Daily Devotion for September 27, 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 at Daybreak (by Archimandrite Sophronios)
O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things, who with your unknowable goodness called me to this life; I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom, no strength except in you, O God. I entreat you, teach me to pray aright. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant.
By the power of your blessing enable me, throughout this day, to speak and act to your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom. Let me be always aware of your presence. By the power of your love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good. Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul; from every impulse unpleasing in your sight and hurtful to my fellow man, my brothers and sisters.
This in Christ’s name, I pray,
To Lay My Suffering at Jesus’ Feet
Lord Jesus, you call me to live every aspect of my life in your presence, and so I come before you as I am. With the myrrh that the wise men carried I bring, too, the pain and sorrow and suffering that I have experienced. I lay them before you because they are all part of who I am. I ask that good may come from whatever negative things happen to me, knowing that nothing can ever separate me from your love.
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us 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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse tells us to trust the Bible, not what we think?
Psalm 107:4-6 (NKJV)
They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
Matthew 6:13 (KJV)
The Lord’s Prayer [Part 5]
For thine is the kingdom . . . .
Notes on the Scripture
t is easy to gloss over the end of the Lord’s Prayer with little thought. We mostly pray “forthineisthekingdom andthepower andtheglory” in a half-second just to finish up the prayer, with a general understanding that God is great. Meditation on its meaning, however, will enrich and deepen your understanding every time you pray it. Each of the three attributes — kingdom, power, and glory — describes a particular, separate and important aspect of God.
“For thine is the kingdom.” God is the King. It is he who makes the highest laws, and we must follow them. When there is a conflict between a law given to us by God, and a law given to us by a nation or a church or any other earthly authority — including our own brains!— we must follow God’s law.
He is also the judge of how well we have followed the laws, and there is no appeal from his judgment. We must appeal or ask for mercy from God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, when we are condemned by trangressing God’s will.
We may follow the laws of earthly rulers, and in most cases—where a human law does not contradict a God-given commandment—we must do so. (Romans 13:1-7.) We must pay our taxes; Christ specifically told us to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,” because God does not care about money and earthly power. He cares about our conduct and our hearts and souls. Furthermore, at least in most Western countries, the criminal laws are not generally offensive to our beliefs, because they were largely derived from Judeo-Christian principals. Murder, theft, and false swearing are crimes, and most other laws are designed to implement the teaching “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Even laws about property resemble the laws of the ancient Hebrews. Exodus 22 is full of property laws that sound familiar to us. For example, Exodus 22:6 says, “If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution.” This is still the law in most states. If you start a fire, and it spreads to your neighbor’s land, you will have to pay for the damage he suffers.
Sometimes, however, following the rule that “thine is the kingdom” can cause grave difficulties. As one difficult example, during a war, many people have been faced with a dilemma about serving in the armed forces. I am not saying that it is right or wrong to fight as a soldier; this is very much a matter of individual conscience. It is not for me to judge others. (I personally served in the Vietnam War; however, I worked as a translator and never had to kill anyone. I am most thankful that I was not tested in that way — many people were not so lucky.) But a person who is convinced that serving as a soldier contravenes God’s law might well suffer a long prison term, virtual exile, or some painful civil penalty.
When you pray “thine is the kingdom,” then, it means something very specific and powerful; people have given their lives based on the principal.