A Prayer Prompted by Mark 8:14-15

Jesus and his disciples were in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee.

14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

Matthew 16:12 provides an explanation that Mark neglects.

Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

(By the way, there was a lot of overlap in the views of Herod or the Herodians as some manuscripts have it, and the Sadducees.  Rather than conflicting, these passages help explain one another.)

Jesus’s point is that the teaching of these groups was riddled with error, a problem that is common enough today.  Let’s ask for help in the face of that:

Heavenly Father,

Both the world and the church are filled with false teaching.  This is nothing new.  In the past there were many false prophets.  The church has continuously dealt with false teaching.  Then there are the views of the surrounding culture, which are very popular and very hard for us not to absorb.

Help us to keep our belief and doctrine pure.  Help us to not go astray as we seek to follow you.  Help us not to buy into the teaching of “another Jesus” as Paul so accurately puts it.  We want to keep ourselves from idols as John warns.

We need your Holy Spirit to teach us as we seek to learn from you.  As we open the Scriptures with a desire to obey, we need you to open the eyes of our understanding.  Help us not to seek teaching that scratches our itching ears.  Help us to desire the purest of spiritual milk.  Help us to long for the truth and keep us safe from the lies of the devil.

Finally, help us to be faithful when we know full well that we are often lacking in faith.

In Christ,

Amen

 

A Prayer Prompted by Matthew 22

Heavenly Father,

We say yes to your invitation to come to marriage supper of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ. As we do, however, we admit that it is only by your grace and his shed blood that we can come.  It is not on the basis of our own righteousness.

We then confess our belief in Jesus as both our human Savior and our divine Lord.

We acknowledge our belief in the resurrection of the dead, and to that end we cry, “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus,” as we await his soon return.

We also pray that you would help us to be model citizens while here on this earth, obeying those in authority and faithfully paying what we owe. At the same time help us to remember that all earthly authority is still subject to you.

Finally, we ask your help in doing all that we do in love, first of all in love for you, but also in love for others – a love that no one could deny in both our attitudes and our behavior.

And we pray all of this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.