Image of field of corn.
July 11, 2023

Jesus of Unexpected Opportunity

A prayer based on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, the gospel reading for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost that can be adapted into a prayer of confession, intercession, illumination or application.

Jesus, you give us an opportunity

to hear your word and let it grow in our hearts.

Help us to be receptive and fertile ground 

for all such opportunities when they come; 

whether at this moment or in the days ahead.

Give us ears that hear and hearts that receive. 

We desire to be

like a field filled and overflowing 

with a bountiful harvest; 

like a tree bursting with fruit,

living fruit of the spirit. 

Give us ears that hear and hearts that receive. 

We ask for your indwelling presence to grace us today and always.

Give us ears that hear and hearts that receive. 




The middle chapters of Matthew’s gospel reveal a Jesus who defies expectations: Jesus breaks traditions, spends time with and heals the wrong sort of people, and preaches not rousing sermons of rebellion and nationalism, but obscure parables about a coming Kingdom of mercy and forgiveness. In these chapters the devotion and obedience of his disciples and the desperate need of the crowds is set against a backdrop of resistance from religious leaders, puzzlement from John the Baptist and his followers, and his family’s interfering concern for his mental health.

The unexpectedness of Jesus’ kingdom ministry in the gospel of Matthew can guide us in our journey of humility with Jesus in our own daily lives and in the lives of our churches. We don’t always know what to expect about God’s kingdom building work, but Matthew instructs us in the essentials that we need to follow this unexpected Jesus wherever he takes us.


Dr. Bethany Besteman is the worship coordinator and church administrator at Silver Spring Christian Reformed Church in Maryland where she lives with her husband and son. She also works as the intake editor for Reformed Worship.