How to Properly Attribute a Litany

Attribution is a tricky subject. The internet makes it even more complicated. And I've had a few instances where I've encountered my litanies not being attributed correctly. So today I'm trying to make attribution rules clear. And I'm grateful to the folks who've asked for clarity on this.

I want people to pray good prayers. I want love to flow in this world, and for people to connect to the Divine, and for our collective consciousness to be raised. For these reasons I allow my litanies to be used by church congregations and other non-profit groups, so long as my name and website are clearly referenced.

If you're using a litany of mine, whether it’s one that is freely available on the internet or via subscription on Patreon, please use this attribution tag alongside the title of the litany, anywhere a litany is projected or printed:

©Fran Pratt franpratt.com Used with permission

Please do not post or reproduce my litanies in their entirety on social media. A little snippet or quote is fine (even helpful in terms of getting the word out) as long as it's linking back to my website. It's also helpful if you share links to specific litanies on my website on social media. But please, don't post a photo of a printout or a screenshot of an entire litany. Driving traffic to my website helps me get the word out about my work, and about my book.

I encourage churches and organizations to subscribe to my Patreon. Especially if you are using my work regularly. Obviously I can't force you to do this, nor will I necessarily even be aware if you're using my work. You are on the honor system and I trust the Spirit in you. I spend a great deal of time creating liturgy and it is the creative work the Spirit has given me to do in this season. If you benefit from the work I do, especially on a regular basis, I don't think 3 bucks a month is too much to ask in return for a regular liturgical contribution to your community - it's a small amount that helps make the work sustainable for me to continue.

Finally, this is grassroots art. I know it's going to take on a life of its own. Everyone isn't going to follow attribution rules perfectly. I just ask for people who genuinely appreciate this work to please have my back in this small way.

Thanks. I love you and I'm grateful for you.

-Fran


Litany for Readiness

The Lectionary reading from the gospels for August 7, 2016 (Proper 14) is Luke 12:32-40. Read it here.

 

Recently I’ve been experimenting with capsule wardrobes. A capsule wardrobe is simply a more intentional, minimal wardrobe. I know you’ve opened an overstuffed closet or clothes drawer and felt overwhelmed by the number of items inside. I know you’ve done this because you most likely live in a developed nation (most of my readers are here in the US) and you obviously have access to the internet, and therefore that makes you a fairly privileged person, therefore you are most likely living in a culture where excess is normative. In the developed world, we are much more likely to have to guard against owning excess stuff rather than guard against not having enough. I regularly have to cull my home of items that appear inside it, items that I didn’t intentionally acquire or purchase, that have no meaning or value to me. Clothing in particular is cheap and easy to come by.

In a capsule wardrobe mindset, instead of having a closet full of clothes you didn’t think too hard about buying and that you don’t really like or wear much and don’t suit your needs very well, you evaluate each item of clothing you own with intention and thoughtfulness. You actually think about the items you own and how to make the best use of them. You acknowledge that ownership brings responsibility. You acknowledge that there is effort and hassle involved with owning too much. You acknowledge that weeding through a hundred mediocre options is time-consuming and that time is your most valuable resource. So you pare down to what you really love and use, what really brings you joy and serves you, what helps you get ready quickly and kindly. You figure out how much is enough, but not too much.

So why am I talking about capsule wardrobes? Well, because I find it interesting that in last week’s reading Jesus tells us not to worry about clothes or what we will wear. And this week we are hearing from Jesus a big fat “Be Ready” that directly follows an admonition to “sell your stuff and give to the poor.”

Don't hear me wrong. I'm not saying everyone needs a capsule wardrobe; I just happen to have already been thinking about them and about minimizing possessions in general. But it's not really about that. 

These scriptures give me the sense that part of being prepared for the kingdom to come involves lightening our load, weeding out our distractions and time-sucks, paring down to the essentials; so that we can be dressed and ready quickly, able to pounce on kingdom opportunities when they arise. It makes me wonder if Jesus is not only talking about how generosity affects the receiver; but also how generosity makes clean and light the heart and mind of the giver. And if Jesus is maybe inviting us to be free from worry because we literally own less to worry about.

I don’t think “sell your possessions” is meant as a burdensome request. I don’t think it means we are supposed to deny ourselves aesthetic pleasures - on the contrary; I think Jesus is always bringing the party and with it abundance and enjoyment. And isn’t it interesting that Jesus rarely talks explicitly about gratitude, but is always inviting us into practices that enhance our sense of blessing? So I do wonder if maybe we are being asked to edit things down to what is manageable so that we can both enjoy our lives with less hassle and anxiety, and also have space and time for the unexpected - both the gifts, like the master arriving home to share a meal, and the thief-in-the-night emergencies.

Do we own too much? Do we have too many obligations and distractions? Have we built in margin for the unexpected? Are we being intentional about our ownership, our time-management, and our kingdom priorities?

 

 

 

God, you have blessed us abundantly.
We thank you.
At times, in the culture in which we live, abundance threatens to overwhelm us.
Give us discernment.

We hear your advice to be ready.
We are easily distracted.
We want our priorities and possessions to reflect your goals
May we be generous, ready, alert.

Where we have acquired too much meaningless stuff and need to lighten our load
Forgive us and help us.
Where we have allowed too many distractions to clutter up our time and space,
Forgive us and help us.
Where we have missed opportunities to love people because we’re too busy and blind,
Forgive us and help us.
Where we have hoarded blessing for ourselves out of fear of not having enough,
Forgive us and help us.

Help us not to settle for cheap imitations of blessing,
Which moth and rust destroy;
But instead clear out and make space for true value:
Your kingdom come, your will be done.

Help us to be prepared when you come knocking
Dressed and ready to do your work.

Amen

 

 

Litany for Generosity

The Lectionary reading from the Gospels for this week July 31, 2016 (Proper 13, Year C), Luke 12: 13-21:

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

I read this passage over and over this week, and each time my question has been this:
What does it mean to be rich toward God?

I wonder if the answer might begin to be found in the section that follows, verses 22-34. Here we are invited to be free from worry about food and clothing because we are assured that God cares for us. Bird and flowers have no storeroom or barn, and God provides for them, so surely God will provide for us.

But if we want to know how to be rich toward God, it’s this part that is the clincher, and the hardest to swallow:

“But seek his kingdom and these things (food, drink, clothing) will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid… for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail.”

SELL MY POSSESSIONS AND GIVE TO THE POOR? Is that what it means to be rich toward God? You’re telling me that life isn’t found in having an abundance of possessions; but life IS FOUND in giving possessions away? And somehow that gets me invisible, indestructible treasure later?

I see why the rich young ruler turned away a few chapters later. It's a hard paradigm to understand. Our culture isn't geared this way. If I had to choose three words to define the culture I live in, they would be More, Mine, and Now.  And I have to wonder: if we could get this whole being-rich-toward-God thing right, if it could somehow miraculously enter our (my) thick skull(s) and take root there, how many problems would be solved?

So here it is my friends, the upside-down kingdom at its finest, most unexpected, most difficult, and most life-giving; where less looks like more, mine becomes yours, and now steps aside for the long view. Let's pray.


God, we know that you have been pleased to give us your kingdom.
Make us generous, as you are generous.
You have been rich toward us, with resources, with love, and with your Spirit.
Teach us how to be rich toward you.

We understand that greed is often rooted in fear.
Of not having enough,
Of not being well-regarded by others,
Of being powerless.

We ask you to transform our fear into radical love
Open-hearted generosity,
Trust in your unending care for us,
Willingness to go all out for your kingdom.

We confess that we have held tightly to our material possessions.
Forgive us.
We confess that we have been afraid we won’t have enough.
Forgive us.
We confess that we are part of a society preoccupied with wealth and ease.
Forgive us.
We confess that we don’t know how to be rich toward you.
Forgive us.

Help us to see our possessions in light of the good news of the kingdom of God.
We seek your kingdom.
Help us to see our lives and work in light of your generosity.
We trust in your graciousness.
Help us to see your face in the poor and powerless.
Your kingdom is abundant with life, enough for all.

Amen

 

 

Litany for I'm Sorry

I had planned to post a litany today about Trump and Hillary (and about Jesus), which I feel pretty excited about sharing. But I just can’t do it; it will have to wait. I can’t turn off all the feelings I feel about the Orlando shooting. I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop thinking about how a specific community of people was targeted and systematically put to death in cold blood by a maniac. I have had to monitor my intake of news about it, lest it overwhelm me completely. I feel guilty saying that sentence because some people don’t have a choice about whether or not this thing will overwhelm them, because it has definitely, without a doubt, overwhelmed them with sorrow, grief, loss, lament, pain, despair, hopelessness.

And then I read some folks criticizing church folks for waiting until now, until something completely tragic and unthinkable has happened, to extend any kindness toward the LGBT community. Which is kind-of valid, church. Although it’s also kind-of valid that a lot of us have been loving and welcoming LGBT folks all along we just haven’t made any headlines about it. So that feels kind-of dismissive, but then again maybe we should have been a little louder about our love. But then again we’ve all just been doing our damndest to live well in the context we are in, to see as far as our horizon will let us, and try to be some kind of bridge people between the ideologies that keep us in tension all the stinking time. Which is exhausting but I shouldn’t be complaining because I’m not the one getting persecuted and gunned down and I probably don’t even know the meaning of exhausted in comparison.

Do you see the complexity here? Do you see how many feelings it might be possible for anyone on any side of this to feel? Do you see the rabbit holes it is possible for a person’s mind to go down, how many guilts it is possible to internalize, how many sorrows it is possible to become engulfed by, how frustrated it is possible to get? Or is that just me?

Let me dial this down for us:
God loves human beings; that’s God’s thing. If we are not about the business of loving human beings, then we are not doing God’s thing; we are doing something else, and woe to us.

To the LGBTQ community, in which I have friends and family and beloved folks:
I’m sorry I didn’t live my love louder before now.
I’m sorry the society we live in left the door wide open for this to happen, and for all the ways I’m complicit in that society.
I’m sorry the church-section I’m a part of has done such a shitty job of loving you, and for all the ways I’ve been complicit in that.
I’m sorry for every time I’ve ever missed an opportunity to love you, to listen to you, or to walk beside you in companionable silence.
I’m sorry we haven’t gotten far enough along in our relationship to trust one another with deep things.

I believe that Jesus is for you.
I believe that the Kingdom of God, inaugurated by Jesus, is for you.
I believe that when Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest,” He means you, too.
I believe that God made you, God loves you, and God is pouring out love upon love indiscriminately on you all your life.

I want to do better at getting in line with God’s agenda on that.
I want to do better at trading stories with you and hearing your heart.
Forgive me.

 

God:
We, the church, Your body on earth, turn to You in humility and contrition, confessing our failure at loving our LBGTQ brothers and sisters well.

We’ve insulated ourselves.
We’ve turned a blind eye to injustice.
We’ve perpetuated misunderstanding.
We’ve capitulated to fear.
We’ve withheld help and concern.
We’ve cheapened the grace of Jesus.
We’ve forgotten that, of faith, hope, and love; love is greatest.

We know that where we are inadequate, You are more than enough.
We know that there is always redemption when Jesus is around.
We know that Jesus is always where the pain is.

Our hearts mourn for the pain we have caused.
We are sorry.
Help us to be better at following the Way of Love.

Amen
 

Litany for Summer

This litany originally appeared on Godspace. It is a responsive prayer; congregational responses are in bold type.

 

God, we thank You for turning the earth toward the Sun .
We thank You for summer.

As the days and the light are long,
So is the Love of God:
   Endless,
   Fruitful,
   Full of possibility,
   Bursting with energy.

As growing things are awake and progressing,
So may we become awake
To Your light and to Your love:
   Making progress,
   Seizing opportunities to grow,
   Readying for harvest

As our plot on the planet faces the sun, our star,
So do we turn ourselves toward the Son
Following the Way of Christ,
Following the Way of Love,
Growing to maturity,
Spreading seeds of Good News to all.

Amen

Litany for Identity

Recently, in the songwriting group I lead and host in my home, we had a long discussion about identity; about how so many of us are in various ways asleep to who we are, asleep to who God is, and how our identity is so central to the gospel of Jesus. But for many of us, it feels elusive - who am I again?

When I became a mother I had an identity crisis that lasted a year or more. I didn't DO any of the stuff I used to DO, and I had a hard time finding myself in the midst of all the new and unfamiliar stuff I did DO. Where had I gone? Who was this tired person with an entirely new set of priorities and schedule? Figuring it out was long work, in part because I am trained to believe that what I DO is who I AM. Disabusing myself of this idea is an uphill battle.

Identity is a huge idea, and this prayer only begins to scrape the crust of it. But for those of us who struggle, either because of our temperament or a season of life that has forced the issue, I'm hoping this prayer might be a good start.


Creator God, You formed us.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
In You we live and move
And have our being.

We acknowledge that many voices try to tell us who we are,
     Who we are not.
Many voices tell us our value is based upon
     Appearance
     Achievement
     Social status
     Gender
     Ethnicity
     Posessions
     Talent

Many would have us believe that our Doing is more important than our Being.
We renounce these voices.
We are Your Children, the work of your hands,
Unique and beloved by You.

May we become more awake to Your love,
Which has no limits.
Your love,
Which defines us.
Your love,
Which begins us and completes us.

May we walk in the sureness of our identity,
In the confidence of Your love.
May all we do come from the core of who we are:
Loved, and made of love.

Amen

Litany for Pentecost

Pentecost is the day in the liturgical calendar when the church celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the church as we know it, recorded in Acts 2. The Day of Pentecost concludes the Easter Season, and is celebrated ten days after Ascension Thursday. This year Pentecost is celebrated Sunday, May 15.

 

God, today we give thanks for the good gift of Your Holy Spirit, our helper.
Come Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God present among us.
Come Holy Spirit.

As on the day of Pentecost, when Your spirit rested on Your followers as tongues of fire,
Rest on us now, Oh God
As they were filled with the spirit and began to speak and prophesy,
Fill us now, Oh God.

Just as Jesus promised, just as the Father has promised,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon us,
Empowering us to proclaim good news to the poor
Release for prisoners
To exchange beauty for ashes
Joy for mourning
A spirit of praise instead of despair.
Come Holy Spirit.

We are your church, your body on earth, who trust in the Resurrected Christ,
And in the Holy Spirit of God, here with us now.

Amen
 

Litany for Doubt

In contemporary church-y, Jesus-y culture, we have little language to express doubt; and little room in our paradigms for sitting in the tension of it. Mostly, you are either in, or you’re out. I find that lots of people have a sophisticated (or at least wordy) theology about doubt and they know all the right answers, and usually those are the folks who have never actually traveled it. It’s easy to say, from a place of faith: you should put a lid on your doubt.

I don’t want to do that.

My personal experience with doubt has been informative and valuable. I feel that Jesus’ response to my doubt has always been a gracious “Here, touch my hands and side” (1); and “I saw you under the fig tree” (2). For better or worse, I want to explore it, to remember what it felt like when I was there, and allow it to portray my faith in relief, with depth and shadow and dimension. I feel pretty sure that to doubt is to admit that mystery is an ingredient of faith, a color in its spectrum.

This litany uses more poetic imagery than most of what I post. But I have found that regular words aren’t enough to give vent to doubt. If the entree is hard questions, it needs a side of groaning, and a chaser of silence.

Honestly, if you are in a season of doubt, and you are able to pray this (or any) prayer at all, well, good for you. And if your “sometimes” is moving toward “always,” then Blessings, Sister. Blessings, Brother.

Litany for Doubt

God, sometimes we feel as if You are not there at all.
We cannot hear You through the static of our emotions,
   the cacophony of voices,
   the fullness and the void.
We cannot see You in the fabric of the visible and scientific.
We cannot feel You in the tension and the grit.

People say “God doesn’t exist” and sometimes we believe them.

We want to believe You.
We want You to be Good. Love. True.
Help our unbelief. (3)

We have been hurt. Shattered, perhaps.
We have been disappointed, and are inclined to minimize risk.
We can say with the Psalmist: “All day long I have been afflicted,
    And every morning brings new punishments.” (4)
Let Your grace pierce the armor we set about ourselves.

Have mercy on us in our doubt, and meet us in our weakness.
Where we are skeptical, be gracious to us.
Where our expectations are unmet, be generous to us.
Where we have unanswered questions, gently teach us.

We acknowledge that doubt is an opportunity to become deeply quiet,
   To wait.

On our own we can hardly open the door for You.
We will need You to stealthily creep in.
We will need Your patience, and all the loving-kindness You can muster
To make up for our lack.

If there is any language we can understand,
Surely it is Love.
If there is any small spark our eyes can see,
Surely it is Love.

Amen
 

  1. John 20:27
  2. John 1:48
  3. Mark 9:24
  4. Psalm 73:14

 

Litany for Loving Those With Whom We Disagree

God of Love, fill us anew with the energy of your love
For we find ourselves in conflict and disagreement with our sisters and brothers;
But we want Your heart to move us.

We confess our tendency to cast judgement on those whose ideas differ from ours.
We confess our tendency to consider ourselves superior.
We confess our tendency to blame, call names, castigate, and demean.
We confess our tendency to speak truth in righteous indignation, and not in love.
We confess our tendency to use sarcasm as a weapon of righteousness.
We confess our tendency to obsess about being right.

Help us to have patience with those who do not share our perspective.
Help us to have grace for those we consider to be in the wrong.
Help us to extend forgiveness to those who hurt us or those close to us.

May we find, in each circumstance, those places where we are complicit.
May we attend to the log in our own eye.
May we remember that the good news of the Kingdom of God is steadily creeping in,
   That fear, defensiveness, and violence are alien to it;
   That peace, beauty, and gentleness are its hallmarks.
May we compass our movements by Love’s true north.

We relinquish our need to win arguments.
We relinquish our need to demonstrate our superior worldview.
In those opportunities we get to peaceably speak our opinion, may we do it with
    Love
    Joy
    Peace
    Patience
    Kindness
    Goodness
    Faithfulness
    Gentleness
    Self-control
And may Christ be glorified by our every word and action.

Amen

Litany for the Kingdom of God

God of peace and love,
Bring to us a new awareness of your kingdom at work in the world.
Grant that we may see and understand the small and unassuming things, which take patience and attention to notice:
    A seed.
    Yeast in bread
    Treasure buried in a field
    A net cast into water
    A baby lying in a manger.

We acknowledge that we mostly miss the signs when they are not flashy or earth-shaking,
But that your kingdom is all around us.
We acknowledge that Christ came to exhibit neither wealth nor political power,
But self-sacrificing love.
We acknowledge that the progress of the good work we do may be imperceptible to us,
And that our success is in our obedience to you.

We welcome your kingdom, in the world and in our hearts.
We seek your kingdom, trusting that we will find it.
We anticipate your kingdom,
    Working toward peace
    Providing for the poor
    Healing the sick
    Loving our enemies.

We trust in your love to provide for us in our seeking.

Whether your spirit comes to us as a wind or a whisper,
May we know your presence and be useful in your kingdom work.

Amen

Litany: A Meditation on Love

Oh God, open our hearts now;
Grant that we may become a people fragrant and suffused with LOVE
     The unforgettable Love of God.
We set aside our own agendas in favor of Love’s agenda,
And desire that the Love of God may live and move within and among us
     Saturating us so that excess spills out wherever we go.

Re-orient us around LOVE
Our God is LOVE.
Refashion us to LOVE’s image;
Our way is LOVE.

By love, Christ came into the earth.
By love, Christ humbled himself to become human.
By love, Christ preached God’s kingdom.
By love, Christ healed and fed multitudes.
By love, Christ was led, a lamb to slaughter
By love, Christ absorbed within himself the wrongdoing of all people.
By love, Christ shortened the distance between ourselves and God
By love, Christ absolved his tormentors.
By love, Christ put death to rest.
By love, Christ rose up into glorified life.
By love, Christ commissioned the spreading of the Good News of Love.
By love, Christ re-imagined humankind.
By love, Christ ascended into heaven, promising to be with us always.
By love, Christ gave the Holy Spirit as our helper.

The Love of God became fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
The Love of God floods out over the earth, over His kingdom.
The Love of God is the new order, our paradigm for living.
The Love of God fills our hearts, changes our lives, remakes our beings.

May Love shatter us and rebuild us anew.
May Love encompass us and protect us.
May Love reform us from violence and power-seeking.
May Love make us compassionate.
May Love teach us to walk in the new way, the beautiful way.

May we be liberated from expectations placed on us by religions, societies, empires, cultures;
And delivered into Love’s hands,
    Following Love’s direction,
    Under Love’s authority,
    Helpless to but to fall under Love’s sway.

 

Litany for the Disqualified

Gracious, Loving God:
We whose hearts desire to serve You, to minister in Your kingdom,
     and to follow the loving example of leadership that Christ set forth;
We look now to You.

Many of us have been told, in various ways, by ourselves and by others
That we are disqualified from service.
Some of us have been told that we are
     the wrong gender
     the wrong age
     the wrong race
     the wrong class
     not holy enough
     not experienced enough
     not enough.

We seek now to have our minds transformed;
To have our presumptions set right;
Our slates wiped clean.

Give us courage
     to walk in the calling You have placed on us,
     to overcome those forces that would have us be ineffective,
     to listen to Your voice above the voices that would have us disqualified.

May we take our example from the meekness of Christ, His gentleness
     but also His assertiveness and steadfastness of purpose.
For he too was disdained, regarded as weak,
     not enough of a warrior to be a King.

Teach us the ways of Your kingdom
     the way of peace
     the way of love
     the way of beauty.
Empower us by Your Holy Spirit.
Provide for us with the abundance that is the hallmark of Your generosity.

May we know deeply that You have qualified us in Christ Jesus,
     and that, in Him, we are enough.

Amen

Resurrection Sunday: "Life"

God, your works are marvelous
Your power, amazing.

We are astonished at what You have done:
You have raised Jesus
Who was put to death at the hands of an angry multitude
Who was beaten, nailed, and pierced;
You have raised him to glorious Life.
We are astonished at this gospel.

We stand now silent before you, too surprised for words.
(pause)

And now we raise a shout:
(All:) HALLELUJAH!

That Jesus Christ, put to death on a cross
Is now alive and ruler of the world!
Again we raise our voices:
(All:) HALLELUJAH!

For death has lost its sting.
The grave has been overtaken by life.
The new Kingdom has begun.
The way of love is victorious.

And this gospel fills our hearts, and all the earth:
All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Hallelujah!

Lent Series: Litany for Lent, Week 1 "Temptation"

Holy God: in this season of Lenten fasting, we remember Christ
Who went out into the desert to fast and undergo temptation.
We confess that we are often distracted by material comforts
And tempted to value them above the Kingdom of God.

You, God, are our help in difficulty;
Christ is our inspiration.
We confess that we do not live by bread or worldly provision alone,
But by every word that comes from Your mouth.

May we fill our mouths, our hearts, our minds now with your words
That we might be transformed and renewed.
May we, with renewed hearts and minds,
Better serve the purposes of Your kingdom.
May we, by setting aside worldly distractions
Become more like Christ.
May we, with purified motives and deeper understanding,
Receive Christ when He comes to us.

Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

Amen

Litany for Retreat

*This litany was originally written for a retreat for gathered worship leaders in the Vineyard movement, of which I am a part. The congregational refrain is the simple "hallelujah." I think this lends itself to various types of retreats for both leaders and lay-folk.

Oh God, we are reminded that You are the Author of work, rest, and play.
Hallelujah
We recognize our being made in Your image, having need of all three.
Hallelujah
With consciousness and intention, we now set aside our daily tasks and make space for relaxation, revival, and enjoyment.
Hallelujah
We breathe deeply of Your presence, and drink deeply of Your delight.
Hallelujah
We pray for open ears and soft hearts, that we might hear Your renewed calling on our lives and be willing to accept it.
Hallelujah
We soak in the freedom and joy of being among people who share in our passions.
Hallelujah
May we emerge from our respite with clean hands, pure hearts, and steadfast spirits.
Hallelujah
At the end of our rest, may we re-enter our ministries with refreshed balance, purpose, energy, and clarity.
Hallelujah

Amen

Litany for Gratitude

To You, O God, we give thanks.

We give thanks for the morning, when joy comes to us.
We give thanks for the evening, when we meditate on your love.
We give thanks for the in-between, the working hours, the accomplishing hours; when we must practice gratitude amidst distraction and busyness.
We give thanks for the long dark of night, when our souls and bodies assimilate and regenerate.

We give thanks for the people we love effortlessly, but also for the people who chafe and challenge us.
We give thanks for our enemies, who teach us to bless and forgive.
We give thanks for our families, who teach us grace and forbearance.
We give thanks for those whose lives we touch only momentarily - may we be a lasting blessing.

We give thanks for the boisterous, jubilant seasons. 
We give thanks for the subtle, quiet seasons. 
We give thanks for the seasons of difficulty and pain. 
May we emerge from each bearing the image of Christ Jesus.

We give thanks both when we are certain, and when uncertainty plagues us; both in the black and white, and in the gray.

We give thanks to You, acknowledging that every drop and morsel that sustains us comes from Your hand; that our place in the universe exists because You created it; and that Your purposes exceed the bounds of our imagining.

Litany for New Year’s Day

Faithful God, we look back on the year behind us and appreciate Your presence with us through it. We look ahead at the year before us with hope, and anticipate Your continuing love and the fulfillment of your promises.

In this new year, grant that we may become
more faithful
more committed to your kingdom work
more knowledgeable of your ways
more familiar with your spirit
more pliant to your instruction
more willing to give of ourselves to others

We pray for increase
of love
of storehouses full of good things to share
of relational harmony and peace
of health
of meaningful work
of balance among work, play, and rest
of personal growth and wisdom
of grateful hearts
and most of all, of your presence and power among us.

May we hear your voice more clearly, and heed it.
May we be aware of the limits of our understanding, and work to expand them.
May the words of Christ dwell in us richly.
May we be vigilant for those around us who are in need and tend to them.
May we experience anew the rebirth and resurrection life of Jesus.
May we complete the tasks you set before us, love well those souls you give to our care, and make good use of the time we are given on the earth.

We are grateful for Your love, kindness, and care.
Amen

 

Litany for God's Presence in Suffering

*I originally wrote this litany for a retreat for pastors in difficulty or crisis. I anticipated that there would be no way of projecting the prayer onto a screen, so I made the congregational response the simple "You are with us." I've found that sometimes these simple responses are the most profound in context, giving the congregation a chance to decide if they really mean what they are saying and allow it to take root in their consciousness.

Oh God, we remember now Christ in His suffering, and echo the feeling in His words: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”
We remember:
You are with us.
We remember Christ tempted in the desert, Christ suffering at Gethsemane, Christ hung on a cross.
You are with us.
We see that suffering echoed in our own lives, and acknowledge our inability to suffer as Christ did, perfectly, without sin. We remember:
You are with us.

When we are uncertain,
You are with us.
When we have lost things or people precious to us,
You are with us.
When sickness overtakes us,
You are with us.
When we are overwhelmed with grief,
You are with us.
When we are exhausted from our labors,
You are with us.
When enemies rise up against us,
You are with us.
When our souls are in the dark night,
You are with us.

We take comfort in Christ, who is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief; and we are consoled by His having walked the road of suffering ahead of us.
You are with us.
We believe anew in the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
You are with us.
It is because of Christ that hope still stirs within us.
You are with us.
And it is by His example that we turn to You in the midst of our suffering.
You are with us.

May our dry bones be enlivened; our stone hearts be made flesh; and our sickness be not unto death.
You are with us.

Hallelujah. Amen.

Litany for Creation Care

Creator God, whose art and beauty are evident in every molecule of Creation, You made the universe - planets and solar systems, earth-home, plants, creatures - and called it good.
You made human life the pinnacle of that work, even choosing to incarnate that work in the Person of Jesus; and giving humanity those great and terrible gifts: choice and dominion.

Receive our confession now.

We have regarded your Creation only as a resource to be spent, not as a gift to be stewarded.
We have polluted air, water, and land.
We have destroyed ecosystems and species.
We have exploited and razed entire sections of earth.
We have created mountains of unnecessary waste.
We have valued material wealth and convenience above the health of our bodies and those under our care.
We have forgotten our own temporality, that other generations will come after us needing a home.
We have forgotten that You created life and it is precious.

Where we should have stewarded, we exploited.
Where we should have protected, we left vulnerable.
Where we should have respected, we chose to disregard.

Grant that we may come to a new hope and understanding of Your Creation, our relationship with it, and our role within it.
Grant that we may find ways to participate in its healing and renewal.
Grant that we may become willing to develop new habits and ways of interacting with the world, that consider its beauty and welfare.
Grant that we may re-imagine prosperity, economy, and civilization in light of stewardship of Creation.
Grant that we may more deeply understand Your nature through your Creation.
Grant that we may more deeply understand the interdependence of humanity and earth.
Grant that we may extend the work of Christ on the cross to a creation groaning and waiting expectantly.
Grant that we may have a renewed hope for the future of Creation - redeemed, reconciled, restored to its proper place and function.

May gratitude and the love of Christ govern our every interaction with humans, creatures, and the earth.

Amen.