A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Prayers of the People: Resistance is Fertile ~ 1st Sunday in Lent

Readings:  Gen 2:15-17, 3:1-7; Ps 32; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11

    Many Episcopal/Anglican parishes will open this Sunday's Liturgy (worship service) with the very formal Great Litany (a prayer in a Christian church service in which the people at the service respond to lines spoken by the person who is leading the service), most likely in Procession.  You can read it here: http://www.bcponline.org/GreatLitany/Litany2.html  Other parishes will use one of the six different forms of the Prayers of the People (PotP) from the Book of Common Prayer:  http://bcponline.org/HE/pop.htm.  Still other parishes will use their own format for the PotP such as those specifically composed below. And, as in previously posted PotP in this space, they are based on the appointed Scripture readings from the Revised Common Lectionary, that is, a listing of readings chosen for each Sunday for each season in the Church Year.  Many Christian denominations in the US, Canada, Great Britain and elsewhere use the same readings on the same Sunday - for example: Episcopal, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran - although there may be differences here and there.

     For this Sunday, in the Old Testament reading we are confronted with a small slice of the Adam, Eve, and the Serpent story.  God says "Don't Eat THAT" and, the serpent says, "Go ahead" and so ..., then Paul tells us in the Epistle, in effect, that it isn't all bad news. Yes, many died because of the sins of Adam and Eve, but many many more are saved because of one man's act of righteousness - Jesus, of course, is the one who has provided us with the free gift of grace.

     The Gospel reminds us of the 40 days of Jesus' temptation in the desert and his confrontation with the Devil.  How many of us would be able to resist all that was offered?  But, resistance is fertile. When we summon the strength through the grace of God to resist temptation and follow the right path, we invite the spiritual growth that gives us ever increasing strength and grace to resist more, and so, to grow into the Life in Christ that we are called.  Lent is the perfect time to examine the temptations in our lives and discover, through prayer and reflection, how we can bolster our ability to resist evils big and small.  One small step after another starts the walk...    

Let Us, God’s People, Pray

LEADER:         ~  Most Holy Creator, You give us clear instructions in Your Law that we, Your unruly children, willfully and continually disregard; yet You always forgive us when we confess our sins with true hearts.

                     Divine Ruler of the Universe,
RESPONSE:  Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You.

~ Most Holy Creator, please chasten the hearts of those who lead this world.  Give them the strength to forsake the allure and vanity of the power of power, and govern with integrity and truth.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                    Divine Ruler of the Universe,
                    Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You.

~ Most Holy Creator, sustain those who are seriously ill, filled with fear and anxiety, and for those who give them care.  Keep them from drifting into despair and turning away from Your healing mercy.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                    Divine Ruler of the Universe,
                    Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You.

~ Most Holy Creator, in the depths of grief from the loss of those we love, we more easily slide into the chilling shadows and fall away from the warmth of Your Love and Grace.  Grant us the courage to live with the living and relinquish the care of our loved ones to You.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                     Divine Ruler of the Universe,
                     Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You.

~ Most Holy Creator, we ask that those who are chosen to lead Your Church also cast off their own fears and vanities to guide us by faithful word and example as we walk together toward wholeness in You.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                      Divine Ruler of the Universe,
                      Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You

The Celebrant adds:  Most Holy Creator, You sent Jesus into our world of temptation, trial, and travesty.  Accepting the free gift of Your grace, he triumphed over all the enticements, seductions, and illusions of glamour we each face every day.  As we begin our own 40 days of reflection and repentance, purify our hearts and open our minds that we also might remember to accept Your grace and turn our lives always toward You.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Great High Priest, and the Spirit, our Holy Sanctifier, who reign with You, one God, forever and ever.  AMEN.











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