Trickle Down Grace: A Prayer

God, I’ve been thinking fiercely today,

about how you keep trying to convince us that there is no such thing

as trickle down grace.

You formed Adam and Eve out of your own breath,

Sharing the Holy Spirit of inspiration with us.

As Abram and Sarai wondered as immigrants

As God showed us, in no uncertain terms,

that the sacrifice of children, will never ever

be a demand of our God.

And gave us Jacob, the literal heel to show,

that no blessing needs to be tricked from God,

As the Hebrews in the desert were shown that God’s Providence

would be enough, and there was no need for greed.

God, you never were one to give your peoples scraps of grace.

God, I think we humans worry, about being stuck with only the scraps.

We worry that there isn’t enough grace to go around.

But when I have a need, the prayers flow in like water.

When I cry out, and my tears overwhelm me, I feel your voice crying with mine, indinguishable.

Because you have never been a trickle down God! You never just give us dribs and drabs!

You are an abundant, grace overflowing, there is always room for one more at the table God.

This means your grace is messy! It spills in uncontrollable fantastic ways! splashing upon unsuspecting bystanders, leaving a track that one can clearly see after that face.

Mighty God, how I love you messy and uncontrollable grace.

Thank you, for being the kind of God I want to worship. Thank you for splashing your grace everywhere. Help me to be a part of the splashing I pray.

Amen.

Feel Free to Adapt/Share/Use with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Aunty God

God

Nothing makes me want to scorch earth faster

Or with more fury

thank suffering children.

My heart clencheswithin my chest, when children suffer.

Especially when it is due to the incompetences of adults.

It’s is our job to protect children—not from inconveniences or hard things—

But from bullying, bigotry, mistreatment and evil.

Lord you know that my niphling, your niphling has COVID

And that each and every child sick with COVID right now (at least in the United States)—

Is a failure.

Because we know how to keep each other safe.

We just need to do the hard work, and we keep tripping up

On our ignorance

Selfishness

And greed.

Tonight I will probably pray some people shaped prayers;

But right now I need to rage and and spit and cry out:

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Break our Hearts of Stone

So that we might do better—God help us to do better,

I know we can do better!

And keep your baby niphlings* safe,

All the baby niphlings For you are the Mighty Aunty God

Ready to hug us and rage on our behalf

And love us back to health

Come on Aunty God and help all your sick niphlings

Till each of us is better I pray

—and thanks again for the vaccines and masks—

In Aunty God’s name I pray

Amen

*niphling is one of several gender neutral terms for nieces and nephews. It’s my favorite because it sounds like something out of a fantasy novel.

Please feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

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Holy Words: No and Yes

God help me,

to discern when to say no

So that I can also say yes.

Help me do the junk,

the stuff that has to get done anyway.

But also…..

Help me to know when to draw

the boundaries that need to be drawn.

To be healthy

To hold firm

to say

No.

Simply

as a complete sentence.

So that when I want to

Say Yes, to something that I am called to

To something that is fulfilling and right

that I can say Yes.

No to overdoing

Yes to stretching

No to bullies

Yes to God.

No to Bigotry

Yes to Welcome

No to busywork

Yes to upholding, enouraging and supporting

No to perfection

Yes to good enough

No to doing everything

Yes to help

God, I give thanks, for all the Holy Nos, and all the Holy Yeses

In my Life.

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

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Oct 10 God Provides Manna

Living in This God Given World: Food!

Exodus 16:1-18

John 6:51

Psalm 104

Call to Worship

Providing God, You give us enough

We thank you for all you have given us

When we are hungry, you feed us

Come let us praise God who provides for us

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that sometimes we grumble, sometimes we worry that we do not have enough. We confess that sometimes we hoard our resources. It is hard to trust that you are an abundant God. Forgive us, teach us to appreciate your abundance, and to share what we have, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God’s grace is from everlasting to everlasting. It has no limits, so hear the good news; In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God all that we have comes from you. Let us rededicate ourselves to you, and remember your abundance, trusting that you will give us what we need. Let us give you our thanks and praise. Amen.

Children: Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies Story https://www.houstonisd.org/cms/lib2/TX01001591/Centricity/Domain/3465/Awesomeness%20-%20Warm%20Fuzzy%20Story.pdf, Tell the Manna story, try to talk with them about the fact that there is enough food for everyone in the world, we just need to do a better job of sharing it.

Hymns: Here I Am Lord, For the Fruit of All Creation, Let All Things Now Living, We Gather Together, Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine, Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah,

More Year 4 Narrative Lectionary Resources

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Ministry, A Prayer

Sometimes I get to preach

Or tell good stories

Or talk about God in high minded ways–with really cool words!

But the best time, God are when I sit with someone

and do ministry, by listening to stories

or holding a crying child

or trying to understand a perspective that had never occurred to me.

God thank you for reminding me

that ministry is that easy

and that hard.

And thank you, for the fact

that you have empowered

each of us, to minister

to one another

every day.

May we smile

or help

or sit

in ministry today.

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

More Mundane Prayers for Surviving the Day to Day

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

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Oct 3 God’s Name is Revealed

Living into this God Given World: Helpers

Exodus 2:23-25; 3:1-15, 4:10-17

John 8:58

Psalm 46

Trickle Down Grace: A Prayer

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 46)

God says, come into the house of the Lord

We gather together, to be with God

We come to be still, and know God

Come let us worship God, exalted among nations.

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that sometimes we are like Moses. We feel unworthy to be called upon. We are ware that we lack. We feel that the burden is too heavy. Forgive us, and call us again to be the helpers we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God is with us, forgiving us. Know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Let us dedicate ourselves to God, who sends his servants to free the earth. The one who promises to make wars cease. Come let love and serve the Lord. Amen.

Children: Discuss with children Mr. Roger’s famous “consider the helpers” when things are scary or bad conversation. (Keeping in mind that us grown ups are the ones who are supposed to be these helpers setting this example)

Hymns: God of Compassion in Mercy Befriend Us, God of the Ages Whose Almight Hand, Wherever I May Wander, Live Into Hope, When Israel Was in Egypt’s Land, Be Thou My Vision, Called as Partners in Christ’s Service

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4

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Never Forget, a Prayer of Mourning

I remember staying up all night,

And waking up to the phone in my dorm

(landline, yes)

It was the 2nd week of Freshman Year.

And God, all I can remember

Is that everyone was so angry.

Because no one seemed to know

How to be sad.

Never Forget–

How to be angry I wondered?

As we marched off to war?

As I viewed the Holocaust museum in embattled Israel?*

As we became more embittered against Brown people.

And now,

After Iraq, and Afghanistan,

and a million Covid deaths later,

God, I think that maybe,

we are way more apt to get angry–

because we as a nation are not good at getting sad.

How often do I see our leaders cry?

How often do we encourage mourning?

So Today I’m glad that you are the God who weeps with those are weeping.

Today I’m glad that you affirmed

that

Jesus wept.

A tear for every life.

God does not need to get even for justice to be done.

And today, I am so thankful, for a God that weeps.

As I remember the first day,

that I realize that justice is so separate from anger–

and mourning is too.

So today, God, I think I’m going to concentrate on mourning,

and nothing else.

Please sit with me, again,

while I cry

whatever more tears

need to be cried.

Amen.

Feel free to share/adapt/use with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

If you enjoy my work, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing 

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

*The Nationally Funded motto of all the museums in Israel is also Never Forget, which I discovered upon a pilgrimage there in 2010.

No Trucks, No Supply: a Prayer

Have mercy on us,

The sign didn’t say.

Instead it said,

We apologize,

that we may not have all of the items

you need, for our truck,

didn’t come in today.

And that is exactly how I feel today, God.

After a week of emotional wraughtness

(which spellcheck tells me is not a real word)

Of good school start, and scary Covid news,

and exhausting abortion, masks, Natural Disasters, Afghanistan, 9/11 and more…

After a week of reopening church events, and finally getting some rentals of the building

and reopening the Nursery School

and seeing the smiling faces of tiny students

behind the masks that we have put into tiny

and hopefully safe classes.

(Please, Lord in your mercy, help us to keep them safe)

I find that I am all out of emotions.

So if you could give me a week God,

or even a weekend off,

of big emotions.

I would be very grateful–

because when I reach for an emotion I need

be it happy or sad or mournful or contented.

Sometimes, I’m not sure that I have what I need.

For I have used up way more than a week’s supply,

within the last week.

How does one take a break from emotions, God?

And I mean this, of course, in a healthy way.

When the world keeps on turning,

and the kids keep asking questions,

and life seems to be restarting,

If you could help me to figure out

some more ways to recharge–

I would be grateful.

In the meantime I will pray, and seek sunlight and read and do yoga,

and call friends and do the church thing and spend time with family,

until I figure out what else to do…

or how to change the world.

Thank you for listening God.

Amen.

With thanks to @KendraWrites for the inspirational tweet.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

If you enjoy my work, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

Sept 26: Jacob’s Dream

Living Into this God Given World: Dreams and Blessings

Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23; 28:10-17

John 1:50-51

Psalm 121

Call to Worship:

God of unlikely blessings, be with us today

Help us as we journey, give us what we need

God of dreams, go where we go

Let us journey with God today.

Confession: God, we confess that sometimes our blessings and dreams confound and confuse us, like Jacob. At times we are uncertain what it is God wants us to do next. Help us on journey. When our steps falter, be with us. When the future is uncertain, comfort us. When the world is overwhelming, help us to rest. When we realize we are imperfect, equip us. Remind us that you are our God no matter what, and help us along the way we pray, Amen.

Prayer of Confession: God, I confess that sometimes, I am like Jacob. Sometimes, I am not even asking for help, and yet you are there. Present with dreams and blessings that I did not know I needed. Please continue to give me what I need I pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Be assured, your help will always come from the Lord. Know the truth, In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God you are mighty in your mercy. You do not need to be tricked into blessings, for they are abundant. Let us go into the world assured of your blessings. Amen.

Children: Talk about how Jacob thought he was tricking a blessing out of his father, but actually God gave bonus blessings to Jacob and that was the real trick. Perhaps use the illustration of an overflowing cup as to how blessings work. God fills our cup til overflowing and then it is our job to use our cup to fill other people’s cups

Hymns: There is a Wideness to God’s Mercy, Take My Life, O Jesus I Have Promised, Guide My O Thou Great Jehovah

Some Writing on Jacob being a Heel

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing! I have already Successfully funded year 1, and am now working on Year 2!