Reading and Prayer by John Spruce
Jesus has just learned the sad news of the death of his cousin John the Baptist and has gone to a lake to seek solace but instead ends up preaching to and feeding the ‘five thousand’. After this he sends the disciples out on a boat and goes up into the hills to pray.
Mathew Chapter 14 beginning to read at vs 22. Page 22 in pew bibles.
Then Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people away.
After sending the people away, he went up a hill by himself to pray. When evening came, Jesus was there alone; and by this time the boat was far out in the lake, tossed about by the waves, because the wind was blowing against it.
Between three and six o'clock in the morning Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water.
When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said, and screamed with fear.
Jesus spoke to them at once. "Courage!" he said. "It is I, don’t be afraid!"
Then Peter spoke up. "Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you."
"Come!" answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus.
But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. "Save me, Lord!" he cried.
At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, "What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?"
They both got into the boat, and the wind died down.
May God add his blessing and understanding to this reading of his Holy Word
Let us now come before God in prayer, Let us pray:
God of everything and everywhere, I find you by the lakeside, I hear you in hidden places, I see you on the mountain-top. May I feel your presence with me as I pray to you today.
Sometimes I feel I am in that boat. Tired, tossed about by troubles, wondering where Jesus is.
Afraid and alone.
Jesus, where are you?
Come walking to me over these waters, let me see you? I'm going to capsize, I'm staring into the abyss.
Then, I think I see your shadow come, walking on those waves which disturb me so. I dare think if you command your creation, surely you can command my circumstances, rescue me, or help me to endure.
I feel my heart begin to stir. Where you go I might follow. Keep my head above water. But for you to walk on the sea is one thing, to expect a poor weak disciple like me is quite another. Yet I hear a voice. I want to try.
I walk boldly a little way. Yes, I do, a little way. You actually help me walk a few steps. Now I'm closer to you than when I was in the boat, it should get easier. Then I feel the boisterous wind, and the waves so mesmerising. I forget my first steps, past proofs of your goodness and power.
I'm swept away by waves of emotions and thoughts and fears. Like Peter I take fright, stop looking at you and begin to sink.
I've failed, you've abandoned me and I'm back looking into the depths.
But in the story you deal with Peter so gently. At once you stretch out your hand to save him, with only a mild rebuke, ‘What little faith you have’.
My doubts don’t prove I have no faith, only that my faith is small. Help me to remember your gentleness when I fail.
God of all faithfulness, you meet me in Christ in the ordinary and everyday. You are there in the boat with me, as I am tossed about by the storms of life. You reach out to me when I am at my lowest ebb. You call to me to step out in faith, beyond my limitations. You pick me up when I falter and let you down. You bring calm and peace when all around brings distress. Lord, I thank you for your patience and faith in me
Let us now say together the prayer to our heavenly Father that Jesus taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever Amen.