Devotionals

Prayer 10/14/19

“Light dawns for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!” Psalm 97:11-12

Almighty and Eternal God, in your light we see light. For your abundant mercy and never-ending love, we thank you. For this day and the opportunity to live as your faithful children, we thank you. For the good things you have created for all people, we thank you. For your Son who gave himself for our sake, we thank you.

We lift up the broken hearted, grant them peace. We pray for those who search, but have not yet found. Guide them by your grace into the light and life of your Son. For those who are alone, we pray a friend sent by you. We lift up the oppressed and downtrodden, may those who love you work on their behalf. Bless the merciful and peaceful. Bless the ones who help the helpless.

Gracious and Loving God, renew us through your power. Refresh us by your grace. Give us good work to do and a willingness to do it. May our day be filled with love for you and good works towards our neighbors. May it all give honor and glory to You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; One God for ever and ever. Amen.

“Then he said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their crosses daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Prayer 10/11/19

“Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:3,5

Eternal and Almighty God, we honor you as our Creator. We glorify you as the Source of all that is good, and beautiful, and true. We thank you for your faithfulness and steadfast love, which endure for ever. For your Son, our Shepherd, we thank you. May we hear his voice today, and follow.

We pray for all public servants and elected officials. May they serve the good of the people, according to your will. We pray for those who care for the infirm and elderly, may they be your servants who bring healing and gentle care to others. We pray for school teachers and administrators, may they’re dedication and work bear good fruit in the children they instruct. We pray for all people who serve others, may they be blessed.

Gracious and Loving Father, we pray for your Church and for the faithful, wherever they may be. May she bear your light well, reflecting your steadfast love and faithfulness. May you be honored in her service to you and to your people. Holy God, we offer this prayer to you: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; One God for ever and ever. Amen.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Prayer 10/10/19

“Let them praise your great and awesome name.
Holy is he!
Mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
Extol the Lord our God;
worship at his footstool.
Holy is he!” (Psalm 99:3-5)

Gracious and Holy God, we praise your great and awesome Name. We worship you, our mighty King. There is none like you. And yet, you have called us to be holy as you are Holy. Help us to be merciful, as you are Merciful; gracious, as you are Gracious; generous as you are Generous. Shape us and form us into the image of your Son, so that more and more people may see and glorify you, for your abundant grace and mercy. Sanctify us by your Word, so that we may walk through this world as your children. We offer up this prayer to you: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; One God forever and ever. Amen.

“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

Prayer 10/09/19

“You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures for ever. ” Psalm 118:28-29

Holy God, we give thanks to you for this day. We honor and glorify you for your abundant grace and mercy, for life and faith and hope, for the love you have given us through your Son. Guide our steps today, that we may walk in your light. Bless and keep our loved ones. May your Holy Name be glorified in this day. We offer up this prayer to you: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever, Amen.

The Other Side of the Door

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was leaving the room after paying a visit, and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

 Very quietly the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

 “You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?”

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The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side of the door there came the sound of scratching and whining. As he opened the door a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

 Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice that dog? He had never been in this room before. He did not know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass through with no fear, but with gladness.”

 

Praying the Psalms

“If we are to pray well, we too must discover the Lord to whom we speak, and if we use the Psalms in our prayer we will stand a better chance of sharing in the discovery which lies hidden in their words for all generations.” Thomas Merton, Praying the Psalms

From my own experience, there is great benefit in praying the psalms. Consider the following:

“Praise the Lord!
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord,
or declare all his praise?
Happy are those who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times.” (Psalm 106:1-3)

How might I employ these verses from Psalm 106 in prayer? Would I just repeat the words? Maybe, but I might also allow the Psalm to guide my prayer. “Praise the Lord!” I might begin my prayer by doing just that. And, for what am I praising the Lord? Is there a limit to the things for which I might praise God? Of course, not. So, I begin my prayer by praising the Lord for so many blessings, spiritual and physical. I name them and thank God for each one of them. As I thank God I am reminded that “…he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

So, not only do I thank God for specific blessings, but I meditate on who God is. God is good! God’s steadfast love endures forever! Try to imagine what that means. Forever is a long time to love. So, the psalm brings to mind the nature of the One to whom I pray. And, in being reminded of who God is my faith in the Lord and my love for the Lord is strengthened.

It’s important that as I pray the psalm, or allow the psalm to guide my prayer, that I do not get into a rush. There is no hurry in prayer. If I am in a hurry, I’m probably not praying. I’m probably just saying words in hopes of getting to the “amen” so that I can get on with what I really want to do. So, don’t hurry. Focus on the One to whom you pray. Remember that God is listening, God is with you, God’s Spirit is in you. Spend some time letting that truth sink in. Don’t just speak words as if you’re trying to complete a task. Instead, commune with the One who loves you.

“Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord, or declare all his praise?” Indeed, who? Well, you can! In fact, as you pray and thank and praise God, you are uttering the “mighty doings of the Lord.” But, maybe this part of the psalm is instructing you to ask for strength to speak of God’s love and grace and wonderful works more often. Or, maybe this part of the psalm reminds you that the One to whom you pray is holy, and should be approached with awe and reverence. Or…there is no set way to allow the psalm to inform your prayer. Try not to get too bogged down in assumptions of what should be done or said in prayer. Let the Spirit guide you through the Psalm.

“Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.” How might these lines inform your prayer? Maybe this is a moment in prayer to ask for strength to observe justice and to do righteousness. Maybe this part leads you to pray for those who are in need of justice. Maybe these lines lead you to once again thank God because the Lord upholds what is right and good. Again, let the psalm speak to you. Or better, let the Spirit speak to you through the psalm, and then let that inform your prayer and meditation.

Let’s try another:

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.” (Psalm 25:1-5)

Here, we have a psalm that can be prayed as is. I can simply pray the words. But again, I caution against simply saying the words. Prayer is not magic, it’s communication. Instead of simply saying the words, speak each line and savor the meaning of the words. Consider what the words mean for you, as you pray them. Also, take time to let God speak to you. Listen and observe what comes into your heart as you pray. Communication works both ways. But, no matter what, take your time. God has all day.

There are many different psalms, each addressing different themes. As you use the psalms for prayer, or as guides to prayer, keep a list of the ones you find most useful. I have used just a few lines from a psalm as a prayer guide for days. Do what works for you. Some psalms will be better guides to prayer than others. Be warned, there are some lines in the psalms that, as I do, you may find impossible to pray (see the last line in Psalm 137 as an example). As Christians, we interpret and use all of the scriptures through the lens of Jesus Christ and the love he has taught us to embody. So, if you come across something that is not helpful in your prayers, no worries. Move on to what is helpful. There are many psalms and much that you will find helpful.

May God bless you in you prayers. May the Spirit guide you and teach you. And, may the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ fill you and flow out from you into the lives of others.

A Prayer for Today

“Grant, O Lord my God, that I may never fall away in success or in failure; that I may not be prideful in prosperity nor dejected in adversity. Let me rejoice only in what unites us and sorrow only in what separates us. May I strive to please no one or fear to displease anyone except Yourself. May I see always the things that are eternal and never those that are only temporal. May I shun any joy that is without You and never seek any that is beside You. O Lord, may I delight in any work I do for You and tire of any rest that is apart from You. My God, let me direct my heart towards You, and in my failings, always repent with a purpose of amendment.” Thomas Aquinas

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An Evening Thanksgiving

Accept our evening thanksgiving,
Fountain of every blessing,
for you have led us in safety through the length of the day.
You daily bless us with so many temporal mercies,
and have given us the hope of resurrection to eternal life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: An Ancient Collect, fifth century

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A Morning Prayer

Almighty God,
you fill all things with your presence.
In your great love,
keep us near you this day.
Grant that in all our ways and doings
we may remember that you see us,
and may always have grace to know and perceive
what things you would have us do,
and give us strength to do the same;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: An Ancient Collect, fifth century

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