Daily Devotion for August 30, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me - love the Father and love all humankind. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered.
The Hardest Obligation of a Christian
Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Notes on the Scripture
To my mind, this is the hardest thing Christ commands us to do during our lives. But there is no doubt about what He is saying, because it is repeated time and time again, by Christ Himself, throughout the Gospels. When somebody does something mean or cruel or harmful to us, we are expected to forgive them for it. When our "enemies" do us harm, we must not try to hurt them back. And when somebody we don't know or who doesn't like us or who has done terrible things to us in the past is in need, we must help them. We must love them.
All I can say is: Good luck! This is the hardest thing in the world. I probably spend more time praying about this duty than anything else. It just runs contrary to our deepest nature.
One situation we face often is life is when our pride is hurt by something somebody has done or said. Perhaps they merely contradicted something we said, or made a comment that seemed critical of us. In these situations, the amount of anger we feel is usually blown way out of proportion to the purported offense. I have certainly been furious about comments that the person didn't even mean to be unflattering -- I just misunderstood them!
In such situations, praying for the person really helps, especially over time if you repeat it again and again. Pray for whatever it is that would make you feel sick for the person to get. Pray that they get a raise at work or become famous, or that they lose weight — something that gets you right in the same part of your brain where the anger is coming from, your sinful pride. You will find that the harder you pray for them to do well, and the harder you pray that you can forgive them, the less and less angry you will become. Even in life, this is a two-edged sword. Harboring resentments, anger, and hatred hurts the person who is angry, often more than the person against whom the anger is directed.
Today is Daily Devotional's First Birthday!
I just noticed that this is day number 365. We started Daily Devotional, if I remember correctly, on July 9, 2009. Which means that today is our one year birthday (or anniversary or whatever). It seems like just a few weeks or months, but time has flown past. Anyway, thanks to all of you who share this page with me. I hope the page will continue to improve and may God bless us each and every one.
Just for the sake of remembering, the first day we got 16 hits; this has grown to about 300-400 hits per day. We have gotten to the first page of Google for a number of search terms, e.g. "daily prayer" and "morning devotional". We have expanded the Morning Devotional in a number of ways, most notably the addition of music each day, and the calendar (which was a bit hard to code)(at least given my meager talents), and we have added a second style, the "traditional" style some of you prefer. We just added a page and a group to Facebook, and started an RSS feed. If you are wondering, not counting the initial work (which took a number of weeks), I spend about ten hours a week -- an hour and a half a day -- working on this project.