Centering Prayer & Devotional – July 24, 2021

Centering Prayer * St. James' Episcopal Church

The Welcoming Prayer for Healing – Centering Prayer (Please gently become aware of your interior state, and repeat this prayer.)

God, I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment.

God, I know it is for my healing.

God, I welcome all thoughts, and emotions.

God, I let go of my desire for control. God, I let go of my desire for approval.

God, I let go of my desire to change people.

God, I open myself to your love.

God, I open myself to your healing grace.

Now we will slowly breathe in through our nose, and then slowly breathe out through our mouths as we repeat one word, “Amen”, 3 times, while we refocus ourselves in our New Supernatural Reality Jesus: Amen. Amen. Amen.

Confession:

Eternal God, your good news to us in Jesus Christ Changes our lives forever. Yet we confess to You That we are reluctant to live as changed people. We are enslaved to our old ways. We are angry, judgmental, and devious. We are hypocritical, prideful, and faithless. We do not love You, Nor do we love our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us, O Lord. Restore to us a love of Your Son, Jesus. Renew in us the strength of Your Holy Spirit. Return us to a life that lives in Your grace as we have been saved by Your grace. Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Bible Reading & Devotional:

DAILY MEDITATION: MATTHEW 13:18-23

The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it. (Matthew 13:23)

It’s tempting, especially when life gets difficult, to see things as they are instead of what they can become. Land that is full of weeds, rocks, and thorns, for instance, may not look like a good place for a fruitful garden. Similarly, when we look at ourselves, we may see only obstacles to becoming rich soil that bears fruit for God’s kingdom.

In Jesus’ parable of the sower, three of the four types of soil didn’t look very hopeful either. That didn’t stop the farmer from sowing his seed just as freely as Jesus sows his word in us. But Jesus wants to do more than just give us his word. He wants to remove the obstacles as well. That’s because he sees all that we can become in him, not just who we are right now.

Jesus identifies three types of obstacles in the parable: the lies of the devil, the lack of deep roots, and the lures and anxieties of the world. First, the devil can steal away the seed of truth by whispering into our hearts lies that close us off to the gospel message. Second, if we lack deep roots in the word of God, suffering and challenges can drain our joy in the Lord. Lastly, the anxieties and ambitions of the world can crowd our hearts, leaving little room for the word of God to grow and take root.

Is there one particular obstacle that is giving you a hard time right now? Know that Jesus is more than able to help you overcome it. But he also asks you to cooperate with him. He promised that the one who “hears the word and understands” it will bear fruit (Matthew 13:23). So even as you ask him to make you more fruitful, do your part by digging into the word of God. Believe that the more you come to understand and love his word, the more fruit you will bear.

So don’t look only at the person you are. Remember the person God made you to be. Let Jesus become the gardener of your heart. He can make even the rockiest ground into the richest of soil!

“Jesus, help me remove any obstacles to your word in my heart. Lord, I want to bear great fruit for you!”

Conclude with 7 Minutes of Silent Prayer

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.

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