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Daily Devotions

Daily Prayers for the OCC  2018   

 Image result for prayers for friends clipartPRAYERS FOR FRIENDS

Monday, October 8, 2018. Prayer 666. Repaying My Friend

The Psalms guide us in prayer. Our friends are mentioned in the psalms and we are given words to strengthen our friendships and to set them aright.  In Psalm 7:4 a contrite heart asks of the Lord, “If ever I have repaid my friend with evil, may my soul be pursued, my life trampled to the ground and my glory laid in the dust.”  That’s a strong word of remorse.  A true friend accepts a contrite and broken heart.  God gives us this prayer as a way to restore bridges that we need to keep crossing.  Truth goes a long way in building and rebuilding trust.

Dear God, if ever I wronged a friend on purpose or by mistake, show us the way to be at peace again. Amen.

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018. Prayer 667. Reproaching My Friend

No one likes receiving the look of disapproval or disappointment, particularly from a dear friend who knows us very well and with whom we share a strong relationship. Psalm 15:3 has us pray, “O Lord, who shall live in a Godly manner like you? The one who does not slander, does no evil, nor takes up a reproach against a friend.”  We can add a lot of unnecessary drama to the lives of our loved ones when we lead with our reproaches, disdains, and self-righteous comments.  The Psalm tells us to tell the truth and always do what is right.

Dear God, help me to express the truth to my friends in a way that keeps us both doing the right things. Amen.

 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018. Prayer 668. Rejoicing In My Friend

It is hard to deal with the knowledge that someone you had thought was your friend, actually does not delight in your welfare. This is the prayer presented in Psalm 35:13 “I prayed with my head bowed on my chest, I went about as though grieved for my friend…but at my stumbling they rejoiced.”  This turn of events can happen in school between classmates, between co-workers, and in public positions of responsibility to a wide number and variety of people.  The Psalm says God delights in our well-being and is always concerned for us.

Dear God, when it feels as though everyone is glad to see my distress, remember to me your concern. Amen.

 

Thursday,  October 11, 2018. Prayer 669. Visiting A Friend

End of life issues are hard to face. If a friend is nearing the end and their health is in decline it is hard for us to visit.  What will we say?  How will they look?  I can’t stand to see my friend in such a state of distress.  Psalm 88:18 expresses the feeling we have when our life situation keeps our friends away, “You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.”  Visiting a friend can mean so much.  The Psalm has us ask of God, “can you work wonders for me?”  A faithful friend is a wonderful gift.

Dear God, let me be that faithful friend who can visit any companion with love and light and laughter. Amen.

 

Friday, October 12, 2018. Prayer 670. A Friend For Adversity

Proverbs 17:17 goes, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” When times get tough there is nothing like having a true friend stand at your side.  They encourage us with words.  They care for us with acts of love.  They advocate for us if we need help.  Like a brother or sister, we a born to be each other’s friend in adversity.  We are born to carry each other through the good and the not so good times.  In many instances we may only have the opportunity to carry another’s burden in our prayers.  We pray for friends.

Dear God, my friend is in surgery today. Bless and heal my friend.  Let my friend know love is there.  Amen.

 

Image result for when Jesus prays clipartWhen Jesus Prays For A Friend

Monday, October 15, 2018. Prayer 671. Hearing Bad News

John 11:1-44 tells an amazing story of the power of divine love between friends. Jesus had dear friends in the village of Bethany named Mary, her sister Martha, and Lazarus.  The sisters send word, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.”  Jesus was not nearby.  He knew there was going to be time before he could visit.  In the time of hearing bad news Jesus replies in words close to prayers of assurance and great faith, “This illness does not lead to death,” rather God’s glory will be revealed in it.  It takes great faith to see life in the face of dying.

Dear God, when I hear of bad news for a loved one, may my words speak of faith and carry great love. Amen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Prayer 672. Overcoming Fears

One of the great fears that Jesus’ disciples have to return to Judea is that the authorities were out to capture their teacher and have him stoned. To visit his friend who was ill, Jesus had to overcome the fear of his own demise and that of his other friends.  That is a difficult choice.  Jesus chooses love over safety.  Jesus moves toward life, not away from it.  He says to them in John 11:9 “Are there not twelve hours in the day?”  We walk in daylight and accomplish what we can before the darkness comes.  Love goes where fear holds us back.

Dear God, help me to not follow my fears, but to listen where I need to go for a friend in need. Amen.

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Prayer 673. Handling Disappointments

When Jesus arrives to assist his friend Lazarus, he finds that Lazarus has passed. Martha says to Jesus in John 11:21 “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”  Martha has great confidence in Jesus’ prayers.  One of the experiences between loved ones is the tension that care ought to be given more quickly and more effectively or else all will be lost.  That’s a heavy burden to place on anyone.  Jesus shows us how to turn disappointments into faith.

Dear God, when I blame loved ones for not doing enough, turn disappointment into faithful actions. Amen.

 

Thursday, October 18, 2018. Prayer 674. Assurances Of Faith

For many, it can be difficult to find words when loved ones are in a time of experiencing end of life. Faith brings words to mind that are meant to comfort us and to guide our thoughts and actions.  When Martha tells Jesus that her brother is gone, Jesus says, “Your brother will rise.”  In John 11:25 comes the central affirmation of the Christian faith, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.  Whoever believes in me, though they die, yet shall they live.”  To live believing in this assurance brings words of life into a time of dying.  We are alive to God.

Dear God, it is hard for me to believe in life when my friend is dying. Speak to me the words of hope. Amen.

 

Friday, October 19, 2018. Prayer 675. The Prayers In Our Tears

The shortest verse in all scripture is found in John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” Jesus wept because he saw the deep pain that Martha and Mary were in for the profound loss of their brother.  Jesus wept when he saw the neighbors coming to grieve with them.  Jesus wept because he saw the place where they had laid his friend Lazarus.  Jesus wept because in his heart, he was deeply moved and his spirit was greatly troubled.  Jesus wept for the love that was present and the love that was needed.  The crowds said, “See how he loved him!”

Dear God, even for the strongest in our midst, sometimes only our tears tell you what we pray. Amen.

 

  

Image result for prayers for strength clipartPrayers for Strength

 Monday, October 22, 2018. Prayer 676. When Strength Fails

Sometimes we lose our strength because we are up against overwhelming odds. Our eyes grow tired of all the tears that have come from our grief.  Our tiredness settles deeply upon us body and soul.  Our sighing for our sorrow can stretch out for years.  Psalm 31:10 makes our plea, “My strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.”  It is hard to wait for a source of strength that is as yet unseen.  Faith invites us know that God hears our pleas for mercy and shows us goodness, stores up shelter, and grants steadfast love.

Dear God, may I be strong, and let my heart take courage in all my waiting for you. Amen.

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Prayer 677. Great Strength

Faith calls upon us to look to the deepest source of divine strength at work in the world, far beyond our own talents, skills, and abilities. This includes the great conflict between the nations and peoples of the world in the largest sense.  Psalm 33:16 says, “The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.”  The prayer reminds us of our limitations and human frailties.  It’s honest.  The one who delivers our soul from death in its largest sense, is the divine creator of all life, and that’s done through love.

Dear God, let my soul wait for you with great trust in your holy strength to create hope in all times. Amen.

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018. Prayer 678. Our Refuge and Strength

Psalm 46:1 begins, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” When people are afraid that the earth itself might give way to decay, and the nations rage and totter, we wonder is desolation the way of all?  The Psalmist is convinced that the God who has made the oceans roar and foam and even the mountains tremble at its swelling, also has the strength to “make wars to cease, to break the bow and shatter the spear.”  Telling us to simply “Be still and know” that God is.  In the biggest sense only God is our fortress.

Dear God, we are terribly afraid of the desolation and destruction we see all around us. Be our refuge. Amen.

 

Thursday, October 25, 2018. Prayer 679. O My Strength

Strength is a name for God. In prayer, we lift to God a plea to deliver us from our enemies.  These can be of body, mind, and spirit.  What evil plot is being schemed to terrorize the living?  What cancer is devouring my health?  What depression has tricked my mind to see only the dark side of things?  “Each evening they come back howling like dogs prowling at the gate.”  In Psalm 59:9 we pray, “O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. My God in steadfast love will meet me, you let me look in triumph!”

Dear God, when you are my strength, I sing praises in the face of my worst enemy, not curses or lies. Amen.

 

Friday, October 26, 2018. Prayer 680. From Strength to Strength

Faith finds a way. The Psalms encourage us to keep looking up for inspiration, assurance, and guidance to find our way through hard times.  Even a sparrow finds a home to make a nest and bring forth her young.  The people travel long miles across the desert plains to find a place of springs.  Psalm 84:7 say that the faithful, “Go from strength to strength, each one appears before God.”  Our very hearts are a highway to God when we make them a dwelling place for the Living God.  The idea: go to worship wherever you may find yourself!

Dear God, if ever my faith discipline fails, lend me your strength to find the next place to strengthen me. Amen.