July 7, 2020

A Prayer for Softened Hearts

A MEDITATIVE PRAYER OF CONFESSION BASED ON
MATTHEW 13:3-8, 18-23 AND EPHESIANS 1:13-14
Listen to what Jesus said: 

A sower went out to sow. And as they sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirtyfold.
How shall we respond if we do not know what this means?
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.
You have invited us to make our home in you, O God, and have placed in our heart the highway to your holy hill. Forgive us, for we have trampled the truth you have placed in our path, or have abandoned it to be swallowed by lies. Give us eyes to see what is before us; give us gentleness that we may not crush seeds that have been planted with love; and give us diligence that we may protect the truth in our care.
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.
You have broadcast your word, O God, and we have received it. But we confess to you that we lack to courage to act upon what we have heard, and to put into practice what we have been taught. Cast away our fear, that your teachings may take root in our life; and that when the heat is on, our faith will not dry up. May we grow in grace and knowledge that others may find shelter in our faithfulness to you.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.
You have made your home in us, O Holy One. And yet we have not nurtured your presence within us. We have been distracted by our own concerns, and have forged idols to take your place in our lives. Our willingness to serve you and our neighbors has been choked by greed, and your whisper has been drowned out by other voices. Reorder our priorities that the Christ we received with joy at Christmas may grow and thrive in lives dedicated to his service.
But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it and bears fruit.
Prepare our hearts and minds to receive you, our loving God. Plant your word within us, that it may take root and grow. Make us true disciples who are neither distracted from our way to you, delayed by fear, nor overwhelmed by selfish concerns. Soften our hearts with your peace, water them with your love, and grant us growth in grace.
You have heard the word of truth—the gospel of your salvation—and have believed in Christ. Thus you have been marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. This is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of God's glory. Hear this, and know that in Jesus Christ you are forgiven.
Glory to God! Amen.
sixth Sunday after pentecost year a parable of the sower prayer of confession

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