Prayer Circle – February 3, 2019

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken

Ecclesiastes 4:12b

At the 50th anniversary celebration the husband was asked, “What is the secret of your long marriage?” “Well,” drawled the gentleman, “I never tried to hold things together with a thread when I needed a rope.” After the puzzled laughter subsided, he added, “Handling life’s problems alone would have been tough. My wife gave me added strength. But the Lord held us together.”

After God created Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). God formed Eve to be Adam’s earthly partner, a strand of two woven into one flesh. However, the heart of any marriage is truly defined as A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12b).

Christ, the Third Strand, gives strength to husband and wife. A shared faith in Him sustains us in the challenges of life and multiplies the joys of our blessings. The Creator desires to be the center of every marriage.

Ukraine – Lord, in America, we sometimes take our religious freedom for granted. In Ukraine, they can’t do so because these freedoms barely exit. If those challenges weren’t enough, local superstitions and false teachers lead many astray. Politics and economic pressures add to the temptation to give up their faith. Heavenly Father, we pray that you would give the Ukrainian believers the same courage and fortitude as the early Christians, so that they never abandon the true faith. Freedom from sin in Christ is far too important to lose. Through your Holy Spirit, give them the hope and strength to carry on. Amen.

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Prayer Circle – January 20, 2019

“Why are you troubled …?”

Luke 24:38b 

…the fruit of the Spirit is…peace… 

Galatians 5:22

MY TROUBLE IS MY PAST. Try as we might, it is difficult to forget the past as well as forgive ourselves. We carry around a load of guilt. We yearn for peace and the Holy Spirit whispers…

He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2

MY TROUBLE IS THE PRESENT. Bills are due and money is short. We are alone and lonely. Our parents are aging. Unemployment is just around the corner. Our teenager is troubled. We cry aloud and the Spirit answers…

Good people suffer many troubles, but the Lord saves them from them all…

Psalm 34:19 GNT

MY TROUBLE IS THE FUTURE. We don’t even have peace at night because we’re worrying about what may happen. The Holy Spirit gently echoes the words of Jesus…

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”

John 14:27

Mission for the Visually Impaired – Loving Father, thank you for WELS Mission to the Visually impaired, which reaches out to and assists those whose visual limitations could otherwise inhibit their access to the gospel. Give us the desire and resources to help those suffering with this disability in our own congregation and throughout our synod. Amen.

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Prayer Circle – January 13, 2019

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:3-4

Imagine being buried in the sand at the beach. It sounds like fun until the weight of the sand becomes oppressive. When your friends pull you out, your first inclination is to jump into the water to be washed clean of all that sand. But getting clean on a sandy beach is nearly impossible. No matter how many times you dunk under water, the sand still clings somewhere on your body.

Without the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, our lives would be buried in sin. No matter how hard we tried, no amount of washing would make us clean. Sin would cling to us like that beach sand. But through His sacrifice on the cross we have been given a new life. What a gift we have in Baptism!

Through the water and God’s almighty Word we have been washed clean. Christ died to remove the filth of sin forever. We remember our Baptism daily as we enjoy the new life we have been given. We will never be hopelessly buried in sin again!

CrossWalk, Phoenix, Ariz. – Dear Jesus, the last words you gave before your ascension instructed and entrusted us, your children, to share the good news of salvation with others. We pray for your followers from CrossWalk in Phoenix, Ariz., who have left the comfort of a large church to start a new church. These modern disciples ask your blessings as they go door-to-door, hang flyers, and invite friends to join them. Bless their efforts as only you can, Lord. Amen.

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January 6th Prayers

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

Psalm 77:11

A miraculous birth…God becomes Man…a star in the East…a chorus of angels from heaven. What wondrous things happened in Bethlehem so many centuries ago! Yet not everyone saw those amazing things, and not everyone believed. Some saw but went about their business as usual. Others never saw because they had no interest in looking.

Miracles today may not seem like the ones the shepherds or the Magi witnessed, but miracles still surround us. We celebrate the love of Almighty God for powerless men, women, and children every Christmas. We rely on His forgiveness, mercy, and compassion every day. Despite the troubles and terrors of the world, God’s church continues to grow. The Holy Spirit still inspires people to selflessly and generously serve others.

At Christmas, we believe. We believe because He has given us the priceless gift of being willing to look. Remember the miracles of long ago, and rejoice in the miracles God continues to work in our lives and in the world around us. Rejoice as we celebrate His love.

WELS ministry in 2018 – Lord God, your presence in guiding the Church is clear as we look back at our blessings in 2018. Our first world mission field on the Apache Reservation celebrated its 125th anniversary. At the same time, you’ve opened new doors with the Vietnamese government inviting WELS to build a theological training center for Hmong church leaders. We thank you for the successful youth rally, media productions, relief efforts for areas of natural disaster, and the large upcoming graduating classes at Martin Lutheran College and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. We know you’ll continue to direct our ministry work in 2019. To you be the glory! Amen.

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November 25th Prayers

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah … and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. (Judges 4:4-5)

“You want me to do what?” could have been Deborah’s response when Barak, commander of the army, stated, “If you will go with me [into battle], I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go” (Judges 4:8b). After all, it was Barak, not Deborah, God told to go into battle!

Deborah had many reasons not to go with Barak. She was a judge; she was needed by the people. She wasn’t a warrior; women didn’t go to war. She was a wife; her household came first. But she used none of these as excuses. She went with the troops, encouraging them, and God gave them victory over the enemy.

God chose Deborah to support Barak and his troops. God also gives us opportunities to support and encourage others. It may be in a card, a letter, or a phone call. It may be at a food bank or at a health center. It may be praying with someone.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works … encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24, 25b).

Christian Aid and Relief – Thank you, heavenly Father, for the work of WELS Christian Aid and Relief to provide assistance to victims of disasters and humanitarian aid to those in need. We praise you that these loving actions have opened doors to ministry all over the world. Help us to always see the opportunities you give us to “build bridges for the gospel” through loving actions that come from our faith in you. Amen. Continue reading “November 25th Prayers”

October 14th Prayers

So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Matthew 27:24

In William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, Macbeth killed the king of Scotland. In an attempt to relieve his guilty conscience, Macbeth tried to wash the king’s blood off his hands but realized not even all the water in the ocean could wash away the blood. Instead, he was convinced the whole ocean would be turned red by his hands.

Pontius Pilate attempted the same thing by washing his hands at Jesus’ trial. He told the crowd that he was innocent of Jesus’ death. Like Pilate, we try to evade responsibility and justify sin. Hand washing cannot do that! The crowd shouted, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25b)! And it was — but not in the way they were intending. The blood of Jesus is indeed upon us and our children; not in a condemning way, but in a saving, restoring, sanctifying way. Jesus paid the price for our sins; we have been washed clean; we have been declared innocent.

Ministerial Education – Lord, the harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few. Send out workers into the harvest field. Move young people to study for the ministry of the gospel. Empower young men to prepare for the pastoral ministry so they may know the joy of proclaiming your Word to a world that needs to hear it. Use all of us to encourage and support them as they train to serve as your shepherds. We ask this in the name of him who is the head of the church, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Continue reading “October 14th Prayers”

Prayers 10/7/2018

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” Exodus 14:26

A gentle stream or a quiet waterfall can be peaceful, even mesmerizing. But the waters of a flash flood or a riptide can very quickly turn dangerous. Just ask the Egyptians! After God parted the waters of the Red Sea, the Israelites crossed on dry ground. Then God commanded Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea, and the waters flowed back, killing the Egyptian army and their horses.

Looking back at our own lives, do we have any proverbial Egyptians chasing us? Maybe it’s a recurring sin, guilt over sins, or a lingering doubt. God has promised us that all these things have been covered by the waters of our Baptism, covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. By God’s grace, they are covered and wiped from His memory. He promises, “… I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34b).

Beautiful Savior, Fayetteville, N.C. – Heavenly Father, we praise you for being there for us no matter what we face on this earth. Thank you that our church body can be there for military families through the work of Beautiful Savior in Fayetteville, N.C. Like they have done at Beautiful Savior, help us to see opportunities in our own communities to connect with the needs of our neighbors—to be there for them, show them your love, and encourage them from your Word. Amen.

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September 30th Prayers

… Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Having babies meant we needed more light in our lives. Like many new parents, we’d wake up every so often just to check on the baby. If we didn’t have a nightlight in every hallway and room, we would never be able to make the trip from my bed to the crib without stubbing a toe.

Now, with the constant presence of a smart phone, we cruise around with a low level light in our hand.  In the Scriptures, darkness is associated with sin and evil. It is impossible to find our way through the darkness of the world because we are surrounded with our own sin. But Jesus shows us a way out of the darkness. He provides us with a light.

Jesus is the way and the light. Jesus is the light because there is no sin or darkness in Him. Jesus is the way because only through faith in Him can we be reconciled with the Father. So abide in the light and Jesus will show you the way and keep your feet from stumbling. Abide in the light, and He will illuminate the path to eternal life. Abide in the light, and others will see in you a reflection of His glory.

Russia – Lord Jesus, you have instructed us to go out into all the world to preach the gospel to all creation. We pray that you would bless the workers serving in Russia. Use them to equip congregational leaders, train youth, and support members as they work to spread the gospel despite tremendous political and social challenges. Amen. Continue reading “September 30th Prayers”

September 23rd Prayers

“Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16b)

Ruth and Naomi had much in common. Both were widowed, childless, and poor. With love, loyalty, and commitment, Moabite Ruth declared that she would accompany her mother-in-law Naomi back to her old home in Bethlehem. Though Ruth would be a foreigner there, she was not deterred. … where you go, I will go, she declared. (Ruth 1:16b)

Their story sounds like a “no win” situation. But God’s plan changed that! Wealthy Boaz acted as kinsman redeemer, offering to marry Ruth and thus carry on the family name. His act gave home, status, and security to both women. Without God’s plan for us, we would be in a “no win” situation. We, too, are redeemed, not by a wealthy relative, but by the blood Jesus shed on Calvary. He paid the price for our sins and … delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

District presidents – Heavenly Father, we thank you years of faithful service by Pastor John Seifert, who served as district president of the Michigan District, and Pastor Charles Degner, who served as district president of the Minnesota District. We pray that you would guide the activities of Pastors Snowden Sims and Dennis Klatt, who have been elected to succeed them in these districts. Bless them as they take on this new work to oversee the activities of your church. Amen.

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August 26th Prayers

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The storm crashed around the house. Lightning flashed, thunder roared, hail pounded against the windows. And then the power went out. The family huddled in darkness, fearing that the fierce winds would demolish their home. When morning came, they inspected the damages and prepared for the day. Breakfast? No power meant no hot coffee, no warm toast. The air was unbearably hot. No power meant no air conditioning. How had the rest of the city fared? No power meant no radio or TV to catch the news. No power to begin the ordinary routines of the day.

When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, His disciples were without power. In fear and dismay, they deserted Him and ran. After His resurrection, Jesus met with them. He spoke to them, and their fears dissolved. They believed His words, and power was restored – power from the Holy Spirit. Electric power outages are to be expected now and then, but never will we experience an outage of Spirit power. This is Jesus’ promise to us, His disciples of the twenty-first century.

Lutheran Schools – Savior God, in love you have shared a simple, powerful truth with each of us—that you love us and have already forgiven us! Thank you for bringing us to a knowledge of this saving truth through your Son, Jesus. As students return to their classrooms this fall, we humbly ask you to accompany them with your truth. Let their learning lead to many benefits for their lives and a better appreciation of you, their God. Let their thirst for knowledge remain in its proper place—never replacing you. Preserve their faith. Guide their daily decisions. Allow them to “grow in the grace and knowledge” their Savior. In his name we ask this, Amen.

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