A Prayer for Priorities

It is often my custom to turn my morning Bible reading into a prayer for myself and others. Inspired by Scotty Smith*, I decided to write out my prayer based on Mark 2:1-12. The writing process always helps me clarify my thoughts and, in this case, my prayer.

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Father,

There are so many pressing needs in my life that feel both immediate and important. Some are personal (How am I going to pay for my kids’ college?). Some are church related (Will we have enough money for the building project?). Some deal with health issues (my daughter’s diabetes) and others with more selfish concerns (Will things turn out like I want today?).

The paralytic and his friends thought his biggest need was physical healing. How shocked and disappointed they must have been to hear you say, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” And yet is there a greater need in anyone’s life than to be forgiven and accepted by God? Of course not.

I confess that I am too often distracted and even deceived about what’s truly important. I exchange the spiritual for the physical, the unseen for the seen, and the eternal for the temporal. I confess my sin to you.

I pray that my heart and soul would rejoice at the good news that in Jesus my sins are forgiven. I pray that I would find great joy in knowing Jesus who, as God, has the authority to forgive sin and sinners.

Finally I pray that today I would value, cherish, treasure, and pray for that which is truly important.

Amen.


* Scotty Smith is senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tenn.

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