Epaphras Prayer Letter

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

Week of June 21, 2021 | Sunday, June 27, 2021

In this pericope, we receive an anecdotal version of Jesus’ admonition, “Many are called but few are chosen” (Mt. 22:24). The great crowd gathered around Jesus jostled and bumped into him inadvertently. Yet their touch of Jesus’ and his garments produced no outpouring of his power into them. All those touches made Jesus’ question, “Who touched my garments?” sound ridiculous in the ears of his disciples who said as much in their response, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” (Mk. 5:31). Jesus knew, though, that power had gone out from him as one of the crowd touched his garments. The members of that crowd were called in one way or another. Perhaps they had heard of this wonder-working rabbi and wanted to see for themselves. Perhaps they were skeptical and wanted proof to overcome their skepticism. Perhaps they just wanted a good show for their own entertainment. Perhaps they came because their neighbors came and peer pressure is hard to resist. The “many” of the crowd were called but only one of their midst was chosen. The woman with the flow of blood had received faith because she was chosen, witness Acts 13:48, “…all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.” The woman’s election preceded her believing, and her believing received power from Jesus. So, too, with us. Only as we have confidence in our election to eternal life can we believe the Word of a God who does not lie. Unbelief calls God a liar.

Prayers from those who need reassurance again and again of their election unto eternal life…

Father in heaven, grant me the hearing of your Word, “…he chose in Christ before the foundation of the world…” so that the Holy Spirit would drive that Word into my ears and deep into my heart. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

Father in heaven, grant me such confidence in your appointing me to eternal life that I may rest in the confidence delivered by the Holy Spirit that you do not lie and your Word is trustworthy and sure. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

Father in heaven, your Holy Spirit has “called, gathered, enlightened, sanctified, and kept me in the one true faith,” grant that I do not come to rely on my own reason and understand or my own work or effort. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

Father in heaven, as the Holy Spirit keeps me in the one true faith, turn me toward my neighbors, open my eyes that I may see their needs, and set my hands to the tasks useful to them in their neediness. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

Father in heaven, as the Holy Spirit keeps me in the one true faith, do not let me count my useful works as righteous or good. I do not know the full extent of their consequences and they fall under the full weight of your judgement and condemnation. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

Father in heaven, as you look upon the Institute of Lutheran Theology and those who labor therein, use your Holy Spirit to keep it in the one true faith and in the humility of its works falling under your judgment as well. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

Father in heaven, as the Holy Spirit keeps me in the one true faith, grant me patience that I may wait in hope for the fulfilling of your Son’s promise to come again in glory. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

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