Prayer for Outcasts — Guided Prayer

Scripture Focus: Proverbs 27.8
8 Like a bird that flees its nest 
is anyone who flees from home.

Leviticus 19.34
34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Image: Today’s image comes from the painting, War Refugees in the Snow by Alfred Ost, painted in 1914.

Reflection: Prayer for Outcasts — Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

There have been many crises in history that have caused waves of migrants, refugees, and immigrants to flee their homes.

Some of the largest refugee movements in history happened during World War II when from 1939 to 1959 approximately 20 million people fled Europe. Our current decade, however, has nearly matched that 20-year stretch. Approximately 17.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine, Myanmar, Venezuela, Syria, South Sudan, and Libya, since 2011.

Refugee crises will continue to grow as nations and prideful leaders continue to choose violence.

Welcoming the stranger is a consistent command throughout the Bible. One must work hard not to pick up on it, but some do go out of their way to avoid it. It may be normative in the world of politics to stigmatize, persecute, and ghettoize foreigners, but it is antithetical to biblical living.

Welcoming the stranger is counter-cultural, not only today but in its original context. The evil treatment Israel received in Egypt is the experience God holds up as the source of his commands to welcome and treat well strangers and foreigners. “As Egypt was, you must not be. As you were treated, you must never allow others to be treated. Do unto others as you would wish they had done to your ancestors.” (Exodus 22.21; Leviticus 19.33-34; Deuteronomy 10.18-19)

In reflection on the continuation of the Ukrainian war, the widening flow of refugees, and a sobering awareness that this conflict has the potential to encompass other countries, we pause today to pray for migrants, immigrants, and refugees.

Prayer for Outcasts
Lord, we pray, today, for those who flee. Aid their flight.
May they avoid danger, escaping the fowler’s snare.
May they find fair winds, lifting their wings and spirits.
May they settle among the branches of the righteous who are like trees, providing healing for the nations.

We pray for those who are called by God to welcome them.
May our hearts overflow with the love of God for his children
May our eyes see the image of God in each face
May rivers of living water flow from our hearts that will satisfy, not just their physical needs, but their needs for emotional shelter, food, and healing.

When they flee violence, let us show gentleness.
When they flee hatred, let us show love.
When they flee scarcity, let us sate them.
When they flee abuse, let us console them.
When they flee oppression, let us free them.

Music: “God Help the Outcasts” — Hunchback of Notre Dame

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
May God be merciful to us and bless us, show us the light of his countenance and come to us. — Psalm 67.1

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Proverbs 27 (Listen – 2:43)
Psalm 94 (Listen – 2:08)

Read more about Abandon Human Vengeance
The tactics of human vengeance are escalatory. We always hit back harder than we were struck.

Read more about Grief Unable to be Counted
If secularism were capable of bringing peace we would look to Europe, who would be well on the way.

Loving God by Loving Others — Guided Prayer

Scripture Focus: Leviticus 19.2

2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. 

Reflection: Loving God by Loving Others — Guided Prayer 

By John Tillman

The Ten Commandments have often been summarized (based on Jesus’ answer about the greatest commandment) to mean “Love God and Love Others.” There are echoes of the Ten Commandments throughout the scriptures. In today’s passage the repetition is focused strongly on the “love others” half. How we are to treat others and enact justice is spelled out in many ways.

Many of these commands end with some version of “I am the Lord your God.” This implies that it is on behalf of God that we love others. When we act in God’s name to show love to others, we are also loving God by bringing glory to his name.

Today, we will pray based on the others-focused commands in today’s reading of Leviticus 19.

Loving God by Loving Others

Oh God who gives us harvests, teach us to leave margins for the marginalized.

Let us not be so efficient that we spend every cent in our own interest. (Leviticus 19.9)

For when we collect all the profit to ourselves we are stealing by keeping what you instructed us to leave for the poor. (Leviticus 19.9-10)

When we say, “We can’t afford to help” we are often being deceptive, for the truth is we have spent the portion you intended us to give as aid to others. (Leviticus 19.10-13)

Teach us to honor workers, for you ask us to pray for workers in the vineyard and not to spare expense in paying them. Let us not be stingy, but generous that all will go well with our nation. (Leviticus 19.13)

Teach us to help those in need without partiality or favoritism. Teach us to remove barriers to success and allow all to be treated equitably. (Leviticus 19.14-15)

Teach us not to value our own freedoms over our neighbor’s life and to treat foreigners with the same love we treat our own family. (Leviticus 19.33)

Teach us to root out corruption and dishonesty. 
Let not the poor be defrauded by corrupt business…
Let not the minority be dominated by the majority…
Let not the weak be preyed upon by the powerful…
Help us make the scales of commerce, scales of political representation, and scales of justice fair. (Leviticus 19.36)

In all these things, may we bring glory to God by loving others.

May we love you, Lord, by loving others.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons

My eyes are upon the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me. — Psalm 101.6

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 19 (Listen – 4:39)
Psalms 23-24– (Listen – 2:03)

Read more about Joy and Justice
Some eschatology, or “theology of last things,” forsakes our responsibility to work and be concerned for the Earth of today.

Read more about Keeping The Greatest Commandments
Jesus tells us…the two guideposts on which hang the entire law—Love God and love others.

Who is this King of Glory?

Psalm 24.8
Who is this King of glory?

From John:
First, we look at a few verses from our Leviticus reading that bear special reflection on “Tax Day” in the United States.

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God. Do not steal. Do not lie…Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights… — Leviticus 9-11, 35-36

Reflection: Who is this King of glory?
By John Tillman

Today, as American citizens prepare to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” on “Tax Day,” the calendar of the church, marks the week that Jesus began to walk resolutely into the teeth of the Roman Empire. That’s the part we don’t like. We like the triumphal entry and the triumphal resurrection. The middle bits are like verses of a hymn that we too often skip.

On Palm Sunday churches around the world remembered the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Many in the Jerusalem crowd must have had the ending stanzas of David’s 24th psalm in mind:

Lift up your heads, you gates;
   be lifted up, you ancient doors,
   that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?

But Jesus was not the king they were expecting. And Jesus is not the king we often wish for either.

Some want a glorious warrior-king to defeat the foreigners and rule though vengeance and retribution. These believers want the second-coming of David the giant-killer on a horse, not the first coming of God’s suffering servant on a donkey.

Some expect a liberating mage, with heavenly signs, miracles, blessings, and plagues to confound and punish their oppressors and bless and free the downtrodden. They look for a second Moses, a liberator and lawgiver, not the Lamb of God who comes to be imprisoned, cursed, and slain.

As we follow Jesus through Jerusalem this week, may we not misunderstand him or mistake him for someone else. Let us have eyes to see what many wished to see before us, and ears to hear what many wished to hear. May we let go of our heroic versions of kings and watch the lamb of God, ride his borrowed donkey, straight to his borrowed tomb.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Deliverance belongs to the Lord. Your blessing be upon your people! — 3.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 19 (Listen – 4:39) 
Psalm 23-24 (Listen – 2:03)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Face Like Flint :: A Guided Prayer
When Jesus set his face like flint, determined to go to Jerusalem, the disciples expected a fight. Many of them seemed to expect to win. In what ways are we willing to accept victory with Christ but not suffering?

Read more about The Untied Donkey
In the ancient world donkeys were used for ceremonial purposes. Whereas horses were symbols of war, donkeys were symbols of peace and often used to enact treaties.