January 28, 2023

February Prayer Ventures

 In 1 Peter 5:6-7 we read: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” The Apostle Peter assures us that God will hear our humble, honest, and trusting prayer, made in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!

 

PRAYER VENTURES:  February 2023

These petitions are offered as guides to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world. Thank you for your continued prayers for the life and mission of this church.

1 Black History Month  Give thanks for the gifts, accomplishments, influence and witness of our African-descent neighbors and siblings in Christ — we stand together to glorify God as partners in the gospel, doing God’s work in the world together. Though unified as siblings in Christ, we ask God to guide our church in its pursuit of racial justice, socioeconomic equity, racial reconciliation and an end to hatred and mistrust.

2 Give thanks for older adults, whose diverse gifts, life experiences, perspectives and wisdom are essential to the life, vitality and leadership of our congregations and communities.

3 Pray for leaders of children, youth and family ministries as these leaders gather for the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza in Anaheim, Calif. Give thanks for their commitment, gifts and concern for the faith and well-being of young people.

4 Give thanks for staff and volunteers who help congregations function smoothly, grow and thrive, including administrative assistants, accountants, property managers, program coordinators and communications staff.

5 Jesus describes us as the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Pray that, by sharing our faith and acting with compassion, justice and care for our neighbors, we might direct people’s attention to our loving and generous God.

6 ELCA World Hunger works through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and alongside global companions and agencies in Kenya to build the capacity of families to respond to and withstand worsening droughts. Pray for our neighbors in Kenya and for the immediate and long-term success of LWF initiatives, which include training farmers in climate-smart practices, building and repairing water wells, managing water supplies and promoting hygiene.

7 Remember in prayer those who have suffered tragedy, trauma or loss from recent winter storms, flooding and earthquakes. Pray that God will bring them hope and encouragement throughout their grieving, recovery and adjustment to the changes in their communities.

8 Pray for pastors and deacons who serve multiple congregations, and pray that congregations sharing leadership will flourish, discovering new partners, resources and assets for doing God’s work in the world.

9 Pray that our compassion and advocacy, offered without prejudice or the expectation of any recognition or reward, might bring light, hope and relief to the world. “If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday” (Isaiah 58:9-10).

10 Remember in prayer the 1.3 million people serving in the military and the nearly 800,000 serving in the military reserves, many of them young adults.

11 Give thanks and pray for the ELCA’s AMMPARO strategy (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities), work that grows more critical every day as vulnerable youth yearn for assistance with the daunting task of finding safety, stability, respect and welcoming communities in our country.

12 Pray for people who suffer chronic illness and pain that impacts their daily lives, activities and employment; pray that they might receive affordable health care and effective treatment; and ask the Spirit to stir our empathy and help us provide appropriate, respectful support.

13 Pray that our civic engagement and concern for our neighbor and the world might exceed what is required or expected of us by laws, social norms, trends and tradition.

14 Ask God to help us understand, respect and set aside our differences so that we might be empowered by our unity in Christ and embrace our complementary gifts and passions to do God’s work in the world, “for we are God’s servants, working together” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

15 Praise God that, as different as we are from one another, we gather to celebrate Communion remembering our unity and strength in Christ, who frees us to love and serve our neighbor and to bear God’s mercy into the world.

16 Give thanks for the publishing ministry of Augsburg Fortress and for writers and editors who help deepen our faith, equip us for life and service, and support our faith communities.

17 Praise God for the clarity and joy we find in following God’s ways and commandments, and for the assurance that we are never alone or directionless in our baptismal journeys.

18 Martin Luther, renewer of the church (1483-1546)  Give thanks for the life, faith, prayerful deliberation, and wisdom of Martin Luther, who continues to influence and challenge the church and our theology. Pray that we might remember Luther’s human complexity and imperfections — and our own — as we strive to understand Scripture and live as children of God in an ever-changing world.

19 We embrace the mystery of the Holy Trinity through the gift of faith. Give thanks that, through Scripture, God leads us to clarity about the true nature of Jesus Christ, who was sent to redeem us and to teach us how to live as children of God: “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5).

20 World Day of Social Justice  Pray that our concern for social justice in the world will be grounded in our faith, Jesus’ example and the ways and wisdom of God, emboldening us to serve our neighbor, respect one another and risk changing unjust laws, traditions, institutions and behaviors.

21 Shrove Tuesday  Ask the Spirit to prepare our hearts for the season of Lent and to create in us a humble, penitent spirit that is renewed daily through faith in God’s forgiveness and love, revealed and experienced in Jesus Christ.

22 Ash Wednesday  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Give thanks for the cross of ash drawn on our foreheads today, which assures us of God’s forgiveness, love and renewing spirit.

23 Pray for ELCA missionaries serving with our global companions in Tanzania: David and Kellen Msseemmaa, Astine and Ryan Bose, Dr. Steven and Bethany Friberg, Dr. Stephen and Jodi Swanson, Deacon April Trout, Linda Jacobson, Robert Kasworm, the Rev. Mary Jo Maas, Derrick Matthews and Dr. Dorothy Brewster-Lee, the Rev. Elieshi Mungure, and Robert and Carolee Stuberg.

24 Shout praise and thanksgiving for God’s love, forgiveness, patience, creativity and concern for those who suffer poverty, injustice and disregard.

25 Pray for the Deaconess Community of the ELCA, an intentional group of women who respond to Christ’s call through Word and Service and diaconal ministry.

26 Give thanks for the strength and example of Jesus, who prevailed over temptation and demonstrated the power of God over evil, self-interest and greed. Pray that the Spirit will guide and sustain us through the challenges we face each day.

27 Pray that we might understand how we stray from God’s intent, harming or neglecting our neighbor. Ask the Spirit for the humility we need to confess our offenses, receive God’s mercy with gratitude and make amends with neighbors we have hurt.

28 Give thanks for synod bishops who manage their synods’ work, further the church’s mission in diverse contexts, and support and care for leaders and congregations. Pray for them as they gather in mutual support and encouragement for the Conference of Bishops, to advise the presiding bishop of our church and reflect on how we do God’s work in the world.


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December 27, 2022

January Prayer Ventures

 In 1 Peter 5:6-7 we read: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” The Apostle Peter assures us that God will hear our humble, honest, and trusting prayer, made in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!

 

PRAYER VENTURES:  January 2023

These petitions are offered as guides to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world. Thank you for your continued prayers for the life and mission of this church.

1 New Year’s Day  Praise God for the grace and eternal life we receive through faith in Jesus Christ — gifts that free us from the dread of death so that we can fearlessly bear the gospel of love and hope into the world.

2 Pray for an end to the war in Ukraine and for peace wherever there is conflict and violence in the world. Pray that the Spirit will sustain the faith, resilience and endurance of people impacted by war and conflict, and that we will persistently advocate for peace and provide relief and support to those suffering.

3 Pray for young adults called to serve in the 2023-2024 ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program with our companion churches and organizations in nine countries. Give thanks for the yearlong opportunities YAGM provides them for service, learning and sharing the good news around the world.

4 “O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1). Thank and acknowledge God, creator of all that exists and source of the grace, forgiveness, hope and new life we experience in Jesus Christ.

5 Pray for those planning the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering, the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE), the new Young Adult Gathering, and the tAble event for youth living with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities.

6 Epiphany  Give thanks that, through Jesus Christ’s ministry, teaching and sacrifice, God reveals the vision, wisdom and values that help us live together as neighbors and children of God.

7 Pray for ELCA missionaries serving with our global companions in Asia and the Pacificthe Rev. Chandran Paul Martin (India); Hailey Brenden (Nepal); the Rev. Suk Yeon Lee (South Korea); Samuel and McCall Dubbelman (Hong Kong); and the Rev. Jessica Derise (Thailand).

8 Ask the Spirit to give us the courage and determination to end gun violence in our nation, care for those who suffer its trauma and grief, and comfort and protect the children and youth who live with it in fear and anxiety.

9 Pray for ELCA outdoor ministries as they recruit young adults to serve in outdoor and urban summer camp ministries across the country. Ask the Spirit to stir these young adults to share their faith, energy and diverse gifts with children, youth and adults.

10 Give thanks that God calls us to light the world and bear the good news of Christ’s justice and compassion to our neighbors in need.

11 Pray that pastors, deacons, leaders of youth and family ministries, and others who serve the church and our communities will be restored and find new inspiration through sabbath and the care and encouragement of their congregations.

12 Pray for the wisdom to understand that all living things echo the voice of God, a voice of glory, power and love that blesses humankind.

13 Give thanks for the staff, volunteers and bishops of our 65 synods, who unite congregations, guide the work of rostered ministers and lay leaders, and lift up the mission of the church in a diverse and ever-changing world.

14 Remember in prayer people who are without shelter; pray that they will find safe, dependable housing and that faith communities will respond to neighbors in need through temporary shelters, long-term housing, feeding ministries, and partnerships with social service agencies.

15 Pray for a faith grounded in Jesus Christ, our source of hope, direction and sustenance amid turmoil, uncertainty and suffering.

16 Martin Luther King Jr. Day  Remember in prayer the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others who have gone before us in proclaiming all people to be children of God, deserving of freedom, equality, opportunity and respect. Pray that we will draw inspiration and courage from their lives, the word of God and our siblings in Christ as we work to right the injustices that continue in our nation and throughout the world.

17 Give thanks and praise to God for listening to our cries and for leaning into our complicated lives with empathy, comfort, love and the support of our siblings in Christ.

18 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity  Throughout this week, we join our siblings in Christ from diverse cultures, traditions, faith communities, and confessions around the world in praying for the unity of the church, so that, together, we can share the good news of Jesus Christ as we “seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

19 Give thanks for the generosity and planned gifts of individuals and families and for the work of the ELCA Foundation to ensure that our gifts continue God’s work in the world, today and well into the future.

20 Pray that, when we experience disagreement in our communities of faith, we will turn to the word of God and be reminded of what unites us as siblings in Christ and of the values and behaviors that bring healing and reconciliation.

21 Pray for ELCA missionaries serving with our global companions in the Middle East: the Revs. Gabi and Meghan Aelabouni, the Rev. Jordan and Rev. Adam Miller-Stubbendick, and the seven young adults serving in the Young Adults in Global Mission program in Israel/Palestine.

22 Ask the Spirit to help us respond when we are called to follow Christ into unfamiliar places and situations, attending to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our neighbor.

23 Pray that we might press forward with the ELCA Future Church priorities to be a welcoming church that engages new, young and diverse people; a thriving church rooted in tradition but radically relevant; and a connected, sustainable church that shares in a common purpose and direction.

24 Thank God for the ELCA’s special relationship with the United Church of Christ, a full communion partner since 1997. Pray for the church, its members and its leaders, that together we will find strength and resources for the work of sharing the gospel and serving our neighbor.

25 Conversion of Paul  All things are possible through God, even the transformation of our heart, spirit and identity. Ask God to shape us for participating in God’s work in the world and to make us faith-filled agents of change, healing and renewal for the sake of humanity.

26 Ask God to bless directors for evangelical mission, who coordinate the partnerships between ELCA synods and churchwide ministries to guide “new start” ministries, congregational renewal, Mission Support and stewardship, and missional vision and planning.

27 Pray that the Spirit and our siblings in Christ will embolden us to proclaim, “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27:1). Pray that, through our words and actions, we will invite people to trust in the life-changing good news of Jesus Christ.

28 Ask the Spirit to help us plant seeds of faith, hope and grace in our communities and the world; pray that we will tend those seeds with care and patience and, as the French theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “trust the slow work of God.”

29 Reconciling in Christ Sunday  Give thanks for the ongoing work of welcoming, including, celebrating and advocating for LGBTQIA+ people in the life of the church, and pray for ministries and organizations that walk with us as we strive to love and affirm all people.

30 Draw a deep breath and thank God for specific things that give you joy and hope — loving relationships, acts of kindness and generosity, natural beauty, signs of progress and healing in the world, and communion with others to pray, worship and encourage one another’s faith.

31 “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Pray that we will take to heart the prophet’s explanation of what God calls us to do in the world.


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