Posted by: Johnold Strey | June 21, 2017

Prayer for the Commemoration of the Augsburg Confession

Many Lutheran congregations are taking the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses as an opportunity to celebrate another significant Lutheran anniversary: the presentation of the Augsburg Confession on June 25, 1530. While this anniversary might have been overlooked since it is not a “major milestone” anniversary like 475 or 500, the fact that it occurs on a Sunday this year and the fact that it is the 500th anniversary year of the start of the Reformation encourages us to mark this important event as well.

Congregations that are planning to commemorate the anniversary of the Augsburg Confession this weekend should have most of their plans set by now. (For future reference, this blog’s resources page has links to two files that have materials that could be used to construct an Augsburg Confession anniversary service: the Responsive Dialogues for Worship file and the Alternate Confessions of Faith file). But if you are still looking to use a Prayer of the Church that is geared toward the occasion, here is one that you could easily incorporate into your services, even at the last minute.

I wrote the following prayer for our use at Crown of Life Lutheran Church this Sunday. Although its paragraphs end with a responsive formula for congregational participation, it could easily be spoken entirely by the presiding minister by dropping the response, “[M] Lord, in your mercy, [C] hear our prayer” from the prayer. Feel free to adopt or adapt this prayer for use in your local congregation. 

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

for the

COMMEMORATION OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION

M:    Gracious God, in mercy you sent your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, into this world to redeem us from sin and rescue us from hell. Through your Scriptures and by your Spirit, you have brought us to faith in your Son and have assured us that Christ has fully completed the work of our salvation. Lead us to rejoice in the message of forgiveness through faith alone in Christ Jesus. When guilt grieves our consciences and shame squelches our confidence, use your Word to encourage and comfort our souls with the good news of your unconditional love. Lord, in your mercy,

C:     Hear our prayer.

M:    Almighty God, in the face of immense pressure to compromise their confession of faith, you emboldened our Lutheran forefathers to take a firm stand on the truths of Scripture. Through their clear confession of faith, you restored the gospel to your Church and have preserved this saving truth among us today. Send us your Holy Spirit that we exhibit the same zeal and faithfulness as the Lutheran confessors. Give us courage to confess our faith sincerely and boldly in the classroom, the workplace, the community, and to everyone we encounter who needs to hear the truth of your Word. Use our confession to turn the hearts of those who do not yet believe in you to faith in your Son. Lord, in your mercy,

C:     Hear our prayer.

M:    Eternal God, you have promised to preserve and protect your Church in every age. Even when it appeared that the enemies of the gospel had silenced your truth, you kept your people faithful to you and your Word. Bless all who face hardships for their faith with an added measure of your Holy Spirit so that they do not lose heart as they bear their crosses. Comfort the sick and suffering, the depressed and lonely, those who are persecuted and ridiculed for their faith, and all others who need the encouragement of your love. Fix our eyes on the cross of your Son, on his empty tomb, and on the sure promise of eternal life in heaven’s glory. Lord, in your mercy,

C:     Hear our prayer.

Special prayers and intercessions may be offered.

M:    Lord God, you know the concerns on our hearts and minds. Hear the public prayers we have spoken with our lips and the personal prayers we offer to you in our hearts, and answer them according to your good and gracious will. Increase our trust in your power and wisdom that we may rest secure in the plans and purposes you have for our lives; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.

C:     Amen.

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