Lenten Prayer Toolbox

Click here if you would like to view the complete Lenten Prayer Toolbox Devotional.

Week of April 10

Petition: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen. | Preaching Text: Psalm 8 | Prayer Practice: Praying for the World | Prayer Tool: Globe

This final petition acknowledges that everything is God’s—the earth and all that is in it, the heavens, true power and true glory—as so we entrust it all to our heavenly Father.

This week, consider the world in which we live and especially God’s creation, of which we are a part. God calls us to be good stewards and caretakers of the created world in which we live. Each day as you hold the globe that reminds us of the earth, offer your prayers for the wellbeing of creation and seek guidance for your role in caring for God’s creation.

Click here for the SPARK children’s devotional.

Week of April 4

Petition: Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. | Preaching Text: Psalm 13 | Prayer Practice: Lament | Prayer Tool: Holding Cross

Following Jesus is no guarantee that life will go smoothly. We all face times that are difficult, or things happen to us that cause pain. We see this in our individual lives and in the wider world. Sometimes these circumstances cause us to doubt God or wonder why God isn’t doing something about it.

Lament is an ancient practice of pouring our hearts out—including our pain and disappointment and discouragement—to God with honesty and vulnerability. In the lament tradition, people hold God accountable to God’s promises. “Where are you God? Why are you letting this happen? How long, O Lord, how long?” The beauty of lament is that this deep honesty is paired with an expression of trust that God will act in love and mercy, that God has not abandoned us.

This week, practice lament. Each day name before God all the things that are bigger than us and beyond our control. Name the hurts and what breaks your heart in your own life and in the larger community and world. Name the things that are beyond our human power to fix. Name the deepest desires of your heart for healing yourself and the world. Then, express your confidence that God is present, that God cares and that God heals.

The prayer tool this week is a Holding Cross. Hold it in the palm of your hand and wrap your fingers around it as you pray. The Holding Cross reminds us that Jesus went to the cross to defeat all the powers of sin, death and evil and that God continues to work to make all things new.

Click here for the SPARK children’s devotional.

Week of March 27

Petition: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. | Preaching Text: Psalm 51:1-17 | Prayer Practice: Confession & Forgiveness | Prayer Tool: Vial of Ashes

By including this petition, Jesus holds before us the reminder that practicing forgiveness—giving and receiving—is an essential part of our relationship with God and with each other. The prayer tool this week is the vial of ashes, which symbolizes that left to our own devices, we often choose the way of death—we choose what harms and destroys in our relationships instead of choosing what gives life. Naming our sinfulness, our need for forgiveness and our hunger for God’s grace—that no matter what love God has for each of us—speaks the truth that we need to hear for ourselves and creates a space for honest connection with God and each other.

This week is about offering ourselves to God with complete honesty. The prayer practice is simple, but powerful. It is a way of acknowledging that we radically fall short of God’s calling and crying out for help.
Each morning when you wake up (or whatever time makes sense for your life), offer this prayer: Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Create a system to help you remember. You might write it on a piece of paper and post it where you will see it or put a daily alarm in your phone. Offer this prayer whenever and as often as you like as a way of connecting to the One who is the source of all grace.

Click here for the SPARK children’s devotional.

Week of March 20

Petition: Give us today our daily bread. | Preaching Text: Psalm 23 | Prayer Practice: Gratitude | Prayer Tool: Bow (as for a gift)

With this prayer petition, Jesus encourages us to remember that all that we have are gifts from God. The bow in the Prayer Toolbox helps us remember these gifts. As Martin Luther reminds us in the explanation of this petition in the Small Catechism, “Daily bread includes everything needed for this life, such as food and clothing, home and property, work and income, a devoted family, an orderly community, good government, favorable weather, peace and health, a good name, and true friends and neighbors.

This week our prayer practice is gratitude. Each day, using a different category, name three things for which you are grateful. Be specific including why you are thankful. Start a list for the week and write down your responses each day. Offer that thanks to God in prayer

Choose from these categories or make up your own: People (family and friends), Work/School, Community or Government, Creation, Health/Our Bodies, Essentials for Living, the Wider World, Yourself (Your character and abilities).

Click here for the SPARK children’s devotional.

Week of March 13

Petition: Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.| Preaching Text: Psalm 147:1-6 | Prayer Practice: The Examen | Prayer Tool: Nail

What does it look like for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven? In his ministry, Jesus invites us to be part of building God’s kingdom of love, mercy and justice on earth, now. We can only do that because God’s Holy Spirit works in and through us. The prayer tool this week is the nail. Nails are essential for building. When we desire for God to use us in building his kingdom, we need to listen for God’s guidance. One way of listening is by praying The Examen.

The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern God’s direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in and through our lives. You can learn more about The Examen here.

This week try a simplified version of The Examen by praying twice a day. In the morning, our prayer is for God’s Spirit to help us pay attention:

Show me today how I/we can help build up your Kingdom in me/us, around me/us and beyond me/us.
The evening is for reflection. Ask yourself: Which of my words and actions today helped to build others up? Which words and actions tore others down?

Write your responses down each day to help you notice any patterns. Offer a prayer of thanks for the moments of building up and ask God for forgiveness for the moments that tore others down.

Click here for the SPARK children’s devotional.

Week of March 6 (Ash Wednesday)

Petition: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name | Preaching Text: Psalm 18:1-6 | Prayer Practice: Praying through the Word | Prayer Tool: Lettered Tile

Jesus starts the Lord’s Prayer by declaring that the name of our heavenly Father is holy. Jesus starts by celebrating who God is. We can use our own words to celebrate God’s character—the qualities that describe God and how God is for us. We also go into the Word of God in the Bible to discover a fuller picture of who God is. The Word gives us language to celebrate who God is and what God is up to in the world and in our lives.

Each day this week, choose a Bible passage to read. Try reading it out loud—to slow you down and help take in the words. Then answer the following questions:

  • What words or details stood out to you as you read?
  • What does this passage say about who God is?
  • What does this passage say about what God values?

The prayer tool this week is the lettered tile. It reminds us of God’s Word. Hold it in your hand or, if you’re praying in a group, place it in the center of the circle and offer a prayer of thanks to God, celebrating God’s character and the ways God cares for us. Speak simply and from your heart. Your words don’t have to be fancy.

You can choose whatever Bible passages you’d like. Below are some ideas:
Psalm 18:1-6 | Colossians 3:12-17 | Genesis 1:1-2:4 | John 1:1-18 | Galatians 5:22-26 | Luke 11:1-13 | Isaiah 43:1-7 | Matthew 6:25-34 | Psalm 139:1-18

Click here for the SPARK children’s devotional.