I. Prayer to enter the Lord’s presence:
Be still for a moment. “Lord, I give the day that is now past to you. It is yours. I give the day that is to come to you; help me to see where you are working and to join you there. Speak to me during these moments. I commit them and myself to you.”
II. Prayer of Confession:
“Lord, you are faithful to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin when I confess it to you. I confess my sin(s) of ______________. Thank you for forgiveness.” (1 John 1:9)
III. Prayer of Thanksgiving:
Choose to be thankful, speak out loud of what God has done.
“Thank you, Father, for _________________. Fill my heart and my mouth with gratitude throughout this day.”
IV. Scripture Reflection
Read: Proverbs Chapter 21
13The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
will himself also call out and not be answered.
What’s valued isn’t stated in this proverb, but it is easily seen—it’s mercy. The vice would be self-centeredness. I say self-centeredness because I believe it is at the heart of what makes us stop looking to others’ needs (in this case the poor: the feeble, weak, or helpless), and look only to ourselves. To discard the needs of the poor is wicked. The Lord is concerned with how we respond to those in need.
Jesus told a parable about a rich man whose concern was only for himself; he had no regard for the poor. The story goes like this:
“There was this rich man who had everything—purple clothing of fine quality and high fashion, gourmet meals every day, and a large house. Just outside his front gate lay this poor homeless fellow named Lazarus. Lazarus was covered in ugly skin lesions. He was so hungry he wished he could scavenge scraps from the rich man’s trash. Dogs would come and lick the sores on his skin. The poor fellow died and was carried on the arms of the heavenly messengers to the embrace of Abraham. Then the rich fellow died and was buried and found himself in the place of the dead. In his torment, he looked up, and off in the distance he saw Abraham, with Lazarus in his embrace. He shouted out, ‘Father Abraham! Please show me mercy! Would you send that beggar Lazarus to dip his fingertip in water and cool my tongue? These flames are hot, and I’m in agony!’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, you seem to be forgetting something: your life was full to overflowing with comforts and pleasures, and the life of Lazarus was just as full with suffering and pain. So now is his time of comfort, and now is your time of agony. Besides, a great canyon separates you and us. Nobody can cross over from our side to yours, or from your side to ours.’ ‘Please, Father Abraham, I beg you,’ the formerly rich man continued, ‘send Lazarus to my father’s house. I have five brothers there, and they’re on the same path I was on. If Lazarus warns them, they’ll choose another path and won’t end up here in torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘Why send Lazarus? They already have the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets to instruct them. Let your brothers hear them.’ ‘No, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘they’re already ignoring the law and the prophets. But if someone came back from the dead, then they’d listen for sure; then they’d change their way of life.’ Abraham answered, ‘If they’re not listening to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be convinced even if someone comes back from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31 The Voice)
It’s ironic and sad that only after dying the man would show concern for people. May it not be so with us. Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear opportunities to serve those who are hurting. May we be the hands and feet of Jesus.
V. Prayer for others:
Pray specifically for the concerns of your life and the lives of others.
VI. Prayer of commitment:
“Lord God, I commit to love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind and to love my neighbor as myself. Empower me today to love you and others with everything that I am.” (Luke 10:27)
This Week’s Scripture Memory:
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.