Litanies & Prayers

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 ›

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 ›

Go out in joy

A litany for worship adapted from St. Francis' "Canticle of the Sun" and related Scripture texts

by Ken Sehested

What is it you wish to know, oh mortal one?

Do you think you must ascend to the highest heaven or descend to the deepest pit?

Do you not know that Wisdom has pitched a tent in your midst? Read more ›

Let gladness swell your heart

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 107

by Ken Sehested

Listen, all you who stagger in desert waste,
disgraced by gloom’s unremitting groan, dragged
daily to death’s gate and the sea’s drowning flood.

The Blessed One stands at the gate of plenty.
The Beloved waits by the well of refreshment. Read more ›

For that Bright Land

A litany for worship inspired by Romans 8:18-27

by Ken Sehested

We enter this house of meeting with lips pursed in praise, voicing rejoicing, hearts heaving to the rhythm of mercy and the beat of beatitude.

’Cause we woke up this morning with our minds stayed on freedom. And stayed on Jesus.

Stayed on freedom, about which politicians banter but secretly fear. Read more ›

Wonderfully made

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 139

by Ken Sehested

Merciful One, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you hear my thoughts from far away.

Encompass me with your Presence, and lay your hand on my heart.

You know all my comings and goings, and I am never out of Your sight. Read more ›

Justification by faith

A litany for worship inspired by Romans 5:1-8

by Ken Sehested

Beloveds,

Fear not the times when your back is against the wall.

The seed of faith already buried deep in your soul Read more ›

Loosed for life and love’s consent

A litany for worship inspired by Acts 2:42-47

by Ken Sehested

Following the dramatic response to Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the text reports that the newly-formed People of the Way devoted themselves to listening and learning, to lingering in each other’s presence, to potluck dinners, and to prayer—with praise and pintos, songs and salads, received and given ’round the Bountiful Table.

Hands and hearts, bound together, loosed for life and Love’s consent.

The Promised Pardon freeing furrowed brow and anxious gaze alike. Read more ›

Dry bones

A litany for worship inspired by Ezekiel 37:1-14

by Ken Sehested

’Neath the canyons of vengeance
      lies the valley of bones.
Many bones. Dry bones.
Bleached by remorse and hope’s demise.

Child of Eden’s failure and Noah’s fortune.
Read more ›

Fear of the Lord

A litany for worship inspired by Psalm 111:10 and Mark 1:21-28

by Ken Sehested

The psalmist proclaims: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Who can imagine a fear-mongering, molesting God?

Quite a few, as it turns out, which is why faith appears so distasteful, disturbing, dreary and dreadful, despondent, maybe even devilish. Read more ›