The Daily Office | February 18, 2018
Psalms 90, 91, 92
Psalms 93, 94
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The First Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations, and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The story of Jesus healing a paralytic contains a fascinating detail: “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven'” (v. 2). This man, who had been suffering this condition all these years, received not only healing but also forgiveness because of the faith his friends had in bringing him to Jesus. It’s amazing what our faith can do in the lives of those who are in deep suffering or enslaved by their sin!
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t responsible for our own sin, or that our personal faith is inconsequential. But this passage is a demonstration of what James describes in his letter: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (5:16). Those of us whose hearts are burdened with the knowledge that people we love aren’t in right relationship with God need not despair. Parents with wandering children, have faith. Those of us who have friends who aren’t Christians, have faith. Men and women whose spouses are suffering, have faith. And keep praying—because your prayer has great power.