Your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We need Your word to sink deeply into our hearts.
We are determined to do the things that You say, and are well aware that we desperately need Your help to do them, so we ask that You would give us life, O Lord, according to Your word and help us to receive in full the life that You offer us.
Some among us, whether our closest neighbors or faces we have never seen around the world, are crying out to You today, that if life is to be this way, why do we live? Have mercy on us, Lord. Grant our prayers for peace, for deliverance, for justice, and for the good news of Your kingdom to open every ear and bring light to every soul.
Whether we have always lived life by Your ways, or whether we have been deceptive and sought to have our own way, Your good news has come to us and assured us that as we abide in Your beloved Son Jesus, there is no condemnation awaiting us.
Help us to set our minds on the things of the Spirit, so that Your life and peace will grow in us and spread through us to others.
Give us the kinds of ears that truly listen to the things You say, so that Your word will not be snatched away from us, nor weakened by trouble or persecution, nor choked by the cares of the world and the lure of wealth. Rather, may Your word sink deeply into us, and stay there and have its full effect, as we receive it with joy, understand it, and allow it multiply Your work in our lives and in our world.
Your word came to us most clearly in the life of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is as his students again today that we prayer the prayer he taught us, saying,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours now and for ever. Amen
Depending on which system of ordering one pays attention to, this Sunday can also be referred to as Proper 10, or (in 2011) the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost. Regardless of the system, the readings are the same. So, the readings for this week, on which this prayer is based, are:
- Genesis 25:19-34: The eighth of thirteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Genesis, and the first of four on the life of Jacob. This week's passage recalls the birth of Jacob and his twin brother Esau, including how they struggled with one another from the time they were in the womb and how Jacob swindled his brother out of his birthright.
- Psalm 119:105-112: A section of the longest psalm, which focuses on the goodness of God's law and the psalmist's desire to live by it.
- Romans 8:1-11: The seventh of sixteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Romans, and the first of three consecutive readings from the great passages of Romans 8. In this passage, Paul assures his readers that in Christ, there is no condemnation, because of what "the law of the Spirit of life" has done for them. Therefore, they should live in accordance with the Spirit through setting their minds on the things of the Spirit, and experiencing the life and peace that will come to them in their mortal bodies through God's Spirit dwelling in them.
- Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23: All of the gospel readings after Pentecost in Year A come from Matthew, and this is the first of three consecutive readings of Jesus' parables in Matthew 13. This passage contains his parable of the farmer who went out to plant his seed, with seed falling in different places and producing different results. The reading also skips ahead in the chapter to Jesus' explanation of the parable to his disciples, identifying the seed as "the word of the kingdom."