Ascension Day Pastoral Prayer 5/28/2017

God of holy times, on this Ascension Sunday we ask

where are you going?

Where are we going?

In-between times are hard for we do not like not knowing, or seeing, or holding onto things that are important to us. 

We miss those who have gone before us, and we envy you getting to have those we love who have died, and we so easily forget that we will know them again.

We hurt one another in our fear of the unknown- where are you? who are we?

We hurt one another in our fear of the unknown...where are you? Who are we? How can it all possibly be redeemed?

In a bombing in Manchester, in a racist and xenophobic stabbing in Portland, in a domestic shooting in Mississippi, in political upheaval and marshal law in the Philippines, in individual and massive tragedies in cities and towns and nations all over the world we mourn, we fear, we rage,  and we search for answers. We search for you.

In the ascension of Jesus we have a story, a heritage- not just of who the person of Jesus Christ is for us, but how we are to be as his people. We are to be wholly where we are, to celebrate joy, to pray, and to be with each other. In doing this we will know the Spirit, we will see our call and live it.

Gods kingdom is and will be ours, it will not be easy, it is not easy, but it will be right. We will give and know forgiveness. 

And so, Loving God, help us to keep this enigmatic way, the way of the ascended Christ. Make us participants in your glory- showing your love, sharing our faith, manifesting your hope- here and now and in all the days to come as witnesses to your presence and The Way. We are yours, you are ours, and in you we can know peace that passes understanding if we only reach for it. We know all of these things because of our brother Jesus who taught us to pray...Our Father...

A Pastoral Prayer for Mother's Day

This prayer was first offered May 12th 2013 at Welshire Presbyterian Church, and has been used and shared in worship since.

A Prayer for Mothers


We pray to you Mother God today for all mothers.

In our world a mother is a complex thing: a person who cares, teaches, learns, struggles, loses patience, has endless comfort, love and care for their children. 

We give thanks for mothers of new babies. Who’s every thought and move is consumed with love and care for their little ones. Give them peace and clarity in these early days. Help them in the fear of not being enough, and rejoice with them when they rejoice. 

We give thanks for mothers who knew the time was not right and gave their new little ones into the arms of another, so that they might be safe and well cared for. Heal all the pain of their situations.

We give thanks for adoptive mothers, who knew their hearts had space for more love, and that your world and people had need for a caring touch, loving heart and stable home for a child who did not have the freedom of those gifts before their relationship.

We give thanks for mothers of toddlers, whose every moment is consumed with motion, words, messes and learning. May you give them rest, creativity and fun every day. Help them when their children struggle with health, developmental struggles or physical struggles. Help them to know you are there, with them, loving their children for just who they are, even as the world may say they are “not normal”.

We pray for peace and comfort for those who wish they were mothers. Whose bodies do not cooperate with their dreams, or whose circumstances mean they cannot or have not conceived. Be with them and heal the empty spaces that their hearts hold, and help them to see whatever it is you have in store.

We pray that you remind us all that children are a gift and a blessing to your church, in their motion, noise, questions and struggles. Your church is not the world, and we should love them and do a better job of meeting them where they are, and seeing what they see, what you see in them…that they are perfectly your children just as they are.

We give you thanks for the mothers of children. Whose time and hearts are filled with crayon drawings, firsts, growing brains and bodies. Give them the tools to teach and the patience to learn with their young ones.

We give you thanks for mothers who do all the work, those who teach and care and struggle alone. Who are mother and father to their children, and have too many rolls to fill. Hold them close in their exhaustion, keep them in your presence as they make a way in hardship, and rejoice all the more with them when there is peace and joy and love. Help your people to be a support, a relief and a home to those whose strength is what helps their children thrive. 

We pray for healing for those mothers who have lost their children, whatever age they were, may your presence and your people be a balm to their broken hearts.

We give you thanks for the mothers of adolescents, whose time and energy is spent in the in-between of childhood and adulthood. Be with them; be in their words and actions as their children look to them most for how to be your people.

We pray for all those mothers who are separated from their children. Be with those whose relationships are toxic, broken or painful that they might find your peace in the situation and find the path that is best. Be with those who are separated by war, strife, financial difficulty or personal belief, heal these relationships and help the world to be a more loving place.

 We give you thanks for the mothers of teenagers. Mothers who are beginning to learn who their children will be, who see their children’s’ potential and attempt to teach a way toward self-sufficiency. Be with them as they fret, praise, nag, love, question and care for those who both try to hold on too tight and also let go far too soon.

We pray today that you are with those whose mothers are now with you. They leave behind a hole in the spirit that can only be eased with your help. Whether they were lost yesterday or 20 years ago their place can never be filled in our lives.

 We give you thanks for mothers of adults. Who have the privilege of watching their children soar, and the heartbreak of watching them fall, and the enigmatic joy of watching them do it all on their own, even as they sometimes return home with laundry, questions, laughter and wisdom of their own. 

Be with every family, every mother, every father and every child today. We take joy in the relationships we have with our mothers, and we pray for your presence where we need it every day. You are our mother, Parent God who holds us close, rejoices in our success and weeps with us in our pain, protects us sometimes even when we don’t want protection, and gives us freedom to make our own mistakes even as you know they will both hurt us and help us grow. You are infinitely patient, infinitely caring and infinitely loving,

We are your children, often ignorant of your power and irreplaceability in our lives. As your children we are incredibly blessed, grace-filled and protected. We give you thanks for this reality in our lives as we pray with our brother Jesus as he taught us how to pray to you…Our Father…

Prayers for Illumination

Prayer of Illumination that I offered and saved in my days as Transitional Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Welshire Presbyterian in Denver, CO


Lord who is the Word that dwelt among us and is amongst us, Open our minds and hearts and imaginations to hear you and know you in the reading of scripture today. The power of the Spirit is with us, guiding us, and we pray that it might show us a new thing. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.



Dear God, May the words read here today, the words preached and the hearing of them be an act of praise, worship, focus and devotion to you. In Jesus' name we pray amen.



Dear lord, May the words we read, and the thoughts they bring, be our offering of praise, understanding and prayer to you this morning. Amen.

Prayers of Call to Confession, Confession, Assurance, and Peace

These are the prayers I offered and saved in my days as Transitional Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Welshire Presbyterian in Denver, CO


Call to confession:

Our hearts long for God, and we know we fall short of God’s glory, so let us now confess to God the ways we have individually and collectively fallen short of God’s Grace. Please pray with me...


The God of David, the father of Jesus knows all that we are. In God’s love and grace we know that we are indeed cleansed from all our sin, and sustained by the Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, God’s ultimate sacrifice, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God!


Knowing that we might find peace in God’s presence and love, let us share Christ’s peace with one another…the peace of Christ be with you all.



Call to confession:

Knowing that God will protect us, give us strength and love, while we persist in falling short of God’s glory, love and hope for us, let us now join together to offer God those times we need Christ’s help to be the people and the Church we are called to be. Pray with me:


The mercy of God is unending, the love of God is all encompassing, and the peace we share in Christ is fathomless. Knowing this, know that we are forgiven, today and all days. Thanks be to God!


Knowing the peace of Christ is in each of us, let us share that peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you all…




Lord, you know our inmost being. You know all that we are, all that we know, all that we think, and all that we believe. When those thoughts, beliefs, ideas and be-ings turn from you, we long to be placed back on Your path. We pray that our lives might be a never-ending offering to you, and that our sin might lead to more ways to learn and grow closer to your hopes for us. Cleanse us of our sin; turn our thoughts and feet ever toward Your Way. We pray this together in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.



Call to confession:

We come to worship to praise God, but also we remember our own faults and problems. Let us now turn to God in confession together:


Jesus is the way the truth and the life…acknowledging this we know that in Christ we have grace, love and forgiveness. Thanks be to god!


Knowing Christ loves us each and every one, let us now share Christ’s peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you all…




Ever-present, ever-lasting God,

In you we live and move and have our being. You have made us for yourself so that our hearts are restless until they find rest in you. We attempt to find peace for ourselves and we come up short. But trying to let go and find your peace in relationship with your presence can be perplexingly hard. Bless the effort we make in faith to find your peace, so that we might know your faith within ourselves. In your Son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Assurance: (A variation on a standard Assurance from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)

The love of God, the Peace of God, the Care of God are from everlasting to everlasting. I say to you in the name of Jesus Christ we are all forgiven. Thanks be to God!



And knowing that God’s peace, and Christ’s peace is within each of us, let us share that peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you!



Call to Confession:

Please pray with me as we confess our faults and failings to God.


O God, our source and judge and Destiny. Today we will not hide our wrong doings from you, we confess that we have left vows unfinished, good purposes forgotten, opportunities left unfulfilled, and duties unmet. We have spoken impatiently or unkindly, and done ungenerous things, we have desired what we should not, and lived for things that will die, we have ignored you, who are our life and peace. In your mercy forgive us, show us compassion and heal us. Set us anew on your path, and help us to hear your voice. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Assurance: (A variation on a standard Assurance from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)

Who is in a position to condemn, to blame? Only Christ, And Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ advocates for us, and Christ prays for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life is gone, a new life has begun, here and now, know you are forgiven! Thanks be to God!


And now, since God has forgiven us in Christ let us share Christ’s peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you all…




Listening God,

We often find it easier to talk about you than to you. And when we do talk to you we find it easier to talk than to listen for your still small voice, and we find it easier to listen than to act once we hear your call. Forgive us our failures to talk, to listen and to do. Your love is never ending, and that scares us, pardon our fear, our inattentiveness and our inaction. Move us in your direction and break down our defenses. This we pray through Jesus Christ the ultimate listener and doer. Amen.


The love of God is indeed from everlasting to everlasting. And because of this I can with full confidence say to you that we are all forgiven. Thanks be to God.


In God’s love let us now share the peace of Christ with one another. The peace of Christ be with you all.




As we return again and again to God in need of God’s grace let us now turn to God confessing the ways we fall short of what God hopes for us. Let us offer the unison prayer of confession:


We know that every moment of our lives is known to God. We know that the coming of Christ into the world set us free of shame and doubt of God’s grace, so let us now share Christ’s peace with one another knowing we are recipients of God’s grace and freedom. May the peace of Christ be with you all.



Call to Confession:

We now come before God to confess our darkest moments, those actions and thoughts we know would not bring God the joy we wish our lives to offer.


God of grace and truth, in Jesus Christ you came among us as light shining in the darkness. We have not welcomed the light or trusted your good news to be good. We have often closed our eyes because your light is too brilliant for us, and then see little hope and expecting less. Forgive us our doubt and our wandering, renew our hope that we might find the fullness of the grace you offer each moment. In the life and grace of Jesus Christ we pray, amen. 


And now knowing that God’s light shines into our darkness, let us now share God’s light in Jesus Christ with one another. The peace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you all…



Confession: (adapted from the PC(USA) Brief Statement of Faith)

In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of people long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom and peace. We daily fall short of these calls on our lives, and turn against our neighbors and our God in fear in anger or in apathy. May our lives find a way to live into the courage the Spirit provides.


The grace of God is from everlasting to everlasting. In every situation and shortcoming we can rely on God’s grace. Knowing this, may we find peace. Amen.

Prayers of Opening Worship or Call to Worship

These are the prayers I offered and saved in my days as Transitional Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Welshire Presbyterian in Denver, CO

Gracious God, join us in this place, as in every place. Be with us this morning as we worship you and remember the gifts of your protection in our lives. We worship you in spirit and in action today, be with us in our praise, our singing, our silence and our speech. We pray in the name of your son Jesus. Amen.
Dear God,
Be in this place today as we worship. Be in our hearts and minds and spirits as we worship and praise you this morning. Let the concerns of the world be present as offerings of care and hope to you, and give us your work as we pray and sing and praise this morning. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Dear God,
Listen to your children praying, bring your spirit in this place. As we worship this morning hear us, and help us to hear you in each breath, word, note and in our silence. We pray this in the name of Jesus who heard you better than anyone. Amen.
Dear God,
We come this morning to worship you. We come from many activities and distractions, from worthwhile actions and wasted moments to this place to bring you praise and prayer. Join us here, we pray, so that we might know and remember your presence in our lives now and when we leave this place. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
12/15/2013 Advent music Sunday
God of all,
We thank you for the gift of music. As art, as talent, as recreation, we give you thanks of the gift of Jesus’ entrance into our lives and this season of anticipating his coming into our world, join us here this morning in worship as we come to you again in need, in celebration and in worship. In the name of Jesus Emmanuel we pray. Amen.
12/22/2013- Longest Night Worship
God of darkness and light,
We worship you today. We know that with you darkness cannot overcome light, and that you are even there in the darkness. Join us in worship and bring us once again out of our shadows into your light. Help us to find new hope and peace each moment we join together to worship. In the name of Jesus our brother, we pray amen


a prayer book begun...

In 2013, when I was the Transitional Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Welshire Presbyterian Church in Denver CO, I began to hear from those who attended worship that they appreciated the prayer and liturgy I offered there. Since then this has been a common response to my prayer, and as one who has spent my ministry career so far as a director or Associate Pastor, I spend more time in worship praying than preaching. So this response was welcome, but at the time it was a surprise. Some of the prayers from that time that I will post were published to Welshire's website or newsletter, because people asked for them, others I have kept and used in other church or worship contexts. The words included are my own unless I indicate that inspiration began with someone else's writing and cite them.