Worship in the Home: Sunday, July 26, 2020

Posted on July 21, 2020 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Lectionary 17
July 26, 2020



In this time of world-wide crisis, congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While you cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other in prayer. We offer this brief resource as an aid for prayer in the home. As with our prayers in the gathered assembly for worship, you are encouraged to prepare or adapt them locally for your context.


The Prayer of the Day may be prayed. 

Let us pray.
Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


Then the readings for this Sunday may be read, as follows:

First Reading:  1 Kings 3:5-12

5At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” 6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”

10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.”

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


Psalm:  Psalm 119:129-136 may be sung or spoken in response to the First Reading.

129Your de- | crees are wonderful;
therefore I obey them with | all my heart.
130When your word is opened | it gives light;
it gives understanding | to the simple.
131I open my | mouth and pant
because I long for | your commandments.
132Turn to me and be gra- | cious to me,
as you always do to those who | love your name.

133Order my footsteps | in your word;
let no iniquity have dominion | over me.
134Rescue me from those | who oppress me,
and I will keep | your commandments.
135Let your face shine up- | on your servant
and teach | me your statutes.
136My eyes shed | streams of tears,
because people do not | keep your teaching.


Second Reading: Romans 8:26-39

26The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose. 29For those whom God foreknew God also predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, in order that the Son might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom God predestined God also called; and those whom God called God also justified; and those whom God justified God also glorified.

31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32The very Son of God was not withheld, but was given up for all of us, will God not along with the Son also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through the one who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


Gospel: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

The holy gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

31Jesus put before the crowd another parable: “The dominion of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in a field; 32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33Jesus told them another parable: “The dominion of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.

44“The dominion of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45“Again, the dominion of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47“Again, the dominion of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the dominion of heaven is like a householder who brings out of the household treasure what is new and what is old.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.



Having read these readings, think of this:

It is not only that we do not know how to pray as we ought in this hard time.  And it is not only that we do not have enough wisdom for the challenges we are facing.  It is also, if we speak of the actual situation of our current world, that we are genuinely “being killed all day long” by “hardship or distress or peril” and certainly by disease.  But there is light and wisdom and life in the word we read today.  Jesus Christ himself is the finder of the treasure and the pearl, and he gives these away to us.  His despised cross, his death with us, is the “bush” which becomes a tree in which we may shelter.  The risen presence of this crucified one is like the bread of the woman, enough for a multitude and life-giving, though usual religion, worried about both leaven and the cross, would call it unclean.  Such is the surprising dominion of God.  Nothing can separate us from this love, even if we do not understand it.  And the Spirit helps us in our weakness to pray for our needy world in this time and to pray that our leaders might have something like Solomon’s wisdom.


If you have a hymnal (or using the graphic below), you might now sing or read “Jesus, Priceless Treasurer” (JESU, MEINE FREUDE)  (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 775) or God of Grace and God of Glory (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 705).

Jesus, Priceless Treasure

God of Grace and God of Glory


From our many locations, yet held in one body by the Holy Spirit, we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need, responding to each petition with words from Psalm 119, Be gracious to us.

A brief silence.

For the church, O God of mercy, we pray. Open your word to Christians around the world. Reveal yourself to us in ways both traditional and surprising, in places old and new. Bless our bishops, pastors, deacons, and other church leaders, as they face their challenging tasks.

A brief silence.

Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

For education and nurture in the church, O God of wisdom, we pray. Give us the will to seek your wisdom. Guide the many churches in their uses of technology, and show us during this time ways to study your word. As this week we commemorate J. S. Bach and other musicians, accompany all church musicians as they seek to help the church offer its praise.

A brief silence.

Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

For the earth, O creative God, we pray. Give to plants and animals the water and land they require. Form us into grateful and healing caretakers of your earth. Bless the efforts of scientists and researchers, especially those seeking a vaccine. Lead all people to honor the scientific discoveries that you grant to humankind.

A brief silence.

Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

For the nations, O God of justice, we pray. Direct leaders of nations to build trust with each other and to resist the ways of violence. Stifle the lust for conquest. Bring peace to the Middle East. Visit the people of Hong Kong. Move us away from racist attitudes and policies. Form our president, governor, and legislators to speak with honesty, to strive for justice, and to work to alleviate the nation’s needs.

A brief silence.

Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

For all in need, O God of compassion, we pray. Heal the sick. Feed the hungry. House the refugee. Comfort the countless thousands who are dealing with the coronavirus. Accompany those living with anxiety and despair. Form us to be your arms of mercy.

A brief silence.

Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

For the youth, O God of grace, we pray. Give to the youth of afflicted nations an inspiring dream of what their future might be. Give them patience to await a time of safety. Direct all schools from daycare through graduate school to find an acceptable way forward.

A brief silence.

Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

You, O God, are our pearl beyond price. You are the tree giving us eternal refuge. Hear now, we pray, the petitions of our hearts.

A longer time of silence

Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

In gratitude for the lives of our beloved dead, we pray that nothing, neither death nor life, will separate us from your love. At the end, gather us with all your saints in light everlasting.

A brief silence.

Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

Into your hands, gracious God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.


If you have a hymnal (or using the graphic below), you might now sing or read “My Faith Looks Up to Thee”  (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 759), Be Thou My Vision (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 793), or All My Hope on God Is Founded (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 757).

My Faith Looks Up to Thee

Be Thou My Vision


Then conclude with these prayers:

Let us pray.

A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

O Word of God incarnate, O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O Light in our dark sky,
We praise you for the radiance that from the hallowed page,
A Lantern to our footsteps, shines on from age to age.
Amen.      (ELW #514, stanza 1)


Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.

Almighty God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us now and forever.


Due to copyright restrictions, we are only able to provide hymns to download that are in the public domain. Other suggestions provided above may be found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. To purchase a copy of Evangelical Lutheran Worship for the home, visit the Augsburg Fortress website or call 1-800-328-4648.

 Devotional Music Links: For your individual or group devotion, you may choose to listen to the following choral recordings made available through Augsburg Fortress: “The Plans I have for You;” “God’s Plan;” “Be Thou My Vision.”


Readings for the Week:
Monday Psalm 119:121-128. Tuesday (commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, died 1750; Heinrich Schütz, died 1672; George Frederick Handel, died 1759; musicians) 1 Kings 4:29-34. Wednesday (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany; Olaf, King of Norway, martyr, died 1030) Proverbs 1:1-7, 20-33. Thursday Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21. Friday Isaiah 51:17-23. Saturday Isaiah 44:1-5. Ninth Sunday after Pentecost Isaiah 55:1-5; Psalm Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21.


Daily Prayer Resources are available, including simple forms of Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer; Responsive Prayer; and prayers for mealtimes and other occasions.

Reflection material: Gordon Lathrop. Intercessory Prayer: Gail Ramshaw

Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship and sundaysandseasons.com, © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress.

Readings from Readings for the Assembly © 1995, 1996, 1997 Augsburg Fortress. Citations from the Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts. Scripture quotations from NRSV Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, adapted and edited with permission by Gordon Lathrop and Gail Ramshaw.

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