The Sixth Sunday of the Easter Season    May 14, 2023   

known, liturgically, as Rogate Sunday  (“Pray”)


Great Advice for Godly Mothers  (and the rest of us) on Mother’s Day (or any other day)

            Once upon a time there were four scholars arguing over Bible translations.   One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beautiful, eloquent old English.   Another said he preferred the New American Standard Bible for its literal treatment of the text.   A third man said he preferred the New International Version, because it was translated into the kind of English spoken today.   After giving the matter more thought, the fourth scholar said, “I have personally always preferred my mother’s translation.”  When the others chuckled, he responded, “Yes, she translated it!   She translated each page of the Bible into life.   And hers was the most convincing translation I ever read.”

            Christian women (as well as Christian men and children) can do that with God’s Word…..As the Holy Spirit enables them they can translate it into life — into words and actions that show the light of faith and love of God is at work in them……They don’t always do it perfectly, because Christians are sinners who still each day need Christ’s forgiveness and His divine guidance, but they do desire to grow in God’s grace and in more godly living, and so they live for their Lord..

            That having been said, we also want to state from the very beginning of our worship today that we will not be “glorifying” womanhood, as such…..but thanking God for the gift of Godly Women, Wives, and Mothers….and encouraging them to live for their Lord among us, motivated not by guilt, or our gratitude, but by the grace of God that not only gifts them with their various abilities and opportunities to serve, but which has especially “gifted” them with Christ’s forgiveness and a guaranteed place in heaven through faith in that same Savior.  And so we can say today that our message and service emphasis, while using the example of Godly women and offering instruction for them, certainly can be applied quite easily to the kind of conduct and character that the Lord wants to see coming forth from Christian men and Christian children too.  In other words, we can all learn today!

            The Scripture lessons that will be central to our worship today — and our worship should always be Biblically based — begin with our Old Testament Lesson from Proverbs 31.   Here we’ll consider the many praiseworthy qualities of “the woman of noble character.”   Notice that the emphasis here is not on a woman’s outward beauty, but on the inner-woman, whose heart is faithful and attentive to the needs of her family and friends, who works industriously, has a positive reputation in the community, is trusted and honored by those she serves, but especially “who fears (believes in) the Lord.”  May our gracious God endow all our women, wives, and mothers with the admirable character traits and talents of “the woman of noble character,” but we particularly pray that He will continue to bless and strengthen their faith in Him. 

            In this morning’s Epistle Lesson James urges his readers to pray faithfully and confidently for those who are sick, as well as in confession of their sins.   Further, using the prayers of Elijah as an example, he reminds us that God powerfully blesses the prayers of faithful, believing prayers. 

            This morning’s Gospel Lesson  actually gave us the traditional name for this Sunday (“Rogate” — Latin for “ask”….in bold type).  Here Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray by giving them the Lord’s Prayer (notice that Luke’s version is abbreviated compared to the “more complete” version found in Matthew 7). He also urges us to be persistent and confident in our prayers through the commands:  “Ask, Seek, and Knock.”   Finally, our Savior reminds us that the Father wants to (and will) give good gifts to all those who ask Him.    (I wonder….. Do we — as individuals and as a congregation — lack because we don’t ask?).

            Both our Children’s Lesson and today’s Sermon Text are taken  – in my opinion – from one of the more endearing stories in all Scripture:  the story of Hannah.   She was a devout woman who was seemingly unable to have children, yet she prayed to the Lord for the blessing of motherhood, and she was made a mother through a “miracle birth” (can you name any other “miracle births” from the Bible?).   On this combination of “Mother’s Day” and “Prayer Sunday” we’ll use Hannah’s story both to talk about the blessings and responsibilities of being part of a Christian family, as well as the privilege and promise of prayer.    Hannah appropriately named her son Samuel (“asked of God”)……recognizing him as the gift of God that he was.   Our children, too, are gifts from God – as well as precious souls who need our continuing prayers and spiritual support.    Hannah – in an amazing display of gratitude and commitment – subsequently gave her son back to the Lord as a thank-offering.   And Samuel, in turn, lived in the temple of the LORD and served Him his entire life.   She recognized, as we also ought to, that children are not only a blessing from the Lord, but a sacred trust given to us…….indeed, they are not “our” children, but children of God to be raised responsibly by us so that they might grow up to be faithful servants to the Lord – just as Samuel faithfully served His Lord and ours.


The Use and Misuse of Prayer in our lives

            As Hannah will show us today, the practice of prayer should be a “signature” element of every Christian’s life.  In fact, as an old Christian hymn states,  “Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, the Christian’s native air.”  It’s every bit as important to our spiritual nature as breathing is to our physical nature.  Accordingly, prayer should never be used simply as a last resort, when everything else has  failed.  Nor should we pray only when we are in trouble or need.  And we should not employ prayer merely as a spiritual “distress signal.”   Such attitudes and approaches to prayer do not do justice to such a sacred exercise, nor do they bring due honor to our God  Who invites us to approach Him and speak to Him in prayer.  


Rogate Sunday and its Emphasis on Prayer

            Today, then, in addition to our thanking God for His gift to us of Godly Mothers, wives and women……a major part of our worship emphasis will be on the spiritual discipline, special power, and privilege of prayer.  And we couldn’t pick a more appropriate day to do so.  According to the historic/traditional “Church Calendar,” today is known as “Rogate” Sunday, while the three days which after it (up to Ascension Day, which is this coming Thursday) have been traditionally referred to as “Rogation Days.” 

            “Rogate” is the Latin word for “ask,” which is found in the ninth verse of our Gospel Lesson for this morning (a summary of that lesson comes later in this “worship focus”).   The custom of  “Rogate Sunday/Rogation Days” originated way back in 466 A.D. when there was great social and physical distress throughout Christian Europe, because of a number of earthquakes and other natural disasters.  Bishop Claudius of Vienna decreed that the first three days before the festival of the Ascension that year should be set aside as a period for special prayer by the Church, calling upon God to remove the sufferings of His people.   Gradually this custom found its way into other places, so that by the year 591 it had become an annual, church-wide practice.   Even to this day, it is often used as a time during which Christians are encouraged to spend a longer-than-usual amount of time praying especially that the Lord would bless their land, safeguarding it from famine and their crops from pestilence.   As a way of participating in that age-old tradition, and quite possibly as a means of enhancing your prayer practices, in today’s bulletin we have included a folder of “Daily Prayer Suggestions”.   I hope that you will use this prayer-tool not only this week, but on a continuing basis as you pray for your fellow members, our congregation’s leadership and ministry, our Wisconsin Synod, our government, and our spiritually weak and unbelieving friends. 


And finally, a brief bit of background information

regarding our national observance of Mother’s Day

            Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948) first suggested the national observance of an annual day honoring all mothers because she had loved her own mother so dearly.  At a memorial service for her mother on May 10, 1908, Miss Jarvis gave a carnation (her mother’s favorite flower) to each person who attended. Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honor mothers gained popularity, and Mother’s Day was observed in a number of large cities in the U.S.  On May 9, 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. He established the day as a time for “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” By then it had become customary to wear white carnations to honor departed mothers and red to honor the living, a custom that continues to this day.


Pre-Service Prayer  Heavenly Father, as Your Son’s disciples once asked, so I ask You this morning, “Please teach me how to pray.”  As I hear and meditate on Your Holy Word today, which speaks about the privilege, opportunities, and effectiveness of prayer, lead me to grow in my confidence toward Your promises regarding prayer.   Assure me that You will always listen to my petitions and faithfully answer them in the ways that are best for my body and especially for my soul.  Lead me to pray more humbly, more trustingly, more consistently, and more gratefully from this day forward.   And Lord, as I pray, guide me always to seek not my will, but that Your will be done in my life.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Savior and Mediator, I pray.   Amen.



The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version 

Copyright 2019,   The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.

Used with permission.     Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831



Pre-service prayer                                                                                                                   Pre-worship music


Let Us Praise The Lord


Welcome and Invitation to Worship


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation   


Pastor   We begin this service in the name of the Father


Congregation  Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.


     P:         And of the Son

     C:         Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.

     P:         And of the Holy Spirit

     C:         Who gave us eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.

     P:         Amen!


Our Psalm for Today                                                                            Psalm 86:1-13


Pastor Turn Your ear,  O Lord.   Answer me, for I am poor and needy.


Congregation  Guard my life,   +   for I am favored by You.     +   You are my God.    +   Save Your servant who trusts in You.


P   Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to You all day long.

C  Bring joy to the soul of Your servant,    +    for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.


P   Indeed, You, Lord, are good and forgiving, and abounding in mercy to all who call to You.

C  Give ear to my prayer, O Lord.    +   Pay attention to the sound of my cries for mercy.    +    In the day of my distress I will call to You,   +     because You will answer me.


P   There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord.   There are no deeds like Your deeds.


C  All the nations You have made will come.   +    They will bow before You, O Lord;     +    And they will give glory to Your name.


P   Because You are great and do marvelous deeds;  You alone are God.

C  Teach me Your way, O Lord, +   and I will walk in Your truth.

P   Give me a wholehearted commitment to fear Your name.

C  I will thank You, O Lord my God, with all my heart;     +   and I will glorify Your name forever.


After which, the Congregation will be seated for

Today’s Opening Hymn                                                                Hymn 478  “With the Lord Begin Your Task”


1 With the Lord begin your task;       Jesus will direct it.   For His aid and counsel ask;       Jesus will perfect it.

Ev’ry morn with Jesus rise,       And when day is ended,   In His name then close your eyes;       Be to Him commended.


2 Let each day begin with prayer,       Praise, and adoration.    On the Lord cast ev’ry care;       He is your salvation.

Morning, evening, and at night       Jesus will be near you,    Save you from the tempter’s might,       With His presence cheer you.


3 With your Savior at your side,       Foes need not alarm you;    In His promises confide,        And no ill can harm you.

All your trust and hope repose       In the mighty Master,    Who in wisdom truly knows       How to stem disaster.


4 If your task be thus begun       With the Savior’s blessing,    Safely then your course will run,       Toward the promise pressing.

Good will follow ev’rywhere       While you here must wander;    You at last the joy will share       In the mansions yonder.


5 Thus, Lord Jesus, ev’ry task        Be to You commended;    May Your will be done, I ask,        Until life is ended.

Jesus, in Your name begun       Be the day’s endeavor;    Grant that it may well be done       To Your praise forever.


after which the Congregation will rise for

Hear Us and Forgive Us, Lord

Pastor –     “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.    

Congregation          “And also with you.”

Pastor    “God invites us to come into His presence and worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness.

Congregation     “Holy and most merciful Father,     I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions; Each day I turn away from Your Will.    I have left undone those

things which You have asked me to do,   and I have done those things which You tell me not to do.    I do not love You or my neighbor the way I should.     Because of these,    and all of my other sins,    too numerous for me to recall,      I acknowledge that I deserve nothing less than Your punishment      both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for the evil that I have thought, spoken, and done,     and trusting in the perfect life,   and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray:    Lord, forgive me all my sins,      restore to me the joy of Your salvation,   and strengthen my weak faith through the promises of Your divine Word     that I may obtain Your promised grace.

Pastor           “Find comfort for your souls, then, in these words of our Lord:   “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just,  and will purify us from all unrighteousness,  because we have One Who speaks to the Father in our defense —

Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.   We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”   And now, upon this, your voluntary confession,  I, because of my office as a called servant of God’s Word,  announce the grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place of, and according to the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   May the peace of God be with you.  Amen.”

Our Response To God’s Forgiveness

                       ALL sing:                                                         to the tune of “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”


All praise, eternal Son, to Thee    For Thy forgiveness, full and free,

He, who by grace, this truth believes     The blessings of Christ’s love receives


Praise God the Father, God the Son      And God the Spirit,   Three in One,

As ’twas, is now, and so shall be      World without end,  eternally!     Amen.

Today’s Prayer

Almighty God, Heavenly Father, +    Every day we experience situations and circumstances in our lives   +  about which we cannot seem to make any sense.   +      Try as we might to understand what is happening and why….   +   we often end up becoming confused, frustrated,   +   and even upset over the course our lives take.    +   We’ve foolishly dared  to think   +    that we could  competently manage our lives  – as if we actually could      even though we know  deep down   +   that You alone have the right   +   and the ability to direct the affairs of our lives.     +    Help us to repent of our arrogance,   +   as well as the times when we have been dissatisfied with Your leadership of our lives.     +     Instead, give us a greater portion of Your Holy Spirit,   +   that our faithfulness toward You   +   and our trust in You might increase.      +     Here and now, we recommit ourselves to Your perfect will and ways…….no longer challenging or complaining about Your leadership;   +   instead, may we be ever-confident of Your guidance now   +   and Your guarantee of heavenly glory one day……+    through faith in Your one and only Son,   +  our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,  +   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit +   as the One true God,   +   for ever and ever.   +    Amen.

after which the Congregation may be seated as

We Give Our Attention to God’s Word

The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                     Proverbs 31:10-31


10 Who can find a wife with strong character?  Her value is greater than that of gems.   11 Her husband’s heart trusts her, and he never lacks wealth.   12 She does good for him and not evil all the days of her life.  13 She obtains wool and flax.  She eagerly works it with her hands.  14 She is like merchant ships.   She brings her food from far away.  15 She rises while it is still night.  She gives food to her household.  She gives their share to her female servants.  16 She considers a field and acquires it.   From her own income, she plants a vineyard.   17 She wraps strength around her waist like a belt, and she makes her arms strong.   18 She realizes that she makes a good profit.  Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She stretches out her hands for the distaff,  and the palms of her hands grasp the spindle.

     20 She opens the palm of her hand to the oppressed, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.  21 She does not fear for her household on account of snow, because her entire household is clothed in scarlet clothing.  22 She makes bedspreads for herself.  Fine linen and purple cloth are her clothing.   23 Her husband is known at the city gates, where he sits with the elders of the land.  24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and she delivers belts to the merchants.  25 Strength and honor are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come.  26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and kind instruction is on her tongue.  27 She keeps a close eye on the conduct of her household, and she does not eat bread that she did not work for. 28 Her children rise up and bless her.  Her husband rises up and praises her:  29 “Many daughters show strong character,  but you have surpassed all of them.”

     30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vapor that vanishes,  but a woman who fears the Lord should be praised.  31 Give her credit for the fruit of her hands,  and let her accomplishments praise her in the city gates.

The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                         James 5:13-20

     13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that

 whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

After which, at the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                          Luke 11:1-13

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to

pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come. 3  Give us each day our daily bread,

4  and forgive us our sins,  for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation.”

5 And He said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me

three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

     11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

The Apostles’ Creed


I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.   And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;  Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;  Born of the virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;  Was crucified, dead, and buried;  He descended into hell;  The third day He rose again from the dead;  He ascended into heaven;  And sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.   I believe in the Holy Ghost;  The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;  The resurrection of the body;  And the life everlasting.  Amen.

The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                              I Samuel 1:27-28

27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD.

Our Children:   Asked of God……and Belonging to God



The Hymn of the Day                                                             Hymn 504  “Bless Our Loved Ones, Holy Father”


1 Bless our loved ones, Holy Father;    Hear our anxious prayer;

By your mercy keep them always    In your care.


2 Jesus, Savior, let your presence    Be their light and guide;

Keep, oh, keep them in their weakness    At your side.


3 When in sorrow, when in danger,    When in loneliness,

In your love look down and comfort    Their distress.


4 May the joy of your salvation    Be their strength and stay!

May they love and may they praise you   Day by day!


5 Holy Spirit, let your teaching    Sanctify their life;

Send your grace that they may conquer   In the strife.


6 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,   God forever true,

Bless them, guide them, save them, keep them  Close to you.


Sermon Text                                                                                                                                      I Samuel 1

There was a man from Ramathaim of the Zuphites in the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah. He was the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives. One was named Hannah, and the other was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.   3 Every year this man went up from his city to worship and to offer sacrifices to the Lord of Armies at Shiloh. Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were serving there as priests of the Lord.    4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he gave portions of food to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters, 5 but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved Hannah, but the Lord had kept her from  having children. 6 Hannah’s rival kept taunting her to make her miserable, because the Lord had kept Hannah from having children. 7 Year after year, when Hannah went up to the Lord’s house, her rival taunted her, so Hannah would weep and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why is your heart so sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

     9 Once, when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple. 10 Hannah’s spirit was very distressed, and as she prayed to the Lord, she sobbed and wept many tears. 11 She made a vow and said, “O Lord of Armies, if you will carefully consider the misery of your servant and remember me, and if you do not forget your servant but give your servant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall ever touch his head.”   

     12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli was looking at her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking silently from her heart. Although her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to be drunk? Get away from your wine!”  15 Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman with a very troubled spirit. I have not been drinking wine or beer, but I have poured out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless, wicked woman. I have been speaking like this because of my great misery and because of how I have been grieved.”

     17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel give you what you have asked for.”   18 She said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went on her way. She ate, and her face no longer looked sad.

19 They got up early in the morning and worshiped the Lord. They then returned to their home at Ramah.

     Elkanah was intimate with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel  because she said, “I asked for him from the Lord.”   21 When this man Elkanah and his entire household went up to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, 22 Hannah did not go up with them, because she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned. Then I will bring him, so that he can appear before the Lord and remain there permanently.”

     23 Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do whatever you think is best. Wait until you have weaned him. Yes, then the Lord will establish his word.”  So the woman stayed at home, and she nursed her son until she was ready to wean him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her. She also took a three-year-old bull,  twenty-five pounds of flour, and a container of wine, and she brought him to the House of the Lord in Shiloh. The boy was ?with them. And they brought him before the Lord, and his father killed the sacrifice as he regularly did before the Lord, and he brought? the boy.  25 When they had killed the bull, they presented the child to Eli. 26 She said, “Excuse me, my lord. As your soul lives,  my lord, I am the woman who stood here next to you, praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked for. 28 So now I have also dedicated him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is dedicated to the Lord.” So he worshiped the Lord there.


Godly Lessons About Prayer and About Faith from a Godly Woman

following the sermon the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Post-Sermon Blessing

May the God of peace, Who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, now equip you with everything good for doing His will!  Amen.

We Present our Prayers and Offerings to the Lord

The Offering Hymn                                                                    Hymn 409  “Come, My Soul, With Every Care”

Verse 1    Entire Congregation

Verse 2    Pulpit Side                                      Verse 3    Lectern Side

Verse 4    Males                          Verse 5    Females

Verse 6     (All Rise)        Entire Congregation    


1 Come, my soul, with ev’ry care;   Jesus loves to answer prayer.

He himself bids you to pray   And will never turn away.


2 You are coming to a king–   Large petitions with you bring,

For his grace and pow’r are such,   None can ever ask too much.


3 With my burden I begin:   Lord, remove this load of sin;

Let your blood, for sinners spilt,   Set my conscience free from guilt.


4 Lord, your rest to me impart;   Take possession of my heart.

There your blood-bought right maintain   And without a rival reign.


5 While I am a pilgrim here,   Let your love my spirit cheer;

As my guide, my guard, my friend,   Lead me to my journey’s end.


6 Show me what I am to do;   Ev’ry hour my strength renew.

Let me live a life of faith;  Let me die your people’s death.



The Offering


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.     However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash, please) to our church address   (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745); or

2) You can donate through our website:


The Prayers of the Church


In our Prayers this morning we include:

A Prayer of Intercession on behalf of our brother, Everette Hoins, who is in hospice care at Washington Regional Hospice Center.


A Prayer of Intercession for Warren Eckstein, the step-father of John Luedke;

Warren is recovering from gall bladder surgery in Wisconsin;    and


A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of Marisol and Tim Huebner, who celebrated their wedding anniversary this past Monday;   


A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Lindsay and Ryan Bratton,  who are celebrating their wedding anniversary today.

And also

A Special Prayer for Godly Women, Wives and Mothers on this Mother’s Day 2023


The Lord’s Prayer and Response  


Congregation  Our Father, Who art in heaven,  Hallowed be Thy name;

Pastor       Grant Father, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be proclaimed freely among us and throughout the world, and that we may live holy, Godly lives to the glory of Your name.


C: Thy Kingdom come;

P:  Grant, Father, that the proclamation of the Gospel may bear much fruit, so that large numbers of men, women, and children from every nation and tribe may come to know and believe in Your Son, Jesus Christ.


C: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;

P:  Grant , Father, that we may never forget that it is Your will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.   Grant that we may remember that we are to carry out Your will by being witnesses of Christ to the world.   Father,  may Your will be done through us!


C: Give us this day our daily bread;

P:  Grant, Father, that we may always remember that every good gift is from above and that the earth and all that is in it are Yours.  May we also trust in Your for our daily bread.  Then we will confidently share our blessings with others and return to You a large, generous portion of the gifts You have entrusted to us.


C: And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

P:  Forgive us, Father, for all the times we have given offense and kept others from coming to You.  Forgive us for being so indifferent and cold to Christ’s command to preach the Gospel to every nation.  Forgive us for so frequently forgetting that Christ died for us and that we should no longer live for ourselves, as a result, but for Him who died and rose again for us.  Grant that we may also forgive those who sin against us, love our enemies,  pray for those who persecute us, and do good to those who hate us, that we might, by all means possible, lead some to Christ.


C: And lead us not into temptation;

P:  Grant, Father, that Satan, the world, and our own sinful flesh may not tempt us to neglect the supreme task of the Church.  Grant that we never squander away our time while the world rushes toward Judgement Day;  that we never waste our financial resources on the pleasures and luxuries of this life, and in so doing deny others the Bread of Life.  Heavenly Father, keep us from these and all other temptations.


C: But deliver us from evil;

P:  Protect us, Father, from all harm and danger, but grant that we will always boldly confess our faith in Jesus no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the result may be.


C: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.


We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing




Brothers and sisters, now go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.   And Serve the Lord in gladness.


     The LORD bless you and keep you.

     The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

     The LORD look upon you with favor, and grant you His peace.   Amen.


The Closing Hymn                                                                        Hymn 411 What A Friend We Have In Jesus”


1 What a friend we have in Jesus,    All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry    Ev’rything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,   Oh, what needless pain we bear,   

All because we do not carry      Ev’rything to God in prayer!   


2 Have we trials and temptations?    Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged –    Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful    Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness –   Take it to the Lord in prayer.


3 Are we weak and heavy laden,    Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge –   Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do your friends despise, forsake you?   Take it to the Lord in prayer.

In his arms he’ll take and shield you;   You will find a solace there.


silent prayer, announcements, post-service



Last Week at Grace                                                          Worship Attendance: 62 (Communed 54)   Online: 12

Sunday Bible Class: 25   Online: 5   Sunday School: 4      Tues Bible Class:  12 Wednesday Classes: 4 men    5 women      Budgetary Offerings:  $4677      Online offerings:    $263.23           Capital Improvement: $10


Serving Us NEXT SUNDAY (5-19)           Altar Guild – Katie Boatright, Marilyn Outlaw    Ushers – Tim Huebner, Tom Otto  Video:   Dale Johannes                Elders — Steve Stone, Terry Bruns             Fellowship: Mary Karloski


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church

Today             Choir Rehearsal, 8:40 a.m. Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m      Fellowship 10:45 a.m.

                       Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.                          Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday                     Morning Bible Study, 10:30 a.m.                                                                                       

Wednesday    Men’s & Women’s Bible Studies,   6:00 p.m.      

Thursday                   Ascension Day Worship Service, with Communion,  7 p.m.                                             

Friday      Women’s Group Rummage Sale

Saturday        Women’s Group Rummage Sale

Sunday           Morning Worship with Communion, 9:30 am   Fellowship, 10:40 am    Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 am


Birthday & Anniversaries Last Week and This Week    May 07 – Ben Quinlan             May 08 – Marisol and Tim Huebner   May 09 – Sadie Huebner;          May 11 — Terry Bruns;      May 12 – Ryan and Lindsey Bratton;      May 12 — Rudy Ryskey;     May 20 – Tim Pfortmiller;    May 20 – Jim Taylor


Ascension Day Special Worship Service THIS THURSDAY   … (May 18th  We will be conducting an Ascension Day service, beginning at 7:00 p.m.   The service will include a celebration of the Lord’s Supper.   Please plan to join us for this often-overlooked, but spiritually significant worship service.  


Rummage Sale THIS WEEK…..This coming Friday and Saturday, May 19-20, our women’s group is holding its annual rummage sale.   We would welcome your “treasures” for our sale (please arrange with pastor when to drop yours off).  We also could appreciate any from anyone who is available both to mark and set out the rummage items before the sale, as well as any help from people who are willing to work on either of the rummage sale days.


This Week’s Bible Classes:   

Today: More of Jesus’ Parables (The Wedding Banquet; The Ten Virgins)

Tuesday (10:30-11:30am)   Ecclesiastes…..Getting Ready for Judgment

Wednesday (6-7pm)   Women…Bad Girls of the Bible (Eve)

Men….Finishing a study about Christian Freedom and Adiaphora, and starting a new study on the topic of Worry

Daily Devotions for Your Smart Phone, Computer or Tablet – “What About Jesus” ( is a web site operated by our Synod.  It provides short,  morning devotions sent straight to our smart phones each day via an email address.   Each devotion is Biblically faithful and takes about a minute to read.  They arrive around 4 a.m, so you can start your day with it.   Just go to the web address, and click “Subscriptions” on the top line.   Simply follow the directions from there.   After providing some information to identify you, you’ll be sent an email with directions to complete the sign up process.   It takes a few minutes to sign up, but you’ll be blessed each day by these devotions.


Fellowship Volunteers Needed    Would you be willing to volunteer to prepare after-worship coffee, drinks, and light snacks?   A sign-up poster is on the gymnasium/fellowship hall bulletin board.  We are still in need of additional volunteers to manage our morning fellowship over the next few months.  Reimbursement of $25 per week for expenses is available to help defray costs.  (It comes through our “donation jar.”) 


The Christian And Prayer


     Martin Luther once wrote: “One of, if not THE most difficult of Christian tasks is to pray…..At times, I, who teach this and prescribe it to others, have learned from my own example that praying comes close to being the most difficult of all works.   Prayer is a difficult matter and hard work.   It is far more difficult than preaching the Word.”    …..this from a man who routinely spent three hours daily in prayer.   Just think about that!

     Admittedly, we Lutherans don’t have the enviable reputation of being the world’s most avid and accomplished practitioners of prayer.  Perhaps that’s an unfair judgment, as there certainly is more than one person among us this morning who devoutly prays.   Nevertheless, most of us could pray more often, more earnestly, more Biblically, more efficaciously.     God the Holy Spirit-enabling, one of the effects of God’s Word on the subject of prayer — shared in today’s service and found in this worship flyer – will be to improve, in ways both large and little, the praying lives of all of us.


Prayer in the Bible

When we think of praying and the Bible, we usually think of the book of Psalms.  However the Scriptures overflow with

a wide variety of examples of prayer and exhortations to pray.   The Bible records no fewer than 650 prayers, of which no less than 450 have recorded, specific answers.  Obviously,  through these many Bible prayer encouragements and examples our Lord wants to impress on us not only that Christians ought to be praying people, but that He always hears (and answers) the prayers of His children in the ways that He knows are best.

     For the Christian, Prayer ought to be as automatic, as instinctive as breathing.   The wing of the bird seeks flight.   The fin of the fish demands water.    The instinct of the believer’s heart is to listen to and speak with God.  And just as a wingless bird or finless fish would be a freak of nature, so a “prayerless” believer is unnatural.   Of course, Christians are not the only people who pray.   Others in the world’s various false religions (particularly those in the Middle and Far East) place a tremendous emphasis on the activities of prayer and spiritual meditation.    Yet, because all the other “gods” are idols and He alone is the only true God, our Lord solemnly declares that He will not hear the prayers of any who do not believe in Him.   (Micah 3:4;    Isaiah 59:2)


What Makes a Prayer Pleasing to God?

     First, only prayer addressed to the God of the Bible will be heard (Matthew 4:10).   Consequently today’s “politically-correct, deistic prayers” will never be pleasing to our Lord.   (John 5:23;  I Timothy 2:5,6).   Therefore, as politically “incorrect” as this sounds, here’s the absolute truth:   only Christians can truly pray to God, because only Christians know Who the true God is (Romans 10:2-3, John 5:23)!

     Second, prayer must be offered in Jesus’ name or for His sake (whether nor not one uses the specific phrase is not essential, but certainly one must have this attitude/spirit….see John 16:23).    In essence the Christ is saying “When you go to My Father with something on your mind, tell Him that I sent you.   Then He will listen.”

     Third, the mere motion of the mouth – along with thoughtless recitals of memorized or printed words – does not warm the heart of God at all (Matthew 6:7;   Mark 7:6).  That means we need to be sincere and to truly pay attention to what we are saying (or thinking) when we are praying..

     Fourth, the prime requisite of prayer is “faith.”   No faith… answered prayer.   It’s as simple as that.   Faith, of course, is Spirit-given and is simply trust, or confidence, in the one true God.   (Ephesians 3:12;   Romans 4:19-21;   and Hebrews 11:1).   Furthermore, we ought to pray boldly and confidently – not doubting (James 1:6-7) but firmly believing that our gracious God has both the power and the will to do what we ask…..or often, even better than we can ask or imagine.

     Fifth, all our requests always need to be moderated or superintended by God’s “will,” since our Heavenly Father always knows what is best for us.   Regarding some matters of life and faith, you and I already know from His Word what His will for us is.  For example, it would be inappropriate to pray, “Lord, increase my faith….if it be Your will,” since God clearly wants our faith to grow. On the other hand – and this typically occurs with the material/physical side of our lives – in His Word the Lord doesn’t lay out every detail of His plan for our individual lives.   Therefore, He invites us to bring all our requests to Him in prayer, assuring us that we will receive from Him whatever we ask, when we humbly ask “according to His will”   (I John 5:14;   Matthew 26:39).

     Sixth, don’t forget to have others who are like-minded join with you in your prayers (Matthew 18:19).    God doesn’t expect us to pray in isolation.  That’s why we include prayer, for example, in our public worship services just as the early Christians did   (Acts 2:42).   He wants us to come together with other believers in praise and prayer (Psalm 26:12).   But He also is careful to prescribe with whom we ought to pray and under what circumstances joint prayer can occur.   “Promiscuous prayer” arouses God’s displeasure, not His favor.   Prayer with non-believers is obviously unacceptable to Him.   So is prayer with Christians who are false teachers, lest we give them the impression that their false beliefs aren’t matters of great concern to us – or to God.   Those with whom we can properly pray are fellow believers who are fully like-minded with us in the faith….who share with us a complete, mutual commitment to all the doctrines of the Apostles’ (Acts 2:42), and so, a comprehensive unity in  Biblical teaching (Romans 16:17;   Matthew 7:15;    II John 10-11;    I John 4:1-3;   I Corinthians 1:10).


Prayer Works!

Prayer is a powerful tool for every Christian to use.   Prayer is “efficacious” – that is, it works.  Why?   Because God has

chosen to bind Himself to prayer.   Consider, for example the promises tied to the following passages:   Psalm 50:15:   “Call on me in the day of trouble.   I will deliver you and you will honor Me.”      I Peter 5:7:   Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.”   And  Matthew 7:7:    “Ask and it will be given you!”

     Perhaps the classic passage on the efficacy of prayer is James 5:13-14, 16:   “Is any one of you in trouble?  He should pray.   Is any one happy?    Let him sing songs of praise.     Is any one of you sick?    He should call the elders of the church to pray over him…………….The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

     What good does prayer do?   It loosens the “hands” of God.    It’s really a tragedy of our enlightened age that too many people tend to put more stock in the effectiveness of modern medicine and other modern remedies than they do in the power of prayer.   Christians, by God’s grace, know enough to look behind medicine’s great advances in order to see God’s answering the prayers of His people as they come to Him for healing.


Some hindrances to Prayer’s effectiveness

Clearly, when we fail to pray, God’s hands are tied so that, in a sense, He cannot do for us what His love desires to do for

  1. James 4:2b-3: “You do not have because you do not ask.    When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

     Prayer, however, rarely produces anything close to “slam dunk” results.   In part that’s because God does attach conditions and controls to the privilege of prayer.    Consider John 15:7-8   “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.    This is to My Father’s glory,  you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”     …..  Therefore, the more I listen to Him, the more I can be sure He’ll listen to me.   And so, if sometimes my prayers seem to be ineffective, perhaps I need to consider whether or not the Word of Christ is abiding in me and thoroughly guiding my heart, mind, actions and lips.

     Faithfulness/obedience to the Lord is particularly important as we pray for His help in managing our family, our church associations, and other interpersonal relationships.   Consider these words God speaks to husbands (but applicable to us all)  in I Peter 3:7 :   “Husbands in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”


     James (in chapter 5) uses the story of Elijah and the drought in Israel as an example of efficacious prayer.   He goes on to urge us specifically to confess our sins to one another so that our prayers can work the way we’d like them to.    Perhaps an example would help to better explain this connection between confession and our prayer requests.      Picture a husband and wife having a disagreement.  Emotions become supercharged.   Irrationality finds its way into the discussion and the gap between them grows wider with each verbal exchange.    Suppose that they’re both Christians who love their Lord and respect His Word.    Can you imagine what would happen if the husband were to suddenly say, “Let’s stop arguing and start praying about this instead.”    And if, at that moment, both would remember these words of James (and that each, personally, is a sinner in need of God’s grace), what a positive, cleansing difference that would make in their suddenly strained situation.    “Confess your sins to each other and prayer for each other so that you may be healed.”

     Another consideration:      We live our lives today at such a hectic pace.    But it’s simply not possible for us to secure the spiritual power and peace we need for inspired living if we’re constantly “on the run.”    God tells us, point blank:   “Be still and know that I am God”   (Psalm 46:10).    We all need more quiet time with God than we take….and the fault is ours entirely, with no excuses whatsoever being satisfactory.    Slow down, for the “rest” of your life (and the spiritual health of your soul).

For Whom Should I Pray, Where, and for What Can I Pray?

Scripture’s answer to the first question is:   “For all men”   (I Timothy 2:1)…..from family and friends, to government, to

strangers, to (certainly) our fellow believers (Ephesians 6:18)  en to our enemies and persecutors (Matthew 5:44)

     Where to pray?    Anywhere at all  (Jonah 2:1;   Acts 16:24-25;  Acts 27:35;   Revelation 6:9-10).   Just don’t pray – as some do –  in public for the purpose of being noticed.

     As far as the “for what” goes…..if no one is too inconsequential to pray for, then nothing is too unimportant or insignificant to be included in our prayers   (Ephesians 6:18;   I Timothy 2:1).    Our prayers, therefore, can cover the full range of spiritual and material needs… long, of course, as we’re not asking for the permission to sin.

     Here are a few reasons to pray for others:   1)   To reassure them that they aren’t alone in whatever challenge they’re facing;    2)  Because some people aren’t aware that they are in need;    3)   Because some people are too proud to ask for help……or too humble to impose on you (or others).  But they do appreciate your support when it’s offered;   and 4)    Some people are too physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually weak to continue to carry their burdens alone. 

How to Pray……

     Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact that many people don’t know how to pray freely, easily, and in an uninhibited manner.    Some (the majority?  all?)  among us would be absolutely petrified if they were asked to lead a group in a spontaneous prayer.

    …..and that includes many individuals who attended/graduated from the various elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools of our own church body.

     How do I pray?   There’s no simple, single answer to that question.   However, I would submit to you that there is the distinct probability that when it comes to praying – certainly in group settings, but also during ones’ private time – we formalize things too much.    Now, there’s a place for formal, written-out prayers, just as there is also a need for ex corde (Latin for “from the heart”/spontaneous) prayer.   There’s absolutely nothing wrong with praying from various prayer and hymn books.    At the same time we also should want to heed Luther’s sage advice:   “You may read from the book and learn from it how you should pray, and you will kindle your devotion;   but a prayer must come from the heart spontaneously, without any prepared or prescribed words.”

     In closing, I’d like to offer you these few additional suggestions and observations about how to enhance your prayer life:   1)   Don’t preach when you pray.   Let Scripture (or your conversation) instruct.  When you pray, remember that you are speaking to the Lord…..not to a human audience!    2) Be comprehensive and as specific as you can be in your prayers for others.   When praying, strive for ACTS….Adoration (praise); Confession;  Thanksgiving;   and Supplication (the requests you make).    3)  Personalize your prayers when you’re praying for others.    Pray as though you are the one suffering sickness, financial hardship, whatever… though it is your child who’s ill, your spouse who’s passed away, your leg (or heart) that’s broken.    4)   Don’t forget to pray for yourself…..that the Lord will give you strength to do what is right as well as the right words to say at the right time (both to Him and to the person in need/crisis)…….Romans 8:26 and Matthew 10:19-20;    5)  Pray with patience and persistence, as the persistent widow did in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:1-8).   Finally, 6)  Pray with confidence in God’s competence and commitment to do what is best for those who love Him.   (Romans 8:28;   Ephesians 1:9;   and Genesis 50:20).   And,   7)   Pray that His “Will” will be done……I John 5:14;   Matthew 26:39.