Prayer: Grant to your redeemed people, our most holy and loving Father, a sense of your presence and majesty today as we seek to remember the Lord’s Day and honor it as you have commanded. We lament our pitiful state and the world we live which has been wrecked by sin, plunging all of us into a life of misery and sadness. In it, we face many hardships of strained relationships, sorrow and pain from physical suffering, and tensions between family and friends. We witness nations torn asunder and wars breaking out in various corners of the earth. Due to sin, our hearts are often hardened by pride, resulting in selfish actions and behavior. Our God, how much we need the comfort of your Spirit that renews our hearts and minds so we pursue righteousness and godliness. Our Father, our weary souls need your Word preached and applied to our lives. We confess that we do not often take advantage of this one day in seven that you give to us as a most gracious gift. We confess that the medicine needed for our souls is often neglected for much lesser things that will not truly help our ailing hearts. Instead of pursuing you, we seek other less useful things. Instead of following you, we often follow the ways of this world and look no different than the world. We are often consumed with the fleeting things of this life and fail to remember that our love for you is proven in those times when we are called to obey you, though it means losing friends, family, loved ones, and a host of other things. We are reminded of the words of your Son when he said, ‘Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it.’ What does it profit us, our God, to gain the whole world and lose our soul? Forgive us for our shortsighted and worthless pursuits. Please help us! Please help us as we struggle with the sorrow we witness. Please help us with the physical pain we experience. Please help us to remember that you hold all things in your hand and that you give us this one day to remember the eternal rest that awaits all those who love you. We pray these things in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scripture Meditation: Mark 8:34-9:1; Isa. 58:13-14