Daily Devotion for June 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.
Lift up your voice and sing.
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna to the King.
We salute you my Lord.
We salute the heavens.
We salute you my Lord.
Bayete! (Oh hail Him!)
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,
George Washington's Sunday Prayer
O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon. I have heard thy holy word, but with such deadness of spirit that I have been an unprofitable and forgetful hearer, so that, O Lord, tho' I have done thy work, yet it hath been so negligently that I may rather expect a curse than a blessing from thee.
But, O God, who art rich in mercy and plenteous in redemption, mark not, I beseech thee, what I have done amiss; remember that I am but dust, and remit my transgressions, negligences & ignorances, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of thy dear Son, that those sacrifices which I have offered may be accepted by thee, in and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me; for his sake, ease me of the burden of my sins, and give me grace that by the call of the Gospel I may rise from the slumber of sin into the newness of life.
Let me live according to those holy rules which thou hast this day prescribed in thy holy word; and by thy holy word, make me to know what is acceptable in thy sight, and therein to delight, open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith and repentance; increase my faith, and direct me to the true object Jesus Christ the way, the truth and the life, bless O Lord, all the people of this land, from the highest to the lowest, particularly those whom thou has appointed to rule over us in church & state. continue thy goodness to me this week to come.
These weak petitions I humbly implore thee to hear accept and answer for the sake of thy Dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
For the Forgotten
O merciful God, take pity on those souls who live this day alone, without friends or family, forgotten by all. Bring the comfort of your Spirit to them, I pray, and let them know the most blessed company of all. Grant them to find the consolation of friendship in this life, and bring them into the light of your word, so that when they pass from this life, they may find eternal joy.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Searching for Happiness
“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history — money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery — the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
~ C.S. Lewis
Psalm 103:1-5, 20-22 (NKJV)
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.
Notes on the Scripture
How Shall We Thank God Enough?
We all know the metaphor of a glass being “half empty”, because any glass that is half-empty is by definition also “half full”. But when we think about our lives from day to day, and in some cases even during our prayers, most of us slip into the half-empty trap. If we have ambition, there is something we have not gotten that we intend to get: money, or social status, or piety, or a spouse. It can be something as petty as wanting a slightly better car or a new refrigerator, or something as great as a kid in the slums wanting to become President of the United States (or Prime Minister, or whatever applies).
Most people, especially when they are younger, have some idealized notion of what they would like to become, which is something “better” somehow than what they are. And it is not just the young. Even very old people usually have a least some sort of ambition, often for a child or grandchild. It is our nature. Thus even if a person's glass is completely full, instead of simply being happy with a full glass, much of the time the we will find a bigger glass! Having a life of satisfaction thus becomes impossible. No matter what we have, we want more. We are a glass that cannot be filled.
Here's a joke: Do you know what you call a man with 900 million dollars? “A frustrated billionaire.”
Christianity has a lot to say about all of this. First, of course, the fact that finding true fulfillment in this world is impossible, for it is a world filled with sin and ruled by Satan, which God will eventually destroy. Second, the various sorts of sin that come as a result of trying: covetousness, greed, envy, etc. But let's dig a little deeper.
here are two other wrinkles to the notion of fulfillment in life that change when we become Christians. First, we must see that no matter how big or how empty we feel our glass to be, God’s grace is greater. There is a limit to how much we can want; there is no limit to God's ability to fill it, if it is Him we want. The universe, the sum total of what we call “reality”, is vast beyond human comprehension. If we want the entire earth and everything in it, there are another 100 billion planets in our galaxy; and if we had all that is in our galaxy, the are another 100 billion galaxies in the universe, give or take a billon or two.
And yet, God is greater than this. God is greater than the universe. And if we imagine a larger universe (and this is, admittedly, becoming utterly ridiculous) — God is yet greater. We cannot imagine infinity. We can say what it is, but we cannot really grasp it. For we are concrete and so are our minds. We cannot grasp the nature of infinity, and we cannot grasp the full power of God's grace. It exceeds not only the sin we can commit, but the sin we can imagine. God is, therefore, sufficient. And if we understand that we have the Grace of God, there is no possibility that our glass is not completely full; 100%, right up to the very brim.
The second wrinkle is our praise of God, as opposed to our petitions to him. This brings us back to Psalm 103. We might pray tonight that some illness we have will be healed; yet how can we possibly devote a corresponding amount of time to thank God for the diseases we do not have? We might pray for something concrete, like enough money to pay our rent this month. But how can we spend a correspondingly large amount of time to thank Him for what we do have? It is impossible. We owe Him thanks for every breath of air we take, every drink of water we drink, every second when we do not go flying off into space because of the gravity we take for granted.
God asks us to make our needs known to Him in prayer. He does not tell us why, really, except to say that He loves us. Perhaps one reason, though, is that by asking for something we want, we might realize a fraction of what we have, and give Him praise.