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Daily Devotions

Daily Prayers for the OCC  2018   

 

 

 

 

PRAYERS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

 

Monday, September 3, 2018. Prayer 641. Pencils

A great educator recently posted a picture of a saying on a school chair: “Pencils have erasers because people aren’t perfect.” That’s a good lesson for both people who procrastinate and who plan and get everything done way ahead of time.  Things can be missed by waiting too long.  Things can be missed by planning it all out before more information comes along.  The key is to not get locked into thinking what you do must be perfect before or after you start.  Erase mistakes and move on.  We learn through failure not perfection.

Dear God, this culture, my parents, my peers, my school, my potential employer want perfection. Help! Amen.

 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018. Prayer 642. Oak Trees

Every school I attended had great oak trees along the way and on the grounds. Oak trees can get sick, but they endure.  Oak trees start as small as an acorn yet become a tall and expansive, noble presence.  The Celtic meaning of the Oak is that the tree represents a cosmic storehouse of wisdom embodied in its massive strength.  Many days I stared out the windows from my desk looking at the oaks, thinking, they were here before this school was.  They saw all the students; stood over all the lessons; imparted steadfastness.

Dear God, much in this world seems brief, uncertain, chaotic. Not the oak. Let it’s wisdom be my guide. Amen.

 

 PRAYERS FOR OPENINGS

 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018. Prayer 643. Open The Door

There was a grasshopper on the church door. It may have knocked but couldn’t be heard.  There is a parable about always being ready to receive the Lord when God arrives.  In Luke 12:36 the line goes, “Be like those who are waiting for the homeowner to return from the wedding feast, so that you may open the door at once at the knock.”  School doors are opening.  Church doors are opening.  A new season for learning, and growing, and serving together is just beginning to open.  The grasshopper had the right idea.  Are we listening?

Dear God, in this whole new season of living before me, open to me the gates that I may come in!

 

Thursday, September 6, 2018. Prayer 644. Opened The Eyes

A person was born blind and was so overlooked by his neighbors it was as if they were without sight. While others refused to help him, the Lord appears and shows the person where to look.  When given sight, he saw the others still in doubt.  The newly sighted person says “I keep trying to tell you but you won’t listen.”  In Luke 9:32 he says, “Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind.”  If it were not for God, I would still be blind and you would remain shortsighted and unwilling to listen.

Dear God, let me see my world with new eyes so that I do not overlook the suffering of others in need. Amen.

 

Friday, September 7, 2018. Prayer 645. Be Opened

Matthew 7:7 instructs us in the way of faith, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Because the grasshopper was knocking on the door, it was eventually opened.  Not that the grasshopper’s footsteps were heard from the inside, but the grasshopper was in the right place at the right time.  If you are looking for faith you will find it.  If you knock on a church door it will be opened.  If you seek counsel, you will be heard.  This takes patience, persistence, and putting yourself in the right place.

Dear God, many are the times I do not know where to look, may the places waiting for me be opened. Amen.

 

 

PRAYERS FOR THE WORLD

 

Monday, September 10, 2018. Prayer 646. Who Am I?

Jesus asks his disciples on the way, “Who do people say that I am?” in Mark 8:27. The world questions who God is.  Faith invites us to ask that question daily.  “Who is God?”  Who is God to the world?”  Who is God to me?”  Believe and ethics are two different parts of the spiritual person.  We can believe in a God who is just and merciful and remain unmoved.  We can accomplish great moral deeds in the world and not believe in a God in relationship with us.  If we believe in God, is our version big enough, or is it only our bias?

Dear God, spiritual questions are hard to ask, and the answers are hard to receive. I pray for the world. Amen.  

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Prayer 647. You Are Smeared

Life in this world gets tough. Peoples that are very different from each other may meet over competition for land and power.  It is a world of fear.  We smear each other with ancient and contemporary slurs.  On 911 we remember vividly what happened the day two towers fell, a military building was hit, and a plane was thwarted to crash in a field.  Two cultures at war, using new technologies in an ancient hate.  In Mark 8:29 Peter tells Jesus “You are The Messiah, Christ, The Anointed.”  To anoint is “smear upon with oil.”

Dear God, the world is seemingly born to trouble. Bless us to remember our holiness is from you not us. Amen.

 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018. Prayer 648. Factories of Faith

The root word of factory literally means “an oil press.” Olive oil was a precious commodity in Bible times and remains so today.  The olive is pressed and processed to be sold and widely distributed.  Theologian John Calvin wrote in The Institutes of the Christian Religion that “our nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”  Jesus asks his disciples to describe for him who he is.  In Mark 8:28 they struggle to answer “one of the prophets?”  We want God to be everything we need God to be.  That’s making idols, not faithfulness.

Dear God, let my work be your work in the world, my questions be your questions, your love, my love. Amen.

 

Thursday, September 13, 2018. Prayer 649. Certainties of Faith

The biggest challenge to the rational acceptance of faith is the presence of great suffering in the world. If God is all powerful, if God is love, than where does so much pain and sorrow fit in to daily life?  In our early years we may be shaped by certainties of our originating culture.  Peter had certainties.  He was certain that the temple leaders were the authorities and that the long awaited Messiah would restore Israel.  In Mark 8:31 Jesus says he must undergo “great suffering, be rejected, killed and rise again.”  Peter’s certainties crashed.

Dear God, so much of what happens leaves me feeling uncertain. Show me the way to live by faith. Amen.

 

Friday, September 14, 2018. Prayer 650. Get Behind Me

When Jesus’ disciple Peter rejects the notion that suffering is the way of the Anointed One of God, Jesus says in Mark 8:33 “Get behind me, Satan!” You’re looking at it from the perspective of a worldly power grab, not an enduring presence that will never abandon the sufferer. We want to get a painful experience behind us.  We want to get past those who oppose us and to find supporters behind us.  The way of God’s Anointed One is to enter into the greatest suffering of the world in order to be in solidarity with those who suffer the most.

Dear God, when faith eludes me and my confidence is lacking, grant me to see you in the hardest places. Amen.