he had learned from the Wise Men. Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they are no more. Matthew 2:16–18

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
the darkness of this world
fills our hearts with pain
and our eyes with tears.
Wipe away all tears
and hold your promise before our eyes
that you have overcome the world;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourteenth Station: The Return to Nazareth

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. The angel said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus, Herod’s son, had succeeded his father as ruler in Judea, he was afraid to go there. Since he had been warned in a dream, he went to the region of Galilee. When he arrived there, he settled in a city called Nazareth. So what was spoken through the prophets was fulfilled: “He will be called a Nazarene.” Matthew 2:19–23

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
your heavenly and earthly fathers kept you safe,
even as the devil and the world
raged against you,
until the appointed time.
Keep us safe from all danger
until you finally deliver us from all evil
when you take us to yourself;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.


[1] Jesus is the Greek form (Iesous) of the Hebrew name Joshua (Yeshua or Yehoshua) which is a combination of the divine name in the Old Testament (YHWH, sometimes rendered in English as Yahweh or Jehovah) and the Hebrew word for save.

Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version

Prayers are written for A Collection of Prayers, © 2021 Paul C. Stratman

Art is by James Tissot from his Gospel Harmony Series.

Art for the ninth station is by Guido Reni (1575-1642).

All images are in the public domain.

See also:

Guide Our Leaders, Comfort the Anxious, Lead People in Safety

Lord of the nations,
you remind us
that despite all our earthly might,
weapons and armies,
we are not in control of all things.
Guide the leaders of our nation
to make wise decisions,
for the good of our citizens
and others who are in danger.
Comfort those who are anxious,
and those who mourn.
Lead many out in safety.
Give your people inner peace
as the peace the world gives
is dashed to pieces.
Remind us of your everlasting kingdom,
when all wars and strife will be no more,
and your people will enjoy your perfect peace,
and you will wipe all tears from our eyes;
through your Son, our peace,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, reflecting on the strife in Afghanistan, August 27, 2021.

Wedding Dinner Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,
we give you thanks and praise
for your great acts of love,
your passion
which overcame sin and death,
and your resurrection
which overcame the power of the grave,
all to make us your own
through your redeeming love.
Pour out your blessings on Katrina and Ethan
that nothing may quench their love
since it is empowered by your great love.
Bless us also,
our friendship, fellowship and conversation,
and bless the gifts we are about to receive
which you have given us for body and life;
for you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, July 10, 2021, for the wedding of Katrina Stratman and Ethan Miller.

Prayer references the wedding text, Song of Songs 8:6-7.

The Way of Light

The Way of Light or Stations of Easter is a counterpart to the Stations of the Cross with the focus on the events following Christ’s resurrection.

The versicle and response, “We adore you, O Christ,…” is from the traditional devotions for the Stations of the Cross, expanded for use in the Easter season.

The prayers that follow each scriptural devotion are newly written for A Collection of Prayers. Each begins “Risen Lord, draw us to you,” based on the verse from Song of Songs 1:4 and the favorite Ascension hymn “Draw us to thee.”

Except where noted otherwise, Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, www.wartburgproject.org.

All art except for the fourteenth station is by James Tissot. Art for the fourteenth station is based on an engraving by Gustave Doré.

The readings, prayers and art are available as a downloadable pdf, printable as a booklet.

First station: Jesus Rises from the Dead

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and going to the tomb, he rolled away the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards were so terrified of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead! And look, he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him.’ See, I have told you!” (Matthew 28:1–7)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Drive away our fears
with the good news of your resurrection,
and fill us with joy
as we tell others;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Second station: The Disciples Find the Tomb Empty

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she left and ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,” she told them, “and we don’t know where they put him!” So Peter and the other disciple went out, heading for the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first. Bending over, he saw the linen cloths lying there, yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was following him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there. The cloth that had been on Jesus’ head was not lying with the linen cloths, but was folded up in a separate place by itself. Then the other disciple, who arrived at the tomb first, also entered. He saw and believed. (They still did not yet understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead.) (John 20:1–9)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Open our minds and hearts
that we may understand the testimony of Scripture
that you have risen from the dead;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Third station: The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Mary Magdalene stood outside facing the tomb, weeping. As she wept, she bent over, looking into the tomb. She saw two angels in white clothes sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet. They asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She told them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.” After she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you carried him off, tell me where you laid him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and replied in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means, “Teacher”). Jesus told her, “Do not continue to cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father—to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” She also told them the things he said to her. (John 20:11–18)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Dry our tears,
call us by name,
and lead us to heaven
where we may always cling to you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourth station: The Risen Lord Appears to Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Now, on that same day, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about all of these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing this, Jesus himself approached and began to walk along with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” Saddened, they stopped. One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked them. They replied, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be condemned to death. And they crucified him. But we were hoping that he was going to redeem Israel. Not only that, but besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Also some women of our group amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning. When they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb. They found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him.” He said to them, “How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:13–27)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Drive out all foolishness,
and open our hearts to believe
all the Scriptures have spoken about you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fifth station: The Risen Lord Is Recognized at the Breaking of Bread

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

As they approached the village where they were going, he acted as if he were going to travel farther. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, since it is almost evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he reclined at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and began giving it to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. Then he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking to us along the road and while he was explaining the Scriptures to us?” They got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those who were with them assembled together. They were saying, “The Lord really has been raised! He has appeared to Simon.” They themselves described what had happened along the road, and how they recognized him when he broke the bread. (Luke 24:28–35)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Stay with us
and bless us with your gracious presence
that our hearts may burn within us,
that we may recognize you
in Word and Sacrament;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Sixth station: The Risen Lord Appears to His Disciples

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were terrified and frightened and thought they were looking at a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they still did not believe it (because of their joy), and while they were still wondering, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb. He took it and ate in front of them. (Luke 24:36–43)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Give us your peace.
Drive away all doubts.
and fill our hearts with joy;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Seventh station: The Lord Gives the Power to Forgive Sins

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I am also sending you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:19–23)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
As you have given us your peace,
make us agents of your peace.
As you have forgiven us our sins,
move us to forgive those who have sinned against us;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eighth station: The Lord Confirms the Faith of Thomas

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Thomas, one of the Twelve, the one called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.” After eight days, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Take your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue to doubt, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:24–29)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Give us faith in the word of your gospel
that we may believe without seeing,
and confess you as our Lord and our God;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Ninth station: The Risen Lord Meets His Disciples on the Shore of Lake Tiberias

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

After this, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how he showed himself: Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.” They replied, “We’ll go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus. Jesus called to them, “Boys, don’t you have any fish?” “No!” they answered. He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they cast the net out. Then they were not able to haul it in because of the large number of fish. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard, “It is the Lord!” he tied his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about one hundred yards. When they stepped out on land, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them. Yet even with so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them, and also the fish. (John 21:1–13)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
As you surprised your disciples by appearing to them,
and by giving them a large catch of fish,
fill us with wonder by your constant presence,
and with your many blessings;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Tenth station: The Risen Lord Restores Peter

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I care about you.” Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I care about you.” Jesus told him, “Be a shepherd for my sheep.” He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you care about me?” Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you care about me?” He answered, “Lord, you know all things. You know that I care about you.” “Feed my sheep,” Jesus said. (John 21:15–17)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
We are like sheep that have gone astray.
Gather us, restore us,
and empower us with your love and forgiveness,
that we may feed your lambs and sheep;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eleventh station: The Risen Lord Entrusts to His Disciples the Mission to the World

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some hesitated because they were uncertain. Jesus approached and spoke to them saying, “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 28:16–20)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
All authority in heaven and earth is yours.
When we hesitate
to speak your Word or do your work
because of doubt and fear,
remind us that you are with us always,
and give us authority and power through your Word;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Twelfth station: The Risen Lord Ascends to the Father

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

So when they were together with him, they asked, “Lord, is this the time when you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said these things, he was taken up while they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. They were looking intently into the sky as he went away. Suddenly, two men in white clothes stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6–11)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Let your kingdom come
through us to the world
as we live as your witnesses
until you come again;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Thirteenth station: Waiting for the Holy Spirit

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter and John were there, also James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All of them kept praying together with one mind, along with the women, with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Acts 1:12–14)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Unite us, your church,
that we may pray together with one mind,
to hallow your name, advance your kingdom,
and do your will;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourteenth station: The Risen Lord Sends the Holy Spirit Promised to the Disciples

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross and the light of the resurrection you have redeemed the world.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the rushing of a violent wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw divided tongues that were like fire resting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, since the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak fluently. Now there were godly Jewish men from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When this sound was heard, a crowd came together and was confused, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were completely baffled and said to each other, “Look, are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them speaking in his own native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, and of Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya around Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring in our own languages the wonderful works of God.” They were all amazed and perplexed. They kept saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocked them and said, “They are full of new wine.” (Acts 2:1–13)

Risen Lord, draw us to you.
Send your Spirit to open our lips
that we may declare
the wonderful works of God;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version

Prayers are written for A Collection of Prayers, © 2021 Paul C. Stratman

Art is by James Tissot from his Gospel Harmony Series.

Art for the Fourteenth Station is colorized from an etching by Gustave Dore.

See also:

Scriptural Way of the Cross

The Scriptural Way of the Cross or Scriptural Stations of the Cross is a modern version of the ancient Christian devotion called the Stations of the Cross.

The versicle and response, “We adore you, O Christ,…” is from the traditional devotions for the Stations of the Cross.

The prayers that follow each scriptural devotion are newly written for A Collection of Prayers, based on the traditional response for after each devotion, “Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.”

Except where noted otherwise, Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, www.wartburgproject.org.

All art is by James Tissot.

The readings, prayers and art are available as a downlodable pdf, printable as a booklet.

First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

File:Brooklyn Museum - You Could Not Watch One Hour With Me (Vous n'avez pu veiller une heure avec moi) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane. He told his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and he began to be sorrowful and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to the point of death. Stay here, and keep watch with me.” He went a little farther, fell on his face, and prayed. He said, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “So, were you not able to stay awake with me for one hour? Watch and pray, so that you do not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:36–41

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps.
Keep our spirits willing,
and strengthen us when our flesh is weak;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Second Station: Jesus is Betrayed by Judas and Arrested

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Guards Falling Backwards (Les gardes tombant à la renverse) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Just then, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. A crowd was with him, armed with swords and clubs. They were from the chief priests, the experts in the law, and the elders. Now his betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him and lead him away under guard.” He went right to Jesus and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. They laid hands on him and arrested him. Mark 14:43–46

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps,
even when we must go where we do not want to go;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Morning Judgment (Le jugement du matin) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

As soon as it was day, the council of the elders of the people met together, both the chief priests and experts in the law. They brought him into their Sanhedrin and said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer me or release me. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all said, “Are you then the Son of God?” He said to them, “I am what you are saying.” Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? For we ourselves have heard it from his own mouth!”  Luke 22: 66-71

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps,
that we always confess you as Christ our Lord,
Son of Man and Son of God;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Meanwhile Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came to him and said, “You were also with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” When Peter went out to the entryway, someone else saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again Peter denied it with an oath and said, “I do not know the man.” After a little while those who stood by came and said to Peter, “Surely you are also one of them because even your accent gives you away.” Then he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man!” Just then the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.  Matthew 26: 69-75

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps,
that we always remember the words you have spoken,
repent of our sins,
and cling to you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pontius Pilate

File:Brooklyn Museum - Jesus Before Pilate Second Interview (Jésus devant Pilate. Deuxième entretien) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

As soon as it was morning, the chief priests, along with the elders, the experts in the law, and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “It is as you say.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate questioned him again, “Are you not going to answer anything? See how many charges they are bringing against you!” But Jesus still did not answer anything, so Pilate was amazed. Since he wanted to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. After he had Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified. Mark 15: 1-5, 15

Lord Jesus, we cannot always follow in your steps,
for you went to the depths of suffering alone,
so that like Barabbas, we would be set free;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged at the Pillar and Crowned with Thorns

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Scourging on the Front (La flagellation de face) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns and placed it on his head. Then they threw a purple robe around him. They kept coming to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they kept hitting him in the face.  John 19:1-3

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps.
Rule in our hearts,
as our good and gracious King;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

File:Brooklyn Museum - Jesus Bearing the Cross (Jésus chargé de la Croix) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

When the chief priests and guards saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” Pilate told them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him.” They shouted, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?” “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered. So then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. Carrying his own cross, he went out to what is called the Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.  John 19: 6, 15-17

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps.
We have no king but you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon of Cyrene to Carry the Cross

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

A certain man, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), was passing by on his way in from the country. They forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. Mark 15:21

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps.
Help us bear our crosses,
for you bore the heaviest cross for us;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Daughters of Jerusalem (Les filles de Jérusalem) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

A large crowd of people was following him, including women who were mourning and wailing for him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Be sure of this: The days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things to the green wood, what will happen to the dry?” Luke 23:27-31

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps.
Dry our tears,
until that day
when you wipe away every tear from our eyes;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

File:Brooklyn Museum - The First Nail (Le premier clou) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” They cast lots to divide his garments among them. Luke 23:33-34

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps,
that we forgive those who have sinned against us,
because you have freely forgiven us;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises Paradise to the Repentant Thief

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

One of the criminals hanging there was blaspheming him, saying, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same condemnation? We are punished justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for what we have done, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.” Jesus said to him, “Amen I tell you: Today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps,
that by your grace
we, too, may join you in your kingdom of Paradise
when our last hour comes;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Beloved Disciple

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Death of Jesus (La mort de Jésus) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene were standing near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother!” And from that time this disciple took her into his own home. John 19:25-27

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps.
Give us the blessed comfort of friends and family,
and always keep us near you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Sorrowful Mother (Mater Dolorosa) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun was darkened. Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps,
for by your innocent suffering and death,
you have opened up the way to the Father for us;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Holy Virgin Kisses the Face of Jesus Before He is Enshrouded on the Anointing Stone - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb that he had cut in the rock. He rolled a large stone over the tomb’s entrance and left. Matthew 27:57-60

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps,
for you have gone where we must all go,
to death and the grave,
all so you could rise again;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fifteenth Station: Jesus Rises from the Dead

File:Brooklyn Museum - The Resurrection (La Résurrection) - James Tissot.jpg

We adore you, O + Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and going to the tomb, he rolled away the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards were so terrified of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead! And look, he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him.’ See, I have told you!” They hurried away from the tomb, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” They approached, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go, tell my brothers that they should go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Matthew 28:1-10

Lord Jesus, help us follow in your steps.
Raise us up on the Last Day,
that we may follow you from death to life;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version

Prayers are written for A Collection of Prayers, © 2021 Paul C. Stratman

Art is by James Tissot from his Gospel Harmony Series.

See also: Scriptural Way of the Cross on Wikipedia, and an article on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

See also:

In Trouble and Turmoil, Be Our Peace

house standoff 1 guns drawn

Lord of the nations,
God in whom we trust,
you alone are holy,
good, wise,
and the source of every blessing.

In trouble and turmoil,
be our peace.
In our hearts and minds
give us the peace that surpasses understanding.
In our mouths
put words of peace,
and make us peacemakers
that we may be called your children.

Let the truth of your Word
govern and guide us
when we are inclined
to be like Pontius Pilate
and say, “What is truth?”

When we are unsure of all things,
draw us to you,
our faithful God,
steadfast in love,
our rock, refuge and fortress.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, January 6, 2021.

Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save. Psalm 146:3

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

Now and Forever: Contemporary Collects

 

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

Now and Forever: Contemporary Collects

 

Litany of the Nativity

File:Flemish School - The Nativity - 1542204 - National Trust.jpg

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.

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

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

Jesus,
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.

Jesus,
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.
Amen.

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

Creative Commons License

This litany prayer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicensePlease contact for permission for any commercial use.