Daily Devotion for August 21, 2010
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.
The Ball Brothers, an a capella Christian trio, performing the traditional hymn.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us 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.
Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
The Lord's Prayer (part 6)
"For thine is . . . the power"
Notes on the Scripture
The "power" belongs to God. This is the easiest concept of the three to grasp when we pray it, but often the most difficult to remember after we say our amens. So many things and people have power over our daily lives. Our boss or a parent or a policeman or an armed criminal tells us to do something we don't want to do. They have power over us. They can deprive us of money, liberty, or life; they can put us in pain or kill us. They can humiliate us. A big dog or the driver of an automobile can kill us in a matter of seconds.
And we have power over things and people. We can work, we can create. We can have ideas. Some of us command others, and all of us influence others constantly. The simple action of buying a pack of gum directly influences a sales clerk to take actions and has a wide variety of milder influence: over the store owner, over the gum manufacturer and its suppliers, over some person sitting in an advertising agency somewhere, and so on. And if we throw the gum wrapper on the sidewalk, it has a very small influence on a number of people.
But where does this power come from? A scientist will usually act like he knows the answer. He will eventually trace back the source to the sun. If you ask him where the sun gets its power, you will probably get a dissertation on hydrogen fusion. And if you keep asking him, he will trace the power source back to the creation of the universe (possibly the "Big Bang"), and he might even give you some hypotheses about when, how and why the Big Bang happened. But, eventually, if he is at all honest, he will say "nobody knows" (at least if he is an atheist or agnostic).
But we know. It comes from God. We don't understand it but our belief is a foundation of our faith. The Power comes from God. As John 1 so beautifully puts it:
Most Christians also believe that God continues to control the Power, although we cannot comprehend how he chooses when to do so. Certainly he sent Christ into the world.
Because of this, we say that we fear God, even though Christians do not really live in "fear" in the narrow definition. But if we fear the very minor power of a man with a gun, how should we feel about the God who created and controls everything? We should have a deep respect and fear, tempered by the knowledge that God has also given us means by which we can successfully ask him to exercise this Power to give us eternal life and joy, even if we have offended his laws.
If our faith were perfect, we would fear nothing, because we would believe God's promises 100%. So, every time we say the Lord's Prayer, we remind ourselves that the fears we feel during our lives will ultimately amount to nothing, that we do not need to live in fear. Ultimately, the power to hurt or help us comes entirely from God, and he has promised to save us.