Prayers4Peace: Thursday Meditation for Advent 2023

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Reflective Prayer, Thursday Meditation for Advent 2023
Written by Lauren Draper, Middle East Fellow

Readings: 

Hebrews 7:1-6 | Mark 10:17-27

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Mark 10:17-27

As you reflect on the words from the gospel reading (Mark 10:17-27), I invite you to pray the following prayer, stopping at phrases that resonate with you. Consider this prayer as a dialogue, allowing the Lord to speak even as you pray. Remember those who live in the midst of destruction, injustice, and the absence of peace, with limited access to clean life-sustaining water and food. Pray also for those who would rather ignore or deny the disparate conditions, or the systems and structures that enable and, at times, even protect what is unjust and unholy; pray they may see the error in their ways. 

Allow time and silence, trying to breathe deeply between each line. 

Drive Me Deep to Face Myself 
Lord, grant me your peace, 
for I have made peace
with what does not give peace, 
and I am afraid. 
Drive me deep, now, 
to face myself so I may see
that what I truly need to fear is
my capacity to deceive
and my willingness to be deceived,
my loving of things 
and using of people, 
my struggle for power
and shrinking of the soul,
my addiction to comfort
And sedation of conscience, 
my readiness to criticize
and reluctance to create, 
my clamor for privilege
and silence at injustice,
my seeking for security
and forsaking the kingdom. 
Lord, grant me your peace. 
Instill in me such fear of you 
as will begin to make me wise, 
and such quiet courage
as will enable me to begin to make
hope visible, 
forgiving delightful, 
loving contagious, 
faith liberating, 
peace-making joyful
and myself open and present
to other people and your kingdom.
Ted Loder, from Guerrillas of Grace


About the Author: Lauren earned her bachelor’s in Arabic and Middle East studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After spending four years in youth ministry and community building in the UK, she moved to Jerusalem. In Israel/Palestine, she continues to utilize this relational skill set through the position of Middle East Fellow, while also elevating the voices of Christian leaders in the region.

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