Daily Devotion for May 23, 2012
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.
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever,
Prayer for the Morning
Blessed are you, Lord God of my salvation, to you be praise and glory for ever. As once you ransomed your people from Egypt and led them to freedom in the promised land, so now you have delivered me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May I, the fruit of your new creation, rejoice in this new day you have made, and praise you for your mighty acts. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Prayer for Help with Our Troubles
O God, my help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the supplications of your people; look down upon me, a miserable sinner. Have mercy upon me; deliver me from all the troubles and tribulations of life. Deal not with me after my sins, I pray, but according to your measureless mercy, for I am the work of your hands, and you know my weakness.
Grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace. Endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering. I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion; that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy. I exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
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.
Psalm 86:1-2 (NKJV)
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!
1 Peter 4:7 (ESV)
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
Notes on the Scripture
There are questions that are simply unanswerable, not because there is no answer, but because our minds cannot grasp them. And one of these is: How am I conscious of myself? Scientists try but they never can really explain to us the most central, the most fundamental, experience of our lives. We perceive ourselves as "me".
Our life is the center of our universe, for it houses everything we know, everything we feel. If I cut my arm, it feels different than cutting any other arm in the universe. If I fear death, it is different from fearing the death of anyone else, no matter how much I love them.
The meaning of ourselves to ourselves is incapable of comprehension; for in a way, when we die, everything will cease to exist. But we know we will die. The odds are 1 out of 1. And everything we know, everything we feel, everything we are capable of doing, our very self will simply disappear. We know this, because we have watched other people die. We have seen dead corpses that used to be people. It is terrifying.
This is why Christ was physically resurrected: because that is the only way He could prove to us, in a way that we could fully understand, that there is life after death. He did not promise that our bodies would be resurrected; rather, he proved that the eternal life He had promised was real, in the only way that we could fully grasp it.
Peter tells us that "the end of all things is at hand", meaning, the end of our lives as we know them is coming, and we absolutely cannot predict when it will happen. Very few people, on the day of their death, wake up thinking "I will die today". Even a condemned prisoner on the day of his execution clings to the hope that something, someone, will somehow intervene.
Christians learn not to fear death so very much. We have been given knowledge and proof that death does not mean extinction, but rather, a change in form. Moreover, this change will be an improvement!
Peter, whose faith was strong beyond most people's imagining, wrote today's message in full confidence of Christ's grace and, thus, his eternal life. He did not shrink from the idea of his death, but instead, embraced it. He wants us spend our lives in preparation for this great change, because we never know when it will come. We do not have time to waste.
And so we must be "sober and self-controlled" now, not tomorrow, not next year. Our prayers are the key to our faith, and our faith is our key to eternal life.
The Sick Child, by Edvard Munch, 1896
In this touching painting by Norwegian master Edvard Munch, a dying child looks peacefully into the light of salvation, as her grieving mother prays for her.