Litanies & Prayers

Come Unto Me

A litany for worship inspired by Matthew 11:28-30

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.

Come unto me, and I shall give you rest.

To where shall I appeal for release from such encumbrance? To whom shall I entreat to lay these burdens down? Read more ›

Spirits collide

A conversation with Isaiah 35

by Ken Sehested

A meditation written in the fall of 1990 as half a million US troops mustered in Saudia Arabia
for an assault (The Gulf War) on Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait. It was the presence of
these troops in one of Islam’s most sacred terrains that provoked Osama bin Laden
to create al-Qaeda to launch his terror campaign.

O God, I am frightened. Anxious are my waking hours and fretful is my sleep. Even as I pray I sense that desert sands in remote places are readied, eager, to bleach the bones of mothers’ sons, fathers’ daughters, children of us all. The corrupt, lustful glory of vain rulers now erupts across parched land. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Read more ›

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 ›


A litany for worship

by Ken Sehested

It is good and proper to give thanks to God.

And to petition these gifts of the Spirit:

Generosity, the secret of wealth. Read more ›

Who are you?

A litany for worship inspired by Isaiah 11:1-10

by Ken Sehested


When we are asked—Who are you?—what shall we say?

We are followers of Jesus who believe that doing justice and loving mercy are intimately tied to walking humbly with God. Read more ›

Covenant Vows for new and renewing members

A litany for worship

Background: Circle of Mercy Congregation has no indefinite members.
Each year, on the anniversary of our founding, both new and renewing members join
in a covenant reaffirming our vision and mission, on the first Sunday of Advent
(or second, if the first falls on Thanksgiving holiday weekend).


{Leader}  In this watchful season, we gather ’round the table of bounty to embrace newcomers to our Circle and to renew our covenant vows. To these new ones, we ask: Do you know where you are, what are you promising, and what is being promised to you? Read more ›

Go to the hallowed abode

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 122

by Ken Sehested

In the face of endless aggrievement and obstinate bereavement, despite hope-contempting fear on display in every mother’s tear,

Let us go, let us go to the hallowed abode of the One who brings solace and cheer.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, where Abraham’s children contend; pray, too, for the peace of Asheville*, each fracture and failure amend. Read more ›

Pound the doors of heaven

A litany for worship inspired by Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

by Ken Sehested

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you, “Violence!” and you will not save?

We pound the doors of Heaven, shouting “Listen! Pay attention! Are you asleep!”

Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. Read more ›

Teach your children well

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 78

by Ken Sehested

Hear, O people of Promise and heirs of Provision,

You who strayed from Providence,

You who lost your way and forsook the rod of instruction and the staff of guidance, Read more ›

Set our hearts on fire

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 65

by Ken Sehested

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall praise be given and promises be made.

Praised be your presence, and worthy be our promises.

O you who answers prayer! To you all flesh shall come. As blossoms track the sun, so too do our faces long for your light. When failure marks our lives, you draw near to us anyway. Read more ›