REV. LESLIE R.
962 West Sunset Road
Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074
The Scripture Readings in this booklet are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. The thoughts and prayers, unless noted otherwise, have been written by the Rev. Leslie R. Shultz, II, Retired Pastor
Your comments or suggestions for readings or prayers is greatly appreciated. (home)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|The Lord's Prayer||Prayer Before Going Home|
|Prayer Before Surgery||Prayer During Recuperation at Home|
|Prayer for Coping||Prayer for One at the Bedside|
|Prayer for Patience||Prayer for Perspective|
|Prayer for Sleep||Prayer for Strength|
|Prayer of Gratitude||Prayer on Receiving Bad News|
|Prayer on Receiving Good News||Prayer When Death Appears Imminent|
|Prayer While Living in a Strange Land||The Serenity Prayer|
|A Psalm of Comfort, Psalm 23||A Psalm of Gratitude, Psalm 107:1-9|
|Psalm 16:1-9 The Benefits of Choosing God||Promise of Strength, Isaiah 40:28-31|
|Promise of the Nearness of God, Psalm 34:15, 17-19||Reading On Perspective, Philippians 4:6-7|
|Readings on Patience, Lamentations 3:22-26; Colossians 1:9-13||Reading on Help, Psalm 54:1-4, 7|
|Reading on Hope, Hebrews 12:1-3||Reading on Assurance, Psalm 46, (selected)|
|Reading on Praise, Psalm 30; Psalm 40:1-5||Readings on Life, Now and In the Future, 1 John 5:11-20; John 10:11-18, 27-29|
|Reading of Praise and Thanksgiving, Psalm 96:1-9||A Healthy Philosophy, Romans 8:31-39|
|Readings On the God Who Hears and Is Near, Matthew 7:7-11; Philippians 4:5-9||Reading On Managing In A Home Away from Home, Psalm 91:1-7|
|Ephesians 3:18-21, To Comprehend and Know the Love of God||2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, May God Comfort Your and Strengthen Your Heart|
|Romans 8:31, 35, 37-39, If God Is for Us, Who Can Be Against Us||John 14:12-14, Whatever You Ask In My Name Will Be done for You|
THE ASSURANCE OF GODS LOVE
Life can be a rollercoaster ride. One moment you can be overjoyed, so full of delight and appreciation that you feel as if nothing bad will ever happen to you. The next moment can be so filled with anxiety and uncertainty that you wonder how it all happened.
It is easier during the low periods to wonder if anyone really cares for you. It is at times like these that you may wonder where God is and why this is happening to you. Even though you may not feel like it, you are assured of God's love and care. God loves you regardless of your place or circumstances.
One day I was reading from Paul's letter to the Romans and discovered this great principle. God loves me. There is nothing that I can do to make God love me. There is nothing I can do to make God stop loving me. God loves me.
Just as I have the assurance that God loves me all the time, you may have the assurance that God loves you, regardless of who you are or what you may have done or where you find yourself at this moment of your life.
So take a moment to read Paul's assurance of God's love.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 8:31, 35, 37-39, NRSV). (return to top)
Here Paul lists so many things that would appear to come between God and ourselves. None of them have the power to separate you or me from the love of God. Rest is found within the assurance of God's love.
You have my prayers and support; my love and affection. (return to top)
Rev. Leslie R. Shultz II
WHAT HAS GOD PROMISED(1)
God has not promised skies always
Flowerstrewn pathways, all our lives through.
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer, light on the way;
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love. (return to top)
(1)attributed to Annie Johnson Flint
A PSALM OF COMFORT
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staffS
they comfort me.
You prepare a table
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
my whole life long, (Psalm 23, NRSV) (return to top)
SOME THOUGHTS ON PRAYER
When you pray, pray in the name of Jesus. Jesus said: Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it, (John 14:12-14, NRSV). (return to top)
If you make your requests known to God in the name of Jesus your prayers will be answered. The name of Jesus is not like Aladdin's magical phrase, Open Sesame, which gave Aladdin access to the treasure cave. To pray in Jesus' name is to pray in the spirit of his character, his love, his purposes which are revealed in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
In the gospels we hear Jesus' words of comfort and admonition. In the gospels we see Jesus' acts of kindness and mercy. In the gospels we see his actions of love and concern for all people, in all the events of his life.
It is not difficult for us to understand the life of Jesus. Jesus is the lifegiver. He desires for us a long and contented life that is free from the trials and burdens that we may have to bear. He also acknowledges that the world we live in is unfair and at times even cruel, (see: Luke 13:1-5; John 9, especially verses 1-7).
So no matter what happens to us, we can find contentment. Our immediate desires may not be fulfilled. We rest secure in the promises of God. (return to top)
THE LORDS PRAYER
When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
But rescue us from the evil one.
For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever." Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13, NRSV) (return to top)
A PSALM OF GRATITUDE
O give thanks to the LORD, for he is
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in
finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way,
until they reached an inhabited town.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty,
and the hungry he fills with good things, (Psalm 107:1-9, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER OF GRATITUDE
No matter where I am, my God, I can see the beauty of your creation and experience the love and comfort of your presence. I am surrounded by the love and support of family and friends, and those who are caring for my physical and spiritual needs. In your graciousness, help me to continue to see the beauty of life in nature and in people. Accept my expressions of appreciation, and help me to give voice to the thankfulness that I am experiencing to all who comfort and care for me. Amen. (return to top)
THE SERENITY PRAYER(1)
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change-
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference. (return to top)
(1)attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr
Serenity comes with acceptance. Acceptance is not submissiveness, giving up. Serenity means acceptance of present conditions or situations for the purpose of doing all one can to change or overcome the conditions. This is the message of the Serenity Prayer. It is also the message of the Psalms.
Protect me, O God, for in you I take
I say to the LORD, 'You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.'
As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
in whom is all my delight.
Those who choose
another god multiply their sorrows;...
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure. (return to top)
PROMISE OF STRENGTH
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint, (Isaiah 40:28-31, NRSV) (return to top)
A PRAYER FOR STRENGTH
My God, this experience is straining my personal resources. Sometimes I feel my inner strength and courage slipping away. It is difficult to maintain my optimism. It's all this waiting, all the tests, and the uncertainties before me which contribute to my anxiety. You have promised to help me think and behave courageously. Please help. Amen. (return to top)
PROMISE OF THE NEARNESS OF GOD
The eyes of the LORD
are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their cry.
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD rescues them from them all, (Psalm 34:15, 17-19). (return to top)
A PRAYER BEFORE SURGERY
It's time, God, to put my life and being into the skilled hands of the surgical team who are seeking to correct the condition in which I find myself. Even though I trust in the skills of the medical staff to heal, it's scary. I trust in your presence to influence and guide their decisions. I enter this moment with confidence and hope. Help me to be strong. Help me to have the endurance I need for the work of recovery. Amen. (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READING ON PERSPECTIVE
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 4:6-7, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER FOR PERSPECTIVE
O God, it's hard not to worry. It's difficult not to fear. You have promised peace. I do not know what the future may hold, but I rest secure in your presence, and my relationship with you. Walk this way with me, not only in this moment, but also in all the days of my life. Amen. (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR PATIENCE
'The steadfast love of the LORD never
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in him.'
The LORD is good to those who wait
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD, (Lamentations 3:22-26, NRSV). (return to top)
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, (Colossians 1:9-13, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER FOR PATIENCE
Time moves so slowly here. This place is different and a bit strange. It's not at all like home. I want to get back into my own routine. I am at the mercy of kind and loving strangers and their program. The hours are long. They are not my hours. I want my own time and my own place. Help me to be patient. Help me to do what is necessary so that I may be fully myself again. Amen. (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READING ON HELP
Save me, O God, by your name,
and vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
give ear to the words of my mouth.
For the insolent have risen against
the ruthless seek my life;
they do not set God before them.
But surely, God is my
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies, (Psalm 54:1-4, 7, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER FOR SLEEP
I try to sleep, God, but there are so many interruptions. Because so many thoughts and concerns fill my mind it is difficult to relax. I miss all the familiar and reassuring things which usually surround me. It is uncomfortable here in this room. I am not getting the rest that I need. I trust in you, O God, and in your healing and comforting presence. Share my burdens with me and help me to find rest and sleep. Amen. (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READING ON HOPE
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart, (Hebrews 12:1-3, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER FOR COPING
Lord God, I am finding it difficult to manage my life, to maintain some control over what is happening to me. My expectations are constantly being challenged. My needs are being met, but often only when the staff has time for me. I detest this lack of control. I grow frustrated and even impatient. Help me to realize that all that is being done is in my best interest. It may not happen as orderly as I would like, but things are happening. Help me to do what I can for myself and learn to move with patience through the process before me. Amen. (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READING ON ASSURANCE
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
There is a river whose streams make
glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
'Be still, and know
that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.'
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge, (Psalm 46, NRSV, Selected). (return to top)
A PRAYER ON RECEIVING BAD NEWS
The news isn't good, God. It is not what I hoped or longed for. I am fearful and uncertain about the future. I am concerned for the members of my family and friends and how they will accept this news. I want to protect them, but it would be better for all of us to have as clear a picture of the future as is possible. It would really help me to be able to talk about my fears and my future. May people be able to understand my needs so that we may comfort one another. Amen (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READINGS ON PRAISE
I will extol you, O LORD, for you
have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever, (Psalm 30, NRSV). (return to top)
patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
Happy are those who
make the LORD their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted, (Psalm 40:1-5, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER ON RECEIVING GOOD NEWS
O God, what a relief. I have been waiting for answers not knowing what they might be. This has created lots of anxiety. Now, with the good news, it is like a giant weight has been lifted from my soul. In the midst of my distress you comforted and sustained me. I am grateful for the love and concerns expressed by family and friends. Please accept my gratitude and praise. Please, continue to sustain me my whole life long. Amen. (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READINGS ON LIFE, NOW AND FOREVER
And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a onento those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. We know that we are God's children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life, (1 John 5:11-20, NRSV). (return to top)
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs awaynand the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father's hand, (John 10:11-18, 27-29, NRSV) (return to top)
A PRAYER WHEN DEATH APPEARS IMMINENT
Remember me, O God, stand by me as you did with Jesus, when he was on the cross and cried out with a loud voice, and said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. I, too, have no one else to turn to. The medical staff have done all they could. There is nothing more to be done. I face the darkness of death knowing that there is a bright morning of new life before me. Sustain me in these last moments. Help me to bear them with courage and serenity. Help me to help others bear the grief of my passing. May we all see beyond the moment to the grand reunion which awaits all your faithful children. Amen. (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READING OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING
O sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the LORD, O
families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Worship the LORD in holy splendor;
tremble before him, all the earth, (Psalm 96:1-9, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER BEFORE GOING HOME
It's a relief, God, to be going home. I realize that it will take some time to get all the parts of life moving in the same direction. I am grateful for all that has been done for me by my family, friends and the medical staff to make this day possible. I am forever grateful to you for your love and the comfort that your presence has provided. God, stay with me in all the circumstances of my life. You help to make life brighter and more cheery. You help to create a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving that lets me raise my voice in joyful praise to you and to all who have helped me. Amen. (return to top)
A HEALTHY PHILOSOPHY
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, 'or your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 8:31-39, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER DURING RECUPERATION AT HOME
God, sometimes I try and do too much. I want to get moving and do all the things that I did before this episode in my life. I get cranky and upset when things do not go the way I think they should. Help me to work the program. Help me to live within my mental and physical resources. Help me to be sensitive to the work that others are doing for me, and express appreciation. Help me to be cheerful in the recovery process so that I may also lift the spirits of others as you have lifted my spirits. I know that, in time, things will all come together again. Help me to use the time wisely and well. Amen. (return to top)
SCRIPTURE READINGS ON THE GOD WHO HEARS AND IS NEAR
Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11, NRSV). (return to top)
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you, (Philippians 4:5-9, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER FOR ONE AT BEDSIDE
I love my family, God, and they are so concerned for my welfare. They have spent a lot of time with me trying to cheer me up and to make my stay here a little better. Be close to them in their thoughts of you and me. Share with them your love and comfort as you have shared them with me. Help them to remain alert and so be safe in their travels to and from this place. May we all find a deeper love and friendship and relationship with you and with one another. Amen. (return to top)
MANAGING IN A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
You who live in the shelter of the
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the LORD, 'My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.'
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you, (Psalm 91:1-7, NRSV). (return to top)
A PRAYER WHILE LIVING IN A STRANGE LAND
God, I am in a strange land. It's not where I want to be. My self-reliance is reduced, and I am so dependent on other people. It's a big adjustment. Be with me and help me to remain optimistic, kind and considerate. There is a lot to do here. May I be courageous in moving out of my room to become acquainted with new friends, to exercise my mind and body, and to adjust to these new surroundings. Help me to use what physical, mental and spiritual resources I have to benefit myself and others. Amen. (return to top)
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen, (Ephesians 3:18-21, NRSV). (return to top)
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word, (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NRSV). (return to top)