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 Prayer Reflection on Psalm 73

comeuntomeLord Jesus,
your parting words to your disciples
were, “Surely I am with you always,”
and then you ascended
to sit at your Father’s right hand.

I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides 
you.”

You came to bear our infirmities,
griefs, and sorrows.
You healed many people of their sicknesses
of body and spirit,
and you restored sinners
with your words of forgiveness:
“Neither do I condemn you…”
“Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.”

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”

Draw me nearer to you.
Fix my heart on your Word,
your commands,
your forgiveness,
your promise.

“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish…
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.”

Remind me of your Word, your presence,
…and that nothing else matters.

Source: © 2017 Paul C. Stratman. Scripture from the English Standard Version.

A Prayer in Need: Lord, Have Mercy

Lord, have mercy.

In all our needs…
In all all our hurts…
In all our anxiety…

Lord, have mercy.

With all our questions…
With all we know…
With all we don’t know…

Lord, have mercy.

For healing…
For peace…
For a stronger trust in your Word and promise…

Lord, have mercy.

To calm our doubts…
To soothe our fears…
To bear our griefs and carry our sorrows…

Lord, have mercy.

Help, save, comfort, forgive, strengthen and heal us by your grace.

Amen.

Source: Free prayer, reproduced from memory. © 2017 Paul C. Stratman. Some influence from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Quote: “When ‘Lord, have mercy’ is all you can say, it’s what you must say.”

A ‘Mass’ of Prayers

Kyrie

Father,
do not look on my many sins,
but in your mercy
provide for all my needs,
food, clothing, shelter,
for I cannot survive without these,
or without you.
Lord, have mercy.

Jesus,
you gave yourself for us all
as the Lamb of God
to bear our sins.
Remember me, whom you bought
with your own blood.
Christ, have mercy.

Spirit,
keep breathe into my heart
the Word of your Gospel.
Light that flame of faith in my heart,
and keep it burning.
Strengthen, counsel and comfort me.
I need your power to live connected to God.
I need your power to make my light shine.
Lord, have mercy.

Gloria in Excelsis

Glory to you, O Lord,
heavenly king, almighty Father.
You dwell above all things
yet you looked down on me in love
and gave me peace and goodwill
in your Son, Jesus Christ my Lord.
My praise is so weak.
I am so distracted.
But still, I lift my voice to praise and thank you
for your grace, mercy, patience and love.

Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
Lamb of God, Son of the Father.
You came as promised to bear my griefs,
carry my sorrows,
and bear the sin of the whole world
like a sacrificial lamb.
You became what you were not,
human, weak, poor, despised,
to make me what I was not,
a child of God, holy and blameless in your sight.
You know human weakness first hand.
Hear my prayers, and bring my needs
to your Father in heaven.

Glory to you, Holy Spirit.
You are living and active
and so is the Word you inspired
the Apostles and Prophets to write.
Write your Word in my heart.
Be the lamp to my feet and the light for my path.
Live in me. Move me. Govern and guide me
so I live to your glory,
and not to my own,
so in your time
I may enjoy your glory forever.

You alone, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
are holy, exalted, and worthy of all praise,
now and forever.
Amen.

Credo

I believe, Lord.
Help me overcome my unbelief.
Your Word
is set before my eyes
and falls upon my ears.
I know it.
Still, help me overcome my doubts.
The world around me
is setting its own truth
before my eyes
and into my ears,
and its false truths are everywhere.
Yours is only in your book.
Turn my attention
back to your book.
Strengthen my faith.
Move me to accept your truth as fact
and to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye
to the lies from without
and the lies from within.
Finally,
send your Holy Spirit
to do his work
to govern and guide
and strengthen me
day by day
so that I always trust
every Word,
every promise,
every fact
your Spirit moved
the holy men to write,
and that my trust
may show
in all I say
and do.

Sanctus

Dirty, broken, hurting
is all humanity.
All the earth is full of sin and pain.
But you are holy.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”
Isaiah couldn’t bear to look at your glory,
but you lifted him up
and purified his lips.
You, Christ, have come to us
once in human flesh and blood,
now in ink and paper,
water and Word,
bread and wine,
your body and blood,
to purify us
so that we may stand
in your presence.
Hosanna!

Agnus Dei

O Jesus,
the pain you suffered on the cross
was all mine.
It was my sin you carried,
along with that of the whole world.
What mercy!

O Jesus,
the pains I suffer now,
all griefs, all sorrows,
is all my fault,
and it weighs heavy on me.
You alone can carry it,
in fact, you have already taken it away.
And you tell me to come,
in all my weariness
with all my burdens,
and you promise
to give me rest and refreshment.
What mercy!

O Jesus,
on that cross,
you said one word.
One sweet word.
A word just as momentous
as “Let there be light.”
That one word was
tetelesthai.
“It is finished.”
You paid for my sin.
You brought me to your Father.
You made me your own.
I need to do nothing
but trust you.
What peace!

(Nunc Dimittis)

Old Simeon had peace
for one reason.
He had seen you,
the one he had hoped for
all his life,
the one he waited to see
for many years.
That’s why
he held you in his arms
and sang,
“O baby Jesus,
you are the shining light
of the whole world.
You are Abraham’s
shield and great reward
and the glory of all his children.
Now I can go.
You kept your promise to me.
My tired, old eyes see you now,
but I will see you again
in the greater glory that is coming.”

Source: Paul C. Stratman © 2017

A Foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet

The following post-communion prayer combines elements of three prayers which seemed to have a common source. 

Almighty God,
our heavenly Father,
gracious and merciful Lord,
we give you thanks and praise
for the foretaste of the heavenly banquet
that you have given us to eat and to drink
in the body and blood of your dear Son,
Jesus Christ.
With this, your sacrament,
strengthen and keep us in the true faith
all the days of our life.
Give us refreshment from our labors
with the peace of your forgiveness,
and comfort us in every trouble
until we eat and drink it anew
in your kingdom
at the marriage supper of the Lamb;
your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Source: Written for A Collection of Prayers combining elements from: Common Worship, (Church of England) Funeral Eucharist,  Lutheran Service Book (LCMS © 2006), Christian Worship Supplement (WELS © 2008)

A Prayer about Mothers

Our Father in heaven,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth
receives its name,
you describe your tender comfort
as being like a mother’s comfort.
We give thanks for mothers,
who comfort,
who teach,
who nurture,
who feed,
who love.
Continue to give them patience and strength.
Receive the cares they cast on you.
We pray for children;
open their eyes
to their mothers’ open arms,
to their mothers’ love,
to their mothers’ sacrifices
of time and effort.
We pray for those who weep
when they think of their mothers,
and mothers who weep
when they think of their children.
With your love
heal broken hearts,
and guide us with your love
to remove the walls we often build
between ourselves
and those who should be closest.
Fill the void of loss
with friends, family,
and with your own assurance
of your tender care;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

© 2017 Paul C. Stratman

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A Prayer about Mothers by Paul C. Stratman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact for any commercial usage.

“from whom…” is a reference to Ephesians 3:15.

“You describe…” is a reference to Isaiah 66:13

“Receive the cares…” is a reference to 1 Peter 5:7

The last section “We pray for those who weep…” is in part a reflection on Psalm 27:10.

See also “A Prayer about Fathers.”

The painting The Madonna of the Pinks, Raphael, probably before 1507 was chosen simply to be a depiction of a mother with a child.

Hope that Comes from God’s Promise

O Father in heaven,
look upon all your people
who struggle
with anger, anxiety,
doubt, frustration,
guilt, hopelessness,
loss, memories,
lack of patience,
pain, regret,
sadness, selfishness,
temptation and weakness.

Your holy Word tells us
“All things work together
for the good of those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.”
And that means that you make all these things work
for your good purpose in our lives,
even when we do not understand.

Remind us of your invitation,
“Cast all your cares upon me,”
and of your assurance that goes with it,
“because I care for you.”

…through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, 2017

“All things work together…” is a reference to Romans 8:28

“Cast all your cares… is a reference to 1 Peter 5:7