Christian Education

Let Us Pray: Week 2

Training Disciples
Lent 2022: Let Us Pray

Week 2: March 16, 2022, 6pm

Greeting
L: The love of God poured into our hearts, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the abundant life of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.

Opening Prayer
L: Let us pray. O God, rich in mercy, full of kindness: out of your great love, you raise us up from sin and death and make us alive together with Christ. Be present with us in prayer and praise. Write your word upon our hearts and restore in us the image of your love that, by your Spirit, the way of Christ may become our way of life.  In Christ’s name we pray.
C: Amen.

A Lenten Litany
L: We come to you, gracious God, for healing, reconciliation, peace, purpose, and guidance. 
C: We come carrying the weariness of these past years. It feels like so much has changed. And yet, it feels like nothing has changed.

L: We come to you Saving One, for presence, hope, pardon, and assurance. 
C: We come, feeling at times like we are lost in the wilderness, uncertain of who we are now or where we are going. 

L: We come to you Author of all Life, for life, love, and salvation.
C: We come, burning with a million questions and no easy answers. We know things are not the way they were, yet we see the path forward only a step or two at a time, if at all.

L: People of God, no matter where you are – or how you come this evening – our loving God is with you and with me. God sees you, knows you, loves you, welcomes you, and is with you. Always.
C: God is with us now and always.

L: God, we give you thanks for being with us. Now in this time together, open us up to wonder, to discern your will, to receive your life-changing and life-giving love.
C: Fill us, guide us, and lead us. Open us to big questions without easy answers; guide us into the future you are breathing into being; help us to wonder, to wrestle, to imagine, and to follow you. Amen.

Questions for reflection as you hear the reading:

  • What words or phrases do you feel drawn to in this text?
  • How do you see God moving in this text?
  • What invitations do you hear in this text to pray?

Reading: Luke 20:1-17
One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” He answered them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” They discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. Then Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. 10 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. 12 And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Heaven forbid!” 17 But he looked at them and said, “What then does this text mean:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?


Prayer practice: Praying with Beads
The Catholic Rosary is the most well known form of praying with beads, but it is not the only form. With the Rosary, a series of memorized prayers are said for each bead along the string with times of reflection on the mystery of salvation found in Jesus Christ. (50 Ways to Pray by Teresa A. Blythe)

You can create your own prayer beads with beads and prayers of your choosing. Below are some suggested prayers, but you can use any prayer or scripture you like.  

For your string of beads, choose a mix of small and medium/large beads. There is no right or wrong order, but traditionally prayer beads have several small beads in between a few larger beads. (If you don’t have beads on hand to make your own string of prayer beads, no problem! You can use a rosary if you’ve got one; you could use small stones; you could draw a string of beads with lines and circles on a piece of paper and trace it with your finger; you could even count off prayers on your own fingers.)

For your prayers, if you’d like, you can choose a different prayer for every bead, or you can choose a few prayers or scriptures to repeat. This can be a fun, tactile, meditative way to memorize and pray with scripture.

Small bead prayers

The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 

The Doxology
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Luke 23:42
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 46:10
Be still and know that God is God.

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Medium bead prayers

from Evangelical Lutheran Worship p304
O God, you have calld your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, 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;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Large bead prayers

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters. You restore my soul, O Lord, and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, and my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
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 powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;
though its waters rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be shaken;
God shall help it at the break of day.
The nations rage, and the kingdoms shake;
God speaks, and the earth melts away.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come now, regard the works of the Lord,
what desolations God has brought upon the earth;
behold the one who makes war to cease in all the world;
who breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, then, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations; 
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.


Communal prayer: We pray for one another & for the world
L: Let us pray. In Christ Jesus we meet the God who knows our weakness and bears the wounds of the world. Therefore, let us be bold as we pray, trusting that God draws near to those in any kind of need.

All are invited to add their own prayer petitions here. (You are welcome to add your own prayers in comments on this post or on the video)
Please end your petition with: 
L: God, in your mercy,
C: Receive our prayer.

L: God of all compassion, gather our prayers in your mercy and grant to us what you know we need, that we may walk in the life and peace of your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our hope and our salvation
C: Amen.

L: Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
C: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Dismissal
L: Go in peace. Christ is with you.
C: Thanks be to God.


Thanks so much for spending time with us this evening! Please be sure to join us for the remaining Lenten Wednesday evenings — in person or online — March 23, 30, April 6. Meal starts at 6pm, with prayer following.

Christian Education

Let Us Pray: Week 1

Training Disciples
Lent 2022: Let Us Pray

Week 1: March 9, 2022, 6pm

Greeting
L: The love of God poured into our hearts, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the abundant life of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.

Opening Prayer
L: Let us pray. O God, rich in mercy, full of kindness: out of your great love, you raise us up from sin and death and make us alive together with Christ. Be present with us in prayer and praise. Write your word upon our hearts and restore in us the image of your love that, by your Spirit, the way of Christ may become our way of life.  In Christ’s name we pray.
C: Amen.

A Lenten Litany
L: We come to you, gracious God, for healing, reconciliation, peace, purpose, and guidance. 
C: It feels like these past couple of years are a blur. It feels like in these past couple of years that everything has changed. And yet, it feels like nothing has changed. 

L: We come to you Saving One, for presence, hope, pardon, and assurance. 
C: It feels at times like we may be lost in the wilderness, the dark of night, uncertain of who we are now and where we are going. 

L: We come to you Giver of all Life, for life, love, and salvation.
C: It feels at times like we have a million questions and no easy answers. We know things are not the way they were, and we see the path forward only a step or two at a time, if at all.

L: People of God- No matter where you are, our loving God is with you and with me. God sees you, knows you, loves you, and is with you. Always.
C: God is with us now and always.

L: God, we give you thanks for being with us. Now in this time together, open us up to wonder, to discern your will, to receive your life-changing and life-giving love.
C: Fill us, guide us, and lead us. Open us to big questions without easy answers; guide us into the future you are breathing into being; help us to wonder, to wrestle, to imagine, and to follow you. Amen.

Questions for reflection as you hear the reading:

  • What words or phrases do you feel drawn to in this text?
  • How do you see God moving in this text?
  • What invitations do you hear in this text to pray?

Reading: Luke 19:29-48
29 When [Jesus] had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying,

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

41 As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

45 Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; 46 and he said, “It is written,

‘My house shall be a house of prayer’;
but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.


Prayer practice: Praying with GRASE
This kind of prayer, called a “collect” prayer, has a five-part structure that dates back to the early centuries of Christianity.  While it’s typically used for prayer in community, it can also be used in your personal prayer life (or on the spot if someone asks you to pray!).  Collect style prayers are very common in our own Sunday worship life – see if you can spot a prayer with all five parts the next time you’re in church (pro-tip: start with the prayer of the day)!

To follow along, grab a blank sheet of paper and trace the outline of your hand. Write the letters G, R, A, S, E by each finger, starting with your thumb.

  • G (thumb): Start your prayer by addressing God in some way – we express and experience relationship with God in many and specific and wonderful ways.
  • R (index finger): Remember good things that God has done – we remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness and offer thanks and praise
  • A (middle finger): Ask God for what you or someone else needs – Jesus urges us to “take it to the Lord in prayer”; we lift our concerns to God with trust and hope
  • S (ring finger): “So that…” desired outcome – we try to enter into God’s imagination for the world and name how what we pray for will help bring that about
  • E (pinky finger): End the prayer in the name of Christ – Jesus told his followers to ask for anything in his name, and by faith we take him at his word

Your turn: try writing your own collect-style prayer.  Pray about whatever it is that’s on your heart in this moment.  Don’t worry about making it sound any particular way.  This is just another way of opening up conversation with God. 


Communal prayer: We pray for one another & for the world
L: Let us pray. In Christ Jesus we meet the God who knows our weakness and bears the wounds of the world. Therefore, let us be bold as we pray, trusting that God draws near to those in any kind of need.

All are invited to add their own prayer petitions here. 
Please end your petition with: 
L: God, in your mercy,
C: Receive our prayer.

L: God of all compassion, gather our prayers in your mercy and grant to us what you know we need, that we may walk in the life and peace of your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our hope and our salvation
C: Amen.

L: Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
C: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Dismissal
L: Go in peace. Christ is with you.
C: Thanks be to God.


Thanks so much for spending time with us this evening! Please be sure to join us for the remaining Lenten Wednesday evenings — in person or online — March 16, 23, 30, April 6. Meal starts at 6pm, with prayer following.

Christian Education

The Gifts of Discipleship: Week 5

Training Disciples
Lent 2021: The Gifts of Discipleship

Week 5: March 24, 2021, 7pm

Watch video here.

Welcome & Intro

Scriptures for this week

  • Micah 6:6-8 – “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
  • Luke 4:16-21 – When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
    “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
    And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
  • Mark 12:41-44 – He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
  • Mark 11:15-19 – Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,
    ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
    And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

Introduction to this week’s Gift of Discipleship:
To strive for justice and peace in all the earth

Questions for Discussion/Journaling:

  • What does it mean to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?
  • What examples of this have you seen or witnessed in your community and world this past year?
  • In what ways might you be called today and in the days ahead to “strive for justice and peace in all the earth” yourself?

Prayer of the Week:
Gracious God, we thank you for the promise of a world of justice and peace. Your love for your beloved humanity is breathtaking. To send your son Jesus Christ to live among us and die for us is humbling. Allow us to partner with you to bring justice and peace in all the earth. Show us the way. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

Voices from the Synod:
Deacon Karen Melang; Former Nebraska Synod Council Secretary and Former Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity (in Fremont)

Christian Education

The Gifts of Discipleship: Week 4

Training Disciples
Lent 2021: The Gifts of Discipleship

Week 4: March 17, 2021, 7pm

Watch video here.

Welcome & Intro

Scriptures for this week

  • Ephesians 4:25-5:2 – So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
  • John 15:12-17 – This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
  • John 13:5-20 – Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfill the scripture, ‘The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”

Introduction to this week’s Gift of Discipleship:
To serve all people, following the example of Jesus

Questions for Discussion/Journaling:

  • What does it mean for you to serve following the example of Jesus?
  • How might Jesus’ act of washing the disciples’ feet be an example for us today of serving our neighbors in our daily lives?
  • In what ways might we be “imitators of God” through how we serve and show love, grace, and compassion?
  • How do you sense that God may be calling you to serve? 

Prayer of the Week:
Gracious God, we thank you for the gift of service. We are recipients of your love made known in Christ. Fill our hearts with compassion, so we might serve out of a spirit of love rather than under the mantle of obligation. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

Voices from the Synod:
Divine Cubwa, member of ELCA Church Council and student at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Christian Education

The Gifts of Discipleship: Week 3

Training Disciples
Lent 2021: The Gifts of Discipleship

Week 2: March 10, 2021, 7pm

Watch video here.

Welcome & Intro

Scriptures for this week

  • Romans 10:13-17 – “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
  • Matthew 28:16-20 – Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Introduction to this week’s Gift of Discipleship:
To proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed

Questions for Discussion/Journaling:

  • What does it mean for you to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed?
  • How have you been doing so during this time of pandemic (perhaps making use of your online or social media presence)?
  • How do you feel called to proclaim the good news now, and in what ways do you think God may be calling you to do this going forward?

Prayer of the Week:
Gracious God, we thank you for the good news of Christ Jesus. Use our lives to boldly proclaim your good news made known in Christ. Use our words and our actions to reflect the goodness of your love. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen. 

Voices from the Synod:
Pastor Don Marshall, Oaks Indian Mission (Synod ministry partner)