A Prayer for the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A)

[This is one of a series of Prayers for the Christian Year. To see the other posts, click here.] Living, loving Father,

We call upon You, because we have found that You answer us. Incline Your ear to us and hear these words that we pray.

You save those who seek refuge in You, and we pray that just as Your love has always been steadfast toward us, that You would show it to all those who seek You today.

Although we have striven with You and sought to have our own way, You have blessed us. We deserve Your condemnation, yet in Your mercy, instead of condemning, You have given us Yourself.

Your loving faithfulness is not new to us, but for thousands of years You have been working in Your people to bring about good in this world.

This loving work of Yours came to a climax in the life, death, and resurrection of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus. He showed us that although we may feel unable to do Your work in the lives of others around us, all things are possible with You. You are able to take what we have to offer, bless it and multiply it for the good of others. So it is as students of Him who fed the crowds with five loaves of bread, and who abundantly gives us all that we need to live fully in You, that we pray again in the way 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 13, or (in 2011) the Seventh 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 32:22-31: The eleventh of thirteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Genesis, and the fourth of six on the life of Jacob. This passage is the account of Jacob wrestling with God, during his return to face his brother, Esau, whom he had wronged, after leaving his father-in-law, Laban, who had wronged him. In this passage, God informs Jacob that his name will be changed to Israel.
  • Psalm 17:1-7, 15: A bold prayer to God for deliverance, which concludes with an echo of Jacob's experience, "As for me, I shall behold your face... when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness."
  • Romans 9:1-5: The ninth of sixteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Romans. This passage represents a shift, as Paul moves from an explanation of the Christian way to exploring the implications of Israel rejecting it.
  • Matthew 14:13-21: All of the gospel readings after Pentecost in Year A come from Matthew. In this passage, Jesus feeds 5,000 men, plus women and children, with five loaves and bread and two fish.