Deuteronomy 8:2
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”

Luke 4:1-2a
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.”

Hebrews 4:14-15
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who in unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”

Jehovah God, you have chosen us and you long for us to choose you.

You lead us into the lonely wilderness so that by our hunger we learn of your provision, in our wandering we learn of your purpose, and in our laments we learn the strength of your word.

fortyWhen we are tempted to make an idol of our self-sufficiency or believe we are entitled to grumble, correct us with a vision of the Tempter’s will for us to be swallowed in the sands of self-pity.  Turn our eyes then upon the One who walks the path with us in unremitting humility.

This we ask in the sinless name of Jesus, who experienced a generation of human trials, remaining faultless in each test so that in faith we can claim his perfection.

Listen to ‘A Higher, Deeper Praise’ by Ordinary Time

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Judges 14:6a, 8-9a, 12a, 14a
“The Spirit of the Lord came upon [Samson] in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands…Some time later, when he went back to marry [the Philistine woman], he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass.  In it was a swarm of bees and some honey, which he scooped out with his hands and ate…‘Let me tell you a riddle,’ Samson said to [his companions]…‘Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.’”

Matthew 26:26
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’”

1 Corinthians 1:18-19
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’”

Holy and mysterious God, your designs are unfathomable.

riddleWe confess an ignorance to your purposes.  We do not see the sacred in the ordinary; we are blind to the profound.

Explain the enigma of your word to us by your Spirit.  Enlighten our dull minds to see that Christ is all and is in all—and that salvation’s riddle is understood in the cross.

By the incomprehensible power of Christ’s broken body, the strong out of which comes the sweet for us to feast upon, we humbly present our prayers.

Listen to ‘The Mystery of Godliness’ by Bruce Benedict

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Isaiah 61:1a, 2b-3a
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…”

Mark 1:40-41
“A man with leprosy came to [Jesus] and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’  Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.  ‘I am willing,’ he said.  ‘Be clean!’”

Song of Songs 2:1
“(Beloved)  I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”

Lover of the unloved, your compassionate eye sees unlikely beauty in us.

Though in the sight of the world our disfigurements bring us rejection, you come close to us and touch us, and call us exquisite.


Take our shame and bestow a loveliness upon us that speaks only of your transforming hand.  Look upon our despised faces and name us beloved, so that we become radiant with the strength of your love.

Through Jesus we ask this, who understands the marred and rejected, and out the ashes of his death we claim our adorning crowns.

Listen to ‘My Heart is Restless‘ by Wen Reagan

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1 Samuel 30:21-24
“Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind…As David and his men approached, he greeted them.  But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, ‘Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered…’  David replied, ‘No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us.  He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us…The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle.  All will share alike.’”

Matthew 20:9-11, 12-15
“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.  So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more.  But each one of them also received a denarius.  When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner…But he answered one of them, ‘Friend…are you envious because I am generous?’”

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Gracious Master, our greatest treasure is your generosity.

undeservedAs king you take more delight in extravagance than in recalling your dues, and we are blessed to be a part of your kingdom.  You open your storehouses and pour mercy upon us regardless of our efforts to deserve it.

Teach us your ways of grace, so that without bitterness we offer unmerited gifts to those who travel alongside us.

For Jesus’ sake we ask this, who rewards the undeserving with the honour of a salvation earned not by our work, but by his.

Listen to ‘O Love That Will Not Let Me Go’ by Dave Hunt

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Isaiah 6:8-9a
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’  And I said, ‘Here am I.  Send me!’  He said, ‘Go and tell…’”

2 Corinthians 5:19b-20a
“And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

Acts 1:7-8
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Word of God, you are the compelling voice of love that captures the hearts of your people.

Your Son became your divine delegate and spoke to us on your behalf.  Willingly summoned and sent, he appealed to us while we were still enemies of your kingdom.

ambassadorsCall us to accept the honour of representing you to a world wary of your message.  May we be ambassadors articulating your peace.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who with his very life negotiated our reconciliation to you.

Listen to ‘None Other Lamb, None Other Name’ by Redeemer INdy

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Genesis 39:1-2
“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt.  Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.  The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.”

John 13:3-5
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Philippians 2:5-7
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

Righteous Master, you are the Omnipotent One, deserving of all our devotion.

Through submission we participate in the plan you have designed, just as your Son served his twelve brothers and empowered them to build a church.

May we be like Joseph, who in precognitive imitation learned humility and saw his clan establish the twelve tribes of Israel.  Change our hearts so that we do not grasp for privilege.  Make us willing and capable servants in the households and communities you have placed us in.

We ask this in the name of the true Servant, Jesus Christ, who was obedient to your purposes so that we might be leaders enslaved by your transforming love.

Listen to ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’ by the Lower Lights

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Mighty to Save

Zephaniah 3:16b-17
“Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.  The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Matthew 14:29b-31a
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”

Psalm 20:6
“Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.”

Lord God, you are salvation’s visionary, and your hand outstretched in love is our only hope.

We are powerless against the waters of despair and the winds of fear.  Our hands are helpless to effect our own rescue.

mighty to saveGive us breath to cry out for your firm grasp upon our sinking spirits, and may we gladly obey your command not to be afraid.  In your mercy, take delight in reaching for us.

Our plea is in the name of Christ, who allowed the waters of death to close over him so that we might be saved from the storm of sin.

Listen to ‘Eternal Father Strong to Save’ by St. Andrews Hymns

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