Daily Devotion for January 19, 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
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.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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 he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you.
He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
Behold, the Lamb of God
The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel."
Notes on the Scripture
As with the verses just before, the Gospel of John has prepared us to understand fully what John the Baptist is saying. When he says, "a man who ranks before me, because he was before me," we remember the words from the beginning of John 1. From the beginning of time, Christ ("the Word") was with God. John the Baptist was sent from God, and was actually born about six months before Jesus. But the Christ, who had existed since the beginning of time, existed before John the Baptist or any other man.
John also counts himself among the ranks of those who "knew him not". He did not automatically know that his cousin Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. Apparently, he learned this only by doing God's will — by abandoning wealth and comfort, and going into the wilderness to baptize people who came to him. As we will see tomorrow, there is a hidden reason for his conduct; Christ will come to be baptized, and it is during this baptism that his identity will be revealed.
When we pray "Thy will be done" in the Lord's Prayer, it is good to remember this example of a person who abandoned his life to do God's will. God has a purpose for us. It might not be as exalted as the purpose given to John the Baptist; but if we follow God's will with courage and cheerfulness, we will know His purpose in due time, and know the great reward that God has in store for us, just as John the Baptist did.