Daily Devotion for August 1, 2013
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for This Day
Heavenly Father, let me do my work this day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times. May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.
Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit. Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.
Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself. Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.
Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.
And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.
Prayer for Those Who Have Turned Away
Grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom You have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence known to those who have turned away from You and do not seek You, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so that everyone, in true love and harmony, O long-suffering Lord, may praise your all holy Name.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Proverbs 3:6 (NLT)
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Matthew 5:6 (ESV)
The Beatitudes 
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Notes on the Scripture
The true wonder of human beings is not that we are sinners, but that no matter how low we sink, we are haunted by goodness. “The fallen,” said Robert Louis Stevenson, “clutch the remnants of virtue to them in the brothel and on the scaffold.” The righteous among us are not blessed, because they do not exist. The blessed are those who seek it, who crave it. We seek righteousness as David sought to build the Temple; and, like David, we never succeed. But what did God say to David about it? “You did well that it was in your heart.” (1 Kings 8:18)
In his great work Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis made this argument for evidence of God's existence. We were born with a desire to eat, and there is food to satisfy that desire. We are born with a drive for sex and a desire to have children, and both of these can be satisfied. We want rest when we are tired, and we find sleep.
We do not, in other words, have by our nature any desires which are entirely incapable of satisfaction; so what can we say about our desire to find God? Our search for something we cannot see, for something good and true and powerful that is greater than we, would not exist if there were not a God who could satisfy it.
Like hunger and thirst, the desire to find God is never finally satisfied. The need is ongoing; we are filled, but then become hungry again. So we are not blessed by becoming righteous, but by seeking it, as if we were starving in a desert. And as we seek our food several times every day, so we should seek God. A short prayer makes a good breakfast.
And there is yet another shade of meaning that does not come across very well in English. We may be hungry for peanut butter, but we will not eat all of the peanut butter there is, but only a few ounces. The righteousness in the beatitude, however, is all righteousness. We will not be satisfied with two tablespoons of righteousness; our hunger is for all righteousness, that God's goodness should rule all things at all times. We seek Christ; only by Him can we be filled.
Finally, the beatitude can also be read to mean something quite different: That those people who undergo physical suffering in the cause of righteousness will be rewarded. If we go hungry in the cause of righteousness, we will be blessed for it.
Few of us today suffer much discomfort from our beliefs; Christ's burden is light. But those who have suffered terribly for Christ seem not to regret it. Roman martyrs, stereotypically thrown in an arena with lions, were said to meet their end singing hymns and raising their eyes to heaven. Their terror was balanced, and in many cases erased, by a joy that could only have come from the Holy Spirit, blessing them with a taste of heaven in the last moments of their lives.
So if there are sacrifices that we believe will be too difficult and painful, we need only have faith; God will come to anyone who willingly accepts pain in the cause of righteousness, and the pain will be transformed, and the person filled.