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.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Prayers of the People: A Persistent Bother! ~ 19th Sunday after Pentecost '22 Yr C

For Sunday, October 16, 2022;  Readings: Genesis 32:22-31, Psalm 121, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Luke 18:1-8

Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until daybreak…Jacob called the place Peniel, saying “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” [Genesis 32:24, 30]
I lift my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. [Psalm 121:1-2]

 I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable...For the time is coming when people...will turn away from listening to the  truth and wander away to myths. [2 Timothy 4:1b-2a, 3a, 4]

 " ...yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming." And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? ...I tell you he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" [Luke 18:5-7, 8]

      We are God's people. And persistence is the order of the day. Jacob, in wrestling with the man until daybreak, is all of us wrestling with our innermost selves, the unjust judge within us, fearing our self-perceived failings and lackings. But as Jacob prevails despite a life-long wound to remind him so do we. For Jacob, as for us, it was less about the struggle and more about his capacity to withstand, to overcome obstacles and personal history, and to be preserved by God.
      The Psalmist’s words bring us to the dawn of inner comfort as our help comes from the Lord and is always within us if we but remember to call out and to call on that inner strength.
       The writer of 2nd Timothy calls us to be persistent, whether the time is convenient or not, to proclaim the message, and to be steadfast in the ministry to which Christ calls us, because people – including us – will wander away from the truth and believe whatever they like. 
       The parable that Jesus tells is a way to keep the disciples, and always us, from losing heart and abandoning prayer. The widow keeps up the good fight to the annoyance of the judge who believes he is an entity unto himself. We also stubbornly yield to the sense of singularity of our own stature or desires, with no apparent care or interest in the needs of others beyond our own, at times. Yet this widow – a woman with no husband was the least of the least in those days – kept coming before the judge, a bothersome, constant, squeaky wheel whose noise the judge could no longer ignore or endure. He grants her the justice she seeks but only in order to be rid of her. So, too will God hear us who cry – or rather, pray – day and night, though never to be rid of us. God’s Presence is always within, always available even in our struggles with doubt and the frustrations and injustices of daily life. 
         Jesus leaves us with that final disconcerting question: And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? How do we answer? By returning again, and again, and again to Scripture, to prayer, to patience, to giving and receiving support in a community of faith and discipleship, to carry out our ministries fully. Let us feel bothered if we wander away. Let us be bothered enough to listen, remember, and turn back to the Gospel Truth, each time we turn only to ourselves as judge. Let us be a bother in patience, persistence, inspiration, to all we meet. Let our faith bloom amidst the rocks and obstacles of this human sojourn. Oh, yes, do bother, persistently!


Leader:  ~ Watchful, Loving God, as we wrestle with the unjust judge inside ourselves, awaken us to Your strength within us, to carry and proclaim Your truth in our every thought, word, and action.

                                                    O Lord, our Help
RESPONSE:             Preserve us in faith and truth

~ Watchful, Loving God, arouse our inner courage, in this time of unending urgencies, to be the persistent and bothersome conscience of all who serve in the halls of government across this Planet, this Nation, and this Community, on behalf of all Your people and the very Earth itself. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                     O Lord, our Help
                                                     Preserve us in faith and truth                      

~ Watchful, Loving God, grant healing and hope to all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit, and revive the energy and dedication of all who serve their needs.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                     O Lord, our Help
                                                     Preserve us in faith and truth    

~ Watchful, Loving God, grant divine comfort to those who grieve as You joyfully welcome, for all eternity, all to whom You gave first breath and received their final earthly sigh. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                     O Lord, our Help
                                                     Preserve us in faith and truth

~ Watchful, Loving God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently…add your own petitions  

                                                     O Lord, our Help
                                                     Preserve us in faith and truth  
~ Watchful, Loving God, enrich and inspire the souls of all who bring us to Your Word and Sacraments, and guide us to carry out Your ministry in all facets of everyday life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                     O Lord, our Help
                                                     Preserve us in faith and truth                                                                                             

The Celebrant adds:  O Lord our God, quicken and embolden our faith that in all times, whether unfavorable or good, we may persevere in learning and sharing through the Gospel message, so that others will listen and walk with us in prayer and faith. We ask through Jesus, Son of Man; and the Holy Spirit, the Persistent Voice within; who together with You are One God, above all, forever and ever. Amen.


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