Terrorism

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

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

Rite for the Welcome of Catechumens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catechumens: I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us pray.

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

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

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

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

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

See also Rite for the Presentation of Bibles to Children.

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

Acceptance of Catechumens

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

Catechumens: I do.

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

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

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

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

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

Let us pray.

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

 

Prayer When a Storm Is Approaching

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

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

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

Prayer Reflecting on the Shooting in Colorado, May 7

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

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

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

© 2017 Paul C. Stratman
on A Collection of Prayers

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

A Prayer about Mothers

Our Father in heaven,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth
receives its name,
you describe your tender comfort
as being like a mother’s comfort.
We give thanks for mothers,
who comfort,
who teach,
who nurture,
who feed,
who love.
Continue to give them patience and strength.
Receive the cares they cast on you.
We pray for children;
open their eyes
to their mothers’ open arms,
to their mothers’ love,
to their mothers’ sacrifices
of time and effort.
We pray for those who weep
when they think of their mothers,
and mothers who weep
when they think of their children.
With your love
heal broken hearts,
and guide us with your love
to remove the walls we often build
between ourselves
and those who should be closest.
Fill the void of loss
with friends, family,
and with your own assurance
of your tender care;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

© 2017 Paul C. Stratman

Creative Commons License
A Prayer about Mothers by Paul C. Stratman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact for any commercial usage.

“from whom…” is a reference to Ephesians 3:15.

“You describe…” is a reference to Isaiah 66:13

“Receive the cares…” is a reference to 1 Peter 5:7

The last section “We pray for those who weep…” is in part a reflection on Psalm 27:10.

See also “A Prayer about Fathers.”

The painting The Madonna of the Pinks, Raphael, probably before 1507 was chosen simply to be a depiction of a mother with a child.

The Resurrection of our Lord, Easter Day

Lord Jesus,
Son of Man,
crucified but raised again,
you have swallowed up death forever
and have revealed to us the mystery
of your resurrection
and of our resurrection that is yet to come.
Let this good news
of your victory over death and the grave
drive out all doubt and unbelief
and fill us with all eagerness and joy;
you are the King of Glory and the Lord of Life,
and you live and reign
with your Father and the Holy Spirit,
worthy of all power and wealth
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise,
now and forever.

Source: Prayer for Easter Day, Series C, from Now and Forever: New Collects for Modern Lectionaries, copyright © 2019 Paul C. Stratman

The prayers, all newly composed, are written in classic collect form and find their themes in the readings for each Sunday in the lectionary. This book gives additional options for the Prayer of the Day/Opening Prayer. These prayers may also be used for concluding petitions in the Prayer of the Church (Prayers of Intercession or Prayers of the People) or may be used as closing prayers that fit thematically with the readings of the day. Pastors, lectors and worship planners may find this to be a valuable resource for prayers in the worship service.

Available from Amazon.com in paperback and for Kindle.

Passion Sunday

Ecce Homo by Antonio Ciseri

In some traditions, the Sunday of Holy Week is called Passion Sunday, and the Sunday service features a reading of the whole passion history from one of the gospels. The following prayers may be used as the Prayer of the Day, or as a prayer before or after the reading of the Passion Sunday Gospel.

A (with the Gospel: Matthew 26:1—27:66)

Merciful Father, your only Son fulfilled the Scriptures, bore our sins, and was forsaken so that you would not forsake us because of our sins. Turn your ear to us, come quickly to our rescue, and be our rock and our fortress; through Jesus Christ our Lord.*

B (with the Gospel: Mark 14:1—15:47)

Lord Almighty, you hear the needy and do not despise your captive people. Your only Son prepared all things so that he could offer himself as a sacrifice for sin by his passion and death. Keep us mindful of your great love that we may live as your free people; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

C (with the Gospel: Luke 22:1—23:56)

Merciful Father, your only Son endured betrayal, mockery, injustice, suffering and death to deliver us and save us. In your unfailing love hear our cries for mercy and fill us with your love, that we become strong in heart and hope in you in good times and bad; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

*The long termination may be used with these prayers if desired: “through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”

Source: Now and Forever (see below), © 2019 Paul C. Stratman

The prayers, all newly composed, are written in classic collect form and find their themes in the readings for each Sunday in the lectionary. This book gives additional options for the Prayer of the Day/Opening Prayer. These prayers may also be used for concluding petitions in the Prayer of the Church (Prayers of Intercession or Prayers of the People) or may be used as closing prayers that fit thematically with the readings of the day. Pastors, lectors and worship planners may find this to be a valuable resource for prayers in the worship service.

Available from Amazon.com in paperback and for Kindle.