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

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

Living Into this God Given World: Food

Oct 10 God Provides Manna

Exodus 16:1-18

John 6:51

Living Into this God Given World: Calling

Oct 17 God Calls Samuel

1 Samuel 3:1-21

John 20:21-23

Living Into this God Given World: Judgement

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

Advent Resources: The Fullness of God/Fulfilled By God

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

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

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

Neverending

God, this is the week that never ends, in the year that never ends.

Always, towards the end of the school year there is an impossible week.

Where spring and summer activities collide in their not quite done, and just getting started-ness.

Always there is a week where the schedule doesn’t work, every day has triple obligations, and on top of that everyone is cranky.

And then, someone doesn’t sleep, and someone else doesn’t feel well or the car has trouble or the pet has to go to the vet or the computer quits working or a something else impossible happens.

God, timing is everything.

And this year, when I have spent more time with parts of my family than ever, and seen other parts and my friends almost not all…

This year when vacations and retreats are just gasps of breath in the midst of survival mode…

This year when all the “fun things” I thought I was doing to have fun turned out to be coping mechanisms essential to surviving, as they have fallen by the wayside and the to do list somehow continues while these other things don’t..

God Almighty, You know, how this year has been never-ending.

Like a song that is stuck in your head, nagging at you day in and day out, that’s how the pandemic works–always in the background, giving your headaches and heartaches. Always on the calendar as you figure out what to do and how to do it.

The stress presses down, on my head, on my heart, on my soul.

God, I have been praying without ceasing this year. I have cried and sighed and laughed and zoomed and emailed and turned on cameras and turned off camera, have put on masks and then then washed the masks, every single day of this never ending year.

I have examined every ache and sniffed and listened to every lonely heartache of my friends and family…..and taken-just-a-moment-to-center-myself all in prayer.

I am living into the rhythm of prayer Lord–one that is both structured and spontaneous, one that has been out loud and quiet, one where I’ve known exactly what to say and one where I’ve murmured nonsense to the Holy Spirit.

It’s the longest week, in the longest year I’ve ever lived.

So I will continue to pray, and live.

Thank God you are eternal, thank God that prayers do not cease, and are picked up by friends and families and churches and strangers when mine falter.

Thank God you are the song that never ends God.

Amen.

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

The Neverending Story, a Piece of Philosophy | by Alonso Monroy Conesa |  Medium

A Week of Hard Questions: A Prayer

God, this week I asked hard questions

About love and tradition and cultural differences. I asked (rather timidly even) if race played a part to our reactions.

And soon I found myself hip deep in a quagmire of pain.

People were triggered. They felt they needed to defend their pain.

And it was hard God, and part of me wanted to take it all back. Because I don’t want to create heartache.

But then I remembered two weeks ago when someone asked me hard questions about love and inclusion and the brokenness of the system that I perpetuated.

And although that was embarrassing and hard. I lived through it.

And in reflecting this experience I remembered that part of why I asked the hard questions this week was because as of last week I was tired of us: me, the church, consumer culture, ignoring hard issues and perpetuating whatever was comfortable for us.

Did you ever notice Jesus really likes to answer a question with a harder question?

You deconstructed me Lord. And I confess I need you to bless this mess today, because I’m going to be in the deconstructed zone for a while.

Because once God starts to deconstruct you, it becomes easier for you to see other places where the threads of normal need to be pulled apart.

And you can choose to continue the work God started, but it’s up to you.

So I guess I’ve reached a new level of maturity, where I stay in the muck longer than is comfortable, and I feel the anguish of racism on top of the anguish of those in pain.

And as my heart aches, I am thankful for all the times I was able to say:

“I don’t know. “

And “I hear you.”

As I sat with the pain and let go of the reasons and the arguments.

Do you sometimes say I don’t know God?

I don’t know

But thank you for helping me to brave the muck; and help me to muddle through, or sit, or cry. Help me to do this hard questioning thing I pray.

Amen.

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

God we need your justice: a prayer

[Blue Green water reflecting the abstract of a mountain, tree and sky with the words “Let Justice Flow Down like Waters and Righteousness like an overflowing stream.] Image found here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/560064903645243301/

I cannot wait until acts of justice are no longer a surprise, for you know God, and you told us through Amos and Isaiah and Luke that justice that is surprising is no justice at all. It is at worst painted as sacrifice and mercy and is at best the drops of accountability.

I am so thirsty for justice, Lord. And I confess my spirit is dry and brittle, breaking apart in its absence.

Human justice is not even a meager copy of your justice Lord. racism and bigotry poisons any system we might try.

God I cannot wait for your justice to flow like water. So that we taste it on our tongue, so that it rains on us daily from the sky.

I can’t wait until the taste and feel of justice is so familiar that it begins to feel like home.

I can’t wait until the moment that every cry for mercy, every cry for help, every cry for mama is answered–with the swiftness of the Holy Spirit on the wing.

God, I cannot wait, until not one street never ever sees a droplet of blood again. Instead they sparkle with the cleansing waters of justice, instead they are filled so much with justice, that it becomes puddles for the children to splash in, soaking themselves with the liquid.

I cannot wait until justice becomes a child’s plaything—Known so much, that it becomes a part of our very breath and body. I cannot wait until the 60% of water that flows through our bodies is blessed, in the completion of our baptism, into the holy waters of justice imbuing our very selves.

I can’t wait until I can spit justice out on the street with clear truths and gracious words that free my siblings of all colors, creeds, ages, sexualities and genders.

I cannot wait for justice to flood our world. Not like the flood of Noah killing off the bad, but like the rains of the desert, giving the much needed food to the flora and fauna to bloom.

I cannot wait for justice, so I’m going to gather the drops and the dribbles and the driplets I have experienced, and I’m going to share them out to those I meet. Showing them how it cools violence, and refreshes spirits, and is miraculously freer than any other action.

Because my freedom is wrapped up in yours, my humanity is wrapped up in yours, and my justice is wrapped up in yours.

I’m ready to do this justice thing, God. Teach me how to do it I pray.

Amen.

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

With Thanks to Lilla Watson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s works and thanks also Black Twitter who let me listen as they prayed, grieved and celebrated over George Floyd and the guilty verdict of Officer Chauvin.

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Jesus, I don’t know how much shouting of Hosanna will happen on Sunday.

I’m uncertain who will be there and how we will parade,

And Lord, you know, there will not be any singing. We miss it, God, but are trying to do right.

And though we may be sighing “Hosanna: Lord Save Us” we also know that we have to take some responsibility and help to save ourselves.

And, most days I doubt we actually want peace on earth, we are so bad at enacting and supporting true peace.

And Jesus is not going to come in guns blazing; Thank God!

What does the Lord require for Jesus to come? What humble entry can we cede to the Son of God?

What videos or drivethrus or palm crafts might come?

God, I confess this might be the week that there will be few shouts. We will be sticking well to your humility and simplicity this year.

So I will be listening to the stones.

For the truth cannot be stopped.

“Blessed is the one One who comes in the name of the Lord, Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven.”

Amen.

Hosanna.

Amen.

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

More Holy Week Prayers: https://katyandtheword.com/2021/03/24/holy-week-easter-prayers/

Holy Week/Easter Prayers

Ashes: A Holy Week Prayer

Holy Week: Praying Our Way Through (Also good for Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Maundy Thursday: Washing the Dust, Existential Crises: Love One Another?, Broken for You

At the Table: Not I, Lord

In the Garden of Gethsemane: A Socially Distanced Prayer

Good Friday: Friday is not “Good,Essential Workers at the Cross, Denial and Grace in Crises,

Holy Saturday: Pausing for Grief (Slides Version here) , Living in the In Between, Holy Saturday: A Confession (I didn’t really want more time to do nothing)

Easter: Masks a Prayer, Can You Hear Easter (the Good News), Say Nothing Easter, My God is the God of Emptiness (Empty Tombs)

Masks (are Holy): Ending with Easter

Pentecost: Stuck in a Room

Narrative Lectionary: Luke Lent Cycle Prayers and Resources

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