Jesus told this parable: “A man owned a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. He said to his gardener, ‘Look, I’ve come looking for fruit on this fig tree for the past three years, and I’ve never found any. Cut it down! Why should it continue depleting the soil’s nutrients?’ The gardener responded, ‘Lord, give it one more year, and I will dig around it and give it fertilizer. Maybe it will produce fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.’” – Luke 13:6-9 (CEB)
In Luke 13, Jesus tells the parable of the fig tree that produces no fruit. “Cut it down!” says the owner. But the gardener suggests providing a little more care and time to see whether it will indeed bear fruit.
When we come to the Lord in prayer, we are taking a little more care and time to evaluate our lives and relationship with God. Let us tend now to what lies unproductive within us that we might be led to change our hearts and lives.
Our prayer of adoration and confession this week, recognizes how we look to the world around us for what will me make us feel better, ignoring the patient care of God. Whether for personal reflection or a worship service, I hope it helps you release some of your need for control and lean more into God’s patient faithfulness.
Prayer of Adoration and Confession from Isaiah 55
Holy God of abundance and steadfast love, we hear you call to us. When we thirst, you tell us to come to the waters. When we hunger, you offer bread which will satisfy. But we seek our nourishment elsewhere.
Why do we find it so hard to believe you?
We have become so use to the salty water around us, we don’t believe that your water is sweet.
We ignore how your snow and rain water the earth.
We will buy bread that tastes of sawdust. We don’t believe the bread of life comes without cost.
We ignore the gift of nature’s song surrounding us.
Your ways are not our ways, Lord.
And what we don’t understand, we choose not to believe.
Like the fallow ground that regains its strength, your presence with us is not empty. We extinguish the candle of impatience that seeks what is easily available, rather than savoring the gifts you offer.
With changed hearts and minds, send us out with joy and lead us back with peace. Amen.
Our Lenten worship series is “Good Enough: Embracing the Imperfections of Life and Faith” from the Worship Design Studio. The inspiration is Kate Bowler’s new book, Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection.
If you are interested in more prayers for worship or reflection, consider checking out my book:
Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for Worship Prayers for the People is a collection of prayers for worship. These prayers offer the worshipping community and individuals fresh perspectives for praying the words of Scripture, using current language and references. Pastors seeking to lead their people in prayer have found a relevant and beautiful source for worship planning.