EVENING PRAYER – MARCH 18, 2020

Silence and Centering:  PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

Scripture: Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.

Silence and Centering:  PAUSE FOR 30 seconds OF SILENCE

Scripture: PHILEMON 1:4-7

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

Silence and Centering:  PAUSE FOR 30 seconds OF SILENCE

This passage represents to two main lessons. The first is to defend those who have radically changed and the second is to exercise a heart of forgiveness. The context of this passage is that Paul is writing a letter on behalf of a run away slave, Onesimus. He had run away from Rome and as a result broke both the Roman law and defrauded his master. Paul knew that those issues had to be dealt with, and therefore decided to send Onesimus back to Rome. He sent with him a very important letter urging Philemon to forgive Onesimus an welcome him back to service as a brother in Christ.

Paul has seen the change in the life of Onesimus. He has seen that this man had been radically transformed by God’s Grace. He wanted for Philemon to see that and to extend a heart of forgiveness. Philemon had every reason to hold a grudge and to punish him. However, Paul makes a compelling and deep argument that Christ has performed a change in this mans heart, and that he would now be used as a tool to help spread the message of Christ and serve alongside those ministering in Rome.

The  main verse that portrays this urgent point that Paul makes about Onesimus being changed and now being useful is found in verse 11 “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me”. This sums up the change that Paul has witnessed in him. Prior to his run away, Onesimus was not a committed slave to Philemon nor was he committed to the work of Christ. Now not only has he been saved but he is ready to go back to serving along side Philemon in a much deeper way.

There is no one that is ever outside the reach of God’s Grace. Change can happen in a person’s life in ways that we can never imagine. He also sets the expectation that we too should not give up on those who appear to be “hopeless” cases. This passage should fill our hearts with hope because we were once that person who was deemed to be lost and are now saved. It should also fill our hearts with a sense of urgency to keep praying for those who are lost and allow for God to do the saving work in their lives.

Evening Prayer:

Lord

You bless us as we rest
Restore us as we sleep
You care for us as we drift off
And make our dreaming sweet

You are the safest place
You are the God of Grace
Forgiven, loved and held by you
Is each small seed of faith

You know our thoughts and feelings
You see our deep desires
You understand our weariness
And catch each tear we cry

You walk beside us every day
You are a constant friend
You stay with us all through the night
On you we can depend

The Our Father (slowly pray this)

Our Father which 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 the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

 

One thought on “EVENING PRAYER – MARCH 18, 2020

  1. Thank you for your commitment to keep yourself and others directed to spiritual formation.

    A poignant point was made: never lose ‘hope’ for others – they are not out of reach of God’s love.

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