Prayer for the week

The collect and its explanation

Collect

Almighty God,
whose only Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Readings – Matins

Genesis 50:15-21; Psalm 103:1-13; Matthew 18:21-35

Readings – Holy Cross

Numbers 21:4-9; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17
Prayer for the week image

Explanation

This collect is based on Hebrews 10:19-23. It also reminds us of the instruction Jesus gives us to knock and door will be opened. Jesus has opened a new and living door into God’s presence. It is new because Jesus only opened it through the resurrection – that event that changed the world forever. It is living because it is the way opened up through the death of him who lives for ever.

Pure hearts are those hearts that do not have divided loyalties. This means that while we are never free from temptations we aim to live more Christ-like lives rather than lives of sin.

Christianity is not just a matter of outward conformity to certain moral standards, but also a matter of loving God from a heart that has been transformed by his grace.

Steadfast wills mean that we are not to be easily swayed by the world around us: that we keep our eyes and hearts fixed on God. In other words that we have faith. Faith is not a mindless blind leap in the dark, but rests on the person and work of Jesus.

When we have undivided hearts and a sure faith then our worship is transformed. It means our Sunday services are based on truth and offered in the power of the Holy Spirit. We should be actively seeking this new way into God’s presence.

The Hebrew word for “seek” means literally, “to trample under foot”. If you frequently visit your neighbour, you trample underfoot a path to their home. There ought to be a well-worn path between us and God because we go to him so often. What a great privilege this invitation is, to draw near to and worship the living God!