Daily Devotion for January 21, 2015
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.
With my head bowed low,
In the darkness as black as could be.
And my heart felt alone
and I cried, oh Lord,
Don't hide your face from me.
Hold my hand all the way,
every hour every day,
From here to the great unknown.
Take my hand, let me stand,
Where no one stands alone.
Like a king I may live in a palace so tall,
With great riches to call my own;
But I don't know a thing
In this whole wide world
That's worse than being alone.
Music and Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong,
Frank E Wright, III, and Michael Pritchard.
Prayer to Have Inner Peace in the Coming Day
Heavenly God, may I have peace within, this day;
May I trust God that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
May I not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May I use those gifts that I have received, and pass on the love that has been given to me.
May I be confident knowing I am a child of God.
Let this presence settle into my bones, and allow my soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. This I pray in Christ's name,
(~ St. Therese of Lisieux)
Prayer to Witness Boldly
O Holy One, I call to you and name you as eternal, ever-present, almighty, and boundless in love. Yet there are times, O God, when I fail to recognize you in the everyday routine of my life. There are times timidity clenches my heart and I hide my faith from the world and even from myself. Sometimes fear makes me so small that I miss a chance to express my belief. Doubts and insecurity suppress the wonderful wisdom I have learned, from your holy word, from listening to your teachers, and from the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, in the daily round from sunrise to sunset and to sunrise again, remind me again and again of your holy presence hovering near me and in me. Free me from shame and self-doubt in expressing my faith. Help me to see you in the fleeting moments of possibility and be filled with your courage and your word. In Christ's name I pray,
[God is ever-present.]
Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 66:16-20 (ESV)
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Notes on the Scripture
All About the Bible
For those readers who are new to Daily Prayer, we often take Wednesdays off from whatever we are studying, for “something completely different” (with apologies to Monty Python). It seemed like a good idea to take a look at, not the contents of the Bible, but the story of the book itself.
he Bible is the biggest-selling book of all time; there is no other that even comes close. That may not surprise you, but how about this? The Bible was the first major book ever printed (by Johannes Guttenberg in 1454) and it has been the biggest-selling book every year since. You heard me right. In 2014, in 1957, in 1888, in 1620: the Bible has been the best-selling book in the world every year(It is possible that Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book outstripped the Bible for one or more years in 1967-1972, but there are no accurate figures for it.) since the printing press was invented. Today, there are over 100 million Bibles printed every year, not including innumerable e-book downloads.
If somebody asked you how many books there are in the Bible, or the New Testament, would you be able to tell them? The New Testament has 27 books. The Old Testament, however, is different in different major denominational groups. The Protestant Bible has 39 books in the Old Testament, for a total of 66. The Catholic Bible has 73, and Orthodox Bibles even more — the number varies among the major divisions of Orthodoxy.
Why the difference? It really is not as major as it sounds. Protestants are encouraged to read the seven extra books in the Catholic Bible. Until recently, they were actually included in Protestant Bibles as “The Apocrypha”, but as people began to want lighter and shorter Bibles, they were excluded.
In this context, when we talk about the Bible, we are referring to the collection of books that Christians believe are the inspired and inerrant Word of God. There is a word for this: the “canon”. So, the Catholic canon is 73 books; the Protestant, 66.
The reasons for this are actually not doctrinal so much as historical. There was no Hebrew Bible in 100 A.D.! Judaism did not collect, consider, and compile a standard canonical Hebrew Bible — the Tanakh — until around 900-1000 A.D. A group of scholars in Israel called the Masoretes spent centuries sifting through Hebrew Scripture (and adding vowel marks) and the “Masoretic Text” was finalized in the 11th century.
Instead, early Christians had relied on a Greek book of Scripture, compiled by Hellenized Jews in Alexandria (the world's great center of learning at the time), called the Septuagint. The Septuagint was finalized around 300 B.C. (The name comes from the fact that there were seventy scholars who did the work; you might recognize the Greek root sept-, meaning seven, as in Sept-ember, the seventh month.) So, when the Christian Bible was was being standardized during the years 300-400 A.D., it adopted the only complete Old Testament available: the Septuagint.
Protestantism developed in the 1400s and by the time the Protestants decided on a canonical Bible, the Masoretic Text had been finished in Hebrew. They considered it more authoritative and so adopted it, rather than the Greek Septuagint, as their Old Testament.
The Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by over 40 different authors from all walks of life: shepherds, farmers, tent-makers, physicians, fishermen, priests, philosophers and kings. The oldest book, Genesis, is so old that nobody even knows what language it was originally written in, or when it was written. The first 11 chapters, which are clearly different from those following, are difficult to translate; they are themselves translations into Hebrew of some earlier language, and as many as 10% of the Hebrew words in these chapters are not accurately known today. (Hebrew was already a dead language when Christ was born.)