Spirit & Life

Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid

Matthew 14: 22-33 (NRSV)
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

What wonderful words of comfort! Peter responded by doing what seemed irrational, but had his eyes fixed on Jesus. In difficult life circumstances, when it seem that we are in a rudderless boat, it is natural to feel that we are alone and afraid. Our faith reminds us God is near, but, like Peter, our hearts and minds are not always aligned, and we do not always feel God’s presence. Distracted by pain, whether it be emotional, mental or physical or even all the above, we focus on the ‘stormy waves’ and feel the ‘strong winds’ of fear buffeting us around.

Yet, quietly, gently, Jesus calls, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’

What has buffeted your faith?
What helped you recall the nearness of God?
How can we assist others to hear the gentle voice over the storms and ‘strong wind’?


Prayer of Confession
Jesus, we call to you,
In honesty and humility.
A silence is kept…

We are struggling, and often feel overwhelmed.
At times, when we are hurting most,
we do not have the words or courage to call on you.
When frightened, we often lose our way,
and feel that we are being subsumed by all the worries we are carrying.

Please call to us today,
for we are afraid, and find it hard to look to you.
In our painful times,
we do not have the courage to look away from the difficulties,
to the promises of your love.
Call to us, O gracious friend

Words of Assurance
When we are feeling overwhelmed,
Jesus says gently
‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’
We are blessed, supported and loved.
Let us not be afraid to draw on this strength,
For it is Jesus who calls to us, to do so.

Prayer of Adoration and Thanksgiving
Companioning and comforting God,
What a joy it is to know of your care.
What a delight it is to call to you.
We thank you that your presence is welcoming
and your comfort lies deep in our hearts.
On hearing the gospel stories,
we are reminded of the everyday situations in which you ministered.
How gentle is your call
and how significant it is to hear.
With thanks and praise, we will walk through the stormy waters
and not be misdirected by the strong winds.
For you, Jesus, speak into our daily lives,
and we long to travel with you, always and forever more. Amen

© Rev Anne Hewitt 09/08/2023
This reflection & prayers may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.

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