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Daily Devotion for April 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.
Prayer for the Morning
I bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.
Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of laziness, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love to your servant. Yes, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed are you unto ages of ages.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those 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.
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.
for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Your Sorrow Will Turn into Joy
"A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me."
So some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, 'because I am going to the Father'?" So they were saying, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We do not know what he is talking about."
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'? Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Notes on the Scripture
Both Christ and, later, St. Paul, tell us that whatever we ask of God, in the name of Christ, will be given to us. This is confusing. I know I have asked God, in the name of Christ, for a lot of things. But I still haven't won the Powerball. Where's my 320 million dollars? And plus, Barbara _____, the most gorgeous girl in high school, never even went out on a date with me.
A lot of people think that prayer is a telephone to room service, and God is some sort of cosmic bellhop. Experience, however, proves otherwise. So we know two things.
First, that God will give us whatever we ask in Christ's name; and second, that God will not give us beautiful girlfriends or rich boyfriends, a new Mercedes, or this month's mortgage payment, even though we pray for it in Christ's name. Or, more sensibly, He will not stop great wars or natural disasters, despite the prayers of millions.
The apparent contradiction — and I think all of us realize this — is that we cannot use Christ's name to free us from the world, because Christ himself taught us that we would have tribulation in the world. Christ himself suffered extraordinary pain. Neither will God intervene with the free will of mankind, no matter how evil they may be. Christ himself did not use his power to change the minds of the Pharisees who arrested him.
Praying in the name of Christ, then, excludes praying for things that Christ did not promise. Even when we pray for the good, for things that represent values that Christ taught us, we cannot pray in his name for things that he did not promise. If Christ would not change the minds of evil men, how can we expect that he will do it because we pray for it? It would mean that we are praying for our will to be done, not his.
We do not pray "Thy kingdom come, my will be done".
What, then, did Christ promise us? It's a long list, but two very obvious items are forgiveness and the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. Also, Christ never told us not to pray for whatever we believe we need; in fact, we are told to make our needs known to God. Pray for the victims of terrible disasters, pray to be cured of disease, pray that you have money for food; but do not blame God if these are not given to you, for he did not give this sort of thing to Christ.
As to why God, whose power and love are infinite, allows us to suffer — I cannot tell you and I don't think anyone can. God's will is beyond our understanding and beyond our ability to understand. Christ was sent so that we might understand as much as we are able.