Living, loving Father,
You, O Lord, know all that there is to know about each of us. You have searched us, known us, and yet still love us beyond our understanding. Even if we attempt to flee from You, there is nowhere we can go where You are not. In every corner of our world, You are there.
There have been many times when we thought ourselves to be alone. It often feels like, if You are anywhere in our world, it could only be somewhere far away from wherever we are and whatever we are going through. But regardless of how it feels, You are here, even if we have been completely unaware.
At other times, it feels like we have awoken to an entirely new life in an entirely new world, where Your loving presence surrounds us like the air that we breathe. Your Scriptures and Your friends throughout history have testified that this is how things really are, all of the time, so help us, in this moment, to know that You are here.
Help us to experience how profoundly good it is to have a living, loving Father who is always near and who calls us His own beloved children. Everyone in our world, even our world itself, needs to know this in the deepest ways possible. So use us, here in this world, in these bodies, to increase Your hope in our world.
We hope in the face of sometimes hopeless situations, only because we have come to trust in Your loving wisdom, since You let a variety of things grow together, so that in the end, as many as possible can join us along Your way being transformed to the point that our lives shine like the sun in Your kingdom.
As completely as we know how, we open ourselves to You to have Your way with us, to reveal to us things we need to know about ourselves, showing us if there are any wicked ways in us, and leading us in Your everlasting way.
The one who has best taught us to live this way is your beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus. It is as his students that we again take the step of following him by praying the prayer that 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 11, or (in 2011) the Fifth 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 28:10-19a: The ninth of thirteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Genesis, and the second of four on the life of Jacob. This passage is the story of "Jacob's ladder." As Jacob was running for his life from his brother, Esau, after swindling him out of his birthright and their father's blessing, he has a dream of a ladder reaching to heaven, is spoken to by God, and becomes convinced of God's presence with him.
- Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24: David's prayer that God would search him, know him, and lead him along further in his ways, combined with praising God for being ever-present everywhere in the world.
- Romans 8:12-25: The eighth of sixteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Romans, and the second of three consecutive readings from the great passages of Romans 8. In this passage, Paul explores the meaning and implications of our identity as God's children, being given the privilege through our adoption to call God "Abba, Father," and being given a role in bringing his hope into the midst of a cosmos "groaning in labor pains."
- Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43: All of the gospel readings after Pentecost in Year A come from Matthew, and this is the second of three consecutive readings of Jesus' parables in Matthew 13. This passage contains Jesus' parable of the weeds and the wheat, which a landowner allowed to grow together so that the wheat would not be uprooted. It also skips ahead in the chapter to Jesus' explanation of the parable to his disciples, as he explains its application to the end of the age and how, in the end, God's righteous children will come to "shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."