Lent 2022: Let Us Pray
Week 3: March 23, 2022, 6pm
L: The love of God poured into our hearts, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the abundant life of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
C: And also with you.
L: Let us pray. O God, rich in mercy, full of kindness: out of your great love, you raise us up from sin and death and make us alive together with Christ. Be present with us in prayer and praise. Write your word upon our hearts and restore in us the image of your love that, by your Spirit, the way of Christ may become our way of life. In Christ’s name we pray.
A Lenten Litany
L: We come to you, gracious God, for healing, reconciliation, peace, purpose, and guidance.
C: We come carrying the weariness of these past years. It feels like so much has changed. And yet, it feels like nothing has changed.
L: We come to you Saving One, for presence, hope, pardon, and assurance.
C: We come, feeling at times like we are lost in the wilderness, uncertain of who we are now or where we are going.
L: We come to you Author of all Life, for life, love, and salvation.
C: We come, burning with a million questions and no easy answers. We know things are not the way they were, yet we see the path forward only a step or two at a time, if at all.
L: People of God, no matter where you are – or how you come this evening – our loving God is with you and with me. God sees you, knows you, loves you, welcomes you, and is with you. Always.
C: God is with us now and always.
L: God, we give you thanks for being with us. Now in this time together, open us up to wonder, to discern your will, to receive your life-changing and life-giving love.
C: Fill us, guide us, and lead us. Open us to big questions without easy answers; guide us into the future you are breathing into being; help us to wonder, to wrestle, to imagine, and to follow you. Amen.
Questions for reflection as you hear the reading:
- What words or phrases do you feel drawn to in this text?
- How do you see God moving in this text?
- What invitations do you hear in this text to pray?
Reading: Luke 21:1-19, 34-38
1 He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2 he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
5 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”
7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.
9 “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.
12 “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.
34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” 37 Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. 38 And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.
Prayer practice: Praying with (and for) One Another
Sometimes the simplest prayer practices are the most powerful.
This prayer practice is exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak!
- Please find a partner to pray with and a place to sit where you can both hear each other clearly. (If you’re watching this from home and live by yourself, perhaps consider messaging or calling a friend, or writing an email asking them to pray for you and asking how you could pray for them.)
- Take turns sharing with each other – each person will have around 6-8 minutes to talk.
- When it’s your turn to speak, as you are comfortable, share joys/highs for which you give thanks, as well as concerns/lows to be lifted in prayer.
- When it’s your turn to listen, let your body posture show that you are focused on what your partner is saying. Try not to interrupt too much, except to check your understanding or to ask furthering questions. (If a great story about a similar situation pops into your head, mentally set it aside and make a note to tell your partner about it after you’ve prayed for them. 😉)
- Once your partner has finished sharing, invite them to join you in an attitude of prayer – and pray for them, out loud. Lift up to God the joys and concerns they mentioned. If you like, you can try praying with “GRASE,” but there’s really no right or wrong way to pray. Trust that the Spirit will give you the words.
- Finally, mark the sign of the cross on your partner’s forehead (or hands, whatever they are comfortable with) with the oil provided, saying:
[name], remember that God loves you, and hears you, and is with you always.
(We used olive oil, which is traditional for anointing, and mixed in a few drops of essential oils)
The church has a long history of anointing with oil for blessing and healing, and many instances of it can be found throughout scripture. It is a central part of our baptismal rite; and in fact the root of the name “Christ” means “anointed one.” As we anoint one another, we remember that the power of blessing isn’t in the oil itself; it’s in the listening, caring presence we are for one another – the love of God at work through us.
Communal prayer: We pray for one another & for the world
L: Let us pray. In Christ Jesus we meet the God who knows our weakness and bears the wounds of the world. Therefore, let us be bold as we pray, trusting that God draws near to those in any kind of need.
All are invited to add their own prayer petitions here. (You are welcome to add your own prayers in comments on this post or on the video)
Please end your petition with:
L: God, in your mercy,
C: Receive our prayer.
L: God of all compassion, gather our prayers in your mercy and grant to us what you know we need, that we may walk in the life and peace of your Spirit, through Jesus Christ, our hope and our salvation
L: Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
C: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
L: Go in peace. Christ is with you.
C: Thanks be to God.
Thanks so much for spending time with us this evening! Please be sure to join us for the remaining Lenten Wednesday evenings — in person or online — March 30, April 6. Meal starts at 6pm, with prayer following.
We will also have several opportunities to worship during Holy Week and Easter, all of which will be live-streamed:
- Palm Sunday — April 10, 9:30am
- Maundy Thursday — April 14, 6:30pm
- Good Friday — April 15, 6:30pm
- Easter Vigil — April 16, 6:30pm
- Easter Sunday — April 17, 9:30am