Daily Devotion for September 13, 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.
This gorgeous chorale, Cantique de Jean Racine (Song of Jean Racine), won young Gabriel Fauré first-place when he graduated from a Paris conservatory. The text is a poem by the renown 17th century French dramatist, Jean Racine.
Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle
Music by Gabriel Fauré (1865)
Lyrics by Jean Racine (1680)
Prayer for the Morning
Blessed are you, Lord God of my salvation, to you be praise and glory forever. As once you ransomed your people from Egypt and led them to freedom in the promised land, so now you have delivered me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May I, the fruit of your new creation, rejoice in this new day you have made, and praise you for your mighty acts. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Prayer for Goodness
Lord, save me alike from foolish Pride or impious Discontent, At anything thy wisdom has denied, or anything that goodness lent. Teach me to feel another's woe, to right the fault I see: That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me. Mean tho' I am, not wholly so, since quicken'd by thy breath; O lead me whereso'er I go, thro' this day's life or death!
From Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope
Prayer to Inspire Others
Lord, I ask you to inspire me to encourage others by what I say and do today. God and Father of all people, never let me look down on others or make anyone feel inferior.
Lord, show me how to live today with genuine concern for others. In expressing my care, may I show people that they are valued, loved and appreciated for who they are.
Blessing for the Day
Oh God, hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that you will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and always,
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 106:1-5 (NKJV)
Praise the Lord!
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?
Who can declare all His praise?
Blessed are those who keep justice,
And those who do righteousness at all times!
Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people.
Oh, visit me with Your salvation,
That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance
Matthew 7:7-11 (ESV)
Sermon on the Mount - Ask, and It Will Be Given
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Notes on the Scripture
We have made our reading technical enough to talk about translations on occasion, and we must do so here. In English, the imperativeThe imperative is a verb tense (technically a “mood”, not a tense) used for commands or requests, such as go in “Go home!”; it can also be used when prohibiting or giving permission. form of “ask”, “seek”, and “knock”, sounds as if we knock once or twice. But the ancient Greek implies a continual action. What Christ means is “ask constantly” or “always be asking”. The reason this is important is that it avoids the error of thinking that if we ask for something tonight, it will be delivered by morning post, which is not what the passage means. Christ is not advertising some sort of cosmic room service.
Eventually, we will receive “it”; but “it” is ambiguous. Christ does not promise we will get a specific item that we ask for. He does promise that we will receive good things.
We should not fear to ask God for what we want, whether or not we think we will receive exactly what we ask for, because God loves for us to ask Him for things. But what is the “it” we will get? First off, what we will not get is a fake. Notice how each of the specific bad items somewhat resembles the good thing asked for. So in response to a petition, God is not going to punish us or play a trick on us.
Trickery is something the gods were notorious for doing in Greek mythology, when asked for something. Zeus offered AuroraAurora was the Greek goddess of dawn. one request, and she asked that her mortal lover (Tithonus) live forever. So Zeus made Tithonus immortal - but not eternally young. So Aurora's lover got older and older, until he was little more than a pile of dust.
So, if we think we would be better off if we had a brand new Mercedes CL that costs $200,000, we should ask God for it. God, who loves us (often more than we love ourselves) and is smarter than we are, will give us something good — but it may not be what we requested. If it is not, it is because God gives us something better.
What Christ does not say, but can fairly be implied, is that if we ask for a scorpion, He will give us an egg instead. This makes immediate sense to any parent whose 6-year-old asks for, say, a machine gun. If a parent knows that a requested gift will hurt the child, he will substitute something beneficial.
The primary point of this teaching, is that we should never stop asking, seeking, and knocking. God wants us to pester Him constantly. He has promised us that He will respond positively.