Advent Prayer

Here’s a Prayer for Advent
For those are stuck in injustice for so long
they seek justice with every breath they breathe
and long for a new kind of liberation.

Here’s a prayer for those
stuck in the throes of grief
gnarled in the pain
and cannot feel those who are holding their hands in darkness.

Here is a prayer those
sick so prologuedly, they don’t remember
what health feels like, and subsist instead
on better days.

Here’s a prayer for the lonely
whose teeth ache when they see companionship
who lurk in the corners of libraries and shops
and love to converse with strangers and angels unawares.

Here’s a prayer for the victims
of violence and abuse
from microagressions to verbal, from physical to assassination
To all those who cannot be safe because where they are or who they are.

Here’s a prayer for those who just don’t know Lord
They are just so tired and confused, and stuck
They aren’t sure where to go next or what to do
But they are certain that they need to figure out the next step.

Here’s a prayer for those on the edge of death,
you know the ones God, waiting for that next family gathering
or that last visit, or the strength to let go–
Or even Christmas to pass, in order to join the rest of the Saints.

This is a prayer for all those waiting,
Maybe what we have is not yet hope, perhaps it is hoping for hope
But that is enough to light the candle together
That is enough to wait for God together, for the miracle whispers to us.

It whispers of the one who is to come:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Purveyor of Peace
And Government will rest upon their shoulders–
God, we are holding our breath, and light the candle hoping for hope.

We are praying with the world today, O Come, O Come Emmanuel we Pray. Amen.

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

Full Advent Resources

Charlottesville, A Prayer

Here’s a prayer for Charlottesville
Where the gunshots echo across
a million schools in the United States

A Prayer for Charlottesville
For the Black People
who tiptoe lightly across the land


While White Boys bluster loudly
with their guns and tiki torches, because they know who has rights
and who doesn’t, as they high five the police along the way

Here’s a prayer for Charlottesville
Where Heather Heyer was brutally run over
with a car filled with malice and fossil fuel

And now
Where football players, mere children, Black, Young and Gift
Have their lives too lost

Because America cannot
will not
in its obsession with power, colonialism and capitalism
is sinfully unable disarm itself

We are a death cult

Here’s a prayer for our children
brutalized by “Shooter drills”

I remember when I had thought that Columbine was a
historical rarity–Back in the day when I was in high school

I turn forty this year

I remember 9/11 when we cried no more
And gave blood and ate together

And then prayed to God and immediately brutalized
our black and brown neighbors
And bought bombs and guns

Here’s a prayer for America
obsessed with “Safety”
instead of loving our neighbors

Is love safe?

Here’s a prayer for love
Beautiful and fierce
May it renew us in ways we do not expect

Away from cars
and guns
and violence

May we let people rage
and cry
and lament
as needed


And then may we turn our words
Into actions
And to do what needs to get done

We Pray

Amen.

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

Nov 27th Hope: Faith as a Way

Justice, Mercy & Light Extended Advent
Nov 27 Hope Candle
Faith as a Way of Life
Habakkuk 1:1-7; 2:1-4 3: [3B-6], 17-19 
Prophet grieved by injustice: Faith as a way, not an answer
Matthew 26: 36-38 Gethsemane Jesus is grieved, asks Disciples to watch
Psalm 73:21-26

Advent Candles Liturgy

Hope

Call to Worship
God, we gather in faith
Looking for your ways
God we gather looking for you
Stay with us, as we gather in your name God

Call to Confession: Come all you who are heavy burdened, let us lay them at God’s feet

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that we want faith to be an easy answer to all of our questions, not a path to follow. I confess that like the disciples, sometimes keeping watch does not feel like enough. Sometimes faith does not feel like something to keep for others, or likes something that others can keep for me when I have a long lonely night of despair. I confess that sometimes the emptiness feels too overwhelming for me to trust the community to keep faith for me. Forgive us when we make one person keep faith alone. Help us to be a community of faith we pray. 

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus is with us, we are never alone. So know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Let us God forth reminded that there is an entire choir of Saints, holding the notes of faith, singing for us when we falter. Help us to rest  in the chorus we pray. Amen. 

Hymns: God the Weaver to Away in the Manger, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, For All the Saints, We Walk By Faith and Not By Sight, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Which I feel like is an Advent Prophetic Song)

With Children: The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst What ties us altogether even when we cannot see one another 

Cover of The Invisible String: A mom and one kid whispering to another, the title, and a heart on a string, author: Patrice Karst, Illustrated by Geoff Stevenson

Image Found Here

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Full Extended Advent Resource

Surgery, A Prayer

God,
is there any prayer like going into surgery?
Closing your eyes to the world–
Holding your beloveds close to you.

Somehow you try to remind yourself to breathe

Is that how it felt Christ,
when you healed?

Did you hold their beloveds close to them?
And remind them to breathe?

Bless those undergoing surgery
their beloved
the doctors, nurses, and all the technicians, custodians, secretaries and support staff who we work too hard along the way

May we all be granted
Belovedness
and Breath.

Amen.

Operation Game with a lot of blue gloved hands around it

Image

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

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Let’s Write Liturgy Workshop

Do you want to learn how to write prayers and liturgy? Psalms and Calls to Worship? Confessions and Personal Prayers? This Zoom Workshop is designed for all levels and experiences for people to engage in prayer writing–using the scripture as your guide. 

Sunday November 20th 4pm-6pm (Eastern) $40
Thursday Dec 1st 12pm-2pm (Eastern) $40

Led by Katy Stenta, Pastor, Writer and Educator

For more information to sign up, email Katyandtheword at gmail.com. Titled “Liturgy”

Katy Stenta is a regular contributor to Sermonsuite, RevGalBlogPals, and is published in Enfleshed, Presbyterian’s Today and Outlook. She received her undergraduate in English and History and Minor on Philosophy at Oberlin, her M. Div. and MA in Christian Formation at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is currently pursuing her D. Min. in Creative Writing as a Public Theologian at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She also writes personal prayers regularly at katyandtheword.com.

Limited to 10 spots

A Halloween Prayer

A Prayer for the Weird Ones
the ones who don’t fit
the ones who take comfort in being scared

Here’s a prayer for those fascinated by magic
the mystical
the liminality, those marginal places in-between

Here’s a prayer for the lonely–
those who identify with the goblins, the witches and trolls
the ones who want to be able to go up to strangers and demand hospitality

This is a prayer for all those who can find beauty in what others find ugly
the ones who are fascinated with the inner workings of bodies
or diseases, or want to study psychology
or fear, or loneliness, or liminality

Here’s a prayer for the kind of holiness that comes from being different
The kind of prophecy that comes from telling the truth
the kind of radicalness that comes from opening your doors to the mess on the street

What kind of holiday is All Hallow’s Eve?
Where we say, life is messy and ugly and beautiful and short?
Where we acknowledge all that is scary in the world,
and fill it with the laughter and joy of children?
Here’s a prayer to celebrating that kind of holiday

Here’s a prayer for the children–who always understand it first
Who confront death with a sharp honesty that is refreshing,
And help us to confront our fears with real questions,
and the worrying answers of “I don’t know.”

Here’s a prayer for All Hallow’s Eve, where we celebrate
the complexity of humans, humanity
and human life.

Halloween Blessings to all who need it.

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

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Triggered and Grieving: Solomon’s Wisdom Prayer

CW: Sex Work, Infant Loss

God,
Solomon thinks he is wise
to trick a ruling
out of two women

He thinks he is powerful–
to Lord it over
two women
who have to sell their bodies
For money

But all I can see
Is red flags

All I can think is
how I knew this story at five or six

I maybe knew what prostitution was,
I definitely did not know what appropriation was
and how it made fostering and adoption messy..
I had some idea of what feminism meant

but I did understand grief–
and that it can get really complicated really fast

However, I knew then, and I know now that one woman
went home empty-handed

Where was the chaplain
that day God?

Where were the midwives? The healers? The other women?
This so called wisdom falls hard on my ears today God.

I find it, as my kids say, sus.
Is this about wisdom–or something else

Do the women need wisdom?
Or does Solomon need compassion

Holy Comforter, I know why you put a story of prostitution in the Bible
Its not so the King can teach the whores

God forbid

Jesus bless the sex workers
Because we should treat them
Like the human beings
No matter what
and not use any excuse to judge them

And God bless all those who mourn
Help those whose arms feel empty
Please, reach out to all those who are grieving in unhealthy and unhelpful ways.
Walk with them.

Please, remind us that you are not Solomon,
You will never slash our beloved things in half,
or send us home empty-handed

You will instead, reunite us with our sisters and friends
Restore us to our beloved
And whisper in our ears that its ok to be sad

Walk with us in our unhappiness we pray.

Amen.

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

Prayer at the Grocery Checkout


**Grocery prices have gone from–I’m worried To Good Lord**

God,
How many prayers
do you get at the grocery checkout Line?

I remember how many I gave to you
when we scanned the credit cards
that one of them would not bounce

Two kids, then three, in the card
Aware that people around me were thinking judgmental things

Or back when WIC coupons were paper
Ostentious, Obvious
Burdensome and Slow
And I prayed I picked all the right items
So I wouldn’t hold up the people behind me
While the babies fussed

And everyone judged how many cookies
and healthy and whatever expensive foods
I bought that week.

These days my prayers, I admit,
are less desperate,
But I pray a little prayer
because every single week
the grocery bill goes up

And I feel the panic in my gut
the awareness of days past (PTSD, yes?)
when I would gather up the kids
cereal and yogurt and milk
Putting every drop back when they finished
Loathe to waste a drop,
because we could not afford it

Jesus
You and the Widow know
that you can’t budget your way out of poverty
Only money can help

God, I’m saying a prayer
For all of us who are stressed
Or holding our breath
Or trying not to cry in the checkout line

“Feed my Sheep” You said

“Feed my Sheep” is our prayer in the checkout line.
Feed us, we pray.
Amen.


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

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Restraint Collapse: A Prayer

Here’s a Prayer for all those who collapse
at the end


Who are just holding it together
Somehow
Til the end of the Day


And then lose it
When they get in the door
Or are asked to do a thing
Or have to leave their comfort zone/thing/activity

Here are for those for whom the “Simple” tasks are not easy
Socializing
Being Organized
Paying Attention
Meeting People’s Eyes
Going Outside
Sensory Overload
New Things
Exposure
All the Things the one has to Weather

Here is a prayer for those whose bodies react
with twitches, or sleep disturbance, or accidents
migraines or other body aches

This is a prayer for those who have to acclimate
to this STRANGE thing everyone else calls the norm

I want to tell you, God thinks you are beautiful
and perfect, exactly as you are
and I hope you are safe
and beloved–and you have spots of sanctuary
moments of hope
and experiences of full self

Here’s a prayer for those who experience after school restraint collapse
Like ripe apples or rainbows of leaves in the fall
or tacos that are too full of good things to eat
or cake that is overfull of icing and sprinkles–

We all fall apart sometimes,
Jesus wept,
and ran away
and napped on a boat
and cursed a fig tree.
And went alone to a garden to pray–
but asked his disciples to body double him while he was there.

Here’s a prayer for all of us who collapse, because we are overloaded
May we, like Jesus, rage or weep or pray or rest.


Whenever we need to, and find what we need along the way God.
We pray this in the name of your Counselor and Comforter the Holy Spirit–
Amen.

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

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Grinding Teeth, A Prayer

Sometimes I wonder
If Jesus ground his teeth

Did you wake up in the middle of the night
Feeling like you were about to fall?
From some inexplicable nightmare?

When you got through a harrowing encounter
with the officially officials—you know the ones that had been building
Did you come home with a headache?

Did you practice breathing techniques, and peaceable responses, and politeness and smiles
like most of the women, disabled people and marginalized around you…
All of us knowing—this is how we make it

Did you preach the Good News as a survival technique
Not as a toxic positivity to push on people

But the Bare Bones to give those hungry for scraps of answers of

“Why am I Here? And “Does this even Matter?” And “How Do I face tomorrow?”

And did you sit and look at the stars—Christ—and evaluate your day, and try to comfort yourself:
With the little things that went right; and the good things you saw, and the big picture you were working towards.

Did you ache with the work of it all Jesus? And roll your jaw, and take a deep breath to relax your shoulders, before you faced another fully human day?

Thank you for being human with us Jesus.

Amen.

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

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