Tag Archives: Holy Communion

Jesus’ Body and Blood ~ A Prayer

Holy God,
it’s a humbling and awesome thing
to reflect on the cross of Jesus.
To think that Jesus obediently and willingly
had his body broken
and blood spilled,
for me,
is something that sends me to my knees in thankfulness and worship.
But what is even more profound and awesome
is to think that, through faith in Jesus,
I will be drinking of the fruit of the vine with him
in Your glorious kingdom someday.

Oh God,
You are holy and great and merciful.
You are compassionate and forgiving and loving.
We are unworthy but yet redeemed through the blood of the lamb.
May we cling to this New Covenant;
never taking it for granted.
And may we long to proclaim this Good News through word and deed.

All glory be to you, holy Father, through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Worship prayers for 07/05/15 ~ Flood Over Us, oh God

Good morning and a blessed Lord’s Day to you all. Below are the prayers I prepared for worship this morning. The text for preaching as I continue in the Gospel of Mark sermon series is Mark 11:1-11; Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday).

And as you worship and lift your petitions to God, remember to pray for our nation:
~ Racism
~ Spiritual complacency
~ Leaders
~ The Church
~ Compassion
And the list goes on. But also remember that God is still God even though it is 4th of July weekend.

Let us pray…

Opening Prayer
Holy Father, loving God, awesome Creator, it is our joy to bring You our worship. It is our heart’s desire to lift our praises to You. It’s the core of our being to bask in Your presence; for we are not of this world even though we live in this world. We are destined to live in Your glorious Kingdom through Christ Jesus our Lord. And so as we come to this place this morning, may we close our eyes to worries of this world and look forward to Your Kingdom. May we smash the false idols we have set up and bow to You. May we come to receive from You a holy rest as we offer our worship and hear Your Word proclaimed. May all falsehood and hate be left at the door for Your purifying flames to burn away. May we leave changed and more firmly placed on the road to holiness. So here we are to worship You, through Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.

Prayer before Preaching
Holy God, loving Father, as sinners in need of cleansing and restoration, wash over us with Your Word and flood us in a sea of Your mercy. May a tidal wave of love overwhelm us and sweep us away from all desires that are not founded in You. And as Your Word drips from our washed souls may we not waste a single drop through careless seeking of worldly streams; streams that can not satisfy. May all refreshment be found in You as we continuously thirst and hunger for Your righteousness. So send Your Holy Spirit to open our ears to Your life-giving Word; inflaming the faith of those You have chosen. All praise and glory be to You, oh God, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Prayers of Intercession
Holy God, we come before you as broken people; dependent on You for mercy and for our daily bread. You would be just to withhold Your gracious hand from us but rather, as a loving Father, You provide for our daily needs. We also acknowledge that we don’t truly know what we need but yet we come before you with these petitions; asking that You might align our wills with Yours. May You receive the glory as You shower blessings upon us and may we have the faith to lift up our thanksgivings in response. Lord in Your mercy, [Response: “Hear our prayer”]

For the Church, oh God, may You send Your Spirit to inflame faith to lead people to live boldly for You. May our anchor rest on Your promises and may Your Word be our guide as the shifting tides of this culture try to toss us to and fro. Lord in Your mercy, [Response: “Hear our prayer”]

God of mercy, bring healing to this nation as racism and hate seem to be the order of the day. May Your love shine forth in and from our lives, so much so, that the flames of hate are doused in a holy flood of Your love. Bring people together from across all boundaries and break down the barriers that prevent us from seeing each other as Your beloved children. Lord in Your mercy, [Response: “Hear our prayer”]

Hear our prayers, Oh God, and give to us out of Your abundant grace and mercy; but only that which brings glory to Your most holy name. We pray this through Your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen

Post-Communion Blessing
May the words “given and shed for you” instill in your hearts a peace that surpasses all understanding as you take joy in the fact that God so loved the world that He gave Jesus to die for you, Amen.

Post-Communion Prayer
Oh, God, you have fed us with the body and blood of Jesus. May the reality of Jesus’ death on the cross send us running to Your merciful arms and may the hope of the resurrection give us strength and boldness in this world. Send us now, and use our lives to bring glory to Your most awesome name, through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

Benediction (from ~ “Benedictions: A Pocket Resource” by Robert Vasholz)
Receive this blessing ~ Now may He who has rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, fill you with all knowledge so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of the Lord. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Have a blessed and safe weekend 🙂

The Pastor -|—

Worship Prayers for 06/14/15 ~ Sinners/Saints

Good morning sinners/saints. Once again it is my joy to share with you the prayers that have been prepared for worship this morning. Use them as you may to the glory of our awesome God.

Opening Prayer
Holy God, to come before Your throne in worship brings a sense of awe and holy fear; for we are sinners; stained, spotted, wrinkled and riddled with uncleanliness. We are unworthy to even glance in Your direction to soak in just a tiny morsel of Your holy beauty. We are unworthy to even utter Your holy name in a desperate cry for help. But You, oh God, do not turn us away; but rather receive us in Agape love. And as we crawl to you and fall at Your feet, You lift us up through faith in Your only Son, Jesus; our Redeemer and Savior and Lover of our souls. And therefore what a joy it is to gather as Your children and praise Your awesome and holy name. So receive our praise and thanks, and fill us with Your Spirit as we lay our very lives at Your feet. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Prayer before Preaching
Awesome God, mighty King, Your Word is too deep for our feeble minds to probe. Your Word is too wide for our limited understanding to navigate. You Word is too weighty for our weak faith to bare. Who can handle such an awesome Word without being crushed under the weight of its judgment? But we are not crushed for Your Word gives life to those who would receive it through Jesus Christ. So I ask that you would send Your Holy Spirit, now, so that as I bask in Your Word this morning, I may be able to impart Your Way, Truth and Life to the sinners here gathered; that they may see themselves as saints through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Convict my heart and humble me in Your presence. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Post-communion Blessing
Now may the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ embolden your words and deeds as you live as forgiven sinners; saved by grace through faith, and proclaim the life and death of Jesus to the glory of God our Father. Amen.

Prayer after Communion/Closing Prayer
[Charles Spurgeon]
We cry to Thee this morning for the preservation of Thy church in the world, and especially for her purity. Oh Father, keep us, we beseech Thee, with all keeping, that the Evil one touch us not. We shall be tempted, but let him not prevail against us. In a thousand ways he will lay snares for our feel, but, deliver us as a bird from the snare of the fowler. May the snare be broken that we may escape and thus bring glory to Your holy name. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Now may the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, strengthen you for every good work; keeping you humble so that glory may always be to God. Blessings to you this day and always.

The Pastor -|—

Worship prayers ~ God’s Awesome Kingdom

Grace, peace and love to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Below are the prayers I wrote for worship for Sunday, June 7. The text for preaching is Mark 10:23-31; talking about entry into the Kingdom of God. This is something that is impossible for man but not for God; for anything is possible with God.

And so I commend these prayers to you for the glory of God.

Opening prayer
Holy God, we anxiously await the arrival of Your glorious Kingdom as it comes in power and might; a Kingdom where Your children, through faith in Jesus, will reside in eternal joy. A Kingdom where death and sin are not even a distant memory. A Kingdom where You reign eternal. And so in the mean time we look with longing eyes for the consumption of Your glory. We listen with attentive ears for the life saving Gospel. And we worship You with thankful hearts. Receive our praise and hear our prayers as we fall at Your feet in humble submission. Turn not Your servants away but bring us close that we may be filled with Your love. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Prayer before preaching
Holy God, loving Father, Your Word tells us that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. And so I humbly ask that You may send Your Holy Spirit to enliven the words that I speak; the words of Good News of Jesus Christ, that those words may create or strengthen faith in those who are hearing. And as Your Word brings life to Your children may they be so bold to speak words of life to one another; giving You the glory. And so guide now, your servants, into Your Word and reveal to us the glory of Your Kingdom. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Post-Communion blessing
May the body and blood of Christ strengthen your faith and make you so bold to live as forgiven sinners; proclaiming the Kingdom of God until he comes again. Amen.

Prayer after Holy Communion
Holy God, you are mighty to save; and through Jesus Christ you have announced Your Kingdom. May You grant Your Holy Spirit to establish Your Kingdom in Your children now and send us forth to boldly proclaim the death and resurrection of Your Son and our Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Benediction (from “Benedictions: A Pocket Resource” by Robert Vasholz)
May the Lord grant you to see where you are lacking, that you might have everything;
May the Lord grant you vision of you poverty, that you might be rich beyond measure;
May the Lord show you that you are destitute so that you may be filled with the fullness of His supply.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

May God bless you as you bring Your worship to God as a thank offering for the blessings God has already bestowed upon you.

The Pastor -|—

God is Always There

When all else fails,
God is there.

When memories fade,
God is there.

When loved ones can’t remember,
God is there.

When you seem lost in your own mind,
God is there.

When you can’t remember,
God remembers.

When you can’t function like you used to,
God continues to function.

I recently brought communion to someone who used to know me, but now they don’t. It was sad that she couldn’t be part of the conversation. But what encouraged my heart was when I started praying the Lord’s Prayer, this person who once knew me started praying along. And then when I approached her to serve communion she asked, “What is this?” I responded by saying, “This is the body of Christ, given FOR YOU.” To which she responded with a smile, “Ohhh”. She received the body and blood of Jesus as she always had before. And then thanked me.

Praise be to God!

I hate Alzheimer’s and dementia and what it does to people, but I take great comfort in the fact that God is always there. And when people seem to forget everything else they seem to know, deep down inside, that truth as well.  And in that I also take great comfort.

Holy God, thank you for not deserting us in our time of need. Thank you for remembering Your promises when some people struggle with remembering. Thank you for Your holy presence. Thank you for the hope we have in Jesus. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

A poor sinner

I had issues this morning.

I have been a pastor now for just over 7 years.  I have presided over communion for just over 7 years.  I have known the Words of Institution for just over 7 years (even longer than that because I knew well before seminary).  But today it was like I have never said those words before.

I was standing up front at Belmont this morning leading worship.  I had just received the offering and the congregation was standing.  I turned around holding the chalice and began the Words of Institution.  The problem is that we start with the bread and then go to the wine (at least that is what I normally do).  I found myself lost as I realized that I had the wrong element…so I had to wing it…trying to make it look as if I meant to start with the wine.

I failed.

I stuttered and stumbled through the Words of Institution like I didn’t know what I was doing.  I was totally frazzled and my rhythm was totally gone.  I even saw someone out there smile at his wife as he knew I was struggling.  I think part of the problem was that I have become so accustomed to the Words of Institution that I found myself relying of the words themselves and not on the proclamation.

That is going to have to change.

My hope and prayer is that people still heard words of promise regardless of my failure.  My guess is that they did hear words of promise ~ thanks to the Holy Spirit.  I trust that God still used me in some way ~ for you see ~ when I preach and lead worship it is not about what I do but it is about the Holy Spirit working through me.  One reason why I am certain of this is because if it were about me; if it were about my speaking ability; if it were about my so-call talents;  I would have been fired long ago.  But as it is God can use a poor sinner like me to proclaim the Good News.

Praise be to God!

The other explanation of what happened this morning could be that I need a vacation ~ something that will be happening very soon 🙂

-edh-

Bread is bread…right?

I know that there are many various beliefs on what kind of bread “should” be used for Holy Communion.  Among the various beliefs is the popular notion that it must be unleavened bread.  I know scripture talks about unleavened bread.  I for one have never used it for Holy Communion…not that I am against it, I just haven’t used it.  Here at Salem we have used flat bread, bread machine bread, super market bread, bread bowl bread, wafers, etc.  My main criteria is that I don’t want any sliced bread.  But at our final First Communion class I asked the kids and parents if they wanted to make their own bread or just have me take care of it.  One of the students suggested that they would like cinnamon bread.

Hmmm…Intriguing…

…because bread is bread…right?

In Luther’s Small Catechism, Luther poses the question:  How can eating and drinking do all this? He then answers his question by saying “It is not eating and drinking that does this, but the words, ‘given and shed for you for the remission of sins’.  These words, along with eating and drinking, are the main thing in the sacrament.  And whoever believes these words has exactly what they say, forgiveness of sins.”  That says to me that bread is bread…and what is important is hearing the words of promise.  So…is cinnamon bread OK?

My faith tells me that it is OK…but I can see how some people might be a little put off and maybe even a little offended.  So with that I go back to Paul where he says that if eating meat causes someone to stumble in their faith, then I won’t eat meat (etc…).  Basically…he won’t exercise his Christian freedom in such a way that might cause someone who is weaker in the faith to stumble.  I can respect that.

But then I was thinking that I could explain the cinnamon as representing the “sweetness of Christ”.  I am not sure if that would fly.  So I don’t know.

Would you use cinnamon bread for Holy Communion or any other “usual” bread?

Just something I am pondering…

-edh-