Backpack Blessing

As August draws to a close, we’re preparing for fall and the start of a new school year! I’m excited to be including a backpack blessing in our worship service this year. Either the Sunday before or after the schools in your area start back up, invite students, teachers, and educators of all kinds to bring their bag to church to receive a blessing. We even made buttons for everyone’s bags that say “You are loved!” I’m planning to do this for our Children’s Time that Sunday.

Here’s the responsive liturgy and prayer we’ll be using to bless our backpacks this year:

One: As we begin this new school year, we give thanks that God has given us all the ability to learn many things in many ways.
  Adults: We learn in school, and also in church, in our family,
 in our community, and in the world.
     Kids: Learning is a gift from God.
One: We ask God’s blessing on this new school year, that it may be a time when we appreciate and fully engage God’s gift of learning.
 Adults: We ask God to bless our schools and teachers.
   Kids: We ask God to bless our classmates and friends.
 Adults: We ask God to bless our principals, counselors, and librarians.
One: We ask God to bless those who prepare our lunches, those who drive us to school, and those who keep our schools clean and safe.
Adults: We give thanks to God for books and computers and all the tools that help
us learn.
   Kids: We give thanks to God for the gift of learning!

One: Let us pray.. Loving God, sometimes a new school year seems exciting or scary or both. Sometimes school is great, and sometimes it’s hard. But we know that whether we are excited or scared, you are with us. We know that whether school is great or hard, you are with us. Thank you for always being with us. Help us remember we are loved no matter what. Help us do our best and help us show others your love in all we say and do each day. AMEN

Here’s the invite we’ve been sharing in our community. This one has space for you to add in the date and time of your backpack blessing. And don’t forget to put your church name, address, and website along the bottom!

Backpack Blessing Invitation

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Overwhelmed Series Prayer for Illumination

Here is the unison prayer for illumination we’ll be using for our Overwhelmed sermon series:

God of all, open our hearts and minds to find your Truth in all places. Teach us your unforced rhythms of grace that our lives might reflect your Wisdom. With Christ as our guide we live and pray. AMEN

And here is the image I made for us to use on our bulletin covers:

overwhelmed cover

Happy planning!

Prayer for Illumination for Five Practices series

Here is the prayer for illumination we’ll be using for the series we’re doing based on Robert Schnase’s book The Five Practices of Fruitful CongregationsIt references John 15:1-8 which is the theme scripture I’m using for this series.

Prayer for Illumination
God of love, plant us in the soil of your grace. Nurture us in the Truth of your Word, the vine of everlasting life. Enlighten us with the wisdom of your Spirit, which flows through us today and all days. Abiding in Christ we pray. AMEN

Prayers for Illumination (general)

General unison prayers said before the scripture reading(s).

God, open our hearts and minds so we can fully receive the Truth you need to hear today.  Kindle your Truth in our hearts so others would see it revealed through our lives.  Following Christ we pray. AMEN.

God of life, open us now to receive your dream for our lives and your Truth for our world, so we can follow your path and show others the way. United in Christ we pray. AMEN

God, in you are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Open our hearts to receive the truth of your Word. Help us understand and freely choose the way of your wisdom; in Christ’s way we pray. Amen.