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A Holy Land Prayer Journey Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church

In February 2020, Florida Conference Resident Bishop Ken Carter led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During the trip they visited historic landmarks and walked where Jesus walked while reliving some of the most beloved stories of the Bible. At each site, the group gathered for prayer. The following is an interactive look at their journey complete with photos, videos, and links so you can explore the Holy Land through their eyes.

Prayer from Rev. Danny Bennett

Gracious, Almighty God, You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. We thank you for the gift of this time in which we can walk in the footsteps of Your Son. May Jesus walk with me, and with each of us. We thank you for the gifts of our friends, our families, and our churches who have made sacrifices and created space so that we might be here now. Bless each of them with the gift of your Holy Spirit. Whatever hopes, joys, and anticipations we have carried with us, may they be met and exceeded in the coming days. Whatever anxieties, stresses, or baggage that worries us, may we find peace and comfort. May each of us find ways to be fully present that our eyes would be open to new realities and we find ourselves refreshed, renewed, and revitalized to do the work of the Kingdom to which we have been called. We pray this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A Prayer at Mt. Carmel

by Rev. Emily A. Sterling

Lord, the God of our matriarchs and patriarchs, the God of prophets and judges, the God of countless faithful people who have lived on this land, and the God us, we give you thanks that you are a God who works wonders through ordinary people.

We remember the conviction of Elijah as he called King Ahab and the people to return to relationship with you.

We pray that on this pilgrimage we will return to you with our whole hearts.

We remember the boldness of Elijah as he demonstrated your power to burn up water-soaked wood, stones, sacrifices, soil, and even water.

We pray for the fire of your Holy Spirit to descend upon us here for you are our God and we are your servants.

We remember the belief of the Shunammite woman who knew Elisha as a man of God and who came to this mountain trusting you, God, to heal her son through Elisha.

Give us faith like that of the Shunammite woman. We trust you with our lives and with the lives of our loved ones. Heal us. Heal our relationships.

Open our eyes and ears to the marginalized people who have much to teach us if we will but take the time to see and to listen.

All praise to you, God everlasting. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.

The story of Elijah on Mount Carmel can be found in 1 Kings 18:16-45

Prayer at Caesarea

by Rev. Mary Mitchell

Oh loving and gracious God, we thank You for this beautiful day. Father, we thank You for the opportunity to be in Caesarea. Father, we thank You for these Your people, we pray blessings upon them. We pray blessings upon our leaders. Father, we pray that You meet each and everyone at their point of need this day. Then Father, as we learn the facts of Caesarea, Father, we pray that we don’t lose sight of Your love and of Your grace. God be with us, Holy Spirit lead and guide us in all that we say and do this day. Father, not our will, but Your perfect will be done this day and we will be forever grateful to give You all praise, all honor and all glory. Father, we thank You. In Jesus’ Name we pray and ask it all. And we all said…Amen

Click the button to hear a 5-minute podcast about the rich Biblical history of Caesarea Maritima.

Prayer at Megiddo

by Rev. Juana Jordan

O Ancient of Days, the one who was, is and is to come. The one who has brought us all, safely thus far. From the north, south, east and west we have come, to journey with you. To walk alongside you, behind you and taste the dirt kicked up from your sandals.

We have come searching and wanting. Jesus, we are here!

For here, Lord, you remind us of who you are. You remind us that you are our fortress and strong tower, whose walls cannot be penetrated. In you alone, do we have refuge.

Here Lord, we are reminded of the battles that have been fought and won. And that our name is Victory! Here, we are reminded of the foundations that have been built and destroyed. The ground that has been tilled and overturned. The lives that have been shaped and formed and impacted in your name.

So here Lord, we stand miles from home. To be changed by you. To be enlivened by the stories of you and experience your presence in these Holy places. On Holy Ground, this is where we stand, and we are grateful.

On Holy Ground, this is where you have called each of us and called us out of ourselves to venture into the unknown, the uncomfortable, the uncharted. To come and explore and be open to your leading. To venture into a space with you that reminds us that we are not, nor are our stories one-dimensional, but that like you and on this mountain in which we stand, we are layered. That there is more to who we are and who you are calling us to be, just as there is more to who you are. And Lord, we truly desire to know you. Know the dimensions of who you are. Change us here, Lord! Make us over!

Take us by the hand and sit us at your feet. Make us better pastors, priests and prophets. Take us by the hand and walk us gently through the desert paths. Make us strong enough to withstand the changing seasons. Take us by the hand, Lord and lead us up the highest mountains. As the psalmist says, “Make our feet like the feet of deer so we can stand in the high places.” Take us by the hand, Lord and as you told Jeremiah, make known to us the mysteries you wish to tell us. Take us by the hand and on this pilgrimage blow our minds!

Speak now, Lord, your servants are listening.

Lead now, Lord, your servants are following.

And in doing so may we be transformed, restored, revitalized and refreshed to do the work of you. While we are here, may we take on a new resolve to stand courageously and move fearlessly in your name. While we are here, may there be a new chapter or chapters in the story of each of our lives. While we are here, may our name be changed, our faces all aglow as evidence that we have seen you. While we are here, may you see more of you in us. While we are here, may you be glorified!

This we pray in the name of the one who goes before us, liberates us and calls us his own. Jesus. Amen.

Megiddo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park. Click the video Link below for a tour.

Nazareth

by Rev. Perri Martin

Lord, Creator of all good things. Thank you for the opportunities we have had this day. May this time be food for our souls. May it be with us forever. May we be open to your Holy Spirit’s presence at with in our days. Thank you for this space we are at now. For this place where Christ was conceived, grew up, was nurtured and taught the Word of God. Create something new in our hearts while we are here. May your Word be shared in our churches and talked about in our homes the way they were in yours. Christ was taught more than your Word but was taught tangible LOVE, true gentleness and grace in this space also. May we walk away from here growing in our love, grace and more of your presence because of our deeper encounter with you! Give us health and physical protection while we explore. Give us new friendships and deepen old ones as we take this spiritual journey together. Holy Spirit, invade our hearts like you, fully God and fully human invaded the space and town. Make yourself at home in us. In Christ’s Holy Name we pray, AMEN.

Capernaum Group Prayer

by Rev. Audrey Warren

Lord of Heaven and Earth,

Today our feet meet where yours walked here is Capernaum, some call this your "own city," your "home."

These were your streets, your people, your home. This home where we stand you entered many a times. Peter's home.

This is holy ground. This is holy home. Because you have made it holy.

You made it holy through your teaching. It was made holy as men ripped the roof off of it just to get to you.

You made it holy in your healing of the paralyzed man. You made it holy through the power of your Holy Spirit when it became a house church.

You made this home holy as it become a church of eight walls and peacock mosaics- all to symbolize your resurrection.

Today we stand in awe of the ways in which you have made this very human home holy through your presence.

Today we stand yearning that you might once again make your home in us...in our human hearts.

Make our hearts your home. Make my heart your home.

Make us holy, rip open what needs ripping to reach you.

Make our hearts your home. Make my heart your home.

Heal what needs to be healed within us.

Make our hearts your home. Make my heart your home.

Transform what needs to be transformed.

Make our hearts your home. Make my heart your home.

Renovate us to meet the needs of the world.

Make our hearts your home. Make my heart your home.

Add-on to us what needs to be added that more may enter in.

Make our hearts your home. Make my heart your home.

Make us to be your human holy homes. Make us to be your dwelling place.

Take space and place within our hearts that we might live and breathe and move with you.

Take space and place within our hearts that others may find sanctuary within us.

Take space and place within our hearts that we might encounter true home as we search within our own hearts.

We need not look further than within the rooms of our souls to find that you have made your home within us.

So hang your pictures lord, move the furniture around, organize the kitchen, put your clothes away and make your home within us.

As we stand in front of this room where it happened may our hearts be your home and the room where your resurrection continue to happen.

Knowing that when we do a small piece of your heaven is found on our earth, in our homes and in our hearts. Amen.

Bishop Carter teaches at the synagogue in Capernaum.

Prayer from Mt. Precipice

by Rev. Will Wold

The story of Jesus at Mt. Precipice can be found in Luke 4:18-30

Holy One, we know that you are a God that seeks justice for all people. You proclaim good news to the poor. You seek freedom for the prisoners. You desire recovery of sight to the blind. You are a God who is always on the side of the oppressed.

Yet we remember that when you spoke these words in your home town, you were not welcomed. These words struck a chord within the powerful and they sought to bring you down.

So they drove you out of town, and brought you to this hill that we call Mount Precipice. Here is where they desired to kill you and throw you down the mountain. Yet, we remember that you “walked right through the crowd and went on your way.”

God of justice and compassion there are moments when we speak your truth of love, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation and justice and not everyone receives these words. Not everyone understands what we are saying. Some people are confused because they cannot believe we are saying these things.

There are others that get angry and infuriated because we upset the status quo. They are frustrated that we are upending the table of power and their chair is no longer at the head of the table.

Despite the rejection, you continued to ministry to the poor, to the prisoner, to the blind, and to the marginalized. You decided that you could just “walk right through the crowd.”

Give us the strength, O Christ, to speak truth to power and principalities. And help us to learn when to “walk right through the crowd.” There are times that we need to create healthy boundaries so that we protect ourselves, so that we can continue to spread the good news for all people.

There are spaces and places that might not be healthy for us to go to. There are courageous acts where we do not attend every battle we are invited to, because it might be leading us down the side of a cliff.

Help us God to discern what boundaries to set with individuals and communities and where we need to “walk right through.” Free us from our martyrdom mindset so that we can go to new towns and new places that will have ears to hear.

We pray all of this in the name of the Christ, who frees us and seeks justice. Amen.

Prayer by Loida Divine

Spanish & English

Padre celestial en esta mañana te alabamos y te glorificamos. Te damos gracias por el gran privilegio de estar en esta tierra. Te damos gracias por el frio y la lluvia que nos recuerda que tu haces cosas nuevas. Gracias por tus cuidados en este viaje. Prepara nuestros corazones para visitar los diferentes lugares en donde tu viviste, ensenaste, sanaste, y predicaste las buenas nuevas. Señor, abre nuestros corazones para recibir lo que tu tienes preparado para nosotros.

Lord God, today we thank you for your presence and your guidance here with us. We thank you for the beauty of this world you created for us to see. We thank you for the rain and the cold. Guide us today as we visit these special sites where you lived, preached, and healed many. Open our hearts that we might hear your voice in the people we encounter today, those traveling with us, and those who live in this land. We invite the Holy Spirit to give wisdom to us today as we reflect and meditate on you, Jesus the Christ, who lived, died, and rose again. Thank you, Lord God. We pray this in your Holy Name. Amen!!

Tabgha Prayer of Confession

(based on Matthew 14:15-21)

by David Averill

Tagbha is noted as the location of the reinstatement of Peter, the miracle of loaves and fishes and the miraculous catch of fish. Click the button learn more.

Leader: Lord Jesus

All: Give to us the Bread of Life.

Leader: We come believing in our emptiness, believing that we will never have enough, believing that what we have is unworthy.

Leader: Lord Jesus

All: Give to us the Bread of Life.

Leader: We come fearful of sharing, fearful of losing our tenuous grip on security, fearful of touching and knowing the pain of others.

Leader: Lord Jesus

All: Give to us the Bread of Life.

We come overwhelmed by the hunger, overwhelmed by the suffering of children near and far, overwhelmed by the endless tales of senseless violence, greed, and death.

Leader: Lord Jesus,

All: Give to us the Bread of Life.

We come aching from the weight of the responsibility, aching from the chilling challenge of knowing our abundance, aching from the gnawing awareness that we have much to share.

Leader: Lord Jesus,

All: Give to us the Bread of Life.

We come clinging to our meager lunches; bless them, and us. Break them, and us. Share them, and us. Amen.

~ Adapted from prayer by Katherine Hawker, on Liturgy Outside: liturgyoutside.net

Prayer by Rev. Jim Divine

Lord God, as we come to the conclusion of this second day, we recognize that our pilgrimage has only just begun and yet we already feel overwhelmed with the magnitude of these holy and special places you have allowed us to experience today. We praise you for the experience of being on the Sea of Galilee in stormy weather. We are humbled to experience what it would have been like to have you take care of our immediate need for breakfast after a long night of fishing. We are awed by walking in your home base during your ministry and we rejoice to have walked on the mount of your most prolific sermon.

Thank you for safety in this day. Thank you for friends to walk with on the pilgrimage and thank you for allowing us to have the freedom to make such a journey. Give us rest in our evening and give us strength for the continued journey in the days to come. Amen!

Prayer by Rev. Ryan DeLaune

Almighty Father we thank you for another day in this beautiful land where your son was. In the sun and the rain we praise you! We ask that you would push us today, out of comfort zones and boldly growing closer to you as we ride in this boat this morning on the sea where your son taught and walked. Help us out if the boat and onto the water. Be with us today and keep us safe, Amen.

Prayer at the Mount of Beatitudes

by Rev. Patti Aupperlee

Most Holy God,

We are in a place where You brought of fresh word of who the blessed are. You continue to bring a fresh voice of love and grace, even in those unexpected places.

May Your Spirit weave within us to be the people of mercy and grace and sharing with the world who the blessed are as you did for Your first listeners. May our hearts be so filled with Your boldness to shape the world as you desire.

For those places where Your heart breaks, so may our hearts break. That we seek to bring healing through Your peace and mercy as we lead, and lift up the meek, the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the mourners, and the persecuted to know that they are always Your beloved.

Lord in those spaces where our own hearts are fractured may we receive Your healing love and grace. We ask for Your strength as we do the work of mercy and peacemaking in Your name.

For those places where you call us to transform our own hearts. That we can be your vessel to be the transformation our world needs within ourselves, within our families, within our churches, and around the world.

May each one of us within the context of our ministry, and the context as your disciples, help people see You, and Your face when they see us. As we seek to be closer to you, my you continue to heal those places of hurt and pain.

Blessed are we to be here in this sacred place. We come before you, thankful for this time together, and for Your Spirit to flow so abundantly in all places, and in all spaces, and at all times. In Your Holy name of Jesus. Amen.

Click the button to read the Beatitudes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

Prayer by rev. rachel delaune

To the God of three persons.

To the God that calms seas from a boat, That teaches us to live counter culturally on a mountain side And makes us a breakfast of warm fish and bread.

We thank you for the fullness of today.

We thank you for our experiences this day.

We thank you for a boat ride full of worship and laughter, we thank you for the teachings on the Mount, the exploring of your city and the rivers of holy baptism.

Mostly, we thank you for the callings you have placed on each of us as men and women that lead.

Men and women that follow you and learn from one another.

Thank you for this journey of ministry that is joy-filled, exhausting, fun, heartbreaking, challenging, and fulfilling.

On this afternoon that leads to the Sabbath Day, help us now to rest and breathe and soak up your presence with us.

Help us to be holy as you are holy and teach us more about your grace made real to us through you as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Sing with me to the God in Three Persons

Holy, Holy, Holy

Lord God Almighty.

Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.

Holy, Holy, Holy

Merciful and Mighty

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity

Holy, Holy, Holy

Lord God Almighty

All Thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, Holy, Holy

Merciful and Mighty

God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

Prayer at the Ancient Galilee Boat

by Rev. Todd Bardin

The Ancient Galilee Boat also known as the Jesus Boat was excavated in 1986. Watch the video below to learn more.

We have been traveling from a great distance. Let us take a moment of silence to ground ourselves in this place. Let us be present to this location. Take a few deep breaths and just just be still…

Holy, Gracious and Loving God,

What a privilege it is to be on this pilgrimage. To share in this experience with friends and colleagues, we are grateful. We also remember those we left at home that are working to make this experience possible for us. Thank you, Lord.

As we travel around the Sea of Galilee, we know you were in this place. It is easy to imagine you calming the storms. We can see in our mind's eye how you must have walked along these shores and called the first disciples. We can imagine you teaching from the boat and sailing these waters from side to side as your ministry unfolded among us. We give you thanks that all these years later you still call people like us to be your disciples. You are the one who calms the storms of our lives. You are the one still teaching us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Travel with us on this pilgrimage, we pray. Help us to not only learn more about you, but help us to encounter you in a new and deeper way than we ever have before as we travel this Holy Land. We are your people and you are our God. We pray this through Jesus our Lord and Savior, the one who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Cave at Banias, caesarea philippi

Prayer at Caesarea Philippi

by Rev. Corey Jones

Gracious and Holy God,

You’re the Lord of Creation, Lord of all, and Lord of our hearts and lives. We lift you high, exalt you, praise and worship you, for you and you are alone are good.

God, will give you thanks for today and the opportunity to gather, for the pilgrimage to be people that get to walk, see, and experience where you actually walked amongst your people.

Lord, we give you particular thanks for this place in Caesarea Philippi, where you gathered with your disciples. We pray this morning that we would hear that same question in our hearts that you asked them, who do you say that I am?

And God, may we respond with the same rock-solid truth and bold faith of Peter, saying that you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

And may we do so with more than words, but with our actions. Yes, with the way we love, live faithfully, and serve you and one another.

And so, God, I give you thanks for my sisters and brothers gathered here and the ways you have gifted and called them; for their families back home that love and support them; for the churches represented here, and for the communities they serve.

Yes Lord, fall afresh on each and every one of us, so that we will be reminded in this time and place, that when we do love and serve faithfully in your name, that your church continues to be built and won’t be defeated by the gates of Hell.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Prayer at the border

In English and Haitian-Creole

by Rev. Gary A. Marcelin

Oh God, you heard the cries of your people therefore you sent Moses to be the voice of the voiceless. As we stand together in this holy land, we visit historical stones that point to your mercy and grace. Let us not forget those who live in constant fear, the weak who are relegated to one side of a wall or fence. We stand amongst living stones, with your breath of life, created in your image.

(In Haitian-Creole) Father God, empower us to be the voice of the voiceless. Like the prophet Moses, give us courage to speak against injustice; give us humility to see ourselves in the other.

Lord, Great Provider, hear the cries of our Syrian brothers and sisters who are in great need. We pray for all refugees and the displaced in Syria. Just as You provided the Israelites in the desert and fed the 5,000 with just a few loaves and fish, bring the Syrians exactly what they need each day to survive. Protect and comfort them as they struggle and seek shelter and feed their souls with new hope. Guide them to places where they can find help and rest. Allow us to be your hands and feet. Help us be advocates for peace in this distressed land and open our hearts to pray and give gifts to help. In the powerful name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

Prayer at Tel Dan

by Rev. Mike Weaver

Prayer by Rev. Pam Dubov

Our guide, G’s young daughter Gina became ill the day before and G had to leave us a little early to care for her. I felt led to pray for her and for G’s family after seeing how the city where they live was divided into sections for people of different faiths and cultures.

God of us all, as we begin this new day, we offer our gratitude for the time we’ve shared, for the places we visited, and for the lessons we’ve learned. This morning we pause God, in the middle of a busy schedule, at the beginning of what promises to be a long, moving, and emotional day. We pause to intercede in prayer for G’s daughter Gina. We pray that you will bring healing to her little body and peace and comfort to the hearts of her parents. We know there is a very special kind of trial for mothers and fathers who worry about the health of their children, and so today we lift up G and his family and ask that you place your hedge of protection around all of them as little Gina recovers from her illness.

We are so thankful Lord for G, for his willingness to teach us about this place where he lives with his family in the midst what appears to be a great divide. We’ve seen the boundaries that have been created to separate people of different cultures and different faiths. We ask that these boundaries fall and that your peace descend upon this place so the G and all the people who live here come to experience the peace of Christ – a peace that surpasses all understanding. Help us to remember and to teach that Jesus came for all of us not just a few who were chosen, and that his grace and love is for all people everywhere no matter their differences.

God we’re thankful to have an opportunity today to pray at the Western Wall. Hear our prayers and those of all the faithful as we lift them to you. O God, this morning, we humbly ask that you allow that sacred space where we will pray alongside strangers, that place where people of different faiths gather to offer holy words to a holy God - let that space become for us a place of peace and hope and understanding between people of different faiths.

God today we will walk in places where Jesus shared his Last Supper with his disciples. As we break bread and receive the Cup, let us remember all that he said that night and let us be thankful. As we walk to the garden of olive trees where he prayed the words “not my will but Thy will be done,” help us to pray those words and mean them. As we walk the Via Dolorosa where he bore his cross on the way to his crucifixion, help us grasp the depth of his sacrifice and suffering and to be humbled by it. As we end the day rejoicing because the tomb was empty, let us also rejoice and be thankful that you have called us to share that Good News in our churches, our communities, and with all who do not know Him. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Placing prayer notes in the western wall

Prayer at Golan Heights

by Rev. Rad Orlandi

Creator God, maker of earth and sea and sky,

We gather on these ancient steps and stones, giving you thanks and praise! We are in awe of this place, where your Son, our Savior, walked, taught, preached, and did miraculous works.

Some of us come here with fears and doubts. Our faith has faltered, weathered and worn by time and circumstances. Grant us your grace, merciful God, as we stumble towards you.

We thank you for all the saints who have gone before us: parents, family members, teachers and mentors. Through their lives we saw your hand at work. You transformed them, and have also graciously shaped us for mission.

Lead us, Lord, where we must go. Through your love you have prepared the field for us. Open our eyes and ears, our hearts and minds, that we would see the injustice and the oppression around us; may we feel and know as you do, seeking to do your will in all things. Give us strength and perseverance to run the race that lies ahead. Let our restless hearts rest in you, knowing that your love never fails and that you will never let us go.

Father, you know our deepest heart and you hear every prayer. And so we pray all this through your Holy Spirit in the name of our risen Lord Jesus. Amen.

Prayer at Magdala

by Rev. Stacey Spence

Lord we give you thanks for those whom you have called to this place, this day, for your specific purpose. We give you thanks for the way you continue to unearth glimpses of your story, which is our story, through the hands of your creation. Lord, this day we give special thanks for Mary Magdalene and her faith. She had the faith to know Jesus could heal her, she had the faith to follow him and the faith to be the last one at the cross and the first one at the tomb. Thank you for all the trailblazer women that have come before us, to make this moment, in time, possible for all who are here. Lord, we also thank you for the men who see our value and support our ministries. We pray that, we will now be the ones who are trailblazing the way for the women who are coming behind us. May we have the courage, strength and faith of Mary Magdalene to be the last ones at the cross and the first ones at the tomb. In the name of Jesus the Christ, we pray.

Click the button to learn about the Encounter Chapel at Magdala pictured in the video above.

Prayer by Rev. Ryan Frack

O God,

We come to You grateful for this day, and for all of the opportunities that You have provided us. Even as pastors, we know that faith has always been a part of our lives. Because, for many of us, it has. We have grown up hearing it taught to us. We have nurtured it. We have followed it to our callings, to our various ministry settings, and to many other places. And now, God, it has brought us to the Holy Land. For the most part, that faith has always been there.

Yet, for me, I have had the tendency to take my faith for granted. I often don’t think about it - and I don’t believe I’m alone in that tendency. So as we come to this most Holy place, we do so seeking renewal. We hear this experience is regarded as the “fifth Gospel,” providing faith a completely new perspective through which to read to story, and we are eager for this perspective.

Like many of us here, I am pretty overwhelmed by what I just experienced (Magdala). We were reminded again of the story of Mary Magdalene – a woman who has often been misunderstood and misrepresented. Throughout history, she has been judged by people who made their own conclusions about her. And so she has largely been consigned to the fringes of the Gospel.

…and yet, she was a nearly constant presence in Jesus’ ministry. She was named more than many disciples in the four canonical Gospels. She was the first at the tomb, the first witness to his puzzling resurrection, and the first to proclaim the news to others. Mary Magdalene was a pivotal figure in the ministry of Jesus, and we celebrate her witness. As we gathered in the Women’s Atrium, we lifted up Mary and other women in the scriptural story as pillars to the faith. God - You know that, without them, the church wouldn’t be what it has become. Their stories, while often unknown to the masses, are indispensable to telling the full truth of Jesus Christ.

Specifically, I give you thanks for my fellow clergy sisters and sisters in Christ. As they stood in front of the unnamed pillar – their pillar – we were given occasion to celebrate the countless ways in which they continue to hold up the church. Their witness, collective and individual, strengthens both the ministry of the Florida Annual Conference and the ministry of the church universal. I give you thanks for their gifts, and most especially for their faithfulness to answer the calling you have put on their lives. Lord, I give thanks for the women in my life – and for the women in the lives of these colleagues and friends. I would not be the person I am today – nor would any of us be who we are today – without the sacrifice, passion, grace, and witness of these women.

We also come to lift up those whose stories don’t get told. Women, minorities, and other marginalized groups continue to live lives that are, much like Mary Magdalene’s, misunderstood and misrepresented. We ask that you would strengthen these pillars of the faith, that their witnesses would continue to point to the full truth of the Gospel story. For those with a platform, we ask for the courage to point others back to those whose powerful stories and truths often still go unheard. Give us the resolve of Jesus, who constantly lifted up those whom the world was eager to dismiss, that we might hear the words of Christ that only they can speak.

As a people, may we always strive to celebrate the unknown pillars of the Gospel story, both ancient and modern. When tempted to take their sacrifice and witness for granted, we ask that the impact and power of Magdala would wake us up to the indispensable nature of their offerings. Give us the courage to lean into these folks, as they continue to breathe life into the faith.

And God, as we continue on this pilgrimage, we give you thanks for the ways in which you are already renewing our faiths. May the steps that we walk – many of them the same that Jesus walked – empower us to more faithfully live into his example.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Deacons at the upper room

Prayer in the Upper Room

by Rev. Jason Knott

The Lord be with you,

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to You Almighty God. But, especially at this time, in this place. Lord, I came to this place hungry, and thirsty. I am starving and parched. And I suspect that I’m not alone. The same cry for spiritual food and drink has echoed in the empty chambers of our gut. So we come to this place, where You, Lord Jesus, shared your last meal with your disciples. We come with them. Remembering that night that you took bread and the cup. How you took tradition, and brought new light and life to it. God, may it be so with us. That we may see not only the tradition, not only the history, but that we may see the new light and new life that you are bringing to us here and now on our own journey. That we may go from here to a world that is hungry and thirsty. May we be poured out for a world that cries, “I thirst!” May we be broken for a world that casts lots for what is “ours” to make it “theirs”. Help us to give ourselves away for a world that hungers and thirsts, reminding us that we hunger only when we refuse to share what it is that You have first given to us.

So, with all that we have taken in from this wilderness journey. Give us the wisdom gather and share with our neighbors back at home. That we would take a little bit of Your bread, a little bit of Your presence to showcase what You can do, how You provide. Help us to place our daily trust in You.

Fill us up, Lord with the power of Your Holy Spirit, just as you did to Peter in this place on Pentecost day. That we may share the Good News with the world that Your new promise has been fulfilled, yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.

Prayer by Rev. Dennis Lewis

Almighty God,

This morning we praise and worship you for all that you have done. We are thankful to be here in this holy place, to see the land where you, the disciples and the prophets have walked, to worship together, and sing together. We’re thankful also, Lord, for our families back home and for those that are caring for our children while we’re away. Bless them, God, and keep them safe. We’re also thankful for our driver, Amer, and our guide “G.” We ask for your blessing and watchful care over them and their families. Lord, we pray that, as we travel to Bethlehem today to the place where you were born, that you would continue to draw close to us just as you did so long ago. Bless our time here in this Holy Land so that our lives will never again be the same. May our families and our congregations be blessed by what we experience here. And, we give you all glory and praise. We ask these things in the name of the one who taught us to pray…

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Prayer at the Shepherds' Fields

by Rev. Madeline Luzinski

Holy God,

While Cesar Augustus was counting people for taxes, there were shepherds in the field nearby counting sheep. God, we confess our distortion of what and who is important. We confess our desire to place ourselves in the center of the story when you point us toward humility.

We stand in this cave and remember the first recipients and evangelists of the Good News were shepherds. We wonder at the way the birth announcement of God was brought to people whose roof was the sky, whose bed was the earth, and whose daily work was survival. These are the people, not kings or queens, or religious leaders, who receive Good News and go to see for themselves.

God, help us to be people who are inspired to act and to come and see. We imagine with wonder dirty fingers grasped by a newborn hand and weathered faces cooing at the tiny face of the baby who would one day grow up to be the Good Shepherd.

We recognize that you made this encounter possible and that these were the perfect people to visit the manger. They were at home in a place where animals were kept. You came for them and you come for us.

Fill us with the joy of homeless shepherds running through the streets carrying the Good News. Convict us of the ways we withhold this goodness from some and easily give to others. Grant us the courage to live into your priorities rather than our own.

Fill us with the joy of your first evangelists to share the Good News in every field we find ourselves in.

Make us people who leave amazement in our wake.

“Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those on whom Your favor rests!”

Amen.

Prayer at the House of Caiaphas

A Prayer for Strength & Empowerment

by Rev. Mary Downey

Scripture: John 18:12-14

Call: We are bound or afraid

Response: Lord Jesus Give us Strength

Gracious and Holy God,

We remember your journey to this place. Here where you were first condemned and denied by those who just days before praised and adored you. You must have felt so alone. So unloved by those who were supposed to love you. And yet you had such strength. A strength that we often seek when we feel unloved, condemned, and denied our gifts to the world. When this happens we feel bound or afraid: Lord Jesus give us strength.

Holy Lord - in this house where you were bound and held in a dungeon, we remember that just days before you roamed the countryside teaching and preaching freely to your followers in Galilee. What a change it must have been to exchange your freedom for chains. And yet, we recognize that feeling of being chained up — not free to teach and preach your Gospel because we are told we are too loud or too soft or too bold or too meek — we are chained up in the expectations of the world and we seek your freedom for all the ways we are bound or afraid: Lord Jesus give us strength.

God with us — we remember your servant Peter who followed you from place to place. The one of which you gave the Keys to your kingdom and power to bring hope even to the gates of hell, and yet in this courtyard he denied you, not once, not twice but three times. He must of been so afraid in that moment to be the disciple you called him to be. We know that fear as well. When you call us into the deep waters but our faith remains shallow, when you want us to confirm, yes, we are with you, one of yours, and instead we are bound or afraid: Lord Jesus Give us strength.

Jesus our redeemer - we remember the women, Mary, Susanna, Joanna and others who we imagine were waiting outside the doors of this house. Straining their ears to hear your voice. Their tears streaming down their faces as they heard the words that you, the one who called them by name, who let them sit at your feet, deserved death for such compassion to them. We remember how they stood by your side, followed you to the cross, and mourned for you in the garden. We remember the strength you gave them although they too were afraid, we ask that we have the same resolve to not be bound or afraid: Lord Jesus Give us strength.

Lord of justice- as you were on trial for the sins of the world we remember that you were innocent, but we are not. We have put others on trial and condemned them — bound them up in the chains of poverty, homelessness, slavery, prisons, and isolation. We’ve told a story that not everyone has sacred value and worth, that you did not come for all, that some have more privilege than others. And we feel so powerless in trying to free the world from such oppression. We are surrounded with consumerism, and metrics, and our own busyness. We want to step into reform, and revival, and revolution for your sake, to remind the world of their belovedness but We are bound or afraid: Lord Jesus give us strength.

Loving God - thank you meeting us here in this time of remembrance. Thank you that the story did not end here or on the cross. But in the morning, when your light of resurrection burst forth like the dawn, you broke the chains of fear and death and brought everlasting hope to a hurting world. We praise you that like a stone rolling away from the tomb in the garden you roll away the stones that entomb us. Free us from our own graves, those we have dug ourselves and the graves that others have buried us in, and give to us abundant life, both eternal and the here and now. For we believe that we will see you here in the land of the living. Jesus Thank you for empowering each of us to go forward, in your grace, to tell the world that your love releases us from our fear, breaks our chains, and leads us to true freedom so we are no longer bound or afraid. Lord Jesus give us strength. Amen.

Prayer by Rev. Conner Hill

Lord of all Creation, in you we find our hope. In you we know peace. In you we discover wholeness. Like the Magi long ago, we have traveled far in search of a king. We have followed his path around Tiberias. We have passed through Samaria. Now we have come to Bethlehem. The place of his birth. Like Ruth, a foreigner to the land, we have come into this place not knowing exactly what we will find. May we also be greeted and given a place within the household of our kinsmen redeemer. Through the city streets and fields we go, following the footsteps of many before us. As once your disciples followed your voice, so to do we, and like them we call you shepherd. Forgive us our wandering and welcome us home. Forgive us our rebellious choices, and continue to call us back to you. Restore and empower us as we seek you. In the places we will go, may your peace go before us and reign within us. Connect us to you and the story of your people. So that we can better be people of faith, hope and love, your citizens of New Jerusalem. Amen.

Bethlehem Prayer

by Rev. Michael Beck

Oh Lord our God, in this holy place we pause to remember how you re-membered us to yourself.

Here in the place of our spiritual forefather David, a place called “the house of bread” we remember that you gave us the “bread of life.”

We are reminded how you unleashed the healing of the cosmos in the smallness of the womb of a brave young woman named Mary. We remember that how through her courage, faith, and humility, you brought forth the savior of the world. Here in this place, we ponder how she carried that subversive hope in her womb, and bared down in a cave, pushing through the pain, to bring forth healing for all humanity.

Here, God you took on particularity to redeem universally. You came into the particulars of a specific place, time, and people, to redeem all the cosmos. Here you showed us that you don’t just love people in general, but you love particular persons. Particular persons with real names, gifts, and struggles.

Here oh God you moved into our neighborhood, our zip code, right next door. Here we meet a God who is close, not above, not beyond, but with, a God whose name is Immanuel...God with us.

We remember oh God, that you put on flesh to get to us, and to save us from ourselves. You refuse to be God with-out-us. So, in the fullness of time, while we were yet sinners, the bread of life became broken bread and poured out wine.

So then, let us go forth from this place, emulating the courage, faith, and humility of our spiritual matriarch. Let us also carry in the womb of our souls the subversive hope of the world, pushing through the pain to be hope birthed afresh each day.

Let us go back and take on particularity to redeem universally. Let us not simply love people in general, but love particular persons, with particular names, particular gifts, and particular struggles.

Let us fully move into our neighborhoods—to offer faithful presence—the precious gift of withness. Let us also be broken bread and poured out wine for others.

Amen

Church of the holy nativity

Prayer at the Church of the Holy Nativity

by Rev. Odalis Quevado

English & Spanish

Padre celestial te adoramos y bendecimos. Padre estamos tan agradecidos por la oportunidad de poder estar en tierra santa y especialmente en este lugar.

Oramos aquí recordando tu humilde pero transformadora venida. Así venimos delante de tu presencia, con corazones humildes pidiéndote que este sea un tiempo especial que transforme nuestras vidas y ministerios para que seamos instrumentos de transformación en nuestras comunidades.

Señor, abre nuestros espíritus a lo que tienes preparado para nosotros hoy, Prepáranos, guíanos para ser mejores discípulos tuyos. Danos corazones compasivos para que podamos percibir las necesidades a nuestro alrededor y ser tus manos, tus pies y tu voz profética para este tiempo en el que nos has llamado.

Espíritu Santo, Muévete en medio nuestro. Espíritu Santo Ven sobre nosotros te necesitamos hoy mas que ayer. Padre gracias por todas tus misericordias y bendiciones.

En el nombre de Jesús

Heavenly Father, we adore you, we bless you. Father we are so grateful for the opportunity to be able to be in the Holy Land and especially in this place.

We pray here, remembering your humble but transforming arrival. That is how we come before your presence. With humble hearts, asking for this time especially to be a time where our lives and ministry can be transformed and be used as instruments in our communities.

Lord, open our hearts and spirits to what you have ready for us. Equip us, lead us to be better disciples. Give us a compassionate heart in order to perceive the needs that surround us. We ask to be your hands, your feet and your prophetic voice for this time you have called us.

Holy Spirit, come among us.

Oh Holy Spirit come. We need you today more than yesterday.

Once more, thank you Father for your blessings and mercy.

In Jesus name we pray. AMEN

Prayer at Mt. Zion

by Rev. Samantha Cowan

Almighty God,

What a privilege it is to be here in this place. A place that so many of your children have called holy for millennia. For this special opportunity, we give you thanks and praise.

We take this time here at the Temple Mount to call to our minds all of the friends and colleagues of ours back home and around the world who profess a different faith than ours. God, we are so grateful for their witness and their faith. And we ask that you would bless their ministries. We especially pray that you would be with us as we partner together with our friends from other faith communities, for we know that perhaps there is no better way to bring you glory then when all of your children work together for peace and justice.

Lord, have mercy on us, for we have not always loved our neighbor as ourselves. We have not always spoken up to dismantle hateful and ignorant misconceptions about the other. We have not always taken the time to listen and learn with a posture of humility and openness. God, forgive us, and grant your church the courage and compassion required to build up relationships and bridges while tearing down walls.

We celebrate the ways in which you are working in the world. God, make us a part of it, take us along with you! Here we are, Lord. Call us into the deeper waters. We will go, for we trust in your promise that you are always with us.

Respectful of the many names by which your children cry out you all around the world, we pray to you in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Prayer by Rev. Dr. Debbie Daley-Salinger

The Psalmist sings…“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” (Psalms 24:1-2 NIV)

Let us be in an attitude of prayer.

Oh God of Israel, One God, Father for all, above all, today we stood on Temple Mount in the midst of Old Jerusalem, a city divided by sections – the Jewish Quarter, the Christian Quarter, Muslim Quarter and the Armenian Quarter – a representation of those who have venerated the sacred hill as a holy site.

Though some may be saddened by the individual claims, we recognized the hunger for Your presence, which serves as our bridge to hope. Hope, because it is by hope we can put aside our theological differences and remain in unity and love. Love, the little word with so much power. Love is what will always bind us together and for that we give You thanks.

Jesus, we know You didn’t come to build walls, You came to build bridges. Use us dear Lord as Your bridge builders. Bridges often take us over waters. You created out of water. And You created us to be swimmers. Water is our native habitat. Even before we were born, we were swimming in our mother’s womb. Jesus, it seems to me, You are telling us to let the water carry us across Jordan Rivers. It seems You are telling us not to struggle with it.

Father God, as we cross the waters home, increase our faith to trust the water under our bridges. And as Mike, our guide, often tells us about the bridges we must take, give us courage to get on the bridge, especially the bridge called love. Thank You for taking us to the waters on the shores of Galilee so, we may replenish our wells with Your Living Water.

Jehovah Raphe, as we go back to the brokenness, the hurts, the isolation, the barriers, and the pains in our own context, help us to remember the words of one of the Holocaust survivors, who said, “He knew God was present with them, his faith would not allow him to believe otherwise.” Sometimes that is all it takes - faith in the knowledge of who You are...God of Israel, one God over all, for all.

Jesus, at the end of it all, we thank You for meeting us in Galilee…every day.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Masada

Prayer at Masada

by Rev. Aaron Rousseau

God of amazing love and unfailing grace, we pause this morning to unite our hearts in prayer and give you thanks for this new day...for reminding us that when the sun rose over this holy land this morning you brought forth new mercies for us, new opportunities for us to live more fully the lives for which we’ve been created, to participate more fully in the ministries to which we’ve been called.

As we stand together at this place, we remember the tragedy of what happened here and give thanks that our brothers and sisters lie safely in your arms. We remember that Masada means “fortress,” and we give you all honor, glory, and praise for being our fortress, our shelter, our shield, and our strength, especially in times of deep struggle and desperation.

We pray O God that as we continue to walk in your footsteps you will pour over us the power of your Holy Spirit. May we have eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to feel, and minds to discern all that you want to teach us in these days, so that when we return to our everyday, ordinary lives we might in our own unique yet equally extraordinary ways love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and, in turn, may we then sacrificially love our neighbor like we love ourselves.

As we seek to be faithful to this greatest commandment and trust you with our very lives, may we always remember that “truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words” and we are your agents for each of these for a watching world. By your mercy and grace, may it be so.

As this day continues, we pray your presence goes before us, you will walk beside us, and follow behind us. In the beautiful and powerful name of Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.

Rousseau Family at Masada

Prayer by Rev. Alyce Parmer

As we end another amazing day with you God, we rejoice as did Hagar in knowing you are the God sees us and you are the God that hears us. In these last days we have experienced seeing you and hearing you in the places you lived, loved, taught and healed. We have wondered afresh at the ways you love us and the ways we have experienced this beautiful land you walked.

Today we have relived the courage, the desperate hope and tragedy mixed with triumph of the human spirit in the place called Masada. We experienced gratitude to those who came before us who treasured your word and preserved it in the caves of Qumran, so that we might come to know your story of love and hope in your early church. Jericho reminds us of our fears that result in the building of walls and the tearing down of walls, more often in conquest, than in hope for a better future with those we fear. As we see new walls that separate and reinforce our fears, Spirit we pray that we might begin tearing down our own walls with the power of your Holy Spirit that we might conquer nothing but our own fears. And as we consider the lowest place on earth, that remarkable body of water called the Dead Sea, that holds no life, in the placed called wilderness, we are reminded of your gift to us of life – full life now and the promise of eternal life to come.

As we end this day, O God, help us in our own lives to have the courage to be bridge builders and wall destroyers. Help us to be leaders in our respective spheres of influence helping others choose peace, hope and love over fear, hate and death. We are so grateful God for these days of walking in your footsteps, in the lushness of the Galilee and the dryness of the wilderness. We pray your Spirit will continue to walk with us that we may be worthy bearers of your word, your truth and your love to a world that loves the darkness more than the light. In Jesus name we pray. Lord, hear our prayer.

Prayer for the Dead Sea

by Rev. Emily Knight

Holy Spirit, you hovered over the waters of creation in the beginning. You were in the splashing joy of baptismal waters in the Jordan and the bright greens of abundant life of Galilee. And also: You are here, now, in the Dead Sea where the colors are muted and the Earth is at its lowest. You are here, now, in the wilderness place. out of the depths, we cry to you.

God of all creation, your works are diverse and wondrous. Even when we fail to notice, all of creation gives you praise. Especially in desert places where we assume there is no life, your creativity is at work. The striations of rock, the textures of sand, the tenacity of roots, the kneeling of camels, the testimony of broom trees; from the chemical bonds of sodium to the wonder of the whole water cycle, all of creation gives you praise. And so do we. out of the depths, we cry to you.

Lord Christ, you call us to be the salt of the earth and (by your grace) we try, but too much salt is uninhabitable. So we confess that even in our attempt at faithfulness, we have turned in on our ourselves and away from our neighbors; we have listened only to those who agree with us; and we have concentrated our own ideas in ways that do not give space for your living waters. Forgive us for making church more about our saltiness than about You and your abundant life. out of the depths, we cry to you.

We also confess that we have failed to care for this earth. The waters here in the Dead Sea are drying up—in part— because the Jordan has been siphoned out, bottled up, and dammed away. Here and in other places, we have sacrificed sustainability on the altar of our convenience. We have not been good stewards of the world you have made. Forgive us, Lord, and change our ways. out of the depths, we cry to you.

In the midst of life, we are in death. And even in death, we find your resurrection. Even in places that seem to have no hope, no life, no future, there is no stopping you, God. So wherever we find ourselves sinking—into despair or sin or fear or apathy—o, Lord, lift us up. By the power of your spirit and the work of Christ: lift, lift, lift us up until our ways are yours. out of the depths, we cry to you.

Amen.

Ordinands float in the Dead Sea
Caves at Qumran

Prayer at Qumran

by Rev. Bridget Thornton

Jericho Prayer

by Rev. Mike Luzinski

Click the button to read the story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.

Lord we are grateful to be together and to be here in this place. We are in Jericho one of the oldest cities on earth. Lord we know that you are here. Not only are you here now, you have been here for a long time. Lord you were here in the midst of the violence and pain of Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho. Lord we know you were here when your prophet Elisha found an oasis in the midst of the desert. Lord we know you are with us in the midst of the tension between violence, peace, justice, and mercy. Lord we ask that you would shape us through the time that we spend here. Make us instruments of your Holy Spirit so we may serve faithfully. May we be courageous leaders like Joshua and speak prophetically like Elisha. Lord we are grateful to be together in Jericho. Amen.

Sycamore tree in Jericho

Prayer by Rev. Sarah McIntosh

Hear these words from "Prophets of a Future Not Our Own:"

"It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own."

Gracious and loving God we give you thanks for this day.

As we begin our pilgrimage for this day, we pray that you would relieve us from the pressure to try to see and experience and take in everything. There are so many incredible sights to see and to take in. And it can be overwhelming to try to absorb it all. It can feel a bit like trying to drink from a firehose.

There are so many incredible sights to see and to take in. And it can be overwhelming to try to absorb it all. It can feel a bit like trying to drink from a firehose. Again, God we pray that you would free us from the pressure to see everything. Help us to be present where we are. Help us to remember that we cannot see or take in everything. But God, may we embrace each part of this pilgrimage as a step along the way. It may be incomplete, but that is okay.

May we feel be liberated by the reminder that this day is just a beginning. God, we pray that we might experience your presence this day. Help us to slow down and simply be still and remember that you are God. As we journey today, may we see each step as a step along the way, and an opportunity for your grace to enter in and do the rest. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Prayer at Dominus Flevit

by Rev. Carrie Yoder

Click the button to read about Jesus weeping for Jerusalem

Most Holy God,

We stand here having just experienced the high of your triumphant entrance in this blessed city. We have joy in our hearts and smiles on our faces. We cry Hosanna!

Yet, oh God, in this spot we are called to remember when you wept over Jerusalem. When tears streamed down your face as you heart seemed to break for them and for us. As you wept you declared that if we only knew to look, we could see how easily peace could come.

Oh God, peace is what we do desire. We repent now for what we, as people, did now know then and how we are still missing the mark today. We repent for the hatred we feel in our hearts towards other, we repent for violence our fellow people commit, we repent for fear of others that we each possess, we repent for things that we each individually name out loud now… (pause and let people proclaim in their own voices their repentance)

God, you are a God of peace and we want to be beacons of peace in our world. God in this spot we rededicate our lives to your call, to your pursuit of peace, and to love. We rededicate our lives to work for justice in our world.

On that day, Oh God when you wept over the city we see before us now, you proclaimed that you wished to gather your children to you as a mother hen gathers her chickens to her side. Oh God, gather us in now. We wish to draw close to your warmth and your love. Gather us in, oh God, to you. Gives us your strength and your eyes for peace. Gather us in, oh God, and give us your strength and your eyes to see all people as you created them. Father us in, oh God, to you and give us your strength and your eyes for patience for our world. Patience when we are frustrated, and people do not seem to get it. Gather us in, oh God, until we all say together “bless is the one who come in the name of the Lord.” For God when we do, and all our voices are raised together in worship of you we know peace will come. Peace and love will reign in this world as your desired so long ago. Thank you, God, for leading us to this place and helping us remember. Amen.

Dominus Flevit is a Roman Catholic church on the Mount of Olives, opposite the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Click video Link below for a tour of the chapel.

Prayer at the Garden Tomb

by Rev. Denvil Farley

God of power and life,

You who in great power and love created all things and brought forth life. You created humans in your image- male and female you created- and you placed them in a garden of life.

You walked and talked with them in the garden, a holy place where people dwelled fully with you. And you said that it was good. You, your people, in the garden, together, is good.

We confess God that we messed it up. We confess the harm our pride, our greed, our lust, and our anger have done. We confess the harm our indifference, our unwillingness to take responsibility, and our inaction have caused.

We do the things we should not do and we fail to do the good we know we should.

We have turned your garden of life, into a garden of death.

Lord, if this were the end of the story, we would truly be in despair.

If this were the end of the story, we would have no hope.

But God you prove your love for us in this,

That while we were destroying your garden, you came to restore it and restore us,

while we were caught up in our brokenness, the hurts we've experienced at the hands of others, you came to redeem us,

the suffering we have felt and we have caused, you came to heal,

the oppression that many have gone through and that many of us have caused, you came to reconcile,

God you prove your love for us in that while we were dead in our sins, Jesus died for us.

Lord, if this were the end of the story, we would truly be in despair.

If this were the end of the story, we would have no hope.

Yet here in this place, where his body was laid, in a tomb, in a garden, hope came to life.

Here in this place, the powers of sin, death, and the grave were overcome by the power of your love, mercy, and grace.

This garden of death we created has become a garden of resurrection.

So while we gather in this space, we pray that you would bring us to life.

Whatever our sins of commission or omission, we pray that you would forgive us.

Whatever dead places exist within us, whatever places where our love for you has grown cold, we pray that you would bring them to life.

Whatever is within us that prevents us from living into your resurrection, we pray that you would set us free.

Overwhelm us with your power and life as we gather in this place. So fill us to overflowing with the kind of love that lays its life down for a friend that we may become agents of your resurrection life and power in our own places and spaces.

Rise up your hope of resurrection within us so that we might not think any situation is beyond your power, your love, and your ability to bring life. Grant to us the courage necessary to take the steps of faith, even in the face of death, to be participants in your redeeming, restoring, reconciling, and healing work.

God of power and life,

As we stand in this garden, in this holy place, may we encounter you our master gardener. May we dwell with you once again, walking and talking with you, encountering the fullness of your presence, dwelling fully with you.

And when we leave this garden of life, we pray that your life goes with us, that we may we be gardeners with you, sowing the seeds of life and resurrection in the world around us.

In the name of the one who is Risen from the dead, Jesus, we pray. Amen

Denvil Farley at the Garden Tomb
The Garden Tomb at night

Prayer at the Mount of Olives

by Rev. Drew Weseman

Almighty God,

You have called us out of the world, set us apart for your ministry through your church. We confess that we too often make that ministry about ourselves. We let our egos be filed with the praises that belong rightly to you. We ride into our churches on mighty steeds, when you entered your city humbly on a donkey.

We think of our words as essential for ministry, when you could call forth praise just as effectively from the rocks under our feet. We feel that we must be strong and stoic to earn respect when your vulnerability in this garden showed true power through weakness.

Help us O God to lead your people as Christ did. Help us to be faithful even when that path leads to humiliation and suffering. Help us to keep awake and alert so that we do not miss your Kingdom on its way, and right here. We ask these things in the name and power of Christ, Amen.

Garden of Gethsemane
Olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane

Prayer by Rev. Esther Rodriguez

Were you there when they crucified my Lord

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

—-

Oh God, we have been on a journey.

We traveled to Bethlehem— the not so little town which is now not only a reminder and symbol of your incarnation and birth but a reminder and symbol of the ways we divide ourselves, and our need for you and the reconciliation you bring about.

We traveled to Galilee — the countryside where you poured of yourself into others, where you taught and healed. Where you still come to the lakeshore, call us each by name and give us new purpose.

We traveled through the wilderness, where you teach us that we will live not by bread alone but by your very breath.

And now we set our faces to Jerusalem with you, oh God who comes down.

God who weeps, we have forgotten the things that make for peace and so you weep for us still.

You weep because we have forgotten that we belong to one another. You weep because today as in your day we are quick to make the gifts you give us commodities. You weep because we so forget and oft lose our focus and our grounding that our “hosannas” turn into “crucify.”

And yet, God of grace and glory, we believe that it is love and not anger that brought you here. That it is your great desire to forgive that led you to absorb upon your incarnate body our very suffering, so that we could never say that we were alone and without hope again. So that we would remember once and for all our connection to one another. So that we would remember in whose image we are made and what we are truly made of.

Today, help us to listen.

Help us to listen in the midst of this recounting of your passion. Help us to listen for that love that will not let the world go. Help us to listen for the whispers you speak to us that remind us, that call us again,

that remind us of the sisters, brothers, friends whom you call us to feed, to clothe, to house, to fight for, to forgive, to teach, to learn from, to point toward you and your hope.

Help us to remember that while You have gone to prepare a place, your Spirit is at work in and through us and even despite us.

And so redeeming God, we long to journey with you this day. To meet you anew and tonight to not be the same as we were this morning. But having encountered the Risen savior, who knows us by name, and who is still about the work of Salvation.

It is through your precious name that we pray. Amen.

The Via Dolorosa, or the Way of Sorrows, is believed to be the route that Jesus took on his way to his crucifixion. Click the button for a video tour of the 14 stations of the cross.

Prayer at Via Dolorosa

by Rev. Vidalis Lopez

Holy God, you spoke life into all of us, fruit of your perfect love.

Into our midst, you came down, Most High, to draw us closer to you and fulfill your promise and will.

Merciful Jesus, you prayed earnestly and lived selflessly.

You crossed places to reach people considered by humanity as the “other” or “lesser than.” You crossed to the other sides.

We contemplate the steps you took on your way to the cross. You took on the way to suffering, pain and death to take away the power of sin and the sting of death. And the way to suffering was also the way to salvation.

Jesus, your moment of communion with God in the garden of Gethsemane was one step closer to your cross to bear. There, you were betrayed by one of yours. You were accused and condemned without fault or guilt. Then, you witnessed another one of yours deny you to save himself.

On the Via Dolorosa you were stripped of everything. You were humiliated and crowned with thorns. You took up the cross.

We confess when we’ve been on the path with you for we have heard your word. But then, we experience fear or hurt, maybe the kind of pain we did not expect from one of our own. Maybe we witness or experience senseless suffering and loss or what seems like never-ending injustices all around us. And so, we doubt that your presence remains. We fall, we fail to see that not only are you walking with us, you are carrying us through it.

We confess how humanity has stood on the rock, heard and received your word but without roots, we fall apart in the face of trials and tribulations.

We confess that as the church, we’ve heard your word but on the way, life’s thorns like egos, self-preservation and self-promotion, greed, power and privilege have distorted our journey, and we miss the mark, needing of your redemption once more.

But by your grace, as good soil, may we treasure in our hearts your word, so that our contemplation is not a complacent attitude.

Save us from our own way. As your vessels, may we take up our cross and follow you. May we take courageous steps, speak for the children who are stuck and tossed around in the middle of ideologies and political wars.

We have prayed and walked in this Holy Land. From now on may we pray and walk on the road to life and salvation in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer at St. Anne's Church

by Rev. Andrea Byer

Holy One,

Listen to the many voices that call out to you for attention, for your healing, for your deliverance: Jews, Muslims, Christians, those who have not yet claimed you as God, yet nonetheless already claimed by you. Hear our hearts as we cry. In this land said to be holy, it seems as if there are fences and boundaries everywhere, shutting people out, shutting people in. And as much as prejudice creates boundaries, we are grateful O God, that your love is boundless. We beg you, God, as we cry out with the Psalmist: "How long? Will you forget your people forever?" We ask you to re-orient us; to tether us again to your heart by this boundless love that we have come to know and depend on. Ground us O Holy God.

What of Mary, the mother of our Lord, Jesus - the one who grew up in this very space; the one who knew such knee-buckling heartbreak? Create space alongside her for those of us mothers, who have had to come face to face with the debilitating pain of looking at our dead offspring. Make room in your heart for us and lend us strength for the burden that we carry.

Remember your promise to relieve the oppressed, to support the neglected, to give freedom to those who are bound. Remember with mercy, and run interference on behalf of those who are bound behind walls of doubt, despair and desolation, and re-call all people back to yourself.

Holy God, we still need your redemptive work. We are still waiting to see the manifestation of your word that says that the fires will not consume us, neither will the waters drown us because you, O God are with us. Cause it then O God to be so: that we know for sure, today, that you are with us. In your strong name we pray, Amen.

Prayer at the Pools of Bethesda

by Bishop Ken Carter

John 5 tells the story of the paralyzed man that Jesus healed at the pools of Bethesda. Click here to read the story.

Ordinands at the Shrine of the Book Museum

Prayer at the Shrine of the Book Museum

by Rev. Erwin Lopez

Lord, they’ve asked me to pray today and I’ve written down some thoughts on this beautiful trip.

I ask that you would bless my efforts and listen to our prayer.

Lord, many of us started out indifferent, hesitant, curious, excited and a number of other emotions.

Thank you for breaking down the walls of our souls, sometimes aggressively and other times gently.

Thank you for changing our hearts, to hearts of gratitude, zeal, passion and thanksgiving.

I pray that we would take that energy to our churches and families.

I thank you because maybe it was just me but I came into this trip worried about who would be here.

But you have joined our hearts and now we are a cute little family.

I thank you Lord for a group of leaders in the Bishop, Alex and all of those in the Florida conference who imagined this trip and then made it happen.

We will never be the same and for this we are thankful.

I thank you Lord for Mike and G, who know so much. Even more than many of our pastors.

Inspire us Lord to have a desire to know your story as well as they do and as Mike has reminded us over and over, inspire us to build bridges of love.

Thank you for our drivers who for the most part drove safe and narrowly escaped danger through these Israel streets.

We pray Lord for the conflict between Israel and Palestine, Jew, Muslim, Christian and all other people.

We pray you would raise leaders in this country and across the world who would lead with a vision and heart that doesn’t focus on one side of the story.

We pray for peace that surpasses human understanding.

I thank you Lord for our ordinands. For the joy they brought to our lives, for the jokes, the memories, and the meals we have shared.

We will never forget this experience.

I thank you Lord for everyone else who came on this trip. Without them many of us wouldn’t be on this trip and I pray they grew in their faith and will inspire their churches to make disciples of Christ.

We may not all know each other but we are all pilgrims now, connected by this experience.

And Lord, we have visited so many places; Galilee, Megiddo, Massada, Magdala, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Jerusalem, Chorazim, the Holocaust Museum…oh the places we have been.

But for me, and hopefully for us all, this trip has reminded me just how real you are. How real the story before your birth is, the story of your birth, of your ministry, and of your death and resurrection. And now it’s real through us, the church.

Thank you for this reminder. Some of us really needed it. We weren’t in the best place in our faith. You came right on time, Lord. And for this we are thankful.

Keep us safe on our journey back home, give us energy to overcome jetlag, help us pay off the debt we have accrued, and help us give our family our all.

Remind us that while we will all go our separate ways, this week we have been one with Christ and one with each other.

May we be one in ministry to all the world.

Amen

Credits:

Created with an image by Sander Crombach - "Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel;" Special thanks to the Ordinands for providing their prayers and photos; Thanks to Rev. Patti Aupperlee for providing videos