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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Devotion for August 30, 2013

Sint Joris church, Amersfoort, Netherlands
The unadorned beauty of Sint Joris church in Amersfoort, Netherlands, shows its Dutch Reformed heritage.



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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 the Morning

I  call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.

I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.

I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.

I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.


Prayer for Holiness

Holy God, no one can put together what has crumbled into dust, but you can restore a conscience turned to ashes. You can restore to its former beauty a soul lost and without hope. With you, there is nothing that cannot be redeemed. You are love; You are Creator and Redeemer. I praise you with my every ounce.

I fear the lesson, my God, of the fall of Lucifer, full of pride. I pray you will keep me from such a terrible fate; keep me safe with the power of your Grace; save me from falling away from you. Save me from doubt. Incline my heart to hear your mysterious voice every moment of my life and thus be led to call upon you, for you are present in every thing and every moment.



Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Pulpit of Sint Joris Church, Amersfoort
Pulpit of Sint Joris Church, Amersfoort, pictured at top of the page.

Proverbs 28:19 (ESV)

Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.

Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 6:11 (KJV)

Sermon on the Mount - Lord’s Prayer [5]

Give us this day our daily bread.

Notes on the Scripture

The basic meaning of this simple and charming line of prayer is sufficient, without much need for exposition. Like the phrase before it, it is a petition in form but not in meaning. Really, what are the chances we are going to starve today? It may sound like a petition that the person praying be fed for a day, but this is the least of its meanings.

It is, first off, a prayer of acknowledgment and thanks. We acknowledge that our creation and continued existence are God's doing. We thank Him for a day of life. If we have read Exodus, we automatically remember the Hebrews receiving manna in the wilderness of Sinai; for God gave them one day's supply every morning, and if they tried to store it up, it went bad. (Exodus 16)

Christ nevertheless has us pray it in the form of a petition, in order that we might learn how to pray. First, the scope of our petition: We do not pray to become rich; but we do not hesitate to pray for the necessities or basic comforts of life.

Second, the petition is plural: “give us bread today”. It is, in part, an intercessory prayer. We do not pray, “feed me”, and good luck to the rest of you guys. Nor does “us” include only the speakers when a group is praying. It is, in effect, a prayer for mankind.

Third, we pray for food only for one day. We will see much more on this at the end of Chapter 6, where Christ delivers a long, beautiful, and important message about living in the present.

In fact — and most people are quite taken aback to learn this — the end of Chapter 6 is the primary reason we use the expression “daily bread”. The word used by Matthew (and Luke) and translated as “daily” was a Greek word epiousios, the meaning of which is total mystery. The Lord's Prayer is the only known occurrence of the word. Nobody actually knows what Jesus said!

Scholars have searched high and low, and cannot find the word used anywhere else in ancient Greek. The correct translation is, therefore, “Give us this day our _________ bread” — which means almost exactly the same thing, if you think about it. But it is not as pleasing to the ear, so the King James coalition added “daily”, which conforms to the lesson at the end of the chapter.

Finally, one can certainly add a lot of meaning by meditating on the many symbolic uses of bread in the Bible. Christ said, “I am the bread of life”. (John 6:35) At the last supper, Christ broke the bread and said, “This is my body”. (Luke 22:19) We can thus pray this phrase for salvation, for Spirit, for our share of Christ's sacrifice, and more.

In fact, your humble commentator feels moved to add another prayer (really a verse from an old hymn). The poet (Mary Lathbury) nicely frames the ideas of the Word as something that exists “beyond the page” and the bread of life as something beyond food:

For our Daily Bread

Break thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As thou didst break the loaves beside the sea,
Beyond the sacred page I seek thee, O Lord,
My spirit pants for thee, O Living Word.

Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me,
Thy Holy Word the truth that saveth me;
Give me to eat and live with Thee above;
Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love.


endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV): No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon

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