Advent 2

Lord Jesus Christ,
turn our hearts to you, and enter.
Move us to repentance,
change our hearts with your eternal Word,
and dwell with us forever;
for you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, newly composed, © 2017

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Advent 1

Stir up your power, O Lord, and come.
Keep us watchful and ready for the day and hour of your return.
Empower us with the gifts and strength we need,
and keep us faithful to the end;
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, newly composed, © 2017

A Wedding Table Prayer

The Wedding of Cana by James Tissot

O dearest Lord Jesus Christ,
you joined a happy couple
at the feast at the wedding of Cana,
and by simply saying, “Fill the jars with water,”
you blessed them with the very best wine.
You revealed your glory,
and your disciples put their faith in you.
Because of your promise
about where two or three gather in your name,
we know you have also joined us today
for the wedding of Renata and Eric.
We pray, in your grace and mercy,
bless them also with your very best.
Reveal your glory to them in Word, Sacrament,
and in the many blessings you give them all their lives.
Always bring them closer to you,
and closer to one another
in the bonds of your love.
Your heavenly Father
is the giver of every good and perfect gift,
and in your name we give him thanks
for the food we are about to receive;
for you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and forever.
Amen.

Source: Specially composed prayer for the wedding reception of Renata C. Stratman and Eric Cook, September 2, 2017. © 2017 Paul C. Stratman.

Reflection on Psalm 46

This prayer reflects on the violence and tension in Virginia in August 2017, and of the promise, assurance and guidance in Psalm 46.

O God,
you are our refuge and strength.
You promise your help in trouble,
and you give it.

The earth still stands,
the mountains aren’t shaken,
but our hearts are troubled.
People roar and shout loudly
like the raging sea.

Be our river of calm.
Remind us
that without you
we are worthless.
Our value
comes from being purchased
with the blood of your Son.
Your church sings,
“Come, Lord, and help your people
bought with the price of your own blood.”

Lord of hosts,
be our refuge,
our fortress,
our unchanging rock.

You are not to blame
for violence,
oppression,
terrorism
or war.
Those the human race
has inflicted on itself.
The desolation
comes from our anger,
selfishness,
and hate.
This sin
infects us all.
Have mercy.

You call us to peace,
and you call us
to draw near to you
with sincere hearts
and repent.

Be exalted,
and bring your stillness,
your peace,
to our hearts.
Amen.

Source: Paul C. Stratman, based on Psalm 46, Hebrews 10:22, with a line from the Te Deum laudamus.

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.

“Yet I am always with you.
You hold me by my right hand.
With your guidance you lead me,
and afterward, you will take me to glory.
Who else is there for me in heaven?
And besides you, I desire no one else on earth.
.”

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…”
“Take heart! Your sins are forgiven..”

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

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

“Those who are far from you will perish…
As for me, God’s nearness is good for me.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
so that I can tell about all your works.
.”

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

Source: © 2017 Paul C. Stratman. Scripture from the Evangelical Heritage 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.”