Lent Prayer Guide, week 3

Week 3: The Cross of Christ Bearing Our Burdens

Silence

Close your eyes and take five deep breaths.  In this moment of silent time, let your daily concerns fade into the background of your mind.

Pray — (Pray the following slowly, intentionally, and in silence)

God of Mercy and Understanding,

I know that with your help

I can open my heart more fully.

More fully to the mysteries of the suffering and death of Jesus.

More fully to the suffering and death of people around the world;

Of people in my own country;

Of people in my own state;

Of people in my own town, even my neighbors.

Help me to be humble in this journey

and remember that any mercy and compassion I can give

is because of the mercy and compassion you have already given.

Amen.

Read — (Read the following passages slowly, intentionally, and aloud)

Matthew 26: 57-68

57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.66 What do you think? “He is worthy of death,” they answered. 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

Isaiah 53: 3-6

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Galatians 6:2

Bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Reflect

  • In verse 5 above, the prophet Isaiah used the words “transgression” and “iniquity” to describe something that we are guilty of, but that we also need healing from. What kinds of actions do people sometimes choose, that later require “healing”?
  • Can you apply Isaiah’s words to any of your own actions? What choices might you have made in your past that you now need to be healed?
  • As a member of Jesus’ Body, the Church, we can be agents of others’ healing, too. Whom do you know, or know of, who needs someone to share their burden?  What can you do to share it with them?
  • In Matthew’s passage, Jesus refers to himself as both the “Son of Man,” and “coming on the clouds of heaven.” Consider the meaning of Jesus’ willingness to set aside divine power in order to endure human suffering.

Read — (Read the following passages again, aloud)

Matthew 26: 57-68

57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.66 What do you think? “He is worthy of death,” they answered. 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

Isaiah 53: 3-6

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Galatians 6:2

Bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ

Pray — (Pray the following slowly, intentionally, and now aloud)

God in heaven and in my life,

By your grace, you have guided and protected me.

I so often forget that you save me,

and instead I believe I can save myself.

I always end in failure of one kind or another.

Lead me as you always have, with your mercy;

Lead me to remember your guidance;

Lead me to repeat your love.

May your Spirit inspire the Church

and make us instruments of your

ongoing love and guidance.

Amen.

Action

What can you do, this week, to intentionally share in someone else’s burden?

 

About Lent: Lent is a season during which we remember the significance of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.   This guide is designed to be a guide for those who wish to wholeheartedly enter into the story behind Lent, just as Jesus’ disciples did.  You may have been following Jesus for decades.  You may have never set foot in a church.  At the foot of Christ’s cross, none of that matters.  All that matters is that God gave his only begotten Son to save the world.  To save this town.  To save you.

For the season of Lent, I’m going to pause my normal routine of summarizing and reflecting on the sermon, and offer this resource for guided prayer and scripture reading.  To use this guide, simply follow the instructions for each part, giving yourself enough time to absorb the content and enter in with your body, mind, and spirit.  

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