Confession and Absolution

Most holy and merciful Father,
we acknowledge and confess in your presence
our sinful nature
which is quick to do evil and slow to do good,
and all our shortcomings and offenses against you.
You alone know how often we have sinned,
in wandering from your ways,
in wasting your gifts,
in forgetting your love.
O Lord, have pity on us.
We are ashamed and sorry for all things
in which we have displeased you.
Teach us to know our errors,
cleanse us from our secret faults,
and forgive our sins
for the sake of your dear Son, our Savior.
O most holy and loving Father,
send your Holy Spirit into our hearts
that we may henceforth live in your light
and walk in your ways
as we follow your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Hear the gracious words of our Lord Jesus Christ to those who truly repent and turn to him:

God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)

The grace of our Lord Jesus + Christ be with you all. Amen.

Source: Modified from The Book of Common Worship, Henry Van Dyke, editor, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1906, p. 3-4.

“Teach us to know our errors,” original has “teach us to hate our errors.” Change was made to better reflect Psalm 19:12.

“send your Holy Spirit into our hearts,” original has “send Thy purifying grace into our hearts.”

“as we follow your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” original has “According to the commandments of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Graces from the Book of Common Worship (1906)

The Lord make us grateful for all his mercies, and add his blessing, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Almighty God who provides for us, nourish our souls with the Bread of Life in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Bless us, O Lord, as we bless you when we receive your gift of daily bread. Amen.

The Lord bless this food to our use and us to his service. Amen.

Lord, help us to receive all good things as from your hand and to use them to your praise. Amen.

Heavenly Father, make us thankful to you and mindful of others as we receive these blessings, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Father in heaven, sustain our bodies with this food, our hearts with true friendship, and our souls with your truth, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Lord Jesus, be our holy Guest,
Our morning Joy, our evening Rest;
And with our daily bread impart
Your love and peace to every heart. Amen.

Source: Slightly modified from “Forms of Grace before Meat,” The Book of Common Worship, Henry Van Dyke, editor, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1906, p. 167.

Filled with His Love and Spirit of Self-Sacrifice

matthiasgrunewald_thecrucifixion2Heavenly Father,
let your blessing be on us
as we pass through these holy days
in which we remember
the sufferings and death
of our dear Lord.
Set his example before us,
that we may follow him
in willing obedience,
learn his gracious humility,
and be filled with his love
and spirit of self-sacrifice,
and learn the lessons of a life
pleasing to you
and helpful to our neighbors;
through him who loved us
and gave himself for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from  The Parish School Hymnal, Board of Publication of the Lutheran Church in America, 1926,

Offering Prayers

O Lord, stir up the wills of your faithful people, that those who have freely received your blessings may give from your blessings; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Freely modified from Bishop John Dowden, 1840-1910

O most merciful and gracious God, we have all received the gifts of your goodness. Accept this offering of your people. In your love remember those who have brought it and those for whom it is given and follow it with your blessing, that it may promote peace and good will among all people and advance the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Source: Based on a prayer in The Book of Common Worship, Henry Van Dyke, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1906, p. 7.

O God, we have all received the blessings of your goodness. Accept the offering of your people, and follow it with your blessing that it may promote peace and good will to all by advancing the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Source: (Shortened from the previous prayer.)

All gracious God, in your infinite love you gave your only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and rise again for our justification, and have made us partakers of the divine nature through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Accept the offering which we now present to you and grant that our bodies, souls and spirits may be a living sacrifice to you, holy and pleasing in your sight, and that we may go forth in your strength to serve you and obey your will in all things; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Based on a prayer in The Book of Common Worship, Henry Van Dyke, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1906, p. 16.

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son once offered up himself on the cross once for all. Accept this our spiritual act of worship of praise. O Lord, we offer and present ourselves, our souls and bodies to be a holy and living sacrifice acceptable to you through Jesus Christ your Son.

Source: Based on a prayer in The Book of Common Worship, Henry Van Dyke, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1906, p. 37

 

Short Offering Prayers

Lord Jesus, our heavenly King, grant that the closer we draw to Judgment Day the more sharply we may recognize and acknowledge the claim—the blood-bought claim—which you have on our whole lives. [1]

Jesus, our only Savior, grant that the gifts we bring you each week may more and more get to show that we are just as diligent and just as interested in the Lord’s business as we are in our own business. [2]

Dear Savior, you have taught us: “A man’ s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Teach us to realize more and more that happiness in life does not depend on the number of things we can call our own. Rather, Jesus, help us to find joy in the uses that we as stewards make of the money you’ve placed in our hands. [3]

Dear Savior, grant that the gifts we bring you each week may not be evidence of a weak and undernourished faith, but of a healthy faith; a faith that is growing in the lovely grace of Christian liberality. [4]

Heavenly Father, fill the heart of every member of ______________Congregation with your deep concern for lost souls; with your Son’s spirit of willing sacrifice; and with your Holy Spirit’s power to spread the Gospel far and near.[5]

Majestic Lord, accept these little gifts which we have laid on your altar. Grant that bringing these gifts may have brought real joy to the heart of the givers. Grant that these gifts may bring joy to the heart of the Savior, to whom they have been given. [6]

Heavenly Father, grant that the gifts we have placed on your altar this morning may be an accurate expression of the deep appreciation we feel toward the only Savior we’re ever going to have. [7]

Heavenly Father, grant that the gifts we have placed on your altar this morning may be an accurate expression of the deep appreciation we feel toward our only Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Modified from [7] above.)

Dearest Savior, grant that our offering may show that we remember what many seem to forget—that real happiness does not come by acquiring and possessing, but by giving and serving. [8]

Lord of all, again this morning we saw how your fatherly heart toward us is laid bare in Jesus Christ. Grant that the gifts we bring you each week may give evidence that your love is producing fruit in us, leading us to respond to you as the Lord of our lives. [9]

Dear Savior, help us to believe that when you ask us to worship you with our gifts this is not just a business proposition, and surely not an invasion of our privacy, but rather an exercise of our faith, and a fitting response to the mercy you have shown us. [10]

Dear Savior, we thank you for giving us your love and also the means to share your love with others. [11]

Lord Jesus, purify our love for you, and strengthen our resolve to give you first place in our lives in the week just ahead. [12]

Lord of all, forgive us for so often arguing with your claim on our lives. Accept these gifts as evidence of our determination today to accept your guidance and your help, as you seek to equip us for the life of service to which you have called us. [13]

Jesus, in faith today I give you my head, my heart, and my hands. Please use me this week. [14]

John-Jeske-1419607459[1]Source: Professor John C. Jeske (1924-1914), from his essay: “Christian Stewardship Is Taking God At His Word” available at this link from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary essay file: http://wlsessays.net/bitstream/handle/123456789/2367/JeskeChristian.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 

For the Commemoration of Musicians

Written for the commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750; Heinrich Schütz, 1672; George Frederick Handel, 1759; musicians, July 28. 

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Paul C. Stratman at the Bach statue near St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany

Jesus, help us
as we work to sing your praise,
not just for beauty,
but for the instruction
and edification of our neighbor
with the message of your holy Gospel.
We give thanks
for the many artists,
musicians and poets
who keep your Word
before our eyes
and in our ears.
Even though many of them
now enjoy the eternal pleasure
of singing  your praise
at your right hand,
their songs of praise to you
are still heard here on earth.
When we make music,
help us to put away
all thoughts of competition,
jealousy, and glory for ourselves.
Instead, turn our thoughts to
doing all of our work,
striving for excellence,
bearing your message,
and making all of our music
to the glory of God alone.
Amen.

© 2016 Paul C. Stratman

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Prayer for the Commemoration of Musicians by Paul C. Stratman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact for any commercial usage.

“Jesus, help us” recalls Johann Sebastian Bach’s practice of writing “J. J.” or “Jesu, juva,” “Jesus, help” on the top of his manuscripts.

“for the instruction and edification of our neighbor” recalls Bach’s preface to his Orgelbüchlein.

“now enjoy the eternal pleasure…” is a reference to Psalm 16:11

“turn our thoughts to…” is a reference to 1 Corinthians 10:31

“to the glory of God alone” recalls Johann Sebastian Bach’s practice of writing “S. D. Gl.” or “Soli Deo gloria,” “to the glory of God alone” on the bottom of his manuscripts.

A Confession of Sins

I, a poor sinner,
confess before you, my God and Creator,
that I have grievously sinned against you in many ways,
not only by gross outward sins,
but much more through inward natural blindness,
unbelief, doubts, despondency, impatience, pride,
covetousness, secret envy, hatred, malice,
and other sinful affections
which you see in me, my Lord and God,
and which, alas, I cannot always see in myself.
I repent of these, and cry to you for your mercy,
through your beloved Son Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Source: Palatinate Liturgy, 1563, and Lutheran Liturgy of Wuerttemberg, 1536.

Translation based on Tercentenary Monument: In Commemoration of the Three Hundredth Anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism M. Kieffer & Company, 1863