Daily Devotion for February 9, 2011
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.
A pretty song by "Tink" (Annette Grafe) with an Appalachian folksong feel.
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Freedom from Fear
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
Prayer for Unknown Needs
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal the sheep who are wounded; touch the sheep who are in pain; clean the sheep who are soiled; warm the lambs who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
"How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?"
Unless You See Signs
So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill.
When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe." The official said to him, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus said to him, "Go; your son will live."
The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." And he himself believed, and all his household.
This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
Notes on the Scripture
This story of the second "sign" of Jesus' divinity involves the question of faith and proof. Christ says to the man that, unless he sees signs, he will not believe. Yet we today are expected to believe, without signs or miracles.
Nobody can answer this difficulty to satisfy everyone. Some people find "miracles" that others (usually a large majority) find silly or unconvincing. Many people seek desperately for a sign from God, or a true miracle -- a fabulous and unexpected occurrence, usually something that does a great good to somebody, with no logical explanation -- without ever finding one.
You might say that the miracle is life itself; every day is a miracle and contains a million small miracles. This is how I feel, personally.
But if you sometimes feel shaky in your faith, because your eyes and ears do not witness a direct sign from God, don't despair. Almost every Christian feels them, to some degree, at some time. Even Mother Theresa, in her diaries, recounts crises of faith. And yet we come back to our faith. It seems like there is something in us, perhaps our soul, that brings us towards God as surely as a tulip's leaves grow towards the unseen sun from the dark underground.