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Daily Office

November 20, 2013 1 comment

If you haven’t discovered praying the daily office yet, I highly recommend this spiritual discipline.

I’ve nearly completed Years A-C at the Book of Common Prayer web site. This is a great place to start if you’d like to develop a habit of daily Bible reading and prayers.

Starting December 1, I will be transitioning from Episcopal to Evangelical Lutheran daily readings. The major change will be that there are no daily scripted prayers on the ELCA site, just scriptures and a weekly prayer on Sunday.

Perhaps using The Word in Season devotional by Ausgburg Fortress will provide enough daily readings to supplement my readings.

I am excited and a bit nervous about changing my daily routine. I was fortunate to discover praying the hours through the book In Constant Prayer in February 2011, so I’ve engaged in nearly the full three-year cycle.

Categories: Prayer

Faith and Prayer

October 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Remember when I sent you out with no money, no pack, not even sandals? Did you lack anything?

Disciples: Not a thing.

Jesus: It’s different now. If you have some savings, take them with you. If you have a pack, fill it and bring it. If you don’t have a sword, sell your coat and buy one. Here’s the truth: what the Hebrew Scriptures said, “And He was taken as one of the criminals,” must come to fruition in Me. These words must come true.

Disciples: Look, Lord, we have two swords here.

Jesus: That’s enough.

There is powerful consistency in Jesus’ life. Again and again, He withdraws from the crowds to pray in solitude. Now, at this dramatic moment, Jesus again withdraws to pray—in a solitude made more intense by the fact that He has asked His disciples to pray, too, but they have fallen asleep. And in this moment of anguished emotion, Jesus mouths a prayer that resonates with His consistent message of the Kingdom. He has taught His disciples to pray, “May Your kingdom come,” which is a request for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Now, drenched in sweat, Jesus Himself prays simply for God’s will to be done, even if it means He must drink the cup of suffering that awaits Him in the hours ahead.

We often speak of having faith in Jesus; but we seldom speak of the faith of Jesus, a faith He demonstrated consistently throughout His life and especially at its end. In a moment of agony, Jesus still trusted God, still yielded His will to God, and still approached God as “Father,” placing Himself in the position of a child, in trust—profound, tested, sincere.

Once again He left the city as He had been doing during recent days, returning to Mount Olivet along with His disciples.And He came to a certain place.

Jesus: Pray for yourselves, that you will not sink into temptation (vv. 35-40, The Voice).

Categories: disciples, Faith, jesus, luke, Prayer

Never Give Up

September 13, 2013 Leave a comment

He told them a parable, urging them to keep praying and never grow discouraged. The parable went like this:

Jesus: There was a judge living in a certain city. He showed no respect for God or humanity. In that same city there was a widow. Again and again she kept coming to him seeking justice: “Clear my name from my adversary’s false accusations!” He paid no attention to her request for a while, but then he said to himself, “I don’t care about what God thinks of me, much less what any mere human thinks. But this widow is driving me crazy. She’s never going to quit coming to see me unless I hear her case and provide her legal protection.”

Did you catch what this self-assured judge said? If he can be moved to act justly, won’t God bring justice for His chosen people when they cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to bring them justice? Mark My words: God will intervene fast with vindication. But here’s the question: when the Son of Man comes, will He find anyone who still has faith?

Jesus emphasizes that the kingdom of God will not come through valiant efforts but as people pray, “may Your kingdom come,” with persistence and with humility (vv. 1-8).

Categories: jesus, luke, parable, Prayer

Ask, Seek, Knock

August 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Imagine that one of your friends comes over at midnight. He bangs on the door and shouts, “Friend, will you lend me three loaves of bread? A friend of mine just showed up unexpectedly from a journey, and I don’t have anything to feed him.” Would you shout out from your bed, “I’m already in bed, and so are the kids. I already locked the door. I can’t be bothered”? You know this as well as I do: even if you didn’t care that this fellow was your friend, if he keeps knocking long enough, you’ll get up and give him whatever he needs simply because of his brash persistence!

So listen: Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking.

Some of you are fathers, so ask yourselves this: if your son comes up to you and asks for a fish for dinner, will you give him a snake instead? If your boy wants an egg to eat, will you give him a scorpion? Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask! (vv. 5-13, The Voice)

Categories: jesus, luke, Prayer

How to Pray: Keep It Short

July 31, 2013 Leave a comment

In verses 1-4, Jesus gives his disciples a framework for prayer.

It’s interesting that the words in brackets are likely later additions.

I wonder why what took Jesus a few lines to say often takes today’s preachers and teacher hours and weeks and entire classes to express.

Lincoln’s most famous speeches are short.

Perhaps my goal as a teacher and as a leader should be to abbreviate my words to what’s most important, rather than to expand upon what is secondary.

Categories: jesus, luke, Prayer

Prayer

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

In verses 11-12, we learn that the letter-writers pray regularly for the Thessalonians.

Categories: 2 Thessalonians, Prayer

Ora et Labora

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

The book concludes with thoughts on prayer and work.

Categories: 2 Thessalonians, Prayer, work
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