Litanies & Prayers

My soul magnifies you

A contemporary midrash on the Magnificat, inspired by Luke 1:46-55

by Ken Sehested

My soul magnifies you, O Lord, and my spirit rejoices in your Saving Presence.

Everything in me comes alive when you look in my direction.

No longer will I languish among the unnamed, the unknown, the unworthy. Read more ›

John the baptizer

by Ken Sehested


Such a tame name for a man born to inhabit
           the wild side of heaven’s incursion into
           earth’s contempt. Read more ›

Martin Luther King's birthday commemoration

A litany for worship

by Ken Sehested

Admiring Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is not the same as being captured by it. Too many find it possible to respect the man but relinquish the mission.

It has become too easy to revere the dreamer but renege on the dream.

So let us now recall the deep roots of that vision as spoken in ages past: Read more ›

New Year’s Resolutions: Promise-making in response to the Word of God

A litany for personal and public prayer on the occasion of a new (Gregorian calendar) year

by Ken Sehested

THE SCRIPTURES DECLARE: After the flood, God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you, for all future generations: I will set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you and every living creature. I will never again curse the ground of humankind; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature.” (Genesis 9:12-13; 8:21)

In response to this word, we resolve to honor God’s covenant of peace with all creation by finding ways to make peace and to restore justice in my our personal lives, in our familes, in our communities and our workplaces.

THE SCRIPTURES RECORD this prayer of Hannah: “The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The Lord raises up the poor from the dust; God lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with the rulers and inherit a seat of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:4-5, 8) Read more ›

Take my life and let it be

A litany for worship on New Year's Day

by Ken Sehested

Take my life and let it be / consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
    In all seasons, in every shape and condition of our lives,
      transform our minds and hearts in ways that magnify the rule of Mercy:

In ways that conform to Your extravagant and redemptive purposes;
    in our hopes and promises, in our joys and our sorrows,
Read more ›

Epiphany’s promise

A litany for worship, on the occasion of a new (Gregorian calendar) year

by Ken Sehested

Join with me—if you dare—in making these resolutions for the coming year:

In all seasons and conditions, transform lives to magnify the rule of Mercy,

In ways that conform to Your extravagant and redemptive purposes; Read more ›

Sister Anna

A litany for worship inspired by the Prophetess Anna

Sister Anna. Last-named prophet in Holy Writ, more
     likely listed among household property and livestock.

When did your Temple-dwelling vocation begin?
     What sustained your twenty-four-seven vigil
           for all those years?

            Anna, school us in the habits
Read more ›


A litany for worship inspired by Isaiah 61:1-2 & Luke 4:18

by Ken Sehested

Sisters and brothers, lend your ears to this teaching, for it is true and lasting. Do not say with your lips, “The Spirit of the Lord! The Spirit of the Lord!” when your hearts are shackled in fear, enslaved to security.

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed.

Anointed you for what?! Have you grown confused by the barking of market reports?
Read more ›

Speak peace to the hungered of heart

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 85

by Ken Sehested

In seasons of dark desire eyes strain for Eden’s refrain and flickered light ’mid the fright of earth’s travail. Oh, Beloved. . . .

Unleash your Voice of Pardon from wrath’s consuming reign. Speak peace to the hungered of heart.

Spring from the ground, hope-soaked, heeding Glory’s approach and steadfast love’s embrace. Oh, Beloved. . . . Read more ›

Comfort my people

A litany for worship inspired by Isaiah 40:1-5

by Ken Sehested

“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.

Let tender resolve loose the bonds of revenge. All flesh is destined for Heaven’s Delight!

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, to America, to Asheville: your warfare is waning; your iniquity, pardoned. Read more ›