Daily Devotion for November 13, 2009
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
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.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Blessing on the Day
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Gospel of Matthew, 18:20-21
When two or three are gathered together
If two of you shall agree on earth concerning anything that they shall ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.
Comment on the Scripture
This passage states that if two or more people gather in Christ's name and agree on something, God will grant the request. Clearly there is more involved. Both reason and experience show that two or three Christians, gathered for prayer, cannot ask for something outrageous and expect that God will grant it, like turning the sky orange, making themselves millionaires, or having a political candidate elected. More realistically, Christians gather to pray for miracles that Christ performed on earth, especially physical healing of the sick, and the request is sometimes not granted. Many churches have recently modified the beautiful "Prayer of St. Chrysostom" to eliminate the line, "thou wilt grant their requests".
I don't pretend to know an authoritative solution. In my own devotions, I interpret that the line "if two of you agree on earth" refers to the apostles themselves; the Acts of the Apostles does contain reports of healing by Christ's apostles. It does not appear that Christ gave us the power to make general requests of God, with certainty that he will grant the request. God has not made himself some sort of "cosmic bellhop".
The second promise, however, does not say "two of you", but indicates that when any two or three people gather together in Christ's name, he will be with them. Most Christians, including me, interpret this to mean that when they gather for communal prayer, Christ is present with them.
My hope is that God will fulfill this promise by allowing us to gather on the internet, even when we are far apart physically and cannot come together in the same physical space. When I say my prayers, I always have in mind others who may be praying with me. God transcends time and space; with him, all things are possible . If it is his will, he will bring us together and Christ will be present with us during our Morning Devotion.
We may be far apart; we may say our prayers at different times. But I pray, and I believe, that if we ask God to bring us together in our prayers, Christ will be with us.