Litanies & Prayers

Make us audacious

A Reformation Sunday prayer, inspired by John 3:1-8

by Ken Sehested
Note: On Reformation Sunday, 1981, my wife Nancy and I were jointly ordained to the ministry. The choice of Reformation Sunday was intentional.

Beloved, Who beckons us with the aroma of baking bread, Whose breast offers milk and sweet honey, Who showers manna in the wilderness, with fresh water from sheer rock, and instruction from the mountain.

We give thanks for our baptismal trek through the sea, on the road from slavery to freedom. Read more ›

Elijah’s pity party

A litany for worship inspired by 1 Kings 19: 1-15

by Ken Sehested

Sometimes knees grow weak and hearts grow faint.

Sometimes vision grows dim and resolve wavers.

Sometimes we simply want Jesus to leave us alone. Read more ›

Wash your feet

A Maundy Thursday litany for a foot washing service

The following was used in a Maundy Thursday foot washing service, Circle of Mercy Congregation,
focused around the John 13 text of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet,

Long before the people of the Promise migrated to Egypt, long before their cries to heaven roused the ears of the Almighty, long before Moses led them on their freedom march to the promised land, the Lord God appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. As he did, three visitors suddenly appeared, and Abraham ran to meet them and bowed to the ground.

In the same way, Yahweh appeared in a vision to Isaiah, in the land of Judah, and said, Declare this to my people: “Wash yourselves. Make yourselves clean!” Read more ›

Ashen complaint

A Lenten prayer, inspired by Psalm 27

by Ken Sehested

Fretfully does my heart drag its heels into the sanctuary of delight. For my wanton days and weary praise reveal the toll taken by life’s relentless demands

To where shall I appeal for release from such encumbrance? To whom shall I turn to lay these burdens down

Attend the sighs of your world-weary children, O Father of fealty, O Mother of mercy Read more ›

Maître D’ of Heaven

A litany for worship

by Ken Sehested

The Maître D’ of Heaven commands the ’poverished-poor to table: the halt and helpless, lamed and maimed ushered up for honored seating.

The Beloved’s steadfast love is like a lip-smacking feast of abundance. But the Market’s squaloring famine sows the seeds of violent harvest.

“Food is not a weapon,” Jesus answered Satan’s bidding. Feasting is for mending, not for servitude and slavery. Read more ›

Pace yourself

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 37

by Ken Sehested

Sisters and brothers, don’t be fretful.
Don’t chew your nails or gobble your food.

Pace yourself, on both gas pedal and heart rate,
so you don’t race to ruin. Read more ›

Come to the Waters

Litany of Confession and Pardon inspired by Isaiah 55

by Ken Sehested

Call to Confession

The Word of Strong Deliverance is whispered in the ears of all who long for the relief of pardon. “Listen,” says the Assuring One, “all of you who thirst for righteousness, who hunger for justice, come to the waters. All of you who know you are broke, who have no way of buying your freedom, no way of bargaining for joy—come, buy, eat and rejoice!”

Here, in this Circle, the good news is learned: “Come, buy wine and milk with neither cash nor credit. Provision is freely offered, but only to those acquainted with their penniless condition.” Read more ›

My soul thirsts for You

Selected texts about water for use as a litany for worship

Selected and arranged by Rev. Missy Harris
Circle of Mercy Congregation

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Read more ›

Rouse yourselves

A litany for worship inspired by Ezekiel 2:1-5

by Ken Sehested

Rouse yourselves, O creatures of clay, for it is I, the Potter of Heaven, who commands your attention!

We tremble, but trust that your grace is sufficient.

On your feet, O mortal ones! The One whose Name is whispered in the wind now summons your presence! 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 ›