God’s Heart Toward the Leasts
(Eighth Sunday after Pentecost) SUNDAY, July 31
We live in a world where injustice, war, and oppression of the least of these is common. Sometimes it feels like no one is paying attention to the ways so many are being mistreated and suffering. But God has a special place in his heart for the ones who cannot defend themselves.
Today’s psalm calls us to defend the weak and the fatherless, the orphans, the ones who have no voice and the disinherited ones.
Praise God (Bénit Soit l’éternel) that the oppressed, the marginalized, and the forgotten have a God who stands with them and who cares for those who cannot speak. Our God is pursuing justice for those who have been impacted by the evil of this world.
Lord Jesus, please give us a heart to love others unconditionally and to see them in the ways you yourself see all humankind as your children. Give us a heart for the leasts, the broken, and the ones without a voice. Amen.
PRAYER FOCUS: GRATITUDE FOR THE PROMISES OF GOD
Testing Jesus’s Knowledge
MONDAY, August 1
The lawyer asks Jesus a question he already knew the answer to. He seems to see himself as wise, perhaps even smarter than Jesus. How often do we know the right thing to do and still debate about it?
Growing up in Haiti, we knew our neighbors by name. We shared our resources with each other, we watched out for each other, and we referred to our elders as aunts and uncles. Our neighbors acted as our parents when they were not present. The relationship was so strong that we knew each other’s struggles and we supported each other.
Our neighbors can be those who live in our immediate area, or they may be all humankind. Jesus calls us to care for and love our brothers and sisters wherever they may be.
Jesus, give us your love so we can love others the way you love. Amen.
A Follower of Jesus without Compassion
TUESDAY, August 2
Can we relate to the priest in this story? He had an important role in the temple. He was significant in Christ’s kingdom, a man who knew what was right in the eyes of God. But despite knowing what he should do, he chose to act differently.
Often we have an opportunity to show love to someone but we blow it. The priest just passed by and did nothing, but the Samaritan showed compassion. He could have asked the victim a bunch of questions: Where are you from, because I can see clearly that you are not from here? Do you have a family member nearby who could help you? Where were you going and what had happened exactly?
None of these questions mattered to Jesus. Compassion is what mattered.
My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, the world is full of neighbors who are struggling to live on a daily basis, hurting and waiting for someone to show up. Are you ready to take the opportunity to show up and act? What do you think is holding you back? Jesus calls us to go.
Dear Jesus, help us to be more compassionate and less judgmental. Give us wisdom and understanding to respond to opportunities. amen.
PRAYER FOCUS: PEOPLE WHO ARE MARGINALIZED
Prayer in Jesus’s Way
WEDNESDAY, August 3
I love learning how Jesus took time on his own to connect with God. Isn’t this the Jesus who heals the sick, the One who made the paralyzed walk? But Jesus never performed those miracles on his own—they were accomplished through the power of God working through him. It’s the same for us, my brothers and sisters—we need to connect with our Abba Father. God loves when his children search for him.
In this passage, Jesus teaches us how to pray. Forgiveness is key to our prayers as we ask God to help us forgive others the same way he himself forgives us, not only once or twice but all the time. This is not an easy task. We may feel that the people who cause pain and hurt don’t deserve our forgiveness. That’s why we ask Jesus for the gift of forgiveness.
We need Christ’s strength to help us keep our eyes on him, and we need Christ’s power to resist temptation. My friends, I can tell you with confidence that prayers work because I myself witness God’s response to my own prayers.
Father, may your name be honored; may your kingdom come. Amen.
Knock and Doors Shall Open
THURSDAY, August 4
After Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, he taught them through several examples of fathers: a father with an evil heart, a father with a hard heart, a father with a different heart than a good father. And still, each of those fathers wanted the best for their children. They would not offer their children something that causes them harm, such as a snake if they asked for a fish or a scorpion in place of an egg. Even fathers with evil in their hearts do not want to hurt their own children.
As we think about God as a wonderful father who always cares for his children, who is always there for us, who always provides for us, we know we can always trust him. Through faith, we can ask God for his assistance, his forgiveness, his guidance, and his presence.
No matter what our circumstances, the best place for us to be is in the Lord’s presence. In Jesus’s presence is a place of love and compassion, a place of comfort, and a place where we can be free to speak our mind.
Dear God, give us strength to come to you in any circumstances. Help us, O God, to trust in you every day. In the name of your Son Jesus Christ, amen.
PRAYER FOCUS: MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
Salt of the Earth
FRIDAY, August 5
While Paul was living in Colossae, anyone who entered his house witnessed Christ through Paul’s hospitality. So many times, we miss the opportunity to represent Christ because we are timid. Paul was not shy when it came to sharing the gospel. He invited people intentionally to his house so they could hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
Throughout Paul’s ministry, we can see that he wanted Christ’s name to be known by others. He cared for and loved others as Christ loves and cares for them. He emphasized the importance of grace in sharing the gospel with others as we who know Christ are salt of this earth.
Researching this passage, I learned that salt is a good metaphor for Christian conversation and behavior. In my Haitian culture, we still use salt to preserve meat for a long time. Likewise, we participate in influencing each other’s life for eternity. We do not let this world distract us from the call God places upon our lives. The chains couldn’t stop Paul’s missional journey of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. What should we let stop us?
Dear Jesus, please help us to stay focused on you while serving in this troubled world. We love you, Jesus. In your name, amen.
A Humble Maturity in Christ
SATURDAY, August 6
We believe in our hearts that without mission friends who join us in Haiti through their prayers and financial support, we wouldn’t be able to continue our missionary journey. I would love to ask friends when they pray in our behalf, what do they ask God? How do they approach God on our behalf? How often do they pray for us?
In verse 9, Paul demonstrates how we can pray for one another. Through Paul’s prayers for the Christians of Colossae, we see that we must pray nonstop, regularly, asking God to fill our friends with wisdom and understanding that come from God’s Spirit.
We can be happy when things are going well with our community, our family, and our country. But we are called to remember our neighbors, lifting them in prayers as we walk with Christ Jesus.
Dear Jesus, thank you for opening our eyes to understand the importance of our prayers for our friends and for our global brothers and sisters in Christ. Help this to become a habit of our lives. Amen.