Spirit of the living God, be the Gardner of my soul. For so long I have been waiting silent and still—experiencing the winter of the soul. But now, in the strong name of Jesus Christ, I dare to ask: Clear away the dead growth of the past, break up the hard clods of custom and routine, stir in the rich compost of vision and challenge, bury deep in my soul the implanted Word, cultivate and water and tend my heart, until new life buds and opens and flowers. Amen
-Richard Foster (1942- )
Prayer of the Bible
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
(Free expression of praise and thanksgiving to God)
Confession of Sin
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my sins
(Time of silence for confession of sin)
The Words of Jesus
Jesus said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
(Think deeply on these life-giving words of Jesus)
Prayers for Ourselves and Others
O God, with all prayer and petitions, help me pray always in the Spirit, and to this end I will be watchful with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
(Time to bring before God our own needs and the needs of others)
Laboring God, with axe and winnowing fork you clear a holy space where hurt and destruction have no place, and a little child holds sway. Clear our lives of hatred and despair, sow seeds of joy and peace, that shoots of hope may spring forth and we may live in harmony with one another. Amen.
–Revised Common Lectionary