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Daily Devotions

Daily Prayers for the OCC  2019   

 LENTEN DAILY DEVOTIONS

DAY 1. Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Prayer 773.

In An Acceptable Time

Time is irreplaceable. Where we choose to be defines our times.  In Isaiah 49:8 the Lord says through the words of the prophet, “In an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation, I have helped you.”  What is the Lord saying?  We must agree on a time to meet.  Is tonight an acceptable time?  We must meet on terms that are favorable and sustainable.  Is our meeting together okay for you?  Faith comes through hearing.  Listening begins with being present for the other.  Make time to be with God.

Dear God, I’m so busy. I don’t have time for you now. Wait a minute, is this an acceptable confession? Amen.

 

DAY 2. Thursday after Ash Wednesday, March 7, 2019. Prayer 774.

When Jesus Was Praying Alone

Our journey through Lent is about finding time to pray. Jesus shows us in the gospels that an active life in service to God and others involves the need to be apart in prayer.  In Luke 9:18 it says, “Once when Jesus was praying alone, only the disciples were near him.”  When praying we may fear abandonment.  We feel alone.  Ash Wednesday reminds us even our bodies leave us and return to the earth.  In prayer Jesus shows us the way.  We pray to God together because in prayer, we are never alone.  The Spirit chooses to stay with us.

Dear God, let me not be afraid to join you in the alone times of prayer. Let me draw close to you. Amen.

 

DAY 3. Friday after Ash Wednesday, March 8, 2019. Prayer 775.

Who Is Jesus To You?

In Lent we reflect on our faith. Who is Christ to us?  Luke 9:20 shows Jesus asking his students, “Who do you say I am?”  The crowds have called Jesus his second cousin, John the Baptist who also preached a message of returning to God.  They called him the coming of the prophet Elijah.  But Jesus was looking for a much more immediate response.  “You are the Blessed—the Anointed—the Messiah (in Hebrew)—the Christ (in Greek).” In order to understand our own faith, we must see how Jesus is beloved and anointed and sent by God.

Dear God, sometimes I confuse what I want to believe about you and the real you. Please bless me.

DAY 4. Saturday after Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2019. Prayer 776.

Sent To Redeem Suffering

A singularly difficult question for any believer to answer is this: Why do innocent people suffer? Jesus was sent by God to redeem suffering.  The goal of faith is not to remove the reality of what happens to us in life, but to respond to it faithfully, as Christ would, in a Godly manner, with great compassion and a gentle embrace.  In Luke 9:21 Jesus tells us, “The Son of Man {Human One} must undergo great suffering, be rejected, killed, and on the third day be raised.”  Lent invites us to connect our suffering to our Lord’s suffering with us.

Dear God, it is easier for me to try to avoid thinking about suffering. Help me to not be afraid to look. Amen.

 

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT. March 10, 2019. Prayer 777.

Led In And Through The Wilderness

Would we ever intentionally choose the more difficult path? Could we say that in many cases, when we find ourselves in a challenging time, that it was another person or agent that made us go there?  Luke 4:1 tells us that “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit in the wilderness” for forty days.  There Jesus was tempted by bodily hunger, personal power, and suicidal thoughts.  Lent invites us to see that whenever we suffer, we like Jesus are beloved, blessed, sent and tested by God.  We are led in and through hard times.

Dear God, am I blaming others and you for why life is so hard? Lead me into and throughout it all. Amen.

DAY 5. Monday of the First Week in Lent. March 11, 2019. Prayer 778.

Rapid Solutions Or Patient Questions

We want fixing. We grasp for rapid solutions.  But the Spirit Life demands time.  It is through patient questioning that we learn who we really are.  Jesus was led into the wilderness and ate nothing for forty days.  The non-God voice in his head tempts him to use his power to turn a stone into a loaf of bread.  Jesus turns to a voice in scripture instead.  In Luke 4:4 Jesus quotes Moses saying, “One does not live by bread alone.”  We all can be thoughtful to donate food to the food pantry.  But, are we willing to become hungry with the poor?

Dear God, guide me in what to give up in Lent. May it draw me closer to those who live with hunger. Amen.

 

DAY 6. Tuesday of the First Week in Lent. March 12, 2019. Prayer 779.

Boss For Today Or Servant For A Lifetime

It’s good to be the King we say. What are we really in charge of?  Do we truly want fame, recognition, praise from peers, cheers from strangers?  Do we wish others would just believe what we believe and do what we want them to do?  The non-God voice tries to tempt Jesus with something that is only an illusion of our own egos: glory, fame and authority over everyone else.  Jesus again shows us what to do: listen to a voice in scripture.  Moses said in Deuteronomy 6:13 “Worship the Lord and serve only God,” Not, your own wants.

Dear God, grant me the willpower to let you lead me. Turn my bossiness into loving service for others.  Amen.

 

DAY 7. Wednesday of the First Week in Lent. March 13, 2019. Prayer 780.

Overwhelmed By Loss Or Overcome By Love

Out in the desert wasteland for forty days, Jesus begins to hear the darkest urge welling up from the non-God voice: jump off the cliff. After wasting away in poverty and hunger, exposed to the ferocity of the elements, resisting the temptation to just take care of everything by himself Jesus begins to hear suicidal thoughts.  He is overwhelmed by the loss of peace, security and the presence of God.  One more time he listens to a voice from scripture, Deuteronomy 6:16 “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Loving God saved his life.

Dear God, we continually quarrel about your existence. Are you with us?  Let my loving you lead me.  Amen.

 

DAY 8. Thursday of the First Week in Lent. March 14, 2019. Prayer 781.

Until An Opportune Time

The story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness ends with a word of warning. Luke 4:13 reads, “When the devil had finished every test, he departed from Jesus until an opportune time.”  Our culture values opportunity.  The American Dream is steeped in the belief that people not born to wealth, station, or power have equal opportunity to advance themselves in life.  Scholars and working people may debate this truth.  Meanwhile, the non-God voice is waiting for us to take a chance on the belief that we rely on no one but me.

Dear God, I cling to my independence as if that is my ultimate goal in life. Protect me from myself.  Amen.

 

DAY 9. Friday of the First Week in Lent. March 15, 2019. Prayer 782

In A Dry And Weary Land

Our culture craves spiritual commodities. Can I buy a spiritual experience on a retreat to a beautiful place or through a cathartic program?  Will a visit to worship keep me connected to a faith I have not been practicing with my full attention or best effort?  Psalm 63:1 begins our prayer: “God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my body faints for you as in a dry and weary land.  I looked for you at church.  I worried about you all night long.  My soul clings to you.”  We cannot buy our way through Lent.  We can only make ourselves present.

Dear God, I live in a culture that consumes goods and services. I’m weary, dried up.  Hold onto me. Amen.

 

DAY 10. Saturday of the First Week in Lent. March 16, 2019. Prayer 783.

To Ask One Thing

We let our fears direct our prayers. The problem with this approach is that it limits the outcome by restricting the requests.  Think big.  A poet teaches us, “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”  There is healing without physical recovery.  There is success without monetary gain.  There is life in a time of dying.  Psalm 27:4 proclaims, “One thing I asked of the Lord: to live in God’s house all my days, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in God’s temple.”  Ask God to guide your questions: one thing with many outcomes.

Dear God, I live with a fair amount of spiritual anxiety. In days of trouble let me see the beauty of life. Amen.

 

SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT. March 17, 2019. Prayer 784.

Do Good To Those Who Hate

The news brings another horrible story of a mass shooting. Innocents were targeted specifically for their identity and presence in their house of worship.  Jesus teaches us in Luke 6:27-28 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”  Every natural inclination has us strike back, lash out, return harsh comments, vile language, letting hate linger in the air.  Jesus invites us not to give to the world as the world give to us.  Do good to all, even haters.

Dear God, we love because you loved us first. Show us the way to do good even to those who hate. Amen.

 

DAY 11. Monday of the Second Week in Lent. March 18, 2019. Prayer 785.

Be Remembered

Memories are an important part of the Spirit Life. Good memories inform and inspire us, center us and direct us.  Bad memories can try to define and limit us, scatter us, and make our soul sick.  Jesus teaches us that the suffering of loved ones for the sake of love are not bad memories, but life-giving ones.  “Before I suffer,” he says, “I eagerly want to eat our holy meal together, remembering how God delivers us”.  He says in Luke 22:19 “This is my body which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  Love breaks us and reconnects us.

Dear God, when I remember my loved ones that have suffered, let that inspire me to love others well. Amen.

 

DAY 12. Tuesday of the Second Week in Lent. March 19, 2019. Prayer 786.

Be Gathered

Where do we take shelter when the world goes mad? Psalm 57:1 prays out for us, “Be merciful to me, O God, in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”  God history reveals powers of creation.  Human history laments times of destruction.  Jesus confronts the local and international powers that refuse to care for the well-being of the people saying in Luke 13:35 “O Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings!”

Dear God, let me take refuge under your care. Let the world stop resisting the ways of love and life. Amen.

 

 

DAY 13. Wednesday of the Second Week in Lent. March 20, 2019. Prayer 787.

Be Compassionate

Jesus instructs us in Luke 6:36 “Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate—do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.” Compassion for our enemies is one of the highest goals of the Spirit Life.  It means that even their hatred and hurt and harm can’t touch you.  We are not in competition with our enemies.  We are rising above their ways of power and control of others.  To be compassionate like the Lord is to go to where there is suffering and sickness and to not reject that experience, but to attend to it with love.

Dear God, help me not to avoid pain and suffering when my presence can bring a big difference. Amen.

 

DAY 14. Thursday of the Second Week in Lent. March 21, 2019. Prayer 788.

Be Thirsty

We hunger and thirst for answers. Church may or may not be in our regular routine, but the big questions come to us all.  Am I going to be okay?  Will everything turn out alright?  Why did this happen?  Can’t someone do something about this?  This is our spiritual thirst.  Psalm 63:1 directs our prayer, “O God, my God, I earnestly seek you, my soul thirsts for you as if in a dry and weary land.”  This is the beginning point for finding answers to our big life questions.  It’s not about “hitting the lottery.”  It’s about letting our soul cling to God.

Dear Lord, may I never be so full of myself, so self-satisfied in all I have, that I lose sight of you. Amen.

 

DAY 15. Friday of the Second Week in Lent. March 22, 2019. Prayer 789.

Be Up

Spirit questions linger with us through the day and night. In Psalm 63 we see the seeker looking for God in the sanctuary of the church, in the power and glory of creation, in the gift of lasting love, in the words of blessing, in company at table with great food to share, and, in Psalm 63:6 “when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.”  In the shadows of the night what are our prayers?  To heal the sick, to protect loved ones, to soothe our worrying minds?  What keeps us up at night is where God is found.

Dear Lord, when I am up at night, turn my worries into prayer, anxiety into loving acts in the morning. Amen.

 

DAY 16. Saturday of the Second Week in Lent. March 23, 2019. Prayer 790.

Be Tested

Lent is moving along. Have we returned to our regular routines and responses already?  It is so hard to intentionally keep up with new found spirit disciplines.  This is no time to give in to the world.  The world wants more of you—more time, more energy, more life.  Are we up to the test?  The Apostle Paul famously says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength.”  Many of us would disagree.  But, the real test isn’t all the hard stuff.  The real test is that we think we are alone to face it.

Dear God, please show me your way through all the hardest stuff I deal with. Let me test out new faith. Amen.