Prayer & Praise/ Praying Through The Pandemic
Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your grace that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
“But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.
Hear my teaching, O my people; * incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; * I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known, * and such as our forefathers have told us;
That we should not hide them from the children of the generations to come, * but show the honor of the Lord, his mighty and wonderful works that he has done.
He made a covenant with Jacob, and gave Israel a law, * which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children;
That their posterity might know it, * and the children which were yet unborn;
With the intent that when they came up * they might show it to their children,
That they might put their trust in God, * and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
And not be as their forefathers, a faithless and stubborn generation, * a generation that did not set their heart aright, and whose spirit did not cleave steadfastly to God;
Like the children of Ephraim, archers carrying bows, * who turned back in the day of battle.
They did not keep the covenant of God, * and would not walk in his law;
But forgot what he had done, * and the wonderful works that he had shown them.
Marvelous things he did in the sight of our forefathers, * in the land of Egypt, even in the field of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them go through; * he made the waters to stand in a heap.
In the daytime he led them with a cloud, * and all the night through with a light of fire.
He split the hard rocks in the wilderness * and gave them drink in abundance, as out of the great deep.
He brought waters out of the stony rock, * so that it gushed out like the rivers.
Yet for all this they sinned more against him, * and provoked the Most High in the wilderness.
They tested God in their hearts * and demanded food for their craving.
They spoke against God, saying, * “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
Indeed, he smote the stony rock, so that water gushed out, and the streams overflowed; * but can he give bread also, or provide meat for his people?”
When the Lord heard this, he was full of wrath; * so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and there flared up fierce anger against Israel,
Because they did not believe in God, * and did not put their trust in his help.
So he commanded the clouds above * and opened the doors of heaven.
He rained down manna upon them to eat * and gave them food from heaven.
So mortals ate the bread of angels; * for he sent them food enough.
+Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.