Scripture Readings

Lamentations 3:1–9, 19–24

God’s Steadfast Love Endures

I am one who has seen affliction
 under the rod of God’s wrath;
he has driven and brought me
 into darkness without any light;
against me alone he turns his hand,
 again and again, all day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away,
 and broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
 with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me sit in darkness
 like the dead of long ago.

He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
 he has put heavy chains on me;
though I call and cry for help,
 he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with hewn stones,
 he has made my paths crooked.

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
 is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
 and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
 and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
 his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
 great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
 ‘therefore I will hope in him.’

Psalm 31:1–4, 15–16

Prayer and Praise for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
 do not let me ever be put to shame;
 in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me;
 rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
 a strong fortress to save me.

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
 for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
 for you are my refuge.

My times are in your hand;
 deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
 save me in your steadfast love.

I Peter 4:1–8

Good Stewards of God’s Grace

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. But they will have to give an account to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.

The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

St. John 19:38–42

The Burial of Jesus

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Prayers

Thematic Prayer

God of wilderness and water,
your Son was baptized and tempted as we are.
Guide us through this season,
that we may not avoid struggle,
but open ourselves to blessing,
through the cleansing depths of repentance
and the heaven-rending words of the Spirit. Amen.


Intercessory Prayer

Caught between joy and despair,
we yearn for the fulfillment of God's desire
beyond the brokenness and neediness of this life.
We offer thanksgiving for God's presence with us
and petitions for the transformation
of the church and the world.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

Life–giver, Pain–bearer, Love–maker,
day by day you sustain the weary with your word
and gently encourage us to place our trust in you.
Awaken us to the suffering of those around us;
save us from hiding in denials or taunts that deepen the hurt;
give us grace to share one another's burdens in humble service. Amen.


Scripture Prayer

Sovereign God,
you have established your rule over the human heart,
not by force
but by the servant example of Jesus Christ.
Move us by your Spirit
to join the joyful procession
of those who confess Christ Jesus with their tongues
and praise him with their lives. Amen.


Prayer Focus

For the month of April we at GFA World are focusing our prayers for Missionaries. Please join us in praying for those needing clean water.

GFA missionaries have dedicated their lives to sharing Christ’s love with others. They minister in a variety of places, living sacrificially and compassionately responding to the needs around them.

As members of their communities, these men and women have unique insight into the needs and challenges within the community. They are burdened when people are plagued by disease caused by a lack of clean water and proper sanitation, and they seek to provide solutions, like Jesus Wells and toilets. They are moved with compassion for widows and leprosy patients whom others have scorned, and they seek to care for their needs. They are troubled when they see people struggling in abject poverty, and they seek to help them rise out of it through income-generating gifts that provide steady income and through tutoring and literacy classes that offer hope for the future.

These courageous labourers are on the front lines. God is using them mightily, helping transform entire communities, but the work is far from finished. Billions of people still have never heard of Christ’s love.

Please join us in praying this month for GFA’s national missionaries.

Please pray with us


Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Art: Le Nain, Mathieu, 1607-1677. The Entombment of Christ, from Art in the Christian Tradition a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=51090 [retrieved March 23, 2018]. Original source: http://www.mfa.org/.

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