A PERSONAL PRAYER
I am not sure exactly what to pray for today. Lots of strong emotions all around. You tell me that if I will just come into your presence, you will hear and understand the greatest need of my heart. My heart breaks as I talk to some people today. I pray for comfort and healing for them. I pray that they don’t turn away from you, or from your son Jesus. I know how much you love them, and I know you want them to know that. Show me how to tell them.
God I ask forgiveness for the times I have said things I should not have said, demonized those with whom I disagree, spoken in a way that leads people away from your truth, been afraid to speak my convictions, sown discord or division, spoken when I should have listened, or presented a witness that did not lead others to see my witness and give you glory.
God, I thank you so much for the church you sent me to serve – for her desire to love and embrace all who come, and for her heart to make a difference in the city in which you placed her. I want to live like you lived, and to love like you still do love. Perfect us, Lord, so we can be a witness to that love.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This week is the launch of our new sermon series and Scripture+Shared Bible study for Lent, 2019. What would you say to the people you love most if you knew you had but days to live? How would you sum up what you hope your life has taught them? The study and series title is “The Book of Glory,” which is what the second half of the Gospel of John is often called. It includes Jesus’ “last discourse,” his parting gift to his disciples. We have recorded eight video lessons in which Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, New Testament professor at Perkins School of Theology at SMU, has conversations with me and some of our other pastors about these powerful chapters of Scripture, which lead up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Now is the time to download the app, sign up for a Scripture+Shared study group or reach out to a friend to study these verses together. In addition to the video lessons, I will be preaching on these chapters, and there are daily readings to help you in your personal devotional time during Lent. To register, visit https://my.stlukesmethodist.org/lift-group-finder or visit the Connection Center after the worship service.
Put Sunday night, March 3, 7:00 pm in the sanctuary on your calendar. Our chancel choir will join with VOCES8, world-renowned musical group, to sing Mozart’s requiem, and then some other music from their repertoire. This will be a great way to prepare our hearts for Lent.
Ash Wednesday services are this coming Wednesday at 7:30 am in the Westheimer campus Chapel, and 12 noon and 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary. All are welcome to come and begin Lent by the imposition of ashes.
Also, pick up the experiential Lenten calendar called Daily Acts of Grace and Mercy, and begin that practice on Ash Wednesday. You can get one in the Gathering Hall on Sunday morning.
Sunday, March 3
Dear Father, during this Lenten Season, please help me reflect on the personal things I need to change, so I can be more like Jesus. Let me also be mindful and grateful of all you have given me and my family. Lord, may we as a congregation be especially thankful for who you have given all of us, your loving Son, Jesus, who is always listening to our every word. In Jesus’ name, Amen. -Prayer by Susan Stone, Genesis Sunday School Class
Monday, March 4
Heavenly Father help us to be set apart from the ways of the world. Give us strength to not conform to the pattern of the world but open us to be transformed by renewing our minds in Christ Jesus. Let our hearts follow Jesus. Amen.
Tuesday, March 5
Dear God, as we prepare for Lent, help us to surrender our minds and hearts fully to you. Take us out of our comfort zone into a deeper place closer to you. Transform us and set us free from our sins that keep us from you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Wednesday, March 6
Dear Lord, as you turned your sights on Jerusalem on Holy Week, we as your people are preparing for your passion and the coming of Easter. May we use this Lenten Season to evaluate our hearts and see if there is anything that is taking up residence there that does not honor you. Our prayer is that we would become more Christ like and love you and others better this season. Thanks for the reminder that we are dust and that we will have new life in the resurrection. Amen. -Prayer by Rev. Thomas Harper
Thursday, March 7
Loving God, as we grow closer to you, help us to share your love with others in the world who need to feel loved. Grant us new opportunities to share the good news with others and to be the good news that they need to hear. Help us to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Amen.
Friday, March 8
Heavenly Father, you are a loving Father caring for his children, bringing all things together for our good. I pray for our communities to witness this more each day, starting with the way Jesus taught us to love each other, and how Jesus sent his people to walk with others in need. Lord, I pray that you call into action the gifts that you have blessed every one of us with so that we may be your hands and feet, together we will do your work on earth as it is in Heaven…Praise be your name! Amen. -Prayer by Kimberly Van Belle-Porterfield, Genesis Sunday School Class
Saturday, March 9
Heavenly Father, you have given us six days to do our work, and you blessed us with a Sabbath rest on the seventh day. We confess that in today’s world of constant communication that we oftentimes work nonstop, neglecting to fully open and experience your gift of the Sabbath. During Lent, help us to turn off the noise of the world and be still to fully experience the Sabbath rest and come to know you in new ways. Amen.