Silence and Centering – Pause for 5 minutes of Silence
“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:10
Eternal and Gracious God, You are the One in whom we find our meaning and joy. Our lives are in Your hands, and we say we trust You. Yet our faith is often limited and conditional, not unlimited and unconditional. We are flawed and fallen people. We rely on our plans rather than Your plan. We trust our ways over Your ways. We depend on our abilities instead of Your abilities. We do not love You with our whole heart, soul, and mind, nor do we love our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us and free us, O God. Strengthen us to serve You as Your joyful, forgiven people. May we live to give Your name glory. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
FIRST READING: Psalm 86
SECOND READING: Luke 8:4-15
They are the ones who . . . bear fruit through perseverance. (Luke 8:15)
Perseverance: we all know what it means. Don’t give up. Keep going when the going gets tough. Grit your teeth and keep trying hard. All of which sounds unpleasant at best and, at times, nearly impossible.
But why does Jesus use this word when describing the “rich soil”—the people in whom God’s word takes root and bears good fruit (Luke 8:15)? Perhaps because without perseverance, it’s much more difficult to be fruitful. Just look at the people described in today’s parable. Those on rocky ground received God’s word with joy, but they believed “only for a time” (8:13). And rather than hold fast in adversity, those in thorn-infested soil allowed themselves to become “choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life” (8:14).
Perseverance is key to every aspect of our spiritual journey. We need to persevere as we battle temptation and the lies of the devil. We have to persevere to fight the distractions that take our focus off of God and place it onto lesser things that don’t satisfy us. And most important, we need to persevere in prayer.
When we spend time with God each day, we are more able to bear fruit for God and his kingdom. It’s in prayer that God gives us the grace to face our challenges and the will to carry on. So if we can persevere in prayer, we’ll find the strength to persevere in everything else he is asking of us.
It’s not always easy to stay faithful to daily prayer. So often, life gets in the way. If you’re struggling in this area, ask God to help you. He can point out times in your busy day when you might be able to get away for some precious time with him, even if for only a few minutes. Perhaps you could ask a friend to intercede for you. Just keep trying, and know that over time, your daily “appointment” with God can become the most treasured part of your day—one you won’t ever want to miss!
“Jesus, help me persevere in prayer so that I can bear fruit for you.”
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.
O Lord of hosts, You oppose the proud and give grace to the humble. Help us by Your Spirit to submit ourselves to You and resist the devil, that he would flee from us. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord of hosts, give our Synod’s leaders and all pastors the wisdom that comes down from above, that they may be peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. Let them sow among us in peace, and grant a harvest of righteousness. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord of hosts, pacify our passions by Your Spirit, that we may not be ruled by the jealousy and selfish ambition that give rise to disorder and every vile practice. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord of hosts, uphold this world in Your order. Preserve the Church and the preaching of Your Word against all enemies. Bless our homes, that parents and children may serve one another faithfully and grow in instruction and faith until life’s end. Give health and wisdom to all who serve in public office, that their authority may be exercised for the benefit of our people. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord of hosts, look with kindness on the sick and those in any need [especially _____________]. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord of hosts, give us faith to draw near to Your altar in repentance, that we may receive Your Son with cleansed hands and purified hearts as He draws near to us in His body and blood. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
O Lord of hosts, grant that what we ask from You may not be squandered after our passions, but sought rightly in faith, that we may receive them and put them to service for You and our neighbors; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.
1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
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.