FORGIVE OUR UNBELIEF

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TEXT

Matthew 15:29-39 NASB

Departing from there, Jesus went along by the Sea of Galilee, and having gone up on the mountain, He was sitting there.  And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.  So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, “I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.”

The disciples said to Him, “Where would we get so many loaves in this desolate place to satisfy such a large crowd?”

And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”

And they said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”

And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full.  And those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.

And sending away the crowds, Jesus got into the boat and came to the region of Magadan.

Prayer of Confession

Like your disciples, we wonder where so many loaves will come from.  We are overwhelmed by the seas of human need, the unending stretches of hunger, famine, disease, death.  We do not have faith as we ought.  We forget too quickly your previous provisions.  Forgive us, Lord, for our unbelief!  Lord, have mercy on us!

Prayers of Intercession

The Gospels tell us you fed the multitudes not once, but twice.  There is no lack in you.  There is no end to your goodness.  Lord God, the multitudes are hungry again.  The peoples need to be fed again.  And so we come, this day, and ask for yet another miracle—and we will trust you to provide.

We intercede, Lord God, for those we know who are languishing in some way, who suffer and are in distress…

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We intercede, Lord God, for those around us who are truly starving, even in the midst of abundance.  Provide for their every need, we pray…

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We intercede, Lord God, for all your Church—all its leaders, its members, and its mission.  Remind us of your infinite heart, your infinite power, your infinite resources.  Extend your hand and break our seven loaves into all this world can eat.  Multiply our lack with your abundance.

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We intercede, Lord God, for the physical needs of the nations of this world.  Provide food for the hungry.  Provide healing for the sick.  The needs are bigger than we are, but not bigger than you—and not bigger than your resources in us.  Use us to bring your abundance to the world.  Make us generous, like you.

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We intercede, Lord God, for the deep spiritual needs of the nations of this world.  You, Lord Jesus Christ, are the Bread of Life.  Let the world come to you to eat.  Let the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Animists, and atheists of the world find their sustenance in you, find in you all they’ve been craving for.  You are more than enough.

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.  Amen.

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