Prayer for Illumination

For my Reformed Worship class this week, we were asked to design a Prayer for Illumination and share a rational for each aspect of the prayer. Below is what I came up with.

prayer for illumination

Prayer for Illumination

Let us pray:

Lord God,

We have gathered together to hear your word and apply it to our lives. Help us to let go of any distractions that we carried in with us to worship today so that we can focus in and center down on what you have to say to us today. Send your Holy Spirit to illumine the text and to enable us to understand your message. Amen.

Thematic Rational 

I wrote this short and simple prayer for illumination to be used for any worship during ordinary time of the liturgical year. I chose to use “Lord God” at the beginning of my prayer because it reminds us that God is the Lord of our lives and that we must use the Word to guide our lives as we strive to make decisions each day that glorify God. In addition, my first sentence calls attention to the fact that the gathered body of believers should intend to do more with the Word than simply hear it. Each week, the body is gathered in part to be edified and equipped by the Word in worship so that they may be sent out prepared and focused in mission during the rest of the week. Moreover, the second sentence I included based on our cultural context and the tendency of westerners to be overwhelmed with stress and business and incapable at times of focusing in on the moment. Their worries and stresses keep them from hearing the often times quite voice of God. Lastly, the final sentence calls upon the Holy Spirit to help the believers understand what God is saying to them through the text.


Any thoughts or comments?

Liturgy for Pentecost

I started a new course called “Reformed Worship” at Fuller Theological Seminary last week. This week we learned about what worship is and what being “called” to worship is all about. For our assignment this week, we were asked to select/design a call to worship, opening prayer, and hymn. I chose to design a service for Pentecost. My prayer is from the Book of Common Worship and my hymn is from El Hímnario Presbiteriano. Overall, I really enjoy learning about Reformed worship and liturgy design. I think it would be neat if a pastor taught a class on worship design and then asked different families from the congregation to design the liturgy for several weeks during ordinary time.


A Service for the Day of Pentecost


Call to Worship (written by myself from Psalm 104:24-35)

(Leader) O Lord, how manifold are your works!

(All) You fill us with good things.

(Leader) Send forth your spirit!

(All) You renew all of your creation.

(Leader) May the glory of the Lord endure forever.

(All) We will sing praises to God as long as we live.

(Leader) May our meditations be pleasing to him, for we rejoice in the Lord.

(All) Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!


Opening Prayer

God our creator, earth has many languages,

but your gospel proclaims your love

to all nations in one heavenly tongue.

Make us messengers of the good news

that, through the power of you Spirit,

all the world may unite in one song of praise;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.


Opening Hymn

182 Santo, Espíritu de Dios


Clinical Pastoral Education aka Boot Camp for Pastors

hospital chaplaincy

More and more seminaries and denominations are requiring clinical pastoral education in hospital settings. Whether it is required for you or not, I HIGHLY recommend CPE for all future pastors and church program staff members. Here are a few things a CPE student can hope to take away from their experience:

1) Cultural Sensitivity Training

Hospital chaplains are required to serve all patients, to the best of their abilities, regardless of their cultural, ethnic, or religious background. Clinical Pastoral Education is not about proselytizing; it is about pastoral care.  Do you know the communication styles or superstitions of various Asian cultures? Or death and burial rituals for Gypsy clans? What about offering sacraments for Catholic families or chanting resources for Buddhists? What about the needs of Hindu or Muslim patients? At the end of CPE, you will be well-versed on providing care for patients of all types while also maintaining integrity and honoring your own faith tradition.

2) Self-Development and Awareness

CPE students will choose a learning or spiritual theme that they would like to explore during their term based on their personal lives. This learning theme will be explored in relationship to self, to the group, and to the hospital patients and staff. Throughout the experience, Chaplains will reflect and work on themselves with the assistance of individual supervision and group process. The learning environment will be a safe place to share about the truth of one’s life. Examples of learning themes might be: “living with guilt”, “taking risks”, “accepting change”, “seeking hope”, etc. Additionally, the group process and verbatim process with help serve as a venue for building self-awareness as well as giving and receiving constructive feedback.

3) Pastoral Care Skills

Death, grieving, denial, anger, and mourning will all be regularly encountered in your patient, staff, and family visits. In CPE, you will learn how to provide compassionate care for an individual or family in crisis that will hopefully leave them walking away with a sense that they mattered and that they were cared for.

4) Confidence for Practical Ministry

As students near the end of their seminary programs, some begin to realize that while they have learned a lot of theory they still are lacking in many key practical skills. Some are paralyzed by fear of failure and worry that they are unprepared for ministry. However, one of the best outcomes of CPE is confidence for practical ministry. In this learning environment, one will be well equipped to take authority when necessary, facilitate discussions, discover resources, lead prayers, manage multiple crises,  and more. All of my colleagues left CPE feeling much more prepared to be spiritual leaders wherever they went. As a young person, this was especially valuable for me as I often struggled with wondering if older adults would recognize me as a leader or person of wisdom in their midst.


What are your questions about Clinical Pastoral Education?

What To Do With All Your Seminary Text Books

About half-way through my first year in seminary, I had to purchase an additional bookcase for all the resources I was collecting. Not long after, we began to feel like we were drowning in the multitude of books from both our graduate programs. Here is a simple guide to help you decide what to keep, purge, and sell.

seminary books



Here is what I generally recommend you should keep if entering pastoral ministry:

  • Commentaries
  • Dictionaries
  • Theological classics
  • Writing guides or manuals
  • Biblical languages references


  • Introductory or broad theological texts
  • Church history books you know you will never read again
  • Biographies you are done with
  • Crappy devotional books given to you by well-meaning supporters
  • Outdated denominational books, old Book of Orders, etc


Don’t live in the fear that if you sell a book you will never be able to find what you need from it again. First search the internet for whatever issue or quote you are looking for and then if you are unable to find it consider purchasing it again. At least you will know that it is something you will need for the long-term. Everything else leftover should be listed at,, or Hopefully, you will earn back hefty chunk of change that will help you pay off your loans, move to a new call, etc.


What books or resources are must-keeps for you?