Daily Devotion for August 26, 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.
Simple Gifts is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by a hardscrabble Maine farmer, Joseph Brackett. The Shakers would use it as a dance song as well as a hymn.
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
Music and Lyrics by Joseph Brackett (1848)
"For Each New Morning"
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
Prayer for Help with the Burdens of Life
Grant me, I pray, your divine helping grace; endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering and to you, my only hope and refuge, I flee for relief and comfort; trusting your infinite love and compassion, that in due time, when you know it is for the best, you will deliver me from my troubles, and turn my distress into comfort, and I will rejoice in your mercy, and exalt and praise your Holy Name, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
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.
Psalm 145:1, 4-7 (NKJV)
I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.
Matthew 6:9 (NKJV)
Sermon on the Mount - Lord’s Prayer 
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Notes on the Scripture
Jesus tells us to begin our prayer — as we begin any communication — by addressing the intended listener. But He refers to God in a very odd way. The Jews addressed God by the name (or at least one of the names) given to Moses, Yahweh (YHVH), or else they addressed Him simply as Adonai, just as we might say “Lord” or “Lord God”.
So why does Jesus tell us to begin our prayer calling to our “Father”? There is only one God. He will hear us just as well if we start our prayer, “Oh God” or “Precious Lord.”
Christ is helping us to fix in our mind how we are to feel about God. And furthermore, praying “Our Father” helps us understand how we relate to each other, and even how we feel about ourselves.
If you pray to your Father, and I pray to my Father, what does that say about us? That we are brothers and sisters. And remarkably, we remember that Christ addressed His own prayers to the very same “Father”. (E.g. John 17:1) We are not only brothers and sisters to each other, but to Christ as well. He is one of us, and not only a real human being like us, but a member of our family.
Why, then, does Christ give God the Creator a gender? Why not “Our Parent in heaven”? For God is certainly not male or female.
It is to help us understand our relationship with Him. Generally, in two-parent families, people associate mothers and fathers with different roles. The father is stereotypically more distant, more apt to give discipline, and more authoritarian.* He is also more likely to be the warrior if the family is threatened.
We do not have to read far in the Old Testament to understand how Yahweh fits this role. He is not comforting; His love for the Hebrews shows itself in authoritarianAuthoritarian: Favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom. rules, harsh discipline, and assisting them in bloody warsSee Joshua, where the Hebrews would put entire villages to the sword.. The closest He comes to tender emotion is friendliness, such as with Abraham and Moses on occasion, and indulging them to argue with Him.
The notion of “fear of God” is not a popular one today; we seem to prefer to think of God as cuddly. But “fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom.” (E.g. Proverbs 1:7)
There is a bright side, even for those who would prefer God not be quite so fearsome. Addressing God as Father gives us self-respect, for it means we are the children of the Almighty.
Life can make us feel like worms sometimes; we may feel like we are nobody and nobody even knows who we are. But the child of a king is never a nobody, and the child of the great King is somebody extremely important. And this all-powerful King always knows who we are and loves us. Once we accept God as our Father, we have an invincible champion against feelings of worthlessness.
* If the subject interests you, there was an thought-provoking study from U. Southern Illinois a few years ago. ( North American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 10 (2008).)