Living, loving Father,
Who else is there like You? You alone are majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders. You are our strength. You are our might. You have delivered us from the captivity of sin and death to the freedom of life and salvation, and therefore we will always praise You.
Just as You have loved us and done everything needed for our deliverance, You have also done so for everyone we meet. So help us, Father, to see everyone around us not as people who can serve us and our desires, but as those who can serve You just as we are doing; not as people whom we need to correct in order to get our way, but as Your children whom you love just as You love us, remembering that we all alike will stand before You, bow our knees, and praise You with our tongues, because of how good, generous, and merciful You have been to each one of us.
We have seen this mercy most clearly in Your Son, Jesus. It was he who taught and showed us that forgiveness is possible regardless of the wrongs done to us, because, in truth, we all are indebted to You infinitely beyond our ability to repay. Help us to see the extent to which You have been merciful to us so that we may be merciful to others and so grow in the character of our Lord Jesus, who taught us to pray, 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 19, or (in 2011) the Thirteenth 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:
- Exodus 14:19-31: The fourth of nine consecutive readings from Exodus. This passage is the dramatic exit (exodus) of God's people from captivity in Egypt as they walk through the Red Sea on dry ground.
- Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21: A song of worship from Moses, the Israelites, and Miriam in praise of God's salvation, recognizing that it is God alone who has saved them from captivity.
- Romans 14:1-12: The fifteenth of sixteen possible consecutive readings after Pentecost from Romans. In this passage, Paul gives practical instructions on how to deal with differences among Christians regarding beliefs about how they should live, emphasizing that all of us will be accountable to God for how we live and that we do not need to take on the immense responsibility of passing judgment on others.
- Matthew 18:21-35: All of the gospel readings after Pentecost in Year A come from Matthew. This passage contains Jesus' parable of the servant who, having been forgiven a tremendous debt by his master, then refused to forgive a coworker's small debt. Jesus told this in response to Peter's question of how many times to forgive one of his brothers, "As many as seven times?... Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times." In other words, give up keeping count. Be merciful to others, for we have always been given much more mercy than we are asked to give.