Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Archive for February 20, 2012

The Hour Of Prayer 022012

Saint Peter Alerted by Saint John to the Prese...

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The Hour Of Prayer 022012

In Acts 3:1-10 we read that Peter and John were going to the temple to pray at the hour of prayer, 3:00 pm, but the original text (and some translations, specify this as the 9th hour of the day. The Jewish day was 12 hours long, for the daylight hours only.

Morning prayer was at 9:00 am, and the evening prayer was at 3:00 pm. Clarke’s Commentary on The Bible says:

“The rabbins believed that Abraham instituted the time of morning prayer; Isaac, that at noon; and Jacob, that of the evening: for which they quote several scriptures, which have little reference to the subject in behalf of which they are produced. Others of the rabbins, particularly Tanchum, made a more natural division. Men should pray,

1. When the sun rises;

2. when the sun has gained the meridian;

3. when the sun has set, or passed just under the horizon.

At each of these three times they required men to offer prayer to God; and I should be glad to know that every Christian in the universe observed the same rule: it is the most natural division of the day; and he who conscientiously observes these three stated times of prayer will infallibly grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord.” (http://clarke.biblecommenter.com/acts/3.htm)

These are difficult hours of the day for us now. Many people start work at 8:00 am or even 7:00 am, and the morning prayer would come in the middle of the morning’s work, and the 3:00 pm prayer might come in the middle of wrapping up the day’s supposed work.

But wait a minute! Are we saying that the schedule of the world is more important and takes precedence over the appointed hour for regular prayer? Yes, it does, it seems, and for all of us who work for a boss, or a master who is not Christian, etc we may well find ourselves forbidden to engage in practices such as prayer in the middle of an otherwise really important day.

We live in a post-Christian world, and what spiritual practices we chose to practice must be done in secret, in private so as not to embarrass anyone. This is called religious freedom, but it does feel free or even relaxed.

We discussed in Sunday church the practice of regular prayer that we are encouraging, using the book of Common Prayer and www.commonprayer.net It is difficult to pray three times a day, especially when one must pray in secrecy and solitude only. No one will remind you or miss you if you don’t make it to prayer time. Still, we hope we can restablish the Christian pattern of prayer in common, three times a day.

As for Peter and John, they were able to heal a crippled beggar, on the way to prayer. What would they feel like after prayer and who else might they heal?

Like Peter and John remember an afternoon time to pray. Don’t just fit it in, but make an effort to walk outside, or away, and for a time, be with God.

Pray for Peace in the Middle East and that all find a way to talk to each other in respect.

(brother) Bill

Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/


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Psalm 6

2 Chronicles 26:1-21

Acts 3:1-10



Psalm 6

1O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath.

2Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.

3My soul also is struck with terror, while you, O Lord—how long?

4Turn, O Lord, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.

5For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?

6I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.

7My eyes waste away because of grief; they grow weak because of all my foes.

8Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.

9The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer.

10All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror; they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.

2 Chronicles 26:1-21

26Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king to succeed his father Amaziah. 2He rebuilt Eloth and restored it to Judah, after the king slept with his ancestors. 3Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 4He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper. 6He went out and made war against the Philistines, and broke down the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod; he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. 7God helped him against the Philistines, against the Arabs who lived in Gur-baal, and against the Meunites. 8The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong. 9Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the Angle, and fortified them. 10He built towers in the wilderness and hewed out many cisterns, for he had large herds, both in the Shephelah and in the plain, and he had farmers and vinedressers in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil. 11Moreover Uzziah had an army of soldiers, fit for war, in divisions according to the numbers in the muster made by the secretary Jeiel and the officer Maaseiah, under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders. 12The whole number of the heads of ancestral houses of mighty warriors was two thousand six hundred. 13Under their command was an army of three hundred seven thousand five hundred, who could make war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. 14Uzziah provided for all the army the shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and stones for slinging. 15In Jerusalem he set up machines, invented by skilled workers, on the towers and the corners for shooting arrows and large stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped until he became strong.

16But when he had become strong he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was false to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to make offering on the altar of incense. 17But the priest Azariah went in after him, with eighty priests of the Lord who were men of valor; 18they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to make offering to the Lord, but for the priests the descendants of Aaron, who are consecrated to make offering. Go out of the sanctuary; for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the Lord God.” 19Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to make offering, and when he became angry with the priests a leprous disease broke out on his forehead, in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord, by the altar of incense. 20When the chief priest Azariah, and all the priests, looked at him, he was leprous in his forehead. They hurried him out, and he himself hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him. 21King Uzziah was leprous to the day of his death, and being leprous lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the Lord. His son Jotham was in charge of the palace of the king, governing the people of the land.

Acts 3:1-10

3One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. 2And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. 3When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. 4Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” 7And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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