Praying With Matthew
We begin this year by praying through the Gospel of Matthew. “The name Matthew means “gift of God,” which summarizes the gospel’s teaching. Perhaps, given the similarity of the name Matthew to the Greek words for ‘disciple’ and ‘learn,’ Matthew represents the gospel’s ideal reader as a disciple who learns from the story of Jesus.” (p.1745, The New Interpreter’s Study Bible)
“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.” Galatians 5:22
Sunday, January 1, Epiphany Sunday
Read 1:1-17: Context of God’s saving grace
~ Father, as I read unfamiliar names I can see that they are not strangers, but part of the story of Jesus. Show us how to be aware of others whom we may not know that also carry the story of Jesus within them, so that we may understand in new ways.
Monday, January 2
Read 1:18-25: Conception and commission
~ Holy Spirit, you are the author of life-giving purpose for all of us through your Son. Help us to respond in faithful action even when we don’t understand and we don’t have all the answers.
Tuesday, January 3
Read 2:1-23: Herod’s resistance
~ Lord God, sometimes without even realizing it we try to resist your grace, stand in the way of your will and put up barriers to your action because we are afraid or unwilling to see things differently. Help us today to join in the work of those who work quietly on the margins in unexpected ways.
Wednesday, January 4
Read 3:1-12: John’s witness to Jesus’ coming
Holy God, many of us don’t care for the wilderness, for confession or repentance. It is hard work to repent and we cannot turn around on our own. Help me today for I confess______.
Thursday, January 5
Read 3:13-17: Jesus confirmation as God’s agent
~ Loving Father, Jesus was faithful to God’s justice to accomplish God’s desire and purposes for him. Show me today, how to set aside fear of the unknown and joyfully and fully begin again in my walk with Jesus today.
Friday, January 6, Day of Epiphany
Read 4:1-11: Jesus resists temptation
~ Holy God, temptations come to us when we are weak with hunger for your word and thirsty for your presence. Like Jesus help me today to resist the exciting temptations that do not rely on trusting and depending only on God.
Saturday, January 7
Read 4:12-16: Jesus moves to Galilee
~ Holy God, sometimes we need to move from where we are to another place where you can work through us. Keep us open to your action and movement in our lives to move us from comfortable places to places where you can work in us.
Sunday, January 8, Baptism of the Lord Sunday
Read 4:17: Jesus announces God’s Reign
~ Loving Jesus, Jesus proclaimed that for God to work in us and through us we need to turn around from self-centeredness to be God-centered for in God’s reign we live differently. This is not easy; some say not possible. With you, all things are possible. Help me today.
Monday, January 9
Read 4:18-22: Jesus calls his disciples
~ Loving God, you call us before we are even aware you are near and you call us out of our everyday lives to follow you. I am grateful that you called us before we were formed. Today I give thanks that you called us to something better than our old lives.
Tuesday, January 10
Read 4:23-25: Jesus heals
~ Healing Jesus, your presence and healing in our lives shows us what it is like to live in God’s kingdom in God’s reign. We call out in our greatest need and you heal our souls and reveal your loving grace through wholeness.
Wednesday, January 11
Read 5: Sermon on the Mount, The Beatitudes
~ God of Hope, our world is turned upside down when we consider what it truly means to be happy and blessed. It is a surprise that in your reign the poor and outcast are the ones most blessed. As you are faithful, keep me faithful to your promises.
Thursday, January 12
Read 6: Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Prayer
~ God of Life, as I pray help me remember that you know all things and that I cannot hide anything from you. Help me see into my own heart to receive your forgiveness so that I can in turn, forgive others as you call me to do.
Friday, January 13
Read 7: Sermon on the Mount, The Golden Rule
~ God of Peace, it feels so good to judge others, especially when I know I am right. Help me with this sin of certainty and self-deception. The ancients knew that when I judge I will be judged – keep me from this temptation and remember your goodness.
Saturday, January 14
Read 8 and 9: Jesus carries out God’s commission
~ Loving God, thank you for the stories of Jesus that show us how great is your love and compassion for everyone. Thank you for helping us remember your power and your goodness in the midst of chaos. These are our stories, let them come alive in me today!!
Sunday, January 15
Read: 10-11:1 Jesus teaches on mission
~ Jesus, as your disciples we, too, have the power to heal and proclaim the good news through word and deed. This is your call to us, yet we are afraid. Today, give us the wisdom to lean on your affirmation of our mission in the community and the world to be your hands and feet.
Monday, January 16
Read 11:2-12: Discerning Jesus’ identity
~ Gracious God, it is true that sometimes we refuse to see the Holy Spirit working in the lives of others and ourselves and we refuse to acknowledge God’s work in Christ. Help me remember today that the fruit of my life comes from my heart centered in God’s love.
Tuesday, January 17
Read 13: Parables of Jesus
~ Lord of All, Jesus told stories to help us understand God’s will and how following Jesus goes against the grain of our culture and society. These stories reveal God’s kingdom here and now. Wake us up and help us pay attention to the work of Jesus.
Wednesday, January 18
Read 14:1-16:12: God’s work in Jesus
Lord Jesus, when life is overwhelming you meet all our needs, calm stormy seas and bring us back up when we chose fear over faith. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Today I give thanks for____________.
Thursday, January 19
Read 16:13-20: Peter’s declaration about Jesus
Jesus, in the quiet of this moment help us remember once again that we know as you Savior, Son of the living God. We stop and make this confession yet once again – we love you.
Friday, January 20
Read 16:21-28: And who do others say I am?
~ Holy One, like your disciples we do not want you to suffer and die – we don’t want to suffer and to die, because we can only see with human eyes. Help us today to turn from barriers that resist following you and letting go of our own self-interest.
Saturday, January 21
Read 17:1-13: The Transfiguration
~ Lord Jesus, how good it is to be with you on the mountaintop, but this is just a glimpse of who you are. We live out our mountain top experience with the hurting and sick in the valley. This is where you call us to be, help us listen to you.
Sunday, January 22
Read 17:14-18: Jesus teaches about discipleship
~ Jesus, you call us to be humble, loving and forgiving. It is so hard to forgive, sometimes I think it is beyond what we can do. Yet, you forgave those who killed you. Help me today to forgive _______.
Monday, January 23
Read 19-20: Jesus turns toward Jerusalem
~ Lord, you tell us over and over what your kingdom is like. It is a time and place where the blind see and the lame dance and where there is equal justice for all people. Your kingdom turns what we know upside down where we are all marked by life-giving service.
Tuesday, January 24
Read 21-22: Entry into Jerusalem
~ Gracious Jesus, you command us to love God and love neighbor. Why is this so hard? Help me today to remember that all love comes from you and that if I cannot love neighbor I cannot love you and if I truly love you I will love neighbor.
Wednesday, January 25
Read 23-24: Jesus in the temple
~ Jesus our Savior, we get lazy and forget that you promised you will come again. We don’t know when or where, we don’t know how. Your promises are true so keep me awake to live faithfully and to wait with joy and expectation.
Thursday, January 26
Read 25: Parables of the Kingdom
~ Loving Jesus, your stories help us understand the will of your father. When we respond to your message of love for those on the margins, when we act in mercy towards the poor; we know we are doing your will. Encourage us today to do your will no matter what the cost.
Friday, January 27
Read 26:1-35: Passover with the disciples
~ Lord, you gather those who love you, yet we betray and desert you. You love us and offer yourself for our foolishness, and we turn from you for we still do not understand or believe your great love for us. Forgive us.
Saturday, January 28
Read 26:36-75: Prayer and suffering
~ Loving God, the image of you praying alone while we sleep is a hard one for those of us who believe we are your faithful followers. Yet, as you prayed we paid no attention to your suffering. Wake us up, and shake us to open our eyes to those who are suffering around us – move us out of our comfortable places to work alongside you.
Sunday, January 29
Read 27:1-44: Trial and suffering
~ God of Hope, we had rather skip over the suffering part of the story. We don’t want to imagine you being alone, the beating and humiliation. Help us remember you were fully human and you share in our suffering. Today, help me remember the suffering of others.
Monday, January 30
Read 27:45-66: Death and suffering
~ Jesus, we find you on the cross, between a good thief and a bad thief, between heaven and earth and know that the earth shook with the in-breaking of God. You died for you were fully human and you share in our death. Today, help me remember those who grieve the deaths of those they love.
Tuesday, January 31
Read 28:Resurrection of Jesus
~ Lord, we are resurrected with you and go with you into a new reign of God making disciples and not just living for ourselves. Give us the courage and the faith to live with the understanding that you are always with us.
This prayer calendar is designed to aid you in your daily life of prayer.
Read the scripture for the day over and over, out loud if possible. As you read, listen with an “ear of the heart” to a word or phrase that strikes you.
Reflect on that word or phrase asking yourself the question: “What is God saying to me through this word or phrase at this time?” Spend time in silence with this scripture mulling it over in your mind and heart.
Allow God to speak to you in the silence. Offer a prayer out of your reflection.
Thank God for whatever you received in the silence of your prayer and take that with you through your day.
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