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 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.