Prayer for February 28

Come, all who are thirsty says Jesus, our Lord,
come, all who are weak,
taste the living water that I shall give.
Dip your hands in the stream,
refresh body and soul,
drink from it, depend on it,
for this water will never run dry.
Come, all who are thirsty
says Jesus, our Lord.

Prayer for February 27

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23, 24

Prayer for February 26

Loving Father,
all the fancy words
in the world,
expressed in eloquent prose,
decorated with emotion,
spoken with conviction,
cannot compete with a heartfelt
when all other words fail.
There are times
when we are all too aware
of our limitations,
conscious of sin,
and the distance it creates between us.
Sometimes ‘sorry’
is all the heart can bear to say aloud.
It is only you
who can read and understand
the language of our hearts,
only you who can translate our ‘sorry’
into the prayer we would have prayed,
if we had the words within us.
Then you forgive,
and having forgiven
surround us in an embrace of love,
drawing us close to your heart,
as it was always meant to be.
Thank you, Loving Father,
that you listen to hearts,
as well as voices
Thank you.

Prayer for February 25

O Lord, who hast mercy upon all,
take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,

a heart to love and adore Thee,
a heart to delight in Thee,
to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ’s sake, Amen
St. Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397)

Prayer for February 24

Forgive those things we have done
which have caused you sadness,
and those things we should have done
that would have brought you joy.
In both we have failed
and you.
Bring us back to that place
where our journey began,
when we said that we would follow
the way that you first trod.
Lead us to the Cross
and meet
us there.

Prayer for February 23

Lord, grant us simplicity of faith
and a generosity of service
that gives without counting cost.
A life overflowing with Grace
poured out from the One
who gave everything,
that we might show
the power of love
to a broken world,
and share the truth
from a living Word.
Lord, grant us simplicity of faith,
and a yearning to share it

Prayer for February 22

Lord, we would grow with you
New shoots reaching out
Hands stretched upward
Like leaves newly formed
Soaking up your light and warmth
Lord, we would grow with you
Lord, we would grow with you
In sunshine and rain
In darkness and light
In cold days and summer days
From Springtime to Winter
Lord, we would grow with you
Lord, we would grow with you
And bring forth fruit
That is pleasing to you
Fed by your living water
Giving sustenance to others
Lord, we would grow with you

Prayer for February 21

I prayed
“Please Lord,
my life is a mess,
let your love flow through me
and bring healing.”
And like a river
cool refreshing water
you flowed through me.
Not as a gentle stream,
a rivulet of hope,
but a torrent,
sweeping debris away.
All those broken branches,
rust-encrusted items,
and accumulated debris,
which were holding back the flow
swept aside in a torrent of love,
flooding through my veins,
pouring into my heart,
filling my life.
This is healing.
Thank you, Lord

Why Use the Lectionary?

There’s a number of reasons we use the lectionary throughout the year at the Branch. One reason is that it allows us to join with hundreds of thousands of other Christians around the world who are also using the lectionary. Reading the same passages at the same time reminds us that we are part of something much, much bigger than the Branch.

The lectionary also helps expose us to a wider range of biblical texts than we might normally encounter. After all, let’s be honest: we each have parts of the Bible we love and visit frequently, and parts that we rarely, if ever read. But follow the lectionary and you’ll find yourself in Deuteronomy and Hosea — along with Matthew and Ephesians. It is good for us to come into contact with the wide, sweeping, living Word.

Finally, reading the lectionary can help us see the countless connections between different parts of Scripture. This week’s passages are no exception. Psalm 27 and
Luke 13:31-35 each speak to the common theme of God’s protection. That same passage in Luke and Philippians 3:17-4:1 each have something to say about how easily God’s people wander away — and how much this break’s God’s heart.

We should be careful not to force connections upon the lectionary texts; but when they do exist we can give thanks — for in those connections we are reminded that God’s singular story of love and redemption is woven throughout the grand narrative we call the Bible.

What connections are you seeing this week between the lectionary texts? More broadly, what is God saying to you and what are you going to do about it?

Prayer for February 20

Your forgiveness is total,
no notebook,
tape recorder,
or post-it note
to remind you of that moment
You take our confession,
offered with hands outstretched,
and gently,
like the loving
heavenly Father that you are,
put it to one side
to be forgotten.
No grudges, no itching for judgement,
no resentment or ill-will.
Not like us
who find it easy to say sorry,
but so hard to forgive
Forgive us, Father,
that we are often more willing
to accept forgiveness,
than to forgive,
more willing to accept your love,
than to share it with those
who have hurt us.
Teach us to forgive,
as you forgive

Prayer for February 19

O Lord,
The house of my soul is narrow;
enlarge it that you may enter in.
It is ruinous, O repair it!
It displeases Your sight.
I confess it, I know.
But who shall cleanse it,
to whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and spare Your servant from strange sins.
St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)

Prayer for February 18

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Isaiah 58:6-7

Prayer for February 17

You were a man of suffering
acquainted with grief,
loved and despised in equal measure.
You understand humanity,
know our failings,
love us despite the people that we are.
When we, like Peter, deny you
by word or action,
forgive us.
When we, like Judas, are tempted
to follow a different path,
forgive us.
When we, like those in the crowd
allow you to be crucified,
forgive us.
Bring us to the foot of the Cross
to stand next to the one who,
looking into your eyes declared
‘Surely this is the Son of God’

Prayer for February 16

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust of power, and idle
talk; But grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother; for
blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian

Prayer for February 15

You chose a people for your own,
to lavish love upon,
raise up prophets, priests and kings,
to be the nation through which
the Messiah would be revealed to the world,
and through whom your kingdom would come.
You chose this people gathered here
to be your children,
loved and blessed, forgiven
through the one who knew no sin,
the King of Glory whose crown was made of thorns,
and whose name we raise in worship.

Prayer for February 14

It is customary, Lord to give something up during the season of Lent.
What would you have me do without? I who have so much.
Cream cakes?
The list is endless and I could give up all those things for the span of 40 days quite easily and almost
painlessly. But what difference would it make other than making me feel ‘holier’ than my friend who
makes no such sacrifice?
What would you have me do without? I who have so much.
I fear before I ask, that the answer might be ‘yes’ and the giving up would be all too real, Lord.
It would be difficult, painful, sacrificial, a real cross to carry for 40 days, and more?
Help me surrender my life to you.

Prayer for Ash Wednesday – February 13

Jesus, Lamb of God,
when you walked this earth
you did not consider
heavenly equality,
though that was yours to choose,
but took the role of servant,
and in humility
and obedience
allowed the rough nails of our sin
to be hammered into your flesh
for the sake of our salvation.
And so it is
that we acknowledge you
as Lord of all,
to the glory of God the Father,
Son and Spirit, Three.