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Daily Devotion for July 20, 2014
For the Spirit of Prayer
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord. Let your Holy Spirit guide me in my prayer and in thought, and grant me the grace to listen and hear your Word. Soften my heart, that I may be directed by your truth, and not the devices of my body and mind. In the name of Christ I ask this,
This hymn composed, by William R. Featherston in 1846, is performed a capella by the Charity Homeschool Chorus.
Most Gracious Lord God, from whom proceeds every good and perfect gift, I offer to your divine majesty my unfeigned praise and thanksgiving for all your mercies towards me. You made me at first and have ever since sustained the work of your own hand; you gave your Son to die for me; and have given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerely endeavoring to conform my life to his holy precepts and example.
You are pleased to lengthen out to me the time of repentance and to move me to it by your spirit and by the word, by your mercies, and by your judgments; out of a deepness of your mercies, and by my own unworthiness, I do appear before you at this time; I have sinned and done very wickedly, be merciful to me, O God, and pardon me for Jesus Christ's sake; instruct me in the particulars of my duty, and suffer me not to be tempted above what you give me strength to bear.
Take care, I pray you, of my affairs and more and more direct me in your truth, defend me from my enemies, especially my spiritual ones. Do not allow me to be drawn away from you, by the blandishments of the world, carnal desires, the cunning of the devil, or deceitfulness of sin. Work in me your good will and pleasure, and discharge my mind from all things that are displeasing to you, of all ill will and discontent, wrath and bitterness, pride and vain conceit of myself, and make me charitable, pure, holy, patient and heavenly minded.
Be with me at the hour of death; dispose me for it, and deliver me from the slavish fear of it, and make me willing and fit to die whenever you may decide to call me. Bless our rulers in church and state. Bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of You and your son Jesus Christ.
Pity the sick, the poor, the weak, the needy, the widows and fatherless, and all that mourn or are broken in heart, and be merciful to them according to their particular needs. Bless my friends, and grant me grace to forgive my enemies as heartily as I desire forgiveness from You, my heavenly Father.
I beseech you to defend me this week from all evil, and do more for me than I can think or ask, for Jesus Christ's sake, in whose most holy name & words, I continue to pray, Our Father.
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.
Now all glory to you, mighty God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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 86:6-10 (NKJV)
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
For You will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
John 16:20-24 (NASB)
Joy to Come
Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.
When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me.
Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”
Notes on the Scripture
Christianity is the ultimate expression of 'delayed gratification'. Many martyrs have given their lives for their faith in Christ, and anyone who believes in Christ will take some action in this life that is contrary to his self-interest in the world, because of his belief in the joy that will come to his eternal soul.
In today's passage, Christ speaks words of enormous comfort to the apostles, who are disconsolate at the approach of Jesus' cruel death. The example he gives, of a woman in labor, is wonderful; it is something that everyone can understand and appreciate, for birth can indeed be terribly painful (and in that time, dangerous) to the mother; yet the result is one of the happiest moments in the woman's life.
For most of us, Christ's burden is light and the reward is great. People often decry that life is not fair, and it isn't; but in this instance, the unfairness runs in our favor. We are given the same eternal salvation as those who were crucified, those who were thrown to lions, and those who spend their entire adult lives as monks and nuns, living in poverty and discomfort.
In fact, sometimes Christ's “burden” is an earthly blessing, especially for those who feel God's Holy Spirit in their lives. Every person's life is full of cares and woes. When we really can grasp the significance of our salvation, they do not hurt so much. Christ did say, “Come to me, those of you who labor and carry heavy burdens, and I will refresh you.”
This is a message all Christians should take to heart. True faith, especially letting the Holy Spirit enter our lives, takes an enormous weight off our shoulders. Whenever we are feeling down, we should take time to meditate and pray for this enormous blessing we can receive during our lives.