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Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. It is observed seven weeks after Easter Sunday on the liturgical calendar. You can use these Pentecost prayer, call to worship, litany, and hymn ideas as you plan your Pentecost Sunday worship service. The liturgy ideas offered here reflect the Scripture readings for Pentecost in the Revised Common Lectionary. (If you’re not familiar with the lectionary, it’s a three-year schedule for preaching from Scripture that some pastors follow.)

Pentecost Sunday liturgical worship service plans

These liturgies include ideas for your Pentecost Sunday prayer of confession, prayer of assurance, call to worship (or opening sentences), prayer for illumination, and music.

Sentences, adapted from Psalm 104 and Acts 2

Leader: Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow!
All: The day of Pentecost has come and we have gathered together in this place.
Leader: We are nothing without you, O Lord.
Send forth your presence and grant us your mercies and love.
All: Creator God, reign down your Spirit that we, too, may prophesy!
Leader: Praise the Lord who sends forth his Spirit!
Praise the Lord who renews the face of the earth.
All: Jesus Christ, reign down your Spirit that we, too, may see visions!
Leader: May the glory of the Lord endure forever!
May the Lord rejoice in his works.
All: Everlasting Father, reign down your Spirit that we, too, may dream dreams!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; praise the Lord!

Call to Confession, from Acts 2:21

Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Come, then, let us confess our sins to the one who is faithful to forgive.
Come, then, let us adore the one who is mighty to save!

Prayer of Confession

Merciful and gracious God,
Our hearts cry out for you to make us whole again.
Even as we celebrate that you have come to dwell within us,
We have sinned against you and abandoned your commandments.
We have been jealous, possessive, ambivalent, and impulsive.
We have not heeded your Word and we have not cherished your covenant.
Help us to glorify you in all times and in all places.
As our souls thirst for your living waters,
Quench our needs and satisfy our love.
That we may come back to you and be sent forth
To fill the world with your mercy and grace.
In the name of your son, Jesus Christ,
And by the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work within us,
Amen.

Assurance of Pardon, from John 20:19–23

Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ ”

Sung Response: “Wonderful, Merciful Savior”

Prayer for Illumination

In the name of the Creator, Son, and Spirit,
Open our eyes, Lord.

Sung Response: “Open Our Eyes, Lord”

OR

Sung Response: “Spirit of the Living God”

Hymns and Songs of Praise Suggestions

Let Everything That Has Breath (Praise the Lord)”
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
“God Is Mighty to Save”

Sentences, adapted from Psalm 104

Leader: How manifold are your works, O Lord! In your wisdom you have made all things.
All: The sea is deep and wide; 
We praise your name on high!

Leader: All things are gathered in at the proper time and are ever sustained by the Lord.
All: Your goodness fills our life; 
All creatures are satisfied!

Leader: The Lord sends his Spirit to create new life and to renew the face of the earth.
All: We rejoice in your wisdom, O God; 
Your bounty is professed evermore!

Leader: The earth bears witness to God on high and invites us to sing his praises.
All: May our meditations please the Lord; 
May our joy be heard forever.

Leader: We rejoice together for God is present in our midst!
All: Praise the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord.

Call to Confession, adapted from Romans 8:22–27

We have received life through the Spirit of God compelling us to future glory. In this, we know the Spirit of God intercedes for us and helps us in our weakness. Together may we confess what the Lord has already heard.

Prayer of Confession

Spirit of the Living Lord,
Tell us of God’s mercy and faithfulness;
Witness to us God’s hope and justice.
Where we have not followed Christ, direct our paths.
Where we have not commanded your praise, rebuke our hearts.
Come to us in this time of brokenness and defeat.
Minister to us in this time of famine and chaos.
Forgive us, O God, and remind us of your enduring love.
Breathe your Spirit upon our lives and make us holy and one
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Amen.

Assurance of Pardon, from Ezekiel 37:14

 ‘I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,’ says the Lord.”

Prayer for Illumination

Spirit of the Living God,
Fall fresh on us.
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall fresh on us.
Melt us, mold us, fill us, use us.
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall fresh on us.

Spirit of the Living God,
Move among us all;
Make us one in heart and mind,
Make us one in love:
Humble, caring, selfless, sharing.
Spirit of the Living God,
Fill our lives with love.

Hymns and Songs of Praise Suggestions

Freedom Reigns”
“Breathe On Me Breath of God”
“Spirit of the Living God”

Sentences, adapted from Psalm 104

Leader: The glory of the Lord shall endure forever!
All: May the people of God rejoice in creation!

Women: Those who look upon earth shall tremble.
Men: Those who touch the mountains shall sing.
Youth: We shall praise God forever!

Leader: The Lord has gathered the faithful from the ends of the earth.
All: May the people of God rejoice forevermore!

Women: Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
Men: Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
Youth: Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!

Call to Confession, adapted from Romans 8:22–27

We have received life through the Spirit of God compelling us to future glory. In this, we know the Spirit of God intercedes for us and helps us in our weakness. Together may we confess what the Lord has already heard.

Prayer of Confession

Spirit of the Living God,
All nations, tribes, and tongues belong to you.
All glory, honor, and praise are due your name.
Therefore, we confess that we have been a divided people—
Mother from child, Brother from sister, And neighbor from friend.
Have mercy on us and send your power upon the church,
That we may know, once more, that you have
Baptized us in one baptism, one faith, one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Tear down the walls of hatred and the towers of sin in our lives.
May your Spirit descend upon our lives and make us holy and one.
In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, we pray.
Amen.

Assurance of Pardon, from Romans 8:14, 17

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God…and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”

Prayer for Illumination

Triune God,
Discern in our hearts
The will you would have us desire,
The love you would shape in our world, and
The grace that will enable us.
Amen.

OR

Sung Response: “Spirit of the Living God”

Hymns and Songs of Praise Suggestions

Bind Us Together”
“Soaring Spirit Set Us Free”
“Spirit of Mercy, Truth, and Love”
“Breathe on Me Breath of God”
“Spirit of the Living God”
“Let It Rise”

Written by Katherine Lee Baker

Pentecost Sunday litanies

Here are a few Pentecost-themed litanies you could use in your Pentecost Sunday worship service. A litany is a form of communal prayer in which a leader reads a prayer and the congregation responds.

First Reader (pouring water):
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form and void,
and darkness was upon the face of the deep;
and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1: 1–2)

All: The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, upon many waters.
 (Psalm 29: 3)

Second Reader (with wind chimes):
The wind blows where it chooses,
and you hear the sound of it,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3: 8)

All: The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in God’s temple all cry, “Glory!”
 (Psalm 29:9)

Third Reader (carrying/pouring soil):
When you send forth your Spirit all living things are created;
and you renew the face of the earth. (from Psalm 104:30)

All: The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world and those who live in it.
 (Psalm 24:1)

Fourth Reader (with candle):
I baptize with you water;
but one more powerful than I is coming
who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (from Luke 3:16)

All: The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
 (Psalm 29: 7–8)

Fourth reader: May the Lord give strength to the people!
All: May the Lord bless the people with peace! (Psalm 29:11)

Hymn: “Wind Who Makes All Winds That Blow” (Sing! A New Creation, p. 169)

Written by John Paarlberg, pastor of First Church in Albany, New York

Leader: Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life:
At the beginning of time you moved over the face of the waters;
you breathe into every living being, the breath of life.

All: Come, Creator Spirit, and renew the whole creation.

Sung refrain:
Come, Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Maranatha!
Come, Lord, come.
(Sing! A New Creation)

Leader: Holy Spirit, voice of the prophets:
You enflame men and women with a passion for your truth,
and through them call your people to the ways of justice and compassion.

All: Come, Spirit of Righteousness, and burn in our hearts.

Leader: Holy Spirit, Spirit of Jesus:
By your power Jesus came to bring good news to the poor
and release to those held captive.

All: Come, Liberating Spirit, and free us from the powers of sin and death.

Sung refrain: Come, Holy Spirit…

Leader: Holy Spirit, Advocate, Teacher:
You speak to us of our Lord,
and show us the depth of his love.

All: Come, Spirit of Truth, abide in us and lead us in the way of Jesus Christ.

Leader: Holy Spirit, wind and flame:
You filled disciples with joy and courage,
empowering them to preach your word and to share your good news.

All: Come, Spirit of Power, make us bold witnesses of your redeeming love.

Sung refrain: Come, Holy Spirit…

Leader: Holy Spirit, Spirit of Peace:
You break down barriers of language, race, and culture,
and heal the divisions that separate us.

All: Come, Reconciling Spirit, and unite us all in the love of Christ.

Leader: Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life:
At the close of the age
all creation will be renewed to sing your praises.

All: Come, Creator Spirit, and make us new creations in Jesus Christ.

Sung refrain: Come, Holy Spirit…

*Words and music to “Come, Holy Spirit” by John Bell. Copyright 1995, The Iona Community. GIA Publications, exclusive North American agent. 

Written by John Paarlberg, retired Reformed Church in America pastor 

Leader:

God, by your Holy Spirit you equip us to make known your grace and goodness.
Freed from haste which compromises safety and quality,
Freed from needless hesitance which delays desired progress,

People:

Holy Spirit, direct the tempos of our life.

Leader:

Freed for exercising self-discipline toward the best we can be and do,
Freed for rejoicing in the accomplishments of others,

People:

Holy Spirit, inspire our efforts and guide our aims.

Leader:

Freed for honoring faithful standards of ethics and excellence,
Freed for creative pursuits which minister to ever present needs,

People:

Holy Spirit, grant us wisdom.

Leader:

Freed for careful research which grounds medical advances,
Freed for measured diplomacy which seeks enduring commitments
to peaceful resolution of conflict,

People:

Holy Spirit, grant us patience.

Leader:

Freed for sharing our faith with friend, foe, and stranger,
Freed for bridging generations and centuries with our enduring love,

People:

Holy Spirit, grant us courage.

Leader:

Freed for recognizing and valuing people as your children,
not merely for what they produce and the services they provide;
Freed for contributing ourselves and our resources,

People:

Holy Spirit, bind us together as your family.

Leader:

Freed for exemplifying the enduring worth of faithful convictions without apology,
Freed for celebrating the resurrection and reign of Jesus Christ,

People:

Holy Spirit, instill in us
Christ’s peace which passes all understanding,
God’s love which encourages and equips
and joy in the Lord which knows no end.
Amen.

–Rev. Kathy Jo Blaske