We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in generosity and service.

WE PRAY: A PERSONAL PRAYER
God,
When I look around me at the burdens so many people carry, I am sometimes overwhelmed. Their faces bear the marks of the journey.
Furrowed brows.
Stoic expressions.
Flat eyes.
Even counterfeit smiles.
And when I think particularly about the people I love the most, my fear is magnified. I want to fix everything in their circumstance. I want to meddle in their lives. I want to make their decisions for them. I am so arrogant as to think it is up to me to change their minds or hearts.
God, I don’t always manage my own life so well. Why do I worry so much about managing others?
I do believe my worry is born out of love, God. And I know that we are to care for others, to be not so self-absorbed, to pour ourselves out for other people, especially those who you have put closest to us. But you also teach us not to worry about the speck in our neighbor’s eye when we have a log in our own. So what can I do, God?
Show me how to be a blessing to those I love. Show me how to give myself away to them. And remind me of the place where caring becomes meddling. Give me the humility to walk beside those I love to be a blessing.
Today I pray, God, for the people I love, those closest to me and those who come into my life in passing. Protect them. Give them strength and courage. Guide them. Heal them. Grow them. Fill them with joy and fulfillment. They belong to you, not me.
Amen.

WE STUDY THE BIBLE: KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. –John 17:9  To prepare, read the whole text of John 17here.

QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
For whom are you most afraid? Why? When you pray for them, what do you pray? How have you or can you bless them?

SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Among the most common fears people express to me have to do with their children or the people they love.

  • A parent sends a child off to her first day of school, or his first outing alone with the car.
  • A family sits in the waiting room of the hospital as surgery is underway.
  • A husband feels his wife is in a bad situation at work.
  • A wife is afraid her husband will lose his job because of his substance abuse.
  • A child is fearful that caregivers aren’t properly caring for a mother or father. 
  • A good friend is going through a divorce, or in a bad situation at home. 

What can we do? We will talk about that this week on Sunday, as we deal with “The Courage To Let Go.” 

Second,
There is still time to join a small group during Lent, as we look together at what we believe as Christians. Eric Huffman and I have written a curriculum together, called “Start Here,” which is based on the statements of the Apostles’ Creed. The books will be ready on Sunday, so if you are signed up, you can pick one up in the Sanctuary hallway, and you can sign up there as well or go online to sign up. http://www.stlukesmethodist.org/lift

PRAYER CALENDAR

Sunday, January 31

God, we lift up to you the people in our lives whom we love. You have blessed us with the gift of their presence in our lives, and we realize that they do not belong to us but to you. We pray that you would help us to give them all that we can. Then, Lord, we place them in your hands and trust you. Amen.

Monday, February 1
Heavenly Father, you have placed many special people in my life to walk with me on my journey. I have been blessed by their presence in my life. Father, today I lift them up to you in prayer. I pray that you would guide them, protect them and bless them. I place them in your hands and trust you to give them what they need. Amen.

Tuesday, February 2

O God you have blessed us with the gift of family and friends. We pray for our loved ones by name today. Lord, care for them and give them what they need. Amen.

 

Wednesday, February 3

Almighty God, you are my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? You are the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? You know my worries and fears, so I hand them over to you, God. Bless me with your peace which transcends all understanding. Guard my heart and my mind. In Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 

Thursday, February 4

Gracious God, before you formed me in the womb, you knew me. You set me apart before I was born, and you have plans to prosper me; to give me hope and a future. Help me to submit to your ways and to follow your amazing plan. Amen.

 

Friday, February 5

Father in Heaven, you know our busy schedules and our preoccupied minds. We pray that you would open our schedules and clear our minds so that we may focus on you. Prepare our minds and our hearts for worship on Sunday. Amen.

 

Saturday, February 6

Faithful God, you have promised to be with us wherever we go. Help me to be with you wherever I go. Help me to show your love to everyone I meet today. Amen.