Category Archives: Prayer

Women of Easter

Presbyterian Women of the Synod of Lincoln Trails invites you to our 2024 Lenten Series: Women of Easter, a three-part Zoom session at 6:30pm CT/ 7:30pm ET on Tuesdays during Lent.

  • February 20 — Rev. Cheryl Thorne, topic: Mary of Bethany
  • February 27 — Rev. Kat Hatting, topic: Mary of Nazareth
  • March 05 — Rev. Macy Ruple, topic: Mary Magdalene

Join us for one or all of these programs presented by Presbyterian Women of Synod of Lincoln Trails!

Register at:

(Internet access is needed for Zoom sessions. There is no cost, but registration is required in order to attend.)

For more information, email

A flyer for the event. The text is the same as above.

A map of the island of Maui, showing the locations of cities, towns, and the boundaries of Haleakala National Park.

Support PDA’s response to Hawai‘i wildfires

“I will say to the Lord, “You are my refuge, my fortress,
and my God in whom I trust!”

Psalm 91:2

As we see the news and hear the stories of the devastating fires consuming parts of Maui, Hawai‘i, our hearts are broken and filled with sadness. Authorities are calling these fires the deadliest natural disaster in state history. More than 2,000 buildings have been significantly damaged – over 80% of those residential homes, with thousands of families displaced – and wildlife habitats have been destroyed, their environment in jeopardy. More than 100 deaths have been confirmed, and sadly, the number keeps increasing.

In collaboration with the Presbytery of the Pacific and its leadership, PDA has been in communication with pastors in the affected communities and elsewhere in Hawai‘i. PDA has already released emergency grants to meet the urgent needs of the communities and to provide immediate care. The magnitude of the event will require the development of long-term projects and assistance, both for the physical and emotional long-lasting effects. Presbyterians from O‘ahu are participating in coordination calls with other nonprofit and faith-based disaster organizations to ensure that no one is forgotten. PDA affirms our commitment to accompany those affected by this disaster. As people of God, once again we are called to stand with our siblings in the “GAP” – Give, Act and Pray.



Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000165, which supports the church’s response to wildfires in the U.S. Gifts can be made online by clicking HERE, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check made payable to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with “DR000165-Hawai‘i” written on the memo line and mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

•    Download and use the bulletin insert
•    Gift of the Heart kits are needed — learn more here.
•    Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources and share updates with your congregation.

As we work together with our colleagues in the United Church of Christ (UCC), who have many churches on Maui, we share a prayer from the Rev. Dr. David K. Popham, UCC Hawai‘i Conference minister

Please join us in prayer, e pule k?kou:

It came so fast God, relentlessly driven by winds and we were so vulnerable. Escaping with the clothes on our backs. Lives in tatters. Homes gone. Businesses gone. Jobs gone. Lives lost. Where do we go to even raise our prayers when our hale pule became a burnt victim to the ravages of the fire? There is so much loss, so much that one day was there and is now ashes. Comfort us in our tears and carry our heavy hearts in our time of sorrow.

Eventually Ke Akua, our energy will turn to rebuilding our homes, our businesses, our jobs, our lives. Walk with us during the long recovery that lies ahead. We will become frustrated by bureaucratic red tape and supply chain delays and price gouging. We will fume and shake our fists and we will cry even more tears. Yet, the journey will not be as overwhelming with you by our side.

Bless O God, those fighting these wildfires and those fires yet to come during this dry season. Grant wisdom and insights to our government officials—county and state—as they navigate how best to administer the government response. Lift up on wings our pastoral leaders as they give spiritual nurture to those depleted by these fires.

May we root ourselves in you God, knowing your Spirit groans with ours. Grant us succor in this time and in the days ahead. ‘Amene.

Tornado Damage in Sullivan & Martinsville

The following is adapted from the Prayers of the Presbytery announcement sent by the Rev. Susan McGhee on Sunday, April 2, 2023.

Another news article, Tornadoes damage PC(USA) churches and destroy homes in the presbyteries of Ohio Valley and Arkansas, was published by PCUSA on 4/4/2023.

In Sullivan, where the Rev. Dawn Black serves as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, one hundred fifty homes in town and another fifty in the county were destroyed as a (preliminary) EF-4 tornado swept through the area (the church building was not damaged). Peak winds were 155 miles per hour during the storm that traveled 8.94 miles. As of Sunday evening, there where three confirmed fatalities and at least 300 displaced residents.

In Martinsville, an EF0 tornado with wind gusts of up to 85 miles per hour traveled through the areaThe Rev. John Erickson serves as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, which sustained considerable damage, ripping the steeple from the building and sending debris into the sanctuary.

The Rev. Susan McGhee, Executive Presbyter, has contacted Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), and a National Response Team is being deployed. She will meet with the leaders of that team Wednesday through Friday to tour the affected areas, offer support to pastors and people, and work on next steps.

Monetary support is always helpful at times like this, as it can quickly be sent to where it is most needed. Gifts can be made to the Presbytery of Ohio Valley marked “disaster assistance” and mailed to
Presbytery of Ohio Valley
P.O. Box 7003
Bloomington, IN 47407

A grieving and shocked community gathers to pray

First Presbyterian Church of Uvalde, Texas, holds a moving hybrid prayer service

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service
Rev. Gini Norris-Lane, standing at the pulpit.

The Rev. Gini Norris-Lane, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Uvalde, Texas, opens a prayer service on Tuesday. (Screenshot)

LOUISVILLE — More than 200 people gathered online along with members and friends of First Presbyterian Church of Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday evening for a moving and powerful prayer service on the day following the shootings at Robb Elementary School in that community. View the 50-minute service here.

FPC’s pastor, the Rev. Gini Norris-Lane, told those gathered in person and online that “we come tonight because as those who follow Jesus, we don’t know what else to do but to gather in prayer.”

“This space is one of prayer, one of offering our hearts, our lives and the heaviness, worry, grief, confusion and shock — it’s to offer all that to God,” she said. “Even as we cry out, ‘We don’t know for how long, O Lord? What happened?’ We don’t understand, but we know God’s heart and God’s presence is large enough to hold all of us, to hold our whole community, all our families — to hold our whole world. I invite you to lift your hearts with me,” she said, “as we are called to worship.”

“It is our tradition to begin worship by remembering our baptism,” Norris-Lane said, pouring water from a pitcher into a baptismal font. “We are God’s beloved people. We know nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We know the spirit of God is poured out upon us … and upon our community. We know the grace and comfort of God welcomes us home.”

Then Norris-Lane prayed: “God of comfort and assurance, tonight we acknowledge our fear and our hurt and our worry. We pray for protection and yet we feel vulnerable. We live with hope … and yet we search for forgiveness … Even as we stand in the valley of the shadow of death, we are your people, gathered yet broken, forgiven and forgiving, searching, striving, hoping, praying, wondering. Sit with us in the midst of our hurts and our heartbreak. Guide us in these moments as we pray and in the days ahead, that we might do your will here on Earth as it is in heaven.”

Norris-Lane recalled preaching the Sunday before on Jesus’ words recorded in John 14:23-29: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’”

“This gift of peace is not given only when things are going well,” she said. “This gift is not given only when we can understand it or strive to make it happen. This gift of peace is a gift, as God’s grace is a gift, as the community of faith is a gift. And so, friends, this night, may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Those gathered in the sanctuary and across the country responded, “And also with you.” Worshipers in the sanctuary exchanged Christ’s peace with one another.

The Rev. Sallie Watson, general presbyter for Mission Presbytery, read selections from Psalm 25 the old fashioned way: Watson said a line and had those gathered repeat the line. Among the verses cited:

“Let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.”

“Relieve the troubles of my heart and bring me out of my distress. Consider my affliction and my troubles and forgive my sins.”

“It is in God’s presence we take refuge, isn’t it?” Norris-Lane said. “I wish we didn’t have to, not in this way. And yet I am also deeply grateful that when things like this happen, our refuge is found underneath God’s wings.”

She asked those present how many had received text messages asking how they are or whether everybody they know is OK. “How many … have shared anguish and anger and sadness and shock and confusion?” A ministry colleague shared three Bible passages with her, including Psalm 34:18, which promises God’s salvation for those crushed in spirit. “Friends … we know a community right now where the heaviness of this feels like a weight that’s going to flatten us some moments,” she said. “We lean into faith that God does heal the brokenhearted.”

John 14:1-4 was also shared with Norris-Lane. We have “the tools to find the way” and “a God who hears us whether we rage” with words not suitable for church “or whether we just don’t have the words. We have a God who knows and hears and holds — and more than that, we have a God who came to be with us,” she said. “Jesus understands sorrow and suffering. Jesus understands crying out to God with honest words … We have a God who understands, but more importantly is with us and was with every person in that school [Tuesday] and is with every family yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“When you forget, take a breath,” Norris-Lane suggested, “for God in Jesus is as close as our very next breath, even when we can’t grasp what that means.”

The final verse shared was Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

“Hopefully, friends, there will be solutions for communities and schools to be safe,” Norris-Lane said. “But honestly, as the pastor of this place, what I want to say tonight to all of you is that path is down the road a little ways. Tonight we gather to comfort one another, to grieve, to pray and to question … What I know is the power of coming together in community reminds us that as the people of God, we not only rejoice together, but we grieve together. We suffer together. We hold onto each other together.”

Those in the sanctuary were invited to write their prayers on slips of paper for Norris-Lane and two colleagues in ministry to pray aloud. Among them:

  • Blessings on all the medical professionals who have served during this tragedy
  • Prayers for children and the burden they will carry for the rest of their lives
  • All teachers and students heading into the summer with heavy hearts instead of joy
  • For caregivers to keep going
  • For three people who lost loved ones
  • For teachers who want nothing more than to keep their kids safe and to send them home to their families
  • For God’s peace for all of Uvalde
  • For wisdom for parents on how to walk this road with our children, including what to say and how to say it
  • The strength to love our enemies
  • For the older folk in the community who sense that life in Texas and in the nation has changed dramatically. “Hear them and us,” Norris-Lane asked God, “as we wonder how we can breathe hope again.”
  • For God’s Spirit “to break in to provide all that we need and even more.”

“No matter where you go this night or who you are with, know that you are not alone,” Norris-Lane said during her benediction. “No matter whether you have the words to pray or you struggle to find them, know you are heard. And know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are held in God’s love and wrapped in God’s care and given God’s grace just for the moment ahead — every single moment.”

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

2022 Prayer Partners in Presbytery of Ohio Valley

The Prayer Partners chart for the year and information for the month of February are now available! They can be downloaded from the Presbytery of Ohio Valley website using the following links:

Beginning with this year, the presbytery office will be responsible for gathering and distributing the monthly Prayer Partners information. As we got started, we found it necessary to shift the calendar forward by a month in order to allow us the time to adjust to this change; therefore you will see that the chart begins with February, and some churches may be positioned in a different month than usual this year, but we were still able to fit in all churches that are due to be part of this year’s cycle.

The monthly Prayer Partner information will continue to be posted for download on the Prayers of the Presbytery webpage.

Submissions for churches should be sent to This address goes to both myself and Stephanie Worden. In order to distribute the monthly Prayer Partners info in a timely manner, we will need to have the information by the 10th day of the month that precedes the month in which your church/organization is listed. We just need a paragraph or two telling a little about your church or organization – size and activities, location and neighborhood, special programs, history, and anything else that would help others in the presbytery get a better sense of who and where you are. Also send us any joys you’d like to share or prayer requests for your church activities or programs.

Thank you,
Rhonda Seymour

Columbia Seminary Faculty Contribute to “American Values, Religious Voices”

Decatur, GA—Three faculty from Columbia Theological Seminary will participate in a new initiative called “American Values, Religious Voices.” The project has been described as: a national nonpartisan campaign that brings together 100 scholars from a diverse range of religious traditions to articulate core American values that have grounded our nation in the past and should guide us forward at this time of transition. For the first 100 days of the new administration, the organizers will send a one-page letter, each written by one of the 100 scholars, to President Trump, Vice-President Pence, Cabinet Secretaries, and Members of the House and the Senate. The letters offer insight and inspiration drawn from the collective wisdom of our faith communities and their sacred texts.

Columbia Seminary scholars include Dr. William Brown, the William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament; Dr. Raj Nadella, Assistant Professor of New Testament; and Dr. Ryan Bonfiglio, Lecturer in Old Testament. The full group of 100 scholars come from a range of religious backgrounds: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sikh. The Christian scholars are Catholic, Evangelical, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Orthodox, Mormon, and Quaker. The Jewish authors come from the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox Jewish communities. The contributors are rabbis, ministers, a Buddhist nun and a Catholic Sister, ordained clergy and active laypeople in houses of worship nationwide.

When asked what questions will be addressed in the letters, Dr. Bonfiglio responded, “Each one will address a different question. Generally, all of the scholars were asked, ‘What issues animate you at this particular moment in our nation’s history? What passages from your religious tradition have you been thinking about in the wake of the election? How does your religious heritage speak to the matters that concern you most? What message–rooted in the texts you study and teach–would you most like to deliver to our national leaders and to a wider interfaith audience?’ My letter will reflect on ‘Who exactly is our neighbor?’”

“The intersection of politics and faith can be a challenging place,” stated Dr. Bonfiglio reflecting on the importance of the discussion, “but this initiative is thoughtfully designed and may provide an enriching resource for those in our country looking for a higher level of dialogue about such things.”

“This political season has been bruising and vicious, and has uncovered deep cultural divisions,” said Dr. Leanne Van Dyk, President of Columbia Theological Seminary. “I am proud of the many constructive ways our faculty, and even our students, are engaging the culture around them in an effort to transform our communities for God’s purposes.”

Immediately following the Inauguration, a new letter is being posted each day at All of the previous letters will be archived there as well.

Columbia Theological Seminary is “Cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

New Daily Prayer app from PC(USA)

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) launches first smart phone application

Presbyterian Mission Agency

Associate, Mission Communications

On this Reformation Day, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) launches its first smart phone application—an iPhone/iPad app for daily prayer.

Screen shot of P:C(USA) daily prayer app on iPhoneDaily Prayer PC(USA) provides brief services for daily prayer based on the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship, including psalms for the day, readings from the daily lectionary, and prayers of thanksgiving and intercession.

At this time, the app provides liturgies for morning and evening prayer, automatically selecting the appropriate service and lectionary readings based on the time and date settings of your iPhone or iPad. Future versions will include midday prayer and prayer at the close of day.

Features include

•     a calendar tool, allowing you to find psalms, readings, and prayers for other dates;

•     the clock icon, which enables you to select morning or evening prayer, overriding the current time of day;

•     an “advanced features” menu that lets you toggle on/off various options and select between two versions of the Lord’s Prayer; and

•     a brief tutorial, providing information about the practice of daily prayer and instruction on using the app.

The price for the app is $2.99. Proceeds will be used for the development of additional electronic resources for prayer and study. You can find the app here or by searching the iTunes App Store for “PC(USA) daily prayer.”

For more information, you may also visit the daily prayer website or sign up for the newsletter. Stay tuned for updates, including an Android version of the app.

“Our hope is that God will bless, preserve, and keep us in the practice of daily prayer through this app,” says David Gambrell, associate for Worship for Presbyterian Mission Agency. “How appropriate on Reformation Day that we offer the church a new way to engage an ancient practice of faith.”