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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May 5th Prayers

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

What’s your name? When your loved ones hear your name, they picture you — your face, your voice, even your personality. With your name comes the image of you!

Through the prophet Isaiah, God gave Jesus the name Immanuel, which means “God with us.” When we hear this name, we think of God’s Son being born among people, becoming a true human being yet remaining fully God. The name Immanuel reminds us that God was present in the manger on that first Christmas night, and He is also present in our lives today.

Immanuel! Picture Him lying in a manger. Hear His voice preaching to the crowds, comforting the sick, and inviting us to come to Him so He may give us rest. See Him as a Man, dying on the cross, and imagine His stunning presence on that first Easter morning. Listen to His name — Immanuel — and know that God is with us always.

Joplin, Mo. mission – Heavenly Father, thank you for the believers in and around Joplin, Missouri, who have the deep desire to spread your gospel in that town. The core group from nearby churches has dedicated their services, resources, and prayers to this important effort. Help the leaders and members to remain focused and energized despite any obstacles that may arise. Bless their evangelism efforts as they create and build relationships through worship services, events, programs, and personal contacts. Your Word does not return to you empty. We trust this promise as we keep your people in Joplin, Missouri, in our prayers through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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April 28th Prayers

How is your Easter joy? A week later and the eggs may be gone, the ham consumed and the baskets put away for another year. But the real “importance” of the day will never fade. The real “importance” of the day cannot be over-emphasized. The real “importance” of the day is for you: As Paul writes, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (I Cor. 15:3-4).  All of this – for YOU!

Joplin, Mo. mission – Heavenly Father, thank you for the believers in and around Joplin, Missouri, who have the deep desire to spread your gospel in that town. The core group from nearby churches has dedicated their services, resources, and prayers to this important effort. Help the leaders and members to remain focused and energized despite any obstacles that may arise. Bless their evangelism efforts as they create and build relationships through worship services, events, programs, and personal contacts. Your Word does not return to you empty. We trust this promise as we keep your people in Joplin, Missouri, in our prayers through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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April 14th Prayers

And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy … Luke 24:52

Unfortunately, it’s a typical Sunday morning: spilt cereal, toothpaste-spitting contests, arguments in the car. Attempting to concentrate on the service surrounded by squirmy children causes you to wonder, “Is this really worth it?”

Even for those without young children, worries and distractions interfere with our intent to worship. God understands us and forgives us when we are inattentive. He truly accepts us just as we are. Before worship begins, we can ask our Father for help in opening our hearts and minds to His presence. The Holy Spirit will enable us to hear and absorb the Word, as well as renew us to serve Him.

Our Lord loves it when we come to His house, and He loves when we bring our children. The visit may not always be perfect, but He welcomes us in love and is delighted to fill our hearts with His forgiveness and encouragement. We can return home refreshed and with great joy!

Ministering to Millennials – Lord Jesus, people of every age and generation are precious in your sight. We humbly ask your blessing on the efforts of those who are working to develop and promote the “Ministering to Millennials” resources for WELS Congregational Services. Make these materials a blessing to many congregations as they strive to retain and gain members from this largest generation in America. Open the eyes of believing millennials to see the benefits and blessings of being connected regularly to a local family of believers. Bless this program in your saving name. Amen.

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April 7th Prayers

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

Dealing with an illness of a loved one can make us feel helpless. All kinds of questions arise: “Am I doing enough? Am I doing the right thing? Will I have enough money to pay for all of this?” It is easy to get mired in “I” trouble, thinking that we have to handle everything on our own.

God encourages us to humbly remember that He is in control. We can go to Him with our concerns and rely on His promise to care for us and those we love. The One who provided for the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life promises also to care for the physical needs of His children. Our Father lovingly places others in our lives to help with the care-giving – it may be another family member or even a concerned friend. God can use anyone to be His hands of comfort during challenging times. And God can use us to strengthen the bonds of love and friendship between caregiver and patient.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Palabra de Vida, Detroit, Mich. – Lord of the Church, we thank you for opening hearts to your Word in Detroit to grow our mission congregation Palabra de Vida. We pray that you would bless the work of the pastors there as they meet people at their homes and workplaces. Also bless the work of Peace Lutheran School in the suburbs of Detroit as they teach God’s love to children and connect with parents. Amen. Continue reading “April 7th Prayers”

March 31, 2019 Prayers

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4

Have you ever been so sick you thought you would die? A dire situation like this may cause us to do some serious soul-searching. Baptized children of God have the certainty of His acceptance and the forgiveness of our sins for Jesus’ sake. That does not mean that fears don’t come. They do and they will. But followers of Jesus combat fear with trust in their Savior. What can flesh — even flesh that is riddled with sickness — do to those who belong to Jesus? John Newton’s most famous hymn, “Amazing Grace,” has a stanza that addresses this.  es, when this flesh and heart shall fail And mortal life shall cease, Amazing grace shall then prevail In heaven’s joy and peace.

Missions:  Ask the Lord to fill the position of Mission Counselor which has been opened by the retirement of Pastor Ed Schuppe from Atlanta.  We thank you for his 17 years of ministry at this level and look to you for the right person with the right skills to fill his considerable shoes.

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March 3, 2019 Prayers

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:21

The loss of a dear family members leaves a gaping hole in life. When a loved one is suddenly gone, emptiness follows. It fills the house, the schedule, even the heart. If only that dear one would not have died! This is what Martha was feeling. She would not be experiencing this void in her life if only the Lord had kept her brother from dying.

Dealing with death is tough. Emptiness and grief are tough. Jesus knows this and comes to us in those times. His temporary answer for Martha’s brother was to bring him back to life, only to die again. His answer for us lies in His enduring words to Martha – and to us, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25b). Even in grief, Jesus brings life, filling emptiness with resurrection hope day by day unto eternity. Present pain will be erased in heaven on reunion day.

Mission Journeys program – Lord Jesus, by your Great Commission you directed us to go and make disciples. Make us eager to do that. Bless programs like WELS Mission Journeys, which provides the opportunity for WELS members to take a short trip to help with ministry at a WELS home or world mission. Fill participants with your Spirit so that they bring home with them the joy and enthusiasm for witnessing your salvation to others. Amen.

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February 24th Prayers

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. 

Proverbs 25:11

Think for a moment of a treasured piece of jewelry — the gold cross given to you on your confirmation day, your wedding band, grandma’s antique brooch. Perhaps fond thoughts and happy memories flood your mind. The writer of Proverbs compares an appropriate word to a treasured piece of jewelry.

A loving word, an encouraging word, even a correcting word may have more value than any jewel. It may bring about forgiveness after anger, joy after sorrow, peace after pain. Jesus gives us beautiful examples of words fitly spoken.… “your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2b). “Fear not, … you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31). “Let the little children come to me … ” (Matthew 19:14b).

At the tomb on Easter Day, Jesus’ simple “Mary” brought her joy and gave her direction (John 20:16). Thank You, Lord, for fitly spoken words that have brought Your love to me. Help me speak words of encouragement, direction, and peace so that others may know Your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

East Asia – Heavenly Father, there are millions of people living in East Asia who are in spiritual darkness. Governments in these areas make it challenging to carry out your Son’s Great Commission. Yet we praise your name for the 150 new souls who have received the blessing of forgiveness in baptism in the past two years. Be with the five national pastors and other spiritual leaders as they serve 7 congregations and 11 church plants. Protect them and give them boldness to proclaim your name, so that the light of the gospel will create faith in many more people. Amen.

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