Prayers January 5th, 2020

“We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2b

The story of the Nativity is filled with pictures. In your mind’s eye, see the heavenly host filling Bethlehem’s sky. Watch shepherds running to find the Babe in the manger. Imagine the Magi, richly-robed scholars, traveling far to worship the King. Our mental pictures help us remember what happened long ago and also teach us important truths today. The angels set the stage by being the first to honor the newborn King. They announced the Good News of the Savior’s birth to common Jews, and the star announced it to noble Gentiles, reminding us that God calls all.

He turns away no one because of status, achievement, intellect, wealth, or race. Picture this: Christ was born for all! As we listen to the Christmas story, picture everything that happened. The angels. The manger. The shepherds. The wise men. Picture it all, and come and worship Him!

Philippines – Holy Spirit, you are blessing the proclamation of law and gospel in the Philippines so that, in less than two years, we are training local men to be pastors. Encourage and equip Pastor Alvien De Guzman as he teaches two men enrolled in seminary training. Thank you for the technology that permits us to offer other classes to these candidates for ministry. Give students and teachers alike the boldness needed so that all may confess your name clearly to lost souls to grow your kingdom. Amen.

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December 15th Prayers

… an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you …” Matthew 2:13b

“How long, Lord?” “How long will it be until I find a job?” “How long will I suffer this pain?” “How long can these problems last?” In times of stress and anxiety, we yearn to know how long. In a dream, an angel instructed Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. The family fled their home in the dead of night to avoid Herod’s soldiers and their murderous mission. How long would the family need to stay in Egypt? How long until they felt at home in a strange community? How long would Herod’s insanity last? They didn’t know. As they had done before, Joseph and Mary put the Word of God above their doubts and questions.

God’s unfailing guidance is open to us through His Word, the Bible. In the Bible, we will hear what is truly important: not questions like “how long?” but promises like … the Lord is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3a); I will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5b); and Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you” (Isaiah 46:4a).

Martin Luther College mid-year graduation – Lord Jesus, as Martin Luther College produces another class of mid-year graduates, lead us to see them as precious gifts from you to your church. According to your will, give these workers, who have said, “Here am I send me,” places to serve somewhere in your vineyard. Give them wisdom and eagerness to teach lambs and sheep about you, the Good Shepherd. If your will is that some of them must wait for a call or assignment, give them patience and encouragement that you do all things well for the benefit of your church, which you have purchased with your holy precious blood. Amen.

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December 8th Prayers

… an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you …” Matthew 2:13b

“How long, Lord?” “How long will it be until I find a job?” “How long will I suffer this pain?” “How long can these problems last?” In times of stress and anxiety, we yearn to know how long. In a dream, an angel instructed Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. The family fled their home in the dead of night to avoid Herod’s soldiers and their murderous mission. How long would the family need to stay in Egypt? How long until they felt at home in a strange community? How long would Herod’s insanity last? They didn’t know. As they had done before, Joseph and Mary put the Word of God above their doubts and questions.

God’s unfailing guidance is open to us through His Word, the Bible. In the Bible, we will hear what is truly important: not questions like “how long?” but promises like … the Lord is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3a); I will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5b); and Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you” (Isaiah 46:4a).

Bluffton, S.C. mission – O Holy Spirit, thank you for the many resources that you have provided in recent years to fund new missions in North America. Continue to encourage Pastor Eric Janke as he works with Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Pooler, Ga., to reach out in nearby Bluffton, S.C. Give our brothers and sisters wisdom in their planning and optimism as they share their faith. Open hearts to welcome the gospel message that Jesus is the risen Savior who has conquered the enemies of sin, death, and hell. Amen. Continue reading “December 8th Prayers”

November 17th Prayers

For we are the aroma of Christ to God …  2 Corinthians 2:15a

Though I rarely have to face this challenge, I do still remember a certain “aroma.”  The baby wipes box boasts that the wipes are fragrance free. If only there was a guarantee that the used baby wipe was also fragrance free! Like, me, you’ve probably had a couple gagging, eye-watering moments when duty calls! Before we judge our babies by what they sometimes produce, we need to take a whiff of ourselves. Scripture tells us that we were dead in our transgressions and sins, and dead things tend to be very smelly. In contrast, the apostle Paul wrote about a pleasant aroma, the Gospel of Christ, which makes us alive by His grace. The stinking, rotting self was left behind. We have the sure hope of eternal life, and that is news that must be shared!

You may think you are not up to the task of spreading this fragrant Good News. Paul also wrote that our sufficiency does not come from us, but from Christ alone. The Holy Spirit empowers us, making us bold in our witness to others.

Christmas evangelism – Our Savior Jesus Christ, we cannot go shopping at this time of the year without being reminded that Christmas is coming. We know that this holiday is the celebration of your birth, our God who became fully human to take away the sins of the world. Sadly, we realize that not everyone knows this good news even though it is for all people. Bless our congregation and our synod as we strive to bring this gospel about the Savior to the people living around us. Empower each of us to invite someone to worship Christ, the newborn King, along with us. By your grace, bring many more to hear the true message of Jesus Christ, which alone can bring true joy to the people of this world. We pray in the name of Christ, who became our brother to save us all. Amen. Continue reading “November 17th Prayers”

August 11th Prayers

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.  Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)

Many smells are pleasing to the senses: freshly-baked bread, newly-mown grass, coffee brewing early in the morning, lilacs in the spring. Aromatherapy oils and lotions have a calming effect and help us to relax. Proverbs 27:9 compares the aroma of perfume to the sweet advice of a good friend — a friend with whom we can share anything. One who listens and loves us enough to give sound advice. That’s the kind of friend God instructs us to be: one who nurtures lasting friendships with love and prayers and gives God-pleasing advice, a friend whose presence is as sweet as the aroma of lilacs in the spring. Love must be sincere. Be devoted to one another in love (Romans 12:9a, 10a NIV). Have I remembered to thank my friends for their sound advice?

Special education task force – Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing us with schools that provide a high-quality Christian education. We ask for your guidance as a task force of WELS and ELS schools, Jesus Cares Ministries, and Christian Educators for Special Education meets to discuss how to enhance special education in our schools to better serve learners who struggle in academics or behavior. May the resources they develop support students, teachers, and administrators. Amen.

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August 4th Prayers

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24

Why do you run? Maybe you want to lose weight. Maybe you want to complete a 5K. Or maybe you want to have a healthier lifestyle. In any case, one should have some goals before beginning to run. Goals help to keep us focused and eventually, to mark accomplishments.

Before running a race the goal may be to achieve a personal record, to cross the finish line first, or to simply complete the run. Saint Paul is a good example of someone who had goals. He wrote in his letter to the Corinthians that he did not run aimlessly. He encouraged the believers to run that they may receive the prize. Paul, however, was not writing about a physical race. He used the race as a metaphor for the Christian life. Paul served others in his ministry.

Shouldn’t our goal be the same? Like Paul may we also seek to serve others for God’s glory. And at the end, by God’s grace and through faith, we will also be able to take hold of the prize of eternal life.

Indonesia – Lord of the Church, we thank you for all who share the gospel across cultures. We especially thank you for our brothers and sisters in the church of Gereja Lutheran Indonesia. We ask you to bless their outreach efforts and give success to the new publications they are developing to reach many ethnic groups in their country. Guide the leaders of Indonesia so that Gereja Lutheran may continue to freely worship and spread the good news of Jesus. We ask this trusting in your promise through Jesus, our Savior. Amen.

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June 23, 2019 Prayers

“Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”  John 2:10

In ancient times, table wine was usually prepared by adding water to thick, syrupy wine. The last wine served at Cana’s wedding feast, however, was made from water only! How could this be? The servants filled jars with water. However, when it was served, it was wine! The wedding celebration continued because Jesus had performed a miracle. (Read about this in John 2:1-11.)

When we stay close to Jesus and follow His direction, we have the privilege of seeing His power and His miracles close up. We can best serve God and each other when, like the wedding servants, we simply do what He asks of us. He turned water into wine, and He will supply our needs in His own unique way. God attends our wedding celebrations. He is with us long after the party ends. We have reasons to celebrate every day as we present our needs to Him, do as He directs, and then watch for the marvelous ways in which He uses His power to bless us.

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary – Heavenly Father, you raise up leaders for your Church in every age. We praise you for leading Prof. Earle Treptow to accept the call to serve as our seminary’s next president. Fill him with joy as he leads the seminary faculty in carrying out its mission of preparing future pastors who are faithful to your Word. Give President Treptow a humble spirit that seeks to serve you and your kingdom and fill him with the wisdom needed to carry out his duties in a way that always glorifies our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Prayer Circle – June 2, 2019

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22

A few essentials are needed to run: water, food, clothes, shoes, and, of course, breath. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? You need to breathe when running. If you don’t breathe, you won’t go far. After Jesus’ resurrection from the grave and before His ascension into heaven, His disciples learned that a few essentials were also needed to proclaim the Good News of salvation to the world. They needed living water (John 4:10), the bread of life (John 6:51), clothes of righteousness (Galatians 3:27), shoes (Ephesians 6:15), and breath.

But this breath is different than the breath needed by a runner. Jesus breathed on them the breath of life, the Holy Spirit. As the One who calls, gathers, and enlightens, the Holy Spirit was essential for the disciples to be able to complete the work Christ gave to them. This life-giving breath is also essential for us. The Holy Spirit called us by the Gospel, gathered us into God’s kingdom, and enlightened us with His gifts. Only He can begin faith in one’s heart, and only He can equip us to share that faith with others.

Welcome Home effort – Jesus, our loving Shepherd, “we all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way,” but you have sought us out and brought us into your fold. May our thanks for your mercy drive us to show the same love to and patience with our fellow members. Help us to invite them to worship and Bible study, to grow in your Word and through the Lord’s Supper, because we know the joy and confidence this brings. Bless our synod’s “Welcome Home” efforts to bring us all closer to you. Amen.

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May 26th Prayers

Lord, on this Memorial Day weekend, we honor those men and women who died while serving in the United States military. Help us to never take their sacrifice for granted. We thank the Lord for the blessing of religious freedom as we live in a free and bountiful country. We seek your ongoing care for those who continue to serve our nation, securing peace for our citizenry. in our nation.  We pray that Christians will use this freedom to worship God and share the good news with others.

WELS Multi-Language Publications – Dear Lord, more than 2.9 million print items, audio and video resources, and online training resources have been produced to date in more than 52 languages—all through WELS Multi-Language Publications. Thank you for this blessing, which has assisted and enhanced outreach opportunities for so many churches, especially in places where our synod does not have resident missionaries. May those who work in this division of WELS World Missions continue to find strength and confidence in your promise that your Word does not return to you empty, but always accomplishes what you desire and achieves the purpose for which you sent it.

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May 19th Prayers

“[Judah’s] nobles send their servants for water; they come to the cisterns; they find no water; they return with their vessels empty; they are ashamed and confounded and cover their heads.”  Jeremiah 14:3

“Give it all you’ve got!” We’ve heard this saying at a sporting event, during a work project, or when we were about to take a test. It encourages us to put forth our best effort. Jeremiah wrote about servants who went to look for water, did their best, and found nothing. Their jars were empty, and they were ashamed. What happens when our best isn’t good enough? What happens when we have nothing left to give or when we give it all and get nothing in return? It is in these times that it is extremely easy to get down and discouraged and eventually just give up all hope of succeeding.

When we are discouraged, worn down, and weary, Jesus comes to us with the promise that we don’t have to give anything. By His death and resurrection, He gives us forgiveness and the assurance of eternal life. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).

Ministerial Education – Father in heaven, today we ask your blessing upon all those who graduate this month from our ministerial education schools: Martin Luther College, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Luther Preparatory School, and Michigan Lutheran Seminary. Bless these graduates as they enter a new phase of their lives as your witnesses, especially those receiving divine calls into the public ministry.  May your wisdom and strength be with them in all that they do for the glory of your name. Amen.

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