For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Mark 8:38 ESV
Lord, I confess making an idol of what other people think. I am a slave to the fear of man. Too many times I am reluctant to be associated with you, the cross, and the gospel. Too many times I keep silent when I know I should share your good news with others who desperately need it. Forgive me for accepting things that you disapprove in order to be accepted by the world that disapproves of you. You chose to be rejected as the worst criminal rather than be accepted by the wealthy and influential. Forgive me for valuing the approval of my friends and co-workers more than your approval. I thank you for the blood-bought forgiveness of Jesus. Amen.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
Father, thank you for this cross you have called me to bear. Thank you for this opportunity to give myself to others. Thank you for calling me to lay down, my time, my money, my comfort. Help me to see this situation as an opportunity for you to demonstrate your power in me. I am grateful that you are developing the character of your Son in me as I walk through this circumstance. You are teaching me to surrender my life, my desires and my aspirations. Forgive me for trying to hold onto the dregs of my own shallow life, when you want to give me a more abundant life than I could ever dream. Pray Lord Jesus, do a deep work of cleansing in me. Amen.
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Mark 8:34 ESV
Lord, we need your grace to bear this Cross that you have placed before us. You call us to take up the Cross, but so often we walk the other way. So many other things seem more pressing, more appealing. We are not good with self-denial. Give us grace to see every situation as an opportunity for you to manifest your life in us. Open our ears to hear your voice saying to us, “This is the way, walk in it.” Take away the sinful attitudes and desires that cause us to choose short-term pleasure over the abundant life that you offer us in Christ. We cannot carry the Cross in our own power, we need you to live your life through us.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Lord Jesus, we worship You today. Thank You for dying on the cross for us. You didn’t deserve to go through all the agony and pain, but You did it anyway. We glorify You because you didn’t take the easy way out. You don’t ask us to do something that you were unwilling to do. We praise You because You were not ashamed to identify with our sinful, broken humanity. You didn’t whine or complain under suffering like we do. By Your death, You crushed the head of the serpent and returned from the grave so that we could experience Your never-ending life. Lord Jesus Christ, transform us, we pray, into Your likeness that our attitudes and actions may reflect Your glory and grace. You are worthy to receive all honor and all glory. Amen.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
~~ Prayer of Self-Dedication, Book of Common Prayer
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Lord, we as a nation are far from You. We admit our neediness, selfishness, and pride as a people. Lord, we repent in dust and ashes with weeping and mourning. We have allowed sin to overtake us. Holiness is far from us. We have allowed the values of this world to rule our hearts. We have permitted worldly thoughts to be our thoughts. We have put the gods of money, sex, and power to come between us and You. The idols of pride, success, and entertainment have diverted our souls from seeking You.
Forgive us, Lord! You love us and long for us to conform our hearts to Your Word. We humbly ask that You have mercy and leave behind a blessing, the blessing of Your Holy Spirit. We need the blessing of Your power, the power of Your Spirit. The power to overcome sin and temptation. The power that brings forth forgiveness, healing, and deliverance. We need more of Your Holy Spirit. We need You, Lord. Amen!
~~ India B. Davis
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
John 15:1–2 ESV
Insight: Yesterday, the pansies were beautiful; velvety and brightly colored, they poured out their perfume so the wind could spread it. Today, the edges are cracking and curling, the blooms are beginning to droop. It’s time to be pruned because the plant’s energy needs to go into new blooms. Last year, the irises were tall and splendid; the leaves green and straight, the flowers iridescent in every tint and shade. Now the flowers are gone, the leaves brown and lifeless. It’s time to be pruned so that the new growth can emerge. The old pear tree has produces so many pears that its limbs are weak and won’t support another year’s fruit. It’s time to be pruned so that the dead limbs don’t fall and do damage. It’s time to prune the good branches for their shade prevents growth for only the best fruit need remain on the branch. The old glories have to go.
Prayer: Father, we confess that we have held on to our old glories. We’ve clung to the special moments, ministries, forms, successes, and insights, You gave us last year, or even twenty years ago. We repent and ask you to prune us, to deal with our sins, our foolish habits, our thought patterns that drain the life from us with which you want to infuse us. Father, we ask that you get us ready for new growth in the Spirit. Revive us with Your Holy Spirit, breath life in us, and in our churches. Call us to run after you in prayer and study so that we may bear healthy fruit on strong branches. We pray in Jesus’ name for your mercy. Amen.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
O Lord, we pray that You will expose the sins in our lives to which we are blinded. We often think of our daily, selfish habits as personality weaknesses or character flaws, we fail to call them sins. Teach us to recognize our failures and repent of them as your Holy Spirit convicts us. By Your grace, help us to deal with the darkness within and assist us to be slow in judging the shortcomings of others. As the Psalmist wrote, search us and know our hearts, and see if there be any wicked way in us. Lord Jesus Christ, empower us to turn from our selfish pride and live lives flowing in Your loving kindness.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
~~Fr. David Surrett
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Holy Father, teach us to see others as you see them. When we see others in sin, help us to pray for them, not gossip or criticize. When others deal harshly or are unkind, or impolite, let us see them as people who have been hurt and are wounded, a damaged people in need of Christ. Let us stand in need of prayer so that we may display the same mercy, you have shown to us. Teach us to not compare our sins against the sins of others, hoping to find their sins worse than ours. May we listen to Your life-giving Spirit all the day recognizing places large and small where we have fallen short of Your glory. Give us, we pray, grace to repent, mercy to show mercy, and love to serve, so that others may see You in us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
~~ Fr. David Surrett
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
Whether our bodies can kneel, or not, help our spirits kneel before you, laying aside pride and pretense and seeking only to please you. Jesus has provided the way for us to enter through the veil; therefore, let us come to your feet in humility and repentance to receive your outpoured grace and mercy. Let us rejoice in our dependence on you for every good and perfect gift, without which we cannot live or serve you.
~~ Nancy Beckham