Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the help of Thy grace: that, though we are weak and sinful, yet still we may be delivered from the enemies of mind and body; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost: ever one God, world without end. Amen.
This prayer is my very favorite of all the Lenten prayers we’ve considered thus far. It’s simple, it’s heartfelt, and it hits the mark. Worth praying many times.
The Gospel for today is Luke 16:19-31, the rich man & poor Lazarus. One can get lost in the details of this reading, so it’s good to emphasize the main point: God’s Word delivers from an eternity in hell, and greed in this life can prevent or drive out faith, which will wind one up in hell. Thus repentance is in order if we examine our hearts and find greed, and faith in God’s Word is always necessary, beneficial, and saving.
The Epistle for today is Jeremiah 17:5-10, a strongly worded philippic against trusting in man, and also strongly worded encouragement to trust the Lord. None of the prophets ever pulled any punches, but Jeremiah was foremost among them for his searing denunciations of sin. He got to preach comforting gospel too, but it fell to his lot to preach largely woe and disaster, “famine and plague and sword.” Every Christian should emblazon v.5 on a wall or a mirror or some other place we look frequently, just for the reminder. We all instinctively want to trust in man — carnal security appeals to us. Trusting God is hard. But when we do, we will flourish like the green tree. The picture of a flourishing tree shows up in Psalm 1, among other places. It’s the kind of vivid picture language Hebrew relies on. V.9 is also one worth memorizing: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”One of the best & most concise descriptions of the human condition ever set down.