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

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!

Narrative Lectionary Prayer Resource Year 4 John; Fall 2021

Under Construction

Living Into this God Given World

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!s

Sept 12 Creation by the Word

Living Into this God Given World: Creation

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

John 1:1-5

Sept 19 Binding of Isaac

Living Into this God Given World: Struggling with Trauma

Genesis 21:1-3; 22:1-14

John 1:29

Sept 26: Jacob’s Dream

Living Into this God Given World: Dreams & Blessings

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

John 1:50-51

Trickle Down Grace, A Prayer

Oct 3 God’s Name is Revealed

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

John 8:58

Oct 10 God Provides Manna

Exodus 16:1-18

John 6:51

Oct 17 God Calls Samuel

1 Samuel 3:1-21

John 20:21-23

Oct 24 God Calls David

1 Samuel 16: 1-13; Psalm 51:10-14

John 7:24

Oct 31 Solomon’s Temple

1 Kings 5:1-5; 8:1-3

John 2:19-21

Nov 7 God Speaks to Elijah

1 Kings 19:1-18

John 12:27-28


Extended Advent?

Nov 14 Amos: Justice Rolls Down

Amos 1:1-2; 5:14-15, 21-24

John 7:37-38

Nov 21 Isaiah: A Child is Born

Isaiah 9:1-7

John 8:12

Nov 28 Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

John 14:27

Dec 5 Ezekiel Valley of Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37:1-15

John 11;25-26

Dec 12 Word Accomplishes God’s Purpose

Isaiah 55:1-13

John 4:13-14

Dec 19 Word Made Flesh

John 1:1-18

Psalm 130:5-8

Dec 24 Birth of Jesus

Luke 2:1-14 [15-20]

Psalm 96:7-10

December 25 Shepherds Visit

Luke 2:8-20

Psalm 123: 1-2 or

Dec 26 A Voice in the Wilderness

John 1:19-34

Psalm 32:1-2

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!

Afghanistan, A Prayer

Some mistakes,

Cannot be fixed

They lie shattered on the floor–

in pieces so tiny that you can’t even sweep them up

without cutting yourself.

I can’t help but think God, that we broke Afghanistan

and then we left it shattered, for someone else

to clean up,

and sustain the injuries.

And thoughts and prayers

aren’t going to do much

in a situation like this

But I know that I too bear some

responsibility for the glass upon the floor.

And maybe God, next time, we can stay out of the China Shop

where we don’t belong

so we don’t break

countries

into pieces anymore.

Not breaking things seems a good prayer to make God.

Help us not to break things,

I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to share and adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

A Prayer for Chaplain-ing an Apocalypse

God, No one told me that apocalyptic events were going to go one for so long.

I had never considered, when I watched the floods and fires in movies,

when havoc of the post apocalypse was depicted in my novels–too often it was skated over about just how long the chaos ensued.

So here we are

After years of warnings and castrophic governances–

a pandemic of, as I used to say as teen, totally epic portions, did not strike me as such a long term event.

I know, I knew that recovery would take forever.

Thank God, that I have it drilled into me, that recovery takes longer than the actual event, and I am aware and girded, appropriately, to start healing.

But I didn’t know

That my kids will be entering their third year of pandemic schooling.

That I would be jostling back and forth between regulations and meeting the needs of so many differing circumstances of ministry from 2019 til the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty one.

That I would still be stuck today in this:

mindset-shifting, world-changing, Revelation-timeframe-of-the-particular-dragon-that-is-the-double-pandemic-of-Covid-and-Racism-not-to-mention-the-ongoing-Climate-Disaster thing

and a multi year timeframe to just have the apocalyptic event itself, was not quite on my schedule Lord.

I thought catastrophes were sudden, and fast.

Where is my cut scene?

I hear we hit the economic depressive climax (lowmax?) in April 2020?

Just goes to show that money is a human made thing, don’t it God?

Lord, as we face this ongoing apocalyptic event,

As we minister in these times.

Give us what it is we need.

(Whatever that might be, because, I’m not sure what that is right now)

Because this story isn’t even in the the rearview mirror yet, and we are not yet ready to know how to tell it yet.

A colleague said it feels like we are Ron Weasley, working with a broken Wand,

doing the best we can–

No magic wand, no program, no methodology to “fix things” just presence and patience and prayer.

and maybe sitting down and reading Revelation again, or John, or Acts,

or Frederick Buechner, or Elie Wiesel or Martin Luther King Jr or J. R. R. Tolkien or Ursula K. Le Guin or Toni Morrison or Langston Hughes or Madeline L’engle or Octavia Butler or N. K. Jemison or….or….

Because God knows,

We’ve had to Chaplain Apocalypses before,

and we will have to do it again.

Be with us as we do, we pray.

Amen.

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

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

Praying for Summer

Praise you God, because from you all blessings flow

And some kind of summer beckons.

Different from the endless summer of last year, where we were all so lonely we could spit.

Different from the fall where promises of vaccines were hazy and masks were packed into book bags with lunches

and we held our breath.

Now after giving up all of my free time to digitally school my eldest, and truck my other two back and forth to school.

Now after a year of basically nothing but school (and thank God eventually church), no clubs, no friends, no activities.

After a winter of depression

And a spring of exhaustion

And a Post-Pandemic, which, maybe, sort a, might be starting,

but sure as anything hasn’t really become a reality yet….

–For India and Brazil, Lord hear our prayers–

A year of mostly rewardless schooling has ended, and we are finally able to send our students and teachers back with our thanks.

And Now…

Summer beckons, and God I hope you guide us through.

I hope you help us to wind our way through this time of huge transition

Because we have not yet begun to feel the aftershocks of all that is different in our lives.

And I keep hearing hints

Of mourning those we have lost and adjusting to what life is now

Of mass retirements, and considered quittings,

Of reprioritizations and reorganization.

And so, I’m praying that I can string together some pieces of summer

with ice cream

and sunshine

and water fights.

Just enough pieces of summer, to feed my soul.

Until I figure how the hell we are going to do the next good thing.

Give us summer we pray.

Amen.

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

Writing God on Our Hearts

God, 


Today we got to talk about how 

We write God’s on our hearts

with the liturgy of the prayers we read

Mumuring, muttering, mumbling

Practicing, practicing, practicing

Faith….

Turning the story over and over in our brains

until it is written on our hearts.

We talked about the mystical change, 

the one that takes place when we start off 

talking about who we are

and how we are

angry

and sad

and joyful

and lamentful

and despondent

and we practice

our identity 

and our identity with one another

and our identity in you.

God, I’m practicing, 

With angsty prayers, and half finished stories, 

and moments of belatedness

Help me practice

so that I, too, my move towards you,

As you write your love upon my heart. 

Practice with me? Amen

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

Pandemic Resurrection

God. I’m doing the work of resurrection.

The stress has shifted from how do I mark time and God do I miss people to

I’m back at the races of triple scheduling and childcare & transportation needs exploding.

Is this what resurrection feels like?

Everything is returning back to normal; everything except for my priorities.

Everything is being re-examined, and I feel the ridiculousity of life as articles try to grab onto relationship evaluations with pallid and downright stupid questions.

It’s not about reciprocity or weight gain or worrying about having the right friendships and family.

It’s about who I missed, and what people can manage and how to be a better friend or family member.

What was it like for you Jesus when you came back. Did you need time to readjust?

Did you sit in the garden for a few minutes pulling weeds…

Thinking about what had radically changed in you life within the parameters of “getting back to normal.”

Is this why you waited to greet the women? Did you have to wait till your tongue could unstick from the roof of your mouth to speak.

Did you feel as socially awkward, unused to interaction and uncertain how to start, did you feel it as sharply as we do?

Were you far more burnt out out than you realized?

God as I sit in the abandoned Lord & Taylor

where in March 2020 my friends and I sat far apart in the lot trying to hear each other’ words, desperate to see other people—

as I sit here now

Now waiting…

waiting for my son’s vaccination, I know, I really know that this is actually what resurrection looks like.

Strange

And repurposed

And transformed into something you never imagined

And I know resurrection is worth it

Build us into the resurrection I pray.

Amen.

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

More Pandemic Resources here

Prescient God: Rainbows & Trinities

Today I think that the most prescient thing God ever did was to hang their rainbow in the sky.

God knew what God was doing when they hung up the bow after the storms

Knowing that we needed the reminder that every storm runs out of rain–as Maya Angelou put it.

Knowing that it would be claimed and expanded by all of God’s queer children, proclaiming that love is love is love is love and that God created a multiplicities of genders and sexualities–just like God created a rainbow with thousands upon thousands of hues and in-betweens.

We need rainbows, because God knew

Before sociological studies and microscopic and macroscopic science; before we did our Genesis job of naming all of the people, places and things of the world, you knew that very naming would make us create divisions.

Before we made elaborate charts to discover and explicate the mystery of the Trinity, God, you knew

You knew how much we need rainbows

You knew racism would be a stumbling block of sin,

that normalcy is a illusion of bigotry

that being neurotypical or not is a spectrum….which is another word for rainbow

and that gray can beautiful color, and sometimes we sit in the gray–

God I always imagine that the Trinity is gray, in between and a part of the rainbow world you created.

And God, you knew that you, the Almighty and Many Breasted God needed to symbolically and in all practicalities disarm Godself.

Promising never to send natural disasters as punishment.

Never.

And putting the most powerful weapon of the time, the equivalent of a gun, up. Forever.

Because if God can disarm Godself, then it is clear what we should do.

In the midst of horrific gun violence in the US, the state imbued violence in the United States and Colombia, and in the midst of border wars in Armenia-Azerbaijan, climate asylum and violence in Syria, and the oppression and apartheid conditions in Gaza.

God you know we need to figure out how to live in concert and beauty in rainbows–and how to first and foremost disarm ourselves as you did thousands of years ago.

Thousands of years ago.

God, thank you for your prescience.

And for all the rainbows

And for giving us the time.

And the promises within the rainbow, that it won’t always be like this.

Help us embody your rainbow.

Help us to honor your rainbow.

Fill us with rainbows I pray.

Amen.

rainbow | National Geographic Society
Image

Feel free to Share/Adapt/Use this prayer with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Pandemic Era Prayer

God, I am praying the prayer of an impatient people.

I truly feel that I am, and we are, the direct descendants of the Hebrews who grumbled and complained from the moment they were freed from Egypt. Impatient for the new beginning to start. I feel their pain.

I pray the prayer of chaotic leadership, lifting my prayer beside Moses and Aaron and Miriam and Tzipporah, who had to balance what the people want with what is best with the community, and the two often do not agree, and are almost always hard to discern.

God I’m praying the prayer of the weary, of Hagar alone and frustrated in the desert, of Abram and Sarai who had to move from place to place to place before finding a home and establishing a household. Is the end in sight? Can I recognize it when it is?

I’m feeling very anxious God. As the news of De-mask-us starts to filter out, and yet, and yet, I hold so many immune compromised people in prayer for cancer and surgery and long term illness. I’m praying the prayer of confusion as I try to sort out what is safe for my children and how to keep them masked, even as adults look forward to seeing one another face to face.

Lord, I’m praying the prayer of the privileged in a nation where vaccines a plentiful, and sometimes even wasted in the face of India’s medical catastrophe that on so great cannot help but spill over to her sister nations–a sharp reminder that it is already affecting us, and I hold onto my prayers for well resourced nations like Japan who, yet still, do not have access to the vaccines.

Lord, I pray the prayer of the brokenhearted, I shed tears with Jesus for Jerusalem and all of the violence that has been purposefully perpetuated against schools, hospitals and publishing houses in Palestine. I pray for the fight over land and water and occupancy that is being done in your name. I sorrow that oppression continues.

God I’m praying the prayer of ignorance, as one who has only been able to superficially take in what is happening in Colombia. Weary and heavy burdened I understand that police violence reigns terror in many places, including my own, and I do not even know what to do next to help to dismantles the powers and principalities as they exist now.

God I pray the prayer of a parent who has had a mere hours of true relaxation over the past year. Is that how it’s been for you God, have you been superbusy watching over us and drying our tears and helping us to clean up the messes?

God I’m praying a multitude of prayers today, as I face the window, a portal into a new era, uncertain as to what will come next, and still weary from what has happened. I am so ready to close the door of the pandemic, and yet am aware that this is not how things work.

So instead, I life this prayer of snips and bits to you.


Be with me in ::gestures broadly at everything:: I pray. Amen.

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

More Pandemic Prayers and Resources

Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day

Pentecost Prayers

Call to Worship
Spirit of the living God, visit us on this day of Pentecost.
Come, Holy Spirit.
With rushing wind that sweeps away all barriers,
Come, Holy Spirit.
With love that overlaps the boundaries of race and nation,
Come, Holy Spirit.
With power from above to make our weakness strong,
Come, Holy Spirit.

Call to Worship
What are your dreams people of God?
To be filled with laughter, To cry with joy, not sorrow.
What are your hopes, people of God?
To be free of the chains that bind us
Rejoice, God makes our hopes and dreams come true.
Let us rejoice in God!

Based on: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/11/contemporary-call-to-worship-psalm-126.html

Prayer of Confession: Almighty God, you poured your Spirit upon gathered disciples creating tongues, open ears, and a new community of faith.  We confess that we hold back the force of your Spirit among us.  We do not listen to your word of grace, speak the good news of your love, or live as a people made one in Christ. Have mercy on us, O God.  Transform our timid lives by the power of your Spirit, and fill us with a flaming desire to be your faithful people, doing your will for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. (Silent Confession) Amen

From the Book of Common Worship (1993), of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Prayer of Confession: God we confess we have been too tired to prophesy or have visions or dream dreams. Instead we are in survival mode. Please breathe on us some of you energy and inspiration as we go into the world. Help us to see the future through your Holy Spirit we pray

Assurance of Pardon: Friends the Good News of the Gospel: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication: God, we pray that we might rededicate our lives to you. Send your Holy Spirit among us to inspire and sustain us. Holy Spirit Come, we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication: God send your Holy Spirit upon us to love us and sustain us. Refresh us in the Holy Spirit we pray in Your Son’s most Holy Name Jesus Christ. Amen.