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Daily Devotions

Daily Prayers for the OCC  2018   

 

Monday June 4, 2018. Prayer 576. Old Window, New View

Genesis 8:6 tells us that “at the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.”  This was an old window that Noah had made on the top of the ark so that he could see what was happening outside.  When the waters subsided and the ark came to rest on the mountain, Noah saw a new view from out of his old window.  It was a world that was green again, which he recognized, but it was still from warring madness, which he did not.

Dear God, when I peer out of an old window high above the old sanctuary, what will I see new? Amen.

 

Tuesday June 5, 2018. Prayer 577. Windows with Recessed Frames

The Bible tells us that the first Temple built by Solomon had windows. In 1 Kings 6:4 it reads, Solomon “made for the house windows with recessed frames.”  The walls were lined with cedar.  The inner sanctuary was overlaid with pure gold.  It was built around 950 years before Christ was born.  Our classic New England church was built in 1834.  There is a window opening in the attic in which the sill appears to be an original old growth wood cut much heavier than modern window construction.  The glass has been replaced, not the opening.

Dear God, where you have framed an opening in my heart for faith, may it ever let in your light. Amen.

 

Wednesday June 6, 2018. Prayer 578. The Windows of Heaven

A glimpse of heaven shows mercy unbound. A view through a heavenly window reveals the intent of God to use all our gifts in the service of outreach to those in need.  It is we who must gather all we have, not for ourselves, but for our common Godly centered work.  In Malachi 3:10 we hear God challenging our selfish ways, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, and thereby put me to the test, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

Dear God, encourage us to fill your house with so much heavenly love, it pours out of all the windows. Amen.

Thursday June 7, 2018. Prayer 579. Like Doves to The Windows

Prophet Isaiah 60:8 speaks of a vision of a restored human community on earth. Sounding a little like the image of Noah releasing a dove through an old window to find a new world waiting we hear “who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows?”  All the people of the world have been made beautiful by God.  They all hope for peace.  Sons and daughters come from afar.  They return to build a world in peace, to bring beauty back to center of living.  No more war anymore.  Nations come to the light.

Dear God, if the world looks upon the future as uncertain, certainly bring peace to the human heart! Amen.

 

Friday June 8, 2018. Prayer 580. Open Windows

The story of Daniel is that he got thrown into the lion’s den for praying to a God which the king had forbade from his land. Even though the rule was signed into law, we see in Daniel 6:10 that “he went to his house where he had windows open toward Jerusalem got down on his knees and prayed three times a day.”

Dear God, when life is like being thrown in a lion’s den, keep the windows open for my prayers! Amen.

 

Monday June 11, 2018. Prayer 581. Scattered

While it may be said with truth that the modern world was marked by nervous worry, the contemporary times are marked by scattered spirits. The rush of suburban life has us in more places than we can get to in a week, whether in reality or in virtual reality.  Our spirits are scattered here and there all over our days.  Which worry comes first?  Which task takes priority over the others?  Jesus teaches us in Mark 4:26, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, the seed sprouts and grows, not knowing how.”

Dear God, when I absolutely do not know how to run my life, scatter my scattered thoughts with peace. Amen.

 

Tuesday June 12, 2018. Prayer 582. The Greatest of All Shrubs

What is the greatest of all shrubs? Honeysuckle for the sweet scent?  Hydrangea for the awesome blues?  Azalea for the bright pink?  Roses for the most delicate days?  Forsythia for spring yellow?  Jesus says the greatest of all shrubs is the one that comes from the tiniest of seeds.  In Mark 4:32 he sings praises for the Mustard Bush, “it grows up and puts forth large branches so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”  We do well to remember that great love hosts even more love and begins with just a little love.

Dear God, just when I am about to give up before I begin, let me remember it just takes a little! Amen.

 

Wednesday June 13, 2018. Prayer 583. God’s Shade Tree

There is incredible beauty at the top of a mountain. If you climb above four-thousand feet you begin to reach beyond the tree line.  Perhaps open face rock emerges as the dominate landscape.  Here, sun, rain, wind do amazing things like a painter with a masterful command of the palate.  In Ezekiel 17:22 we overhear the Lord talking about taking a tender sprig for the lofty top of the cedar, breaking it off and saying, “I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.”  A tree can thrive in the hardest places.  Peace is hard-earned.

Dear God, miracles are tenacious. We need tenacious miracles that won’t let us be scorched up.  Amen.

 

Thursday June 14, 2018. Prayer 584. Every Kind Dwells

Under God’s mountain top shade tree, every kind of bird dwells. Ezekiel 17:23 shows the Lord’s precariously located but noble shade tree and “under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will rest.”  Do you see the twist?  Even a gnarled cedar gives a safe space for life for every visitor and every inhabitant.  No kinds are excluded from the need of rest.  It is exactly where peace is the most difficult to find that it comes with the recognition that all must be welcomed to rest secure for peace to break out.

Dear God, when the world seems at the brink of despair, make peace break out in perilous places. Amen.

 

Friday June 15, 2018. Prayer 585. The Tale of Two Trees

It was the best of trees, it was the worst of trees, it was the tree of wisdom, it was the tree of foolishness, it was the tree of belief, it was the tree of incredulity, it was the tree of Light, it was the tree of Darkness, it was the sprig of hope, it was the branch of despair, we had everything before us…direct to heaven…direct the other way. Charles Dickens may or may not have been familiar with God’s shade tree at the top of the mountain but Ezekiel 17:24 indicates that God “makes the low tree high and the high tree low.” That’s us.

Dear God, we have seen the best and worst of our times. Let peace be served in high and low places.  Amen.

 

Monday June 18, 2018. Prayer 586. Peace Unknown

The Apostle Paul was emphatic that we are all in the same boat. If one sinks, we all are sinking.  The world longs for peace.  This is a prayer that has never grown old.  In Romans 3:17 Paul quotes an old prophecy that says of the people that have lost their ways of seeking God, “The way of peace they have not known.”  People of all cultures, classes, and kinds have known too much the paths that lead to war.  They are swift to shed blood, the chosen ways lead to misery for all.  Paul says, the whole world is accountable.

Dear God, when I contemplate the world and where peace is unknown, I cherish the prayer that does. Amen.

 

Tuesday June 19, 2018. Prayer 587. Peace Guide

When you visit an important place it is good to have a knowledgeable guide. The world needs guides to show the people where the paths to peace are to be found.  When John the Baptist was born, his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke an abundant prophecy of the world his own son would envision.  In Luke 1:79 he says that because of the tender mercy of our God the sunrise shall visit us and give light to those who sit in the dark, “to guide our feet into the way of peace.” The work of peace is intergenerational.

Dear God, right when I think that peace is most elusive let me remember your guides to get me there. Amen.

 

Wednesday June 20, 2018. Prayer 588. Peaceful Sleep

Much keeps us up at night. We worry about loved ones.  We worry about work.  We worry about making ends meet.  We worry about getting the family all together.  We worry about the economy.  We worry about world figures meeting to make peace a reality in our time without tricks to make the world less stable.  Psalm 4:8 asks God to answer our prayers when we call, to send relief when we are in distress, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  If you’re up late pray for peace.

Dear God, you know what is on my mind. You know what vexes me.  Let the world rest in peace tonight. Amen.

 

Thursday June 21, 2018. Prayer 589. Who Speak Peace

Blessed are the ones who speak peace. But what if the statements don’t ring true.  We put faces on.  We have self-interests.  We are guarded toward a world that could care less what happens.  Even we hide in the shelter of our own masks like shields going into battle.  Woe are the ones “who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts” asserts Psalm 28:3.  Their reward is what comes.  What they bring about will tear them up and others too.  Blessed is the Lord whose strength is in mercy and carries the people with true love.

Dear God, bless me with wisdom to know the difference between peace and only a piece of the truth. Amen.

 

Friday  June 22, 2018. Prayer 590. Abundant Peace

Everyone says the world is getting worse. The common think is that things will never be what we had.  This is a tough assertion to make when the sheer statistics of the current world’s population exceeds 7.6 billion and in fact less people are at war at one time than ever before.  The Bible puts the world in God’s vision, not our own.  Psalm 37:11 is convinced that we ought not to fret and fear because the Lord laughs at the wicked and their ways will vanish, as “the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”

Dear God, while my experience shows me the world in conflict, let my heart be filled with your peace. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 25, 2018. Prayer 591. Hold Your Peace

It’s good to guard our tongue from speaking hastily. However that does not always establish the peace.  Psalm 39:2 says before the presence of the wicked, “I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse.”  Sometimes holding one’s peace means asking for it to be accomplished.  Never be silent in the face of discrimination, dehumanizing, despair-making human systems and behavior.  Holding onto your peace means that the lack of peace will eventually take yours as well.  Peace is a delicate balance.

Dear God, help me to know when to speak out or when to hold my tongue to achieve enduring peace. Amen.

 

June 26, 2018. Prayer 592. Hold Not Your Peace

When we pray to the Lord we want answers. The peace of the world may be at stake.  Psalm 39:12 prays, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears!  For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all before me.”  Peace is an intergenerational effort.  It is only achievable with the lessons of the past, the dreams of the future, and the work of the present.  When we cry out for peace, we pray God does not hold silent.  Our human words may be still so that divine ones are heard.  Tears are sacred prayers.

Dear God, when I cry, hold me and speak kind words to me. Let not grief and loss take my peace away. Amen.