I am an emeritus professor from Cornell University and was a Commissioned Lay Preacher in the Presbyterian Church (USA). For many years I have followed the Daily Lectionary as printed in the Mission Yearbook of my church. For each day of a two-year cycle, the lectionary lists four psalms and three other scriptural passages--usually one from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. My practice is to copy down a verse or two from one of the psalms and from each of the other three passages. After I have written out all four selections, I reflect upon them, rearrange their order, and incorporate them into a meditation. Sometimes I retain much of the original wording; sometimes all that remains of a selection is an idea that was stimulated when I read the original words. All selections are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. For the Daily Lectionary, see the link below.

Ash Wednesday Prayer--Feb. 10, 2016

[From Feb. 17, 2010 archive]

I went up to pray tonight.
I was a sinner, like the Pharisee;
I was a sinner, like the tax collector.

I struggle against sin, my own sin and the sin of others,
but I grow weary of the struggle, and I lose heart.

God, make me strong and give my heart courage—
courage to wait for you, believing I will yet see your goodness.

Help me seek good and not evil; and be with me, Jesus—
you who endured great hostility while shedding your blood.

For I repent of my sin.

Lectionary Readings
Ps. 5, 147:1-11, 27, 51
Amos 5:6-15
Heb. 12:1-14
Luke 18:9-14

Selected Verses
Ps. 27:13-14
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD
            in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage;
            wait for the LORD!

Amos 5:14
Seek good and not evil,
            that you may live;
and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you,
            just as you have said.

Heb. 12:3-4
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Luke 18:9-10
[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.     

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