Epaphras Prayer Letter

Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Week of September 6, 2021 | Sunday, September 12, 2021

“All things are possible for one who believes” (Mk. 9:23). Jesus’ words expose our sin. These words come after he’s already called the crowd a “faithless generation” (Mk. 9:19). The Apostle Paul will go on to tell us “Whatever is not of faith is sin” (Ro. 14:23b). Sin is the absence of faith; sins are the symptoms of faith’s absence. If, as Jesus tells his disciples, a mere grain of faith no bigger than a mustard seed will move mountains or cast a tree into the ocean (Lk. 17:6 & Mt. 17:20), then even the disciples must be numbered among that “faithless generation.” This is a hard word for us to hear. We who aspire to faithfulness… we who look to those disciples for examples on how to grow our own faith… We who are sons and daughters of the Old Adam and Eve are confronted with the reality that the flesh of this old creation which is passing away has no capacity for faith in anything but itself. Jesus Christ, who is our life (Gal. 2:20), provides the faith we need through the Great Exchange. God himself is faithful even though we cannot be. Out of God’s faithfulness, Jesus Christ has come to be our faith and the one in whom all things are possible.


Prayers from one caught in the sin of faithlessness and occasionally freed from idolatry by hearing the Word of God, Jesus Christ…


Father of Jesus Christ, work faith in my heart when I hear your Word and the Holy Spirit drives Jesus Christ deep into my heart so that his faith becomes my faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, hold me in Christ’s faith even when my ears are empty of your Word. Grant that I eagerly anticipate the preaching of your Word, and gladly hear and learn it. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Father of my Lord, grant that I receive a preacher who hands Jesus Christ over to be my life through the preaching of Christ, him crucified, and him alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen


My Father in heaven, so hold me in Christ’s faith that I would turn to my neighbors and fulfill my callings to them that they may come to be confident of such fulfillment. In Jesus’ name. Amen


My Father in heaven, so hold me in Christ’s faith that I would turn to my neighbors and deliver to them the Bread of Life come down from heaven, Jesus Christ our Lord, that they, too, would be delivered from the sin of faithlessness and be freed from idolatry. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, you have seen fit to establish the Institute of Lutheran Theology and bring it both students and supporters. Grant that it continues to enjoy your providence and the blessings of your Word, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen


My Father in heaven, you alone know the day and hour of your Son’s return in glory. Through all the humiliations this world inflicts upon me, keep me confident that when he comes in his glory I, too, shall appear with him in glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen

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