Scripture Readings

II Kings 5:1–14

The Healing of Naaman

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favour with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’ So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, ‘Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.’

He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, ‘When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.’ When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.’

But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.’ So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, ‘I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?’ He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, ‘Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, “Wash, and be clean”?’ So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

Psalm 51:1–17

Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon

To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
 according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
 blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
 and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
 and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
 and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
 and blameless when you pass judgement.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
 a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;
 therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
 wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
 let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
 and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
 and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
 and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
 and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
 and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
 O God of my salvation,
 and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

O Lord, open my lips,
 and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
 if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
 a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Romans 3:27–4:5

Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

The Example of Abraham

What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.

St. Luke 4:40–41; 5:12–16

As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. Be made clean.’ Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. ‘Go’, he said, ‘and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.’ But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

Prayers

Opening Prayer

Our gracious and mericful Lord, we pray, please grant that we may observe this season of Lent with holy fasting, so that we may by Your power, battle against spiritual evils and grow in purity within and without. Enable us to live close to you and ceaselessly praise You, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and always forever will be, world without end. Amen.


Great Thanksgiving Prayer

It is indeed good and right to give you thanks and praise, Almighty God and Everlasting Father, through Jesus Christ Your Son. For in this season of Lent, You lead us into the desert of repentance, that through the pilgrimage of prayer and discipline we may grow in grace and become more like our Lord. Through fasting, prayer and acts of service, You bring us to Your generous heart. May our self denial bring glory to You, and help us to be humble and get rid of our sinful pride. Help us to care for the poor and the destitute. Help us, Lord, to imitate You in our deeds. We thank you for Your mercy and join with saints and angels to proclaim:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
heaven and earth are full of His glory,
hosanna in the highest;
blessed is He who has come,
and is to come
in the name of the Lord,
hosanna in the highest.


Post Communion Prayer

Gracious and compassionate Father in heaven, we thank you for strengthening our faith and hope. We praise You for deepening our love through this worship. Pour out the power of the Holy Spirit on us that we may live by the Word of Christ, the Bread of Life. We offer our life at your feet that in this season of Lent, the life and nature of Christ may grow deeper in us. We ascribe praise and thanksgiving to You, to Your Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and always forever will be, world without end. Amen.


Prayer Focus

For the month of March we at GFA World are focusing our prayers for GFA World’s Clean Water Initiatives. Please join us in praying for them.

Approximately 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, which adds unnecessary hardship to people’s everyday lives as they struggle to obtain this vital necessity. People in developing countries often rely on surface water to supply their needs, but these waters are often contaminated and can lead to frequent illness and other health concerns. In these areas, including countries in Asia and Africa where GFA World serves, 80 percent of illnesses are linked to unclean water and poor sanitation.

As part of its efforts to “serve the least of these” and show the tangible love of Christ, GFA World provides clean water through Jesus Wells and BioSand water filters. More than 38 million people have been helped through these initiatives, but many individuals remain in need.

Please join us in praying this month for GFA World’s clean water initiatives and people in need of clean water.

Please pray with us


Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Art: Naaman is cured from leprosy, from Art in the Christian Tradition a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=55732 [retrieved February 28, 2022]. Original source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Enamel_plaque_Naaman_BM.jpg.

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