Happy Father’s Day

The following is the annual posting of my Father’s Day Prayer. It is a prayer that is loosely based on some wording from a Mother’s Day Prayer I received from a colleague over 10 years ago. It also includes suggested petitions I have received from others over the years, This prayer goes through revisions each year and thus has morphed into what you read today. To God be the glory.

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God our Father, in Your wisdom and love You made all things. You have created and ordained men to be heads of their household. Give them the faith to be godly teachers and examples to their family, leading them in holiness.

Bless those new fathers, who have been called and accepted the responsibility of parenting.
Bless those men who have lost a spouse to death or divorce.
Bless those men who, through various circumstances, find themselves parenting their children alone.
Bless those men who have been called to parent children through adoption or the foster care system.
Bless grandfathers who share their wisdom and love with multiple generations.
Bless those fathers who have had to bear the grief of burying of a child.

We pray for fathers who have made the decision to abort a child. Bring healing and reconciliation through Jesus.
We pray for those men who choose to remain without biological children, may they continue to show fatherly love with the world in many ways.
We give thanks for uncles and godfathers and neighbors, who share fatherly love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepfathers.
We pray for those men who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration.
We pray for the fathers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most.
We pray for those men who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them.
We pray for fathers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents.

Strengthen all these men by and through Your love that they may be the loving and caring persons they are called and meant to be as they reflect Your love and glory. Grant this, Father God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

In response to the Uvalde school shooting…

I posted the following in a private Bible reading Facebook group I lead, but wanted to make this more widely available. To God be the glory.

It is Wednesday morning. I went to bed last night with a heavy heart as I pondered the news of elementary school kids in Uvalde, TX slaughtered by an 18-year-old gunman. I have seen different numbers but it looks like 14 kids (2nd, 3rd or 4th graders – the ages of my kids) and a teacher. I am sure numbers will be updated as time goes on. As I pondered this news, praying and wondering, I was preparing to schedule our morning devotion for today. I had it written and ready, but I couldn’t do it. Instead I am writting this. I felt I needed to stop and acknowledge those who died, and to acknowledge the evil in this world that took their lives.

I am tempted to say something politcial right now, but instead I am turning my attention to the One who is in control. You see, God is still God. Jesus still reigns. Satan is still defeated. And death? Yes, that too will be gone someday. In the mean time, we live in a world of evil as sin fills our hearts and Satan works to drive a wedge between people. And I see that Happening today. With every tragic event like this, the rhetoric ramps up, people fire their attacks at one another and the divide gets wider and wider. Solutions seem to be simple and straightforward.  The only difference is who you ask. Ask people of this world and the answer is stricter laws. Ask those who find their peace under the Lordship of Jesus, the answer is right in front of us: Jesus. Does this mean we just sit back and be push overs? No! We stand up and fight. But more than that, we pray, pray and pray some more. We appeal to God in the name of Jesus and find our hope in the One who made all things and all people. In the words of Job, who’s world was falling apart around him, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25‭-‬27) Yes, my heart does faint within me today, but my Redeemers lives, thus my hope is not lost.

And so, I say it again and again: Pray. Remember the families who lost loved ones. Remember the grieving community. Remember the emergency workers who can not unsee the things they have seen. Remember and pray. Lord, in Your mercy…

Mother’s Day Prayer

I have posted the following Mother’s Day prayer often. Each time there have been small edits as it continues to evolve. Happy Mother’s Day to all you women out there. I give thanks to God for you.

Let us pray…

This Mother’s Day, we give thanks for loving, wonderful mothers, who have given their children and others so many invaluable gifts. We give thanks for new mothers, welcoming new life into the world. We give thanks for those who choose their children; adoptive and foster parents, who model the adoptive love of God. We give thanks for aunts and godmothers and neighbors, who share maternal love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepmothers. We pray for grandmothers who show a special love with grandchildren that forms connections that run deep. We give thanks for those who choose to remain without biological children, sharing love with the world in countless ways.

Together we pray for the many mothers who have had to bear the unimaginable burden of burying a child, and those who have born the silent grief of stillbirth or miscarriage. We remember those who have seemingly had hope ripped from them through a failed adoption. We pray for those who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration. We pray for women who have made the decision to abort a child and continue live with that painful decision. Bring healing and reconciliation through Jesus. We pray for the mothers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most. We pray for those who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them. We pray for mothers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents. We remember mothers who parent alone for a variety of reasons, who deal with challenges that many can not understand but do so with grace and love.

We remember all women, who function in motherly roles even though they may not have children as the world defines it, yet they are mothers to so many by showing a motherly love that is tender, compassionate, caring in a way that only a mother can show. Lord, we thank you for the gift of mothers, of all kinds. Lord, in Your mercy…

Opening Prayer ~ Power and Authority

Holy God,
all authority and power resides with You
for You are power and authority;
sovereign over all creation.
You are mighty and merciful,
full of grace and truth.
You are the very breath we breathe.
You are our life.
No heart beat goes by without Your knowledge and guiding hand,
and what a wonderful place to be –
in Your hands.
We do not have enough words or the capacity to glorify You as You deserve,
so we ask
that Your Spirit may intercede for us
and through us
so that Your praises ring loud and clear.
To You be all glory, honor, praise, worship and thanksgiving, through Christ Jesus our Lord,
Amen.

Wading in the Word: Open doors

As I was wading in the Word this morning, these verses from Colossians splashed me in the face:

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Colossians 4:2‭-‬4 ESV

What got me wet this morning was Paul’s request to pray for him; that God may open doors for the Word. We pray with our children every night and go down the “list” of people in our lives. We thank God for our many blessings. We recount our day. We praise Him. But one thing I have not done was pray for God to open a door for the Word as we go about our days. Paul was in prison and had a captive audience (so to speak); the guards who were guarding him. But why not us? We encounter people nearly everyday and thus, when we encounter them, there is an opportunity for the Word – whether they are a believer or not. Pray that God opens a door for the Word, but also pray for that holy nudge to walk through that door. Pray also for the faith and courage to share the Word, but all the while, giving glory to God.

Holy God, open doors for me this day to share Your Word of life. Give me that nudge to walk through and the words to say in that moment. To You be all glory, honor, praise and worship, through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.

The Sound

Sitting in the silence,
with only a trickle of light,
teasing the darkness.
A cup filled with liquid pleasure
warming my hands.
Listening.
The silence is loud,
yet,
small, insignificant sounds distract me,
pulling me away from the moment,
the Sound.
I must silence the sounds –
wading through the clutter –
and return to the Sound,
the Voice,
the One.

Confession in the Morn

I rise in the morn and raise my prayer,
Seeking earnestly to clear the air.
My sins are great and many are they,
But Jesus died and for them he did pay.
He paid for my sins so lovingly.
He saved my soul so amazingly.
Redeemed am I and thus I will live.
Redeemed am I my life I will give.

Pray, Pray and Pray Some More

The following is my final article for The News Tribune as today is my final Sunday at Living Word Lutheran Church. On Sunday, August 29, I begin my new (3rd) call at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Buffalo Center, IA. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these article over the years. My hope is that I will have an opportunity to continue writing articles for the local paper there. Either way, I will still be here. And so here you go…to God be the glory, always.


In my five years serving as the pastor at Living Word Lutheran Church, one of my favorite taglines has been, “Pray, pray and pray some more”. This is not just a take off from 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 where the Apostle Paul encourages us to Pray without ceasing. Yes, it definitely inspired this tagline but there is more to it. Far too often, prayer is only something people resort to when all else fails. Life is falling apart, a big decision looms and you do not know what to do, you have lost your job and wondering how to make ends meet, a cancer diagnosis has turned your life upside down. Whatever the case, prayer is that “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” lifeline. You call up God, give Him the situation and look for the million-dollar answer to make everything better. But that is not what prayer is all about. It is not about making your life better now.

Prayer is a relationship. It is not phoning a friend, but intimacy with the Creator. It is a relationship with your heavenly Father. It is curling up in the loving arms of your Good Shepherd. Prayer is not about changing God but rather being changed by God. Prayer is a way of life, not a portion of your life that you do in the morning, evening, at meals and sometimes throughout the day when “needed”. Prayer is not just simply listening and talking to God, but just being with the Father and living a life worthy of your calling – your calling to be a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prayer is done in all circumstances, in all times, in all places and in all stations of life. Pray, pray and pray some more, and when you have done that, pray. Live in fellowship with God with your eyes firmly fixed on His will, His purposes and His glory. Pray, pray and pray some more, seeking to know Him better. Pray, pray and pray some more, not for comfort in this life, but because of the hope you have been given for eternal peace with the Father. Pray, pray and pray some more, knowing that I will be praying right along with you and for you.

Today, marks my final article for The News Tribune and my final Sunday as pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church. I will begin serving my new call in northern Iowa on August 29. But these articles will not end. There are many talented and godly people at Living Word who are ready to pick up the mantle, thus these articles on the 1st and 3rd Sundays will continue. It has been a joy to write these articles over the years and I will miss them – I will miss you, even though I never met many of you. But know this, no matter where I am, I will be praying, praying and praying some more, with you to the glory of God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Take care, my friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. Until we meet again, Amen.

So You Are

A mother cradling her newborn baby.
A hen spreading her wings over her brood.
A father’s provision for his family.
A king’s army guarding the city wall.

So You are to me,
O God.
So You are to me.
For,

Without You I am vulnerable and dead,
But in Jesus I am victorious.
Without faith You are hidden and ordinary,
But in Jesus You are glorious.
My Life.
My love.
My everything.

A rock solid foundation.
A fiercely strong and mighty warrior.
A tender hand and warm embrace
A grace-filled and merciful Lord.

So You are to me,
O God.
So You are to me.

Without Ceasing

Holy God,
my prayer rises to You in the morning,
and at the noontide.
My prayer rises to you in the evening,
and as my eyes close to hide.
I can come to You in any moment.
though I am thoroughly unclean.
I need to come you in Jesus,
for my sin is not unseen.

You have commanded me to pray without ceasing,
You have commanded me to run to You.
You have commanded me raise my petitions.
All glory to you is due.

And You command me so because,
well,
You love me.
You want fellowship with me.
You want me to draw closer to You.
You desire me – a sinner.

Through Jesus I am forgiven.
Through Jesus I am Yours.
Through Jesus I have hope.
Through Jesus Your love ensures.

Father Almighty and Holy God,
draw me closer for I want more of
You.
In Jesus holy and awesome name I pray –
continually,
Amen.