Reading and Prayer – Monday, April 4

Mark 12:28-31, 41-44

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. 

43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

Prayer:

Lord our God, 

You are so generous and patient with us. Thank you for your never-ending goodness and kindness to us. Thank you for your patient persistence with us. You embrace and invite us to come to you just as we are, yet you love us far too much to leave us in the same state that you found us.

We thank you for the many ways that you bless us. You are so generous to us in all ways. Even in the times that we feel stretched or like we do not have enough, you promise that you will be with us to sustain us and give us all that we truly need. 

Jesus, we thank you, particularly in this time as we approach Easter, for the way that you have given yourself for us. Help us to recognise the incredible depth of what you have done for us. We have heard about your love and your sacrifice before, but don’t let us forget the earth-shattering reality of your death and resurrection. Don’t let us grow numb or harden our hearts. 

Holy Spirit, thank you that you are faithful to remind us, and to soften our hard hearts. You promise help for us in all things, and you are with us wherever we find ourselves. Thank you that there is nothing that can separate us from you. Not because of what we have done, but because of your love that never gives up, and never ends. May we return to you, and be filled with your presence. 

We thank you that you also promise to comfort all of your people, and we pray now for all those who are living in places and realities that we cannot even imagine. We pray for those in countries torn apart by war and conflict. We pray for the many who do not have enough to eat and drink. For the many who do not have work. For the many who do not have homes. For the many who are abused and neglected. Let our hearts be broken just as your heart is broken. Help us to continue to pray, and to use the gifts you have given to us to love others and change the world so that it looks more like heaven.

We pray for those who are sick, or in pain. For those in hospital, and those who do not have access to medical care. We pray for those who have lost someone they love. May your loving kindness, your complete peace, and we, your church, be of comfort to all. 

We pray particularly for Sterling Sander’s family as we mourn his death together. We thank you for the love that you have for them, and the love that they have for you. May they feel your closeness now more than ever before. 

We pray now silently for all those in need of your love and help. 

Thank you that you hear our prayers, and that you know what we need before even we do.

-Will Henbest