Daily Devotion for August 20, 2014
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.
The lyrics for Christ Tomlin's moving song are in the video. It is sort of a modern-day version of the hymn I Need Thee Every Hour.
Prayer for Morning
Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praises; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.
Prayer for Renewal
O Heavenly Father, 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 me so to die daily to sin, that I may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection. Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
To Be Powerless
Lord Christ, may all of my expectations be frustrated. May all of my plans be thwarted. May all of my desires be withered into nothingness, that I may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child, and sing and dance and pray utterly in the love of God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
[May I find God in my utter helplessness.]
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
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.
He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.
~ C S Lewis
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I have to take counsel in my own soul,
having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be honored over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God:
Lighten my eyes,
lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him;
Lest my adversaries rejoice at my tears.
I have trusted in your loving kindness;
My heart will rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing unto Jehovah,
Because he has regarded me with generosity.
Notes on the Scripture
This is one of the most clearly “musical” psalms. It very much in the style of David, with two clearly divided phrases in each line, which are related in some way: the second might restate or amplify the first (as in line one), or might have a causal relationship (as in the last line).
Psalm 13 is divided in three distinct parts. The first lines bewail God's absence in the singer's life, and the terrible consequences. This is something many people feel at some point in their lives, especially after a time of great earthly loss. The second division is a prayer of supplication, for God to stop hiding from the psalmist and give him relief. The final lines rejoice in God's gifts and reaffirm the poet's devotion and thanks. Thus the feeling expressed is a movement from desperation to hope and thanks, something that many of us have experienced in our prayer.
Who of us has not felt that God has hidden His face from him? We might even cast blame on God when things are going badly. It is a common temptation, when trouble lasts long, to think that it will last always.
But God allows us to suffer no more than He himself, for Christ was beaten bloody and tortured to death. What will we ever suffer that is worse? Thereafter, God's most faithful children suffered likewise, and all of the apostles except John were beaten, stoned, imprisoned, murdered. They also lived lives of poverty; they were the equivalent of modern minimum wage earners.
We let life and society raise our expectations, and then we blame God when they are not met. And yet, this is the very time to strengthen our faith. “Those who have long been without joy,” said Matthew Henry, “begin to be without hope.” Yet, we know that life will deal us terrible blows; our faith not that we will avoid sorrow, but that we will overcome it. Life is a trial. It is a test of our resolved to find God and eternal life.
Thus, says the Psalmist, I will trust in God and rejoice at my salvation — for it is faith that will sustain us through any ordeal we may face, if we only hold fast. Life itself is a gift from God, and nothing that is taken was not first given.