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A Prayer for Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the oldest African American celebration of emancipation from slavery. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, but news of emancipation moved slowly.  Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and the Emancipation Proclamation was not enforced there until two and a half years later, after the Civil War had ended . When the Union army arrived in Galveston, Texas,  on June 19, 1865 announcing that all “slaves” were free in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation that the last slave experienced freedom.  The name of the observance is a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth”, the date of its celebration.  

In 1968, shortly after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, his Poor People’s Campaign held a Juneteenth Solidarity Day, giving the holiday a new prominence in the civil rights movement.  From the late nineteenth century through today, typical Juneteenth celebrations across the country include parades, speeches by African American community leaders, singing of traditional songs such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and dancing.

In honor of the Juneteenth holiday, we offer this Scripture and Prayer for Juneteenth.

Exodus 3:7,9 “ Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings.  The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 

1 Corinthians 15: 57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Liberating God, we offer a prayer of thanksgiving and praise for your hearing the cries of the oppressed.  Bless your name for giving us the victory and freedom over slavery.  We in gratitude unite all of our hearts to reflect on where you have bought us from. As we enter this Juneteenth holiday celebration let us remember all of our ancestors who longed to see this day come. Let us sing songs of joy and celebration.  God thank you for the freedoms we experience, let us not take for granted at what cost we experience it.   May we fill the land with songs of joy and thanksgiving in celebration in remembering your saving grace. 

Oh amazing and gracious God, may we all give a moment of silence to “breathe your breath of life”.  And  In all our times of tribulation and suffering you enabled us to endure, to build character as a people and  May we continue the fight for full liberation for all people, for our indigenous siblings.  Loving Parent, and always grounded in a hope  that did not disappoint. Your abiding love freed us and continues to free us for the sake of your love.  May we as a people begin to heal and be reconciled to each other freely in love and justice. 

Lord, we can’t fully celebrate while others are in need of liberation from poverty and persecution. We cry out on behalf of the families separated at our borders, as children who are detained in cages cry out for their parents. Send your word, oh God to save and free them.

And Lord after a time of celebrating, give us the strength, motivation, fortitude and courage to continue to fight for social justice, equity, and to dismantle all systems of oppression and supremacy. In hopes that we all shall overcome one day.  Amen

Rev. Babette Chatman

University Campus Pastor

A Prayer for Liberation

In this time of crisis as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic people all over the world are experiencing unprecedented social, economic and spiritual challenges. These measures of social distancing and stay-in-hope are proving to be working.  The Apostle Paul wrote in Roman’s 7:21 “I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand.” Last weekend, thousands gathered in Washington, Michigan, Texas, Maryland, Minnesota and California to protest lockdown orders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Some marched with rifles and handguns, wrapped themselves in Confederate flags, carrying posters saying, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Corvid-19”, “No Liberty, No Life”. These public gatherings are all in direct violation of the social distancing orders.  Even as President Donald J Trump via social media tweeted to protesters, “liberate” states where they protested the restrictions and “save your great 2nd amendment”. However difficult sheltering-in-place and social-distancing maybe, it is necessary to save lives especially in the most vulnerable populations.  As many are captive to the hardship caused by Covid-19, today we offer these scriptures and A PRAYER FOR… LIBERATION

John 8:34-36 (NRSV)

 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NRSV)

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom

Let us pray:

Good and gracious God, you are our liberator. We come humbly before you now, El-Shaddai almighty God on behalf of those suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We cry out for freedom.  All- encompassing God, you sent your Son Jesus to proclaim liberty to the captives and recover sight to the blind. We thank you for the insights you give to doctors and researchers who are working tirelessly to combat this disease.  You sent Jesus to set at liberty those who are oppressed.  We pray that those who are in captivity to the sin of racism, ignorance, privilege, greed, anti-blackness, anti-immigrant and imperialism experience true liberation. Compassionate and loving God, thank you that your answer to our loss of freedom has always been your Son and who your Son Jesus sets free is free indeed. For freedom in Christ has set us free. We pray that those in positions of power and influence who confess to be in Christ, provide resources and set at liberty those populations most vulnerable to the coronavirus, Africa-American communities, families and children detained in cages at the U.S. borders and those in the prison compounds.  Lord we pray for an outpouring of your Holy Spirit for where the Spirit is there is freedom. Liberate now oh God your people, who are called by Your Name, to stand firm and to not submit to a yoke of sin. Free us from all the ways that life as we knew it was not beneficial to all people. God of the Resurrected, may we learn to genuinely love and care for one other as you Holy Trinity has genuinely loved us. It is in Jesus the Christ name we pray. Amen


Rev. Babette Chatman

A Prayer for Self Care

“When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life.  Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.” John O’Donohue

Today is the Saturday of Easter week, it is the day in the Christian tradition that Jesus lay in his tomb after he died. It is a day of in-between time.  As the world around us enters further into the COVID-19 Pandemic season there is a need to be mindful of the trauma it is creating. Those on the front lines the first responders, medical professionals, researchers, clergy, essential workers, all are at their point of exhaustion. Their minds, bodies, hearts and souls all carry the negative effects of this pandemic. Stress, worry, sheltering in place, staying home, social/physical distancing, extended hours of screen time, pressures to be productive and the lack of social connections all take their toll on the very being of a person.  Our prayer for everyone is to give themselves permission to be compassionate with themselves and practice SELF CARE. Self care is not selfish, it is necessary to keep your body and soul healthy and whole. It is critical to take time out to nurture yourself, for you, your family, your loved ones and extended community. It is our hope and prayer that this Holy Weekend that time is set aside to focus on the inner being. We offer this scripture and PRAYER FOR SELF CARE…

Mark 6:31 

He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

Let us pray:

Loving and caring God, we lift up this prayer to you for all who are at the point of exhaustion.  You Lord, who knitted us in our mother’s womb who gives rest to the weary we ask now to bless us with the ability to come away with you and rest. Lord in gratitude, thank you for all of their gifts and abilities that are keeping us safe. We pray they find peace of mind and soul. Lord we know that death comes and that too is a heavy burden to carry, we ask that they lay that burden on you, oh Holy one.  We ask that you, great Physician, be a natural part of selfcare. Guide us to meditate on and spend time with You. As you counseled Moses in Exodus 18 that “he would wear himself out because the task was too heavy to care for the people of Israel on his own”. Lord, we can not do this work alone. As some struggle in isolation allow them to feel your presence.

Lord Jesus, help us all to be gentle with ourselves. To monitor the trauma that we take on during this time. Help them, help us to be and stay healthy in mind, body and soul. Lord Jesus, you rose victorious over death, you came that we might have abundant life, we thank you for abundant life, we thank you for abundance rest, we thank you for compassionate selfcare, we thank you for in you we experience resurrection. Thanks be to God. Amen”

Rev. Babette Chatman

A blessing from John O’Donohue “TO COME HOME TO YOURSELF”

May all that is unforgiven in you 

Be released.

May your fears yield

Their deepest tranquilities.

May all that is unlived in you

Blossom into a future

Grace with love.



A Prayer for…Fine Arts Performers

Fine arts performers – visual artists, actors and actresses, spoken word artists, musicians, and dancers—are cultivators and curators of the myriad gifts of God! Through skill and dedication, these talented individuals offer their gifts to educate, to challenge, to inspire, and to entertain. And yet, theaters are empty, art galleries are closed, concert halls are silent, and stages are struck. Today we offer “A PRAYER FOR…FINE ARTS PERFORMERS” as they wait out the coronavirus with the world, their creative crafts bottled up and their livelihoods suspended.

1 Peter 4:10:

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift you each received.” 

Let us pray:

Creative One, God of manifold grace: we rejoice that we are made in your image and instilled with your creative energy and power. We thank you the artists among us who steward your gifts through visual and aural expression for the sake of human inquiry and the exploration of divine beauty. Uphold fine arts performers and all whose livelihoods are entwined with the call to create, to paint, to play, to move, to act. Give purpose and meaning to these wonder-workers in the days of cancelled rehearsals and classes, suspended performances, and closed venues. Bless these, your stewards, and keep them in your grace in these trying times. This we pray in gratitude for your gifts poured out among your people. Amen.       


Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres

April 7, 2020 

A Prayer for Small Business Owners

God has granted each one of us a spirit of wisdom and creativity – and we each express that creativity in different ways. For some, that spirit ignited a passion and drive to pursue something new and unique. As our nation works to battle this pandemic, the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on small business owners and entrepreneurs has been great. Many businesses have been shut down, threatening the well-being and prosperity of business owners and the people they employ. We offer a prayer of thanksgiving for these creative individuals who chased their passion, and for the communities that are working to support them. We pray for continued support from communities so that the dreams, jobs, and income of these small business owners and their employees may be sustained.

Matthew 7:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened to you.”

Let us pray:

Spirit of wisdom, Creator God, we give you thanks for all the ways you inspire your people, the ways you provide for them, and set great paths before them. We are grateful for the many small business owners who felt your creative call and pursued their dreams. Gracious God, we know that you are the sustainer of our dreams, in prosperity and in hardship.

We pray for all those businesses who are suffering hardship because of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. May the communities these businesses serve rally to support them. Provide for all the people being impacted by this economic crisis, O God,  the people employed by these small businesses and the families that are supported by their income. Protect them in this time of economic uncertainty, and fill their spirits with hope. Amen.


Pastoral Intern Sarah Swindall
March 31, 2020


Grace, peace and mercy from God our parent and our Lord Jesus Christ. As we continue to face the rapid and radical challenges created by the effects of COVID-19 we are mindful today of the overwhelming shift it has caused in all our lives without exception.  Around the world we are experiencing many questions and uncertainties of when this will end. With new efforts to get ahead of the pandemic, more drastic measures are required of us all. As the “stay in place” directive creates more time of isolation, parents must adjust to home schooling, while many also work from home.  Educators around the world strive to meet the challenges ever shifting alternative methods of instructing due to the continuation of the unprecedented circumstances. Today we are mindful of those who we entrust with our children and youth and most vulnerable. As they prepare and present alternative forms of instructions in new and innovative ways, we offer this scripture and prayer to all K-12 TEACHERS… 

Isaiah 50:4-5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)


The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

Let us pray:

All wise and knowing God, our great teacher, we thank you for those who accept the vocational call to teach our young. We praise you for their selflessness, their compassion and ability to collaborate with parents. And Lord we acknowledge, you equip teachers with the skill and tools necessary to shape the young minds. To encourage the giftedness of their young beautiful minds. That you bless them to teach the young in the way they should go and trust that that they can do and be whatever they imagine for themselves. You O God created them for this important and necessary work. 

And so, we pray loving God that you in your sovereignty provide all K-12 teachers with the confidence of job security during this time of vulnerability. Their work is not hindered in any way. That you protect them from any exposure to the Covid-19 virus.  That their financial needs are met. Give them the ability to use technology to be the “tongue of their teaching. That they know with all certainty how to sustain the parents who now partner with them in teaching students. Every morning wakens the ear of creativity to help those experience learning as they are taught in new ways.   We pray that no one who during this season assumes the position of K-12 teacher is overcome with feelings of stress or anxiety. May they all without exception be filled with your peace that surpasses all understanding. Bless them to face any doubt and not turn backward at this challenge as only you can Great Teacher, we pray. Amen 

Rev. Babette Chatman

March 30, 2020


A Prayer for…Grocery Store Personnel

In an effort to better combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Wednesday March 25, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, issued an executive order directing all Minnesotan to “stay at home” for  two weeks beginning midnight, Friday, March 27 ending 5:00pm Friday, April 10. There are of course some workers that are exceptions to this directive, workers who are vital during this difficult and challenging time. Today we offer this scripture and prayer for  GROCERY STORE PERSONNEL.

Psalm 90:17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

      Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and prosper for us the work of our hands—
    O prosper the work of our hands!

Let us pray:

Lord God, Jehovah Jireh, our provider, thank you today for the blessing of grocery store personnel. We offer prayers of gratitude for each and every employee that faithfully shows up to work.  Bless them with your presence in every area of the store, the parking lot, and the roads that lead to them. Praise you for the people who station all areas: frozen food, meat, seafood, produce, deli, dairy, health and beauty and the front end. 

May your favor, oh God rest on every cashier, bagger,  stock clerk, butcher, department manager, assistant store manager, manager, executive. Prosper, gracious Lord, the work of their hands and bless their households. Continue to protect them from the evil COVID-19 virus, from every hurt, harm or danger. May they be met with love and kindness from everyone that benefits from their labor. Keep them in your love, light in care we pray. Amen

Rev. Babette Chatman

March 27, 2020


A Prayer for…Healthcare Workers

Across the country amid orders to “shelter in place” and directives to avoid social gatherings (or people altogether!), healthcare workers wake up and ready themselves for the day. They leave the security of their homes and the sanctuary of loved ones to go out into the world as the shadow of COVID-19 looms. Their vocation to serve the wellbeing of the neighbor means putting themselves in danger. Today we offer “A PRAYER FOR…HEALTHCARE WORKERS.”

Revelation 22:2: “On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

Let us pray:

God of healing touch, your revelatory vision for the world teems with life, renewal, and wholeness. By way of this vision, you gift humanity with medical knowledge and the healing arts thus equipping healers among us. In these hours, O God, give courage and resolve to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, lab technicians, medical researchers, office support staff, and all healthcare workers laboring in harm’s way these trying times of coronavirus. Keep them safe as they bear your fruits of healing for the sake of our nation and all the nations of your world. This we pray offering our thanksgiving for all who are called to heal. Amen.  


Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres

Prayer for March 26, 2020


“A Prayer For… First Responders”

For all first responders: police officers, fire fighters, EMTs and paramedics who we lean on in times of crisis and when we need help and protection. For all those who run toward danger for the sake of others and for those who strengthen them, their families and loved ones during this stressful time in our nation and the world. We offer this scripture and prayer for all first responders who have been working tirelessly and selflessly and who meet each day with courage and heart. 

Isaiah 41:13

“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Let us pray: 

Almighty God, you lend your strength  to all those who are there for us in times of crisis, fear, and hurt. You give courage to the first responders who continue to do this important work they are called to do, looking beyond the risk for the sake of those who need your help and protection. We give you thanks for the many ways they give of themselves, their skills, knowledge and help in troubling times. Protect them, o Lord. Extend your shielding hand over them and comfort their hearts when they are tired and heartbroken. 

God, we also lift up prayers of thanksgiving and comfort for the families of first responders and all who support them. Give them hope and courage. Surround them with your loving presence and give them peace when their loved ones run toward uncertainty. All this we pray in your name. Amen. 


Pastoral Intern Sarah Swindall

Wednesday, March 25


Augsburg University Faculty and teaching staff, at our sibling Evangelical Lutheran Church in American colleges and universities, and at all other institutions of higher learning in the Unites States and partners abroad are bearing the stressors of COVID-19 while also striving to meet the challenges of shifting to alternative methods of instructing due to these unprecedented circumstances.  We offer this scripture and prayer to all FACULTY AND TEACHERS as they prepare and present alternative forms of instructions in new and innovative ways.

Deuteronomy 32:2 (NRSV)

May my teaching drop like the rain,  my speech condense like the dew;
like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth.

Let us pray:

All wise God, you who gives seeds to the sower, you who gives gifts of teaching/instruction without repentance we offer this prayer of thanksgiving and encouragement to Augsburg University’s faculty and teachers who are self-less and giving beyond expectations. We offer a prayer of gratitude rain down on their accepting this new challenge of educating our leaders in new ways.  We ask that the fruit of their labor produce students who succeed and flourish like new grass under these unforeseen circumstances.

We also prayer for the well-being of all faculty and teachers that they do not feel stressed, discouraged or defeated during this time. Oh God, be mindful of your gifted “tender plants” as they face these challenges and meet the task at hand. Giving the confidence in their vocational call this season.  Bless them now we pray with the presence of your promised Holy Comforter and Guide. Amen

Rev. Babette Chatman

March 24, 2020