Subject: Daily Prayers and Scriptures: Friday, May 1

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As we enter the third week of Easter, we may see an ease in stay-at-home restrictions and a re-opening of businesses, but we do not know what this means for returning to our places of worship. In this season of uncertainty, let us hold fast to what we know to be true in Christ. May we continue to find encouragement through our daily prayers, spiritual discernment, and a shared reading of the Scripture.

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Friday, Third Week of Easter
A City That Refuses to Listen (Zephaniah 3:1-7, NRSV)

The Home Daily Bible Readings for Monday through Saturday are selected in support of the Sunday lesson in the Uniform Lessons Series, ©Spring 2020.

3:1 Ah, soiled, defiled,
oppressing city!
2 It has listened to no voice;
it has accepted no correction.
It has not trusted in the Lord;
it has not drawn near to its God.

3 The officials within it
are roaring lions;
its judges are evening wolves
that leave nothing until the morning.
4 Its prophets are reckless,
faithless persons;
its priests have profaned what is sacred,
they have done violence to the law.
5 The Lord within it is righteous;
he does no wrong.
Every morning he renders his judgment,
each dawn without fail;
but the unjust knows no shame.

6 I have cut off nations;
their battlements are in ruins;
I have laid waste their streets
so that no one walks in them;
their cities have been made desolate,
without people, without inhabitants.
7 I said, “Surely the city will fear me,
it will accept correction;
it will not lose sight
of all that I have brought upon it.”
But they were the more eager
to make all their deeds corrupt.

The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry (Matthew 4:12-17, NRSV)

The selected Gospel text originates from the Book of Common Worship: Daily Prayer (Louisville, KY:Westminster/John Knox, 1993).

4:12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

With Heavy Hearts

By Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, Chief Operating Officer, NCC

Gracious and Merciful God,

We come before You today with heavy hearts and what feels like unbearable burdens. There is fear, confusion, anxiety and even despair.

O, God, we are in the midst of a crisis like none we have seen before. The death toll is rising. We are losing loved ones, colleagues and friends. Death seems to be all around us and there’s not much we can do. Reports of the suffering of those with the novel coronavirus and their families is overwhelming. Our lives and livelihoods are hanging in the balance. At moments, fear and anxiety get the best of us. We need You, O God, this very hour!

Keep us and sustain us, O God. Lead us beside still waters. Remind us of Your love and care for us—that You will never leave us nor forsake us. Let this time of being together apart be meaningful and encouraging, life-giving for us. Knit our hearts together so that we love one another and lift up justice for every person.

O God, we ask for Your mercy to abound. We ask for Your protection. We pray for wisdom in all we do, in how we interact, in how we shelter in place. We pray that You would help us to be mindful of our neighbor, especially those who are very different from us. We pray that our compassion would increase as we ride out this season of staying home to stay safe. And, for those who cannot stay home, we pray that You would cover and protect them. We pray for Your mercy. We pray for peace. We pray for solutions to come like a flood. We pray for those on the front lines of addressing this crisis. Grant them wisdom and insight beyond their own understanding.

We pray for one another. Grant us patience and persistence. Grant us resilience and endurance. Grant us rest for our souls. Give us hope and help us to see that hope manifested in our lives, in our communities, in the news reports, and, throughout social media.

Hear our cries, O God. Hear our prayers. Restore us and deliver us.

In Your mercy, hear our prayers. It’s in the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

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