Holy Week Prayer

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“…For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” –Isaiah 56.7

Today we begin Holy Week, the most sacred and meaningful week of the Christian year. Holy Week brings the season of Lent to a close, the season in which we are called to deeper personal and corporate prayer and reflection. There several opportunities for you this week to enter into the depths of the gospel drama that leads to Jesus’ crucifixion. I encourage you to take advantage of the Holy Week  prayer opportunities  so you can prepare spiritually to receive the grace and hope of the Resurrection next week on Easter.  I also want to explain how we spiritually prepare ourselves as staff and prepare the Sanctuary, Wesley Covenant Chapel and the Student Center to receive the thousands of guests we are expecting next weekend by praying over every seat.

Praying over worship service seats is a long standing tradition at Church of the Resurrection.  While every worship service at Resurrection begins with the whole worship team circling up in prayer, there are significant services or events for which all of the Resurrection staff is expected to pray. Typically these are Leadership Institute, Candlelight Christmas Eve, and Easter where many, many people visit the church for the first time. First time guests and the rest of us come for a variety of reasons. Some are skeptical, wondering what this big church is all about. Some want to feel God’s presence anew or perhaps for the very first time. Some are seeking to connect with people as a way to learn how to live out their faith in real life.   Some are lonely, or grieving or in need of healing of body or spirit. Some come to respond in gratitude for the blessings in their lives.  Some come out of habit. Our job as staff is to prepare God’s house by bathing it in prayer so that each individual who walks through the door feels welcome, accepted and touched by the grace of God.

Generally we pray over the seats after staff chapel on Thursday mornings where all of the staff gathers for worship each week.  This is a good time to pray over the seats because in staff chapel our hearts and minds are refocused on God’s goodness in the midst of our busy work week and we are more spiritually present and prepared to intercede for others. We then go to the Sanctuary, Wesley Covenant Chapel or the Student Center.  We lay our hands upon each seat and pray that the Holy Spirit would come to rest upon the seat and touch each person who occupies it with God’s grace.  God knows what every individual needs and desires.  Additionally, we pray for the worship service in general, Pastor Adam’s message, and that all of us might become invisible over the course of the weekend allowing Christ’s presence to shine through all.

So remember, as you spiritually prepare for Easter Sunday by taking part in the Holy Week opportunities, you are deeply loved by your church staff, and that Church of the Resurrection is indeed a house of prayer for all peoples.

Nancy Pauls, Pastor of Prayer

St. Patrick’s Prayer

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Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day.  In the Catholic tradition, it is the Feast Day of St. Patrick. In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has become a fun holiday of celebrating the Irish heritage of so many Americans, and a day for wearing green, parades, shamrocks, leprechauns and eating corned beef and cabbage.  In Kansas City, it seems everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

The real St. Patrick was the son of a wealthy family in Britain in the 5th century. He was kidnapped by raiders as a teenager and taken away to Ireland, where he was a slave in a remote area, herding sheep and performing manual labor. During that time, he came to know and rely on the love and comfort of God through Jesus.  After his escape and return to Britain, God spoke to him in a dream and called him to go back to Ireland and help the small number of Christians there and to bring the love and knowledge of God through Jesus to the Irish people. He trained as a priest and then following his ordination, returned to Ireland and travelled all over the island, sharing Christ with his former captors using stories and symbols from their own culture to help the people understand. You could say he spent his life helping the non and nominally religious people of Ireland become deeply committed Christians!

So, in honor of St. Patrick and my own Irish heritage, I offer a part of the prayer known as the “Breastplate of St. Patrick.”  The imagery of God surrounding us, shielding us, protecting us, and guiding us is very powerful, as is the prayer that all who hear us, see us, or speak of us will hear, see, and speak of Christ.

 

As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Amen

Beannacht Dé bheith leat an lá seo. (God’s blessings be with you this day)

Jennifer Creagar
Church of the Resurrection
Prayer Ministry

 

 

Who am I?

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In the Divorce Recovery for Women class that I lead on Wednesday evenings, we spend a good deal of time talking about identity after divorce. After a divorce, a woman can no longer call herself a wife, lover, or part of a couple. “Who am I now?” is a question that we frequently ponder. Yet this “who am I now?” question is not just reserved for those going through a divorce. There are many life transitions that allow us to pause and ask that question of ourselves. I was recently speaking to a newly retired gentleman.  He said, “I am no longer a floor coverings manufacturer’s rep, who am I now?” I remember when my grandmother passed away and my mom, who was in her sixties said, “I am no longer anyone’s child, I am an orphan.” My younger sister says, “I am a survivor of breast cancer.” Personally, I am soon to become an “empty nester.”  It is a little scary to imagine this new identity. Our identities come and go over time. Who we are now is probably not who we were ten years ago or who we will be ten years from now.  However scripture tells us who we are in God’s eyes.

So God created humankind* in his image, in the image of God he created them;*  God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. male and female he created them. –Genesis 27, 31.

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made
–Psalm 139:13-14

Today in worship, and in the GPS lessons through the week, as we  look at the “I am “ sayings in the Gospel of John and discover who Jesus is, remember who you are.  You are created by God in the image of God, and who you are is a reflection of who God is.  A speaker in Divorce Recovery Class shared this poem/prayer by Helen Mallicoat with our group recently.

I was regretting the past
and fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
“My name is I am.”
He paused.
I waited.
He continued,
“When you live in the past
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WAS.
When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE.
When you live in this moment
it is not hard I am here.
My name is I AM.”

This week in your prayer time,   I invite you to reflect on the truths that God is always present with you and that you indeed are a child of God, an identity that does not come and go but is forever and eternal.

–Nancy Pauls, Pastor of Prayer


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