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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February 17th Prayers

So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.  

2 Samuel 15:6b

The Bible story of King David and his son, Absalom, is a story of family betrayal. Absalom was plotting to overthrow his father and seize his kingship. His conspiracy left a trail of deceit, betrayal, lies, and even plans to murder his father. In the end, it was Absalom who would die, and only his father’s pain remained. 

O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you…

2 Samuel 18:33b

Betrayal in a family exchanges doing for one another with “How could you do this to me?” Trust is destroyed when trust should abound. Forgiveness is withheld when grace is required. Betrayal is devastating but can be overcome when God’s love abounds and hearts are softened. David never stopped loving his son, as Scripture teaches us all, “…keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8b). Forgiveness and reconciliation are found in Christ.

Congregational Counseling – Lord Jesus, you gave yourself for the Church and continue to bless us with many gifts, including those who serve our synod through WELS Congregational Counseling. Bless these men and their support staff as they listen carefully to challenges congregations are facing. Give them the wisdom to provide helpful guidance to churches so that more souls can be reached with your saving Word. Amen.

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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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