Weekly Worship Piece: Mark 6

The worship piece this week is a prayer of confession and assurance of pardon based on the New Testament lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday.  Blessings to all who are planning worship this week!

Prayer of Confession (based on Mark 6:7-13)

Holy One of Nazareth,
We see you calm storms, heal illness, even restore life,
Yet we still struggle to trust you.
You send us out,
But we want to stay home.
You provide partners for the journey,
But we want to go it alone.
You give us authority over evil,
But we don’t know how to use it.
You say we need only the clothes on our back and a staff in our hand,
But we pile the car full of food, clothes, tools and toys. We make sure our phones are charged and our GPS is on.
You tell us to accept hospitality,
But we don’t like to put people out.
You say that if people are unkind, we should simply shake the dust off of our feet,
But we would rather get mad and post about it on Facebook.
We have much to learn from you, Jesus, about traveling gracefully through this life.
Forgive our failings and grant us a deeper trust.


Assurance of Pardon (from 2 Corinthians 12:9):

Hear these words from Christ: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So go forth in the power of the almighty, who forgives you and loves you. Amen.

Wednesday Worship Piece: Confession & Assurance

This prayer of confession is based on Daniel 3.  (I cannot wait to preach this text on Sunday!)

Holy One,
Sometimes we are like Nebuchadnezzar, wanting to be in charge, desperately and destructively trying to control everyone around us.
God of freedom, forgive and transform us.
Sometimes we are like the Chaldeans, jealous of those who seem more successful, malicious toward people who do not do things the proper way.
God of grace, forgive and transform us.
And we are not sure if we could, if we would, be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, trusting you despite all odds, devoted to you even in the face of death.
God of salvation, transform our fear into faithfulness.

Assurance of Pardon:

You servants of the most high God, do not be afraid. For with God there is great mercy to forgive and there is great power to transform. So may the peace of Christ dwell within you. Amen.

Wednesday Worship Pieces: Matthew 16:21-28

Here are some worship pieces I wrote for this coming Sunday.  As always, you are welcome to use them as written or in an adapted form for your own worshiping community. 

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 22, Matthew 16:21-28)

We come to worship this morning from different places.
O God, do not be far from us.
We come to worship this morning for different reasons.
O God, do not be far from us.
We experience the presence of the Spirit in different ways.
O God, do not be far from us.
We hear Jesus’ words with different ears.
O God, do not be far from us.
“Deny yourselves.”
O God, do not be far from us.
“Take up your cross.”
O God, do not be far from us.
“Follow me.”
O God, we thank you for drawing near to us in this place, in our lives. Amen.

Prayer of Confession  (Matthew 16:21-28)

God, we humble ourselves now in confession:

We want to be followers of Jesus, but we do not always want to follow Jesus.
We don’t even want to listen when the conversation turns toward darkness and death.
We prefer to indulge ourselves.
We are eager to put down our crosses.
We cling tightly to our lives.
We grasp at worldly rewards.

Holy and loving God, forgive all of our thoughts and actions that would protect us from the path of Christ.


Assurance of Pardon (from I Corinthians 1:9-14)

I pray that God will fill you with the knowledge of God’s will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please God in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

Friends, hear now the Good News: God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of Christ Jesus, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Amen.

Wednesday Worship Piece: A Confession

To go along with the prayer of confession below, here is my confession to you:  Sometimes I am lazy in planning ahead for worship.  I will say to the Worship Committee, “Oh, I’ll just preach lectionary that week.  Let’s go with the Gospel reading.”

So a Gospel reading, say Matthew 15: 21-28, gets put on the worship calendar.  That’s what I’m to preach from on August 14.  But it’s May.  And I’m looking ahead to a difficult summer.  And I’m thinking, Gospel is good.  No Old Testament craziness.  No judgment from Paul.  Just some nice love and compassion from Jesus.

And then it’s August 8 and I look on the worship calendar.  I look up Matthew 15:21-28.  And I do not feel love and compassion.  I feel like God is punishing me for being so lazy back in May. I do not think, “How nice to preach about Jesus this week!”  I think words that I should not type in this blog.

That’s my confession to you.  And here is the prayer of confession we will be praying this Sunday:

God of all people,
Our faith is weak. Our egos are strong.
Forgive us.
Our energy is low. Our patience is short.
Have mercy on us.
Our prejudices are real. Our compassion is limited.
Heal us.

Assurance of Pardon

O taste and see that our God is good! Through the limitless compassion of Christ, our sins are forgiven. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are energized for God’s work of justice and peace in the world. Thanks be to God.

Wednesday Worship Piece: Confession and Pardon

Prayer of Confession

God, Creator of all–the mint plants, the roses, the sun and the rain, each one of us:
We confess to you the times we have destroyed when you call us to create.


God, Redeemer of humanity through Jesus of Nazareth:
We confess to you the times we have not walked in Jesus’ way of peace and justice.


God, Sustainer of all life through the power and presence of your Holy Spirit with us:
We confess to you the times we have taken our lives for granted.


Have mercy on us, O God, according to your unfailing love.
According to your great compassion, blot out our transgressions.

Assurance of Pardon

The Holy One–your Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer–forgives your sins.  May you walk in the mercy of God.  Amen.

Wednesday Worship Piece: Confession & Pardon

I wrote these worship pieces for the Second Sunday of Lent (Year A).  They draw on Genesis 12:1-4 and John 3:1-17.

Prayer of Confession

Gracious God,
You call us to a new land, a new birth.  Yet our feet and our spirits hesitate.
Forgive our laziness.
Forgive our fear.
Forgive our selfishness.
Forgive our comfort.
Be for us the pillar of cloud by day, the pillar of fire by night.
Lead us into the new birth of water and the Spirit.

Assurance of Pardon (John 3:16-17)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. . . . May the peace of Christ be with you.

Wednesday Worship Pieces

This is a responsive prayer of confession based on Matthew 5:1-12.  The assurance of pardon is based on 1 Corinthians 1:30. The intent is that the leader speaks the plain text and the congregation speaks the bold.  Italicized words are for all.

Prayer of Confession

Gracious God, we come before you to confess that we have not fully lived out the folly of the Gospel.
You call us to be poor in spirit,

yet we often place our own desires over the needs of others.

You call us to mourn,

yet we insulate ourselves from the pain that surrounds us.

You call us to be meek,

yet we struggle mightily to appear strong and superior.

You call us to thirst for righteousness,

yet sometimes we just want to take the easiest path.

You call us to be pure in heart,

yet our hearts are pulled in many directions.

You call us to be peacemakers,

yet we struggle to live in peace with those closest to us and we are too often silent about the warring ways of our nation.

Forgive us, O God.

(Allow for a time of silence.)


Words of Assurance:

The scriptures state that Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Thanks be to God that, through Christ, our sins are forgiven. May the peace of Christ be with you.