O Lord Jesus, you who came to us to show the compassionate love of your Father, make us, your people know this love with our hearts, minds and souls. So often we feel lonely, unloved, and lost in the valley of tears. We desire to feel affection, tenderness, care, and compassion, but suffer from inner darkness, emptiness, and numbness. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Do not just come to our understanding, but enter our hearts, our passions, emotions, and feelings.
-Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)
Prayer of the Bible
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes. I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
-Psalm 119: 145-149
(Free expression of praise and thanksgiving to God)
Confession of Sin
Forgive me, that I may do what is good and right and true before you, O Lord my God, by seeking you with all my heart.
-2 Chronicles 31: 20-21
(Time of silence for confession of sin)
The Words of Jesus
And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
-Mark 1: 42-45
(Think deeply on these life-giving words of Jesus)
Prayers for Ourselves and Others
O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
(Time to bring before God our own needs and the needs of others)
God of joy and exultation, you strengthen what is weak; you enrich the poor and give hope to those who live in fear. Look upon our needs this day. Make us grateful for the good news of salvation and keep us faithful in your service until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives for ever and ever. Amen.
–Revised Common Lectionary