WEEK THREE | HEALING
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
On this third week, let’s focus together on healing. As we take the time to examine ourselves and our spiritual health in this season of prayer, we will inevitably find the illnesses and wounds that harden our hearts and keep us from vulnerability and love. That language might sound a little “emotional” for book of prayer, but a prayer life that does not engage the deep emotional life will never result in the holistic communion with God that we crave. It will never result in spiritual maturity. This is what the Psalms are showing us daily; this is what the emotional prayer life of Christ displays vividly throughout the Gospels. As John Chrysostom once said: “Find the door of your heart, you will discover it is the door of the kingdom of God.” Pain and shame do not discriminate. They wound everyone. But, as Kari Kristina Reeves reminds us, “As we encounter God’s presence and love… even the most painful experiences are miraculously intertwined with hope. With God’s help, our sufferings become opportunities for transformation, ultimately leading us into deeper levels of healing— often in this life, and certainly in the next. Whether our injuries are inflicted by others, ourselves, or circumstances beyond our control, God wants to touch our inner beings, where we carry emotional and spiritual wounds, through the work of his Spirit,” (Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer, 88). May we all yield ourselves to the healing touch of Jesus during this third week.
POSTURES & PRACTICES
- Practice a posture of opening up or stretching out your hands in prayer
- Explore a painful or shameful memory with a trusted listener
- Visit someone who is sick, and pray for their healing
- Practice the prayer “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”
Traditional Collect: Heavenly Father, you made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you: Look upon the heartfelt desires of your humble servants, and stretch forth the strong hand of your Majesty to be our defense against our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end.
Meditative Prayer: Lord God, I need your help. I ask for healing. As I ask, I wait for you to shine light. Please reveal your truth. In this memory, Where were you? In this place, Where were you? In this time, Where were you? Speak, Jesus, for I wait. I listen. (Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer)
THE SECOND SUNDAY
SILENCE [2 min]
Silence, stillness, and centering before the God of our salvation.
The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
A MEDITATIVE PRAYER
Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness. I am Your sin.
You took on You what was mine;
You set on me what was Yours.
You became what You were not,
that I might become what I was not.
Martin Luther, 16th century
Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
- For an assurance of God’s love
- For purity of mind, body, and soul
- Those who are homeless, unemployed, or underemployed
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
SILENCE [2 min]
Silence and stillness, as God has the last word to finish the day. He labors while you sleep.