Remind us, O Lord, that instructions tend to be intended for a particular people in a particular place in a particular time. So, for example…given that the good news was eventually preached to the Samaritans and the Gentiles, your instructions to the Twelve to go only to the lost sheep of Israel clearly don’t apply to us in our time and place; indeed, they applied to the Twelve only on that particular mission and not to their later mission efforts.
We ask, therefore, for wisdom and discernment both in understanding how the instructions given in biblical texts apply to us in our situation and in understanding the instructions that we receive from you in prayer and through the Holy Spirit.
Remind us also, O Lord, that some instructions are given for all your people in all times and in all places. So, for example, even now we are to do what you told the Twelve to do as they went to the people of Israel—we are to carry out ministries of help, healing, and wholeness in your name.
We ask, therefore, for wisdom and discernment in recognizing the instructions in your Book that are intended for us and for the grace and strength not to explain them away but rather to carry them out.
“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” (Matthew 10:5-8a)