Daily Devotions

Prayers of our unique calling

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 Prayers over a cup

Monday, October 4, 2021. Prayer 1244. Holding The Cup

We want to draw closer to God in our Spirit Life.  Jesus invites us to use the image of a cup to examine the biggest questions we have in life.  In Mark 10:38 he asks his disciples, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?”  Jesus is referring to the Cup of Life.  When we hold our life up to God for full examination, we are holding up to God everything, the good with the bad.  It may be a natural temptation for us to hide that part of our selves we wish not for others and for God to see.  Growth comes from holding up everything to God.

Dear God, I would like to grow in faith.  Let me not be so afraid to see what is in me that I miss you.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021. Prayer 1245. Removing The Top

What are the obstacles blocking you from receiving the power of God’s love?  To drink from your favorite water bottle, you first remove the top.  Are we ready to open what is inside our cup?  Opening ourselves makes us vulnerable to a spill, to a splash, to a pouring out, to an emptying.  Are we able to hold and open the cup that Jesus’ offers us?  An obstacle might be our commitment to a foregone conclusion.  We might be hard hearted, narrow minded, unable to get beyond our own wants and needs and sense of fairness.

Dear God, make me able to be vulnerable, open, exposed for what I am, that I might increase in faith. Amen.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021. Prayer 1246. The Cluttered Cup

If we are examining all of spirit journey, we are examining what we spend so much time collecting on the way.  On the outside we are holding onto a lot of stuff.  Our homes, our rooms, our workspaces, our life can become cluttered.  What do these things represent?  On the inside we are holding onto hurts, comments, actions, things done, and things left undone, resentments bitterness, unrealized goals and dreams.  The prayer task is to ask Jesus to help us hold up our cluttered cup just as it is and take note of the holiness of a full cup.

Dear God, may my self-criticism of my cluttered cup not prevent me from receiving its spiritual gifts. Amen.

Thursday, October 7, 2021. Prayer 1247. The Broken Cup

Don’t give up on the broken cup.  We experience loss, frustration, ended relationships, wounded bodies, broken minds, upset spirits.  Where our cup is breaking may be the beginning of the path towards restoration, mending, healing.  How can we look at everything that has gone wrong in our life and begin to see the wisdom and the future in what we have known and felt deeply?  When Jesus asks us, “Are you able to drink the cup I drink?” the lesson is that understanding and accepting our brokenness leads us to accepts others as well.

Dear God, there is a lot of brokenness in my cup.  Let that lead me to hold, mend and restore others. Amen.

Friday, October 8, 2021. Prayer 1248. The Cup of Thanksgiving

Precious in the sight of the Lord is what we hold in our cup.  Psalm 116:12 has us pray, “What shall I return to the Lord for all God’s bounty towards me?  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.  I will offer a thanksgiving sacrifice.”  Our culture reenforces winners, being successful, making it to the top.  Are we only thankful when blessed with more of these?  When we take an honest look at everything in our cup, can we offer a prayer of thanksgiving for all the sacrifices made on our behalf by God, by others, by love?

Dear God, in all that is in my cup, I am grateful to have a cup that you fashioned for me. Thank you. Amen.

Praying with Habakkuk

Monday, October 11, 2021. Prayer 1249. To Embrace The Struggle
The Prophet Habakkuk whose name means “to embrace; to wrestle” pleads his case before God. He begins in Habakkuk 1: 2 “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” And you will not save?” The prophet’s complaint is our plea to God. Why is the world awash in violence? Why do innocents suffer? Are we look schools of fish, dragged up in the nets of the nations, then emptied, and nations are destroyed without mercy? By faith, we begin towards the answer by engaging in the struggle.
Dear God, in the classroom, the boardroom, the hospital room, grant me to ask the right questions. Amen.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Prayer 1250. To Write The Vision
God replies to Habakkuk’s prayer. In Habakkuk 2:2 the Lord answers the prophet’s questions, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end and does not lie.” The struggle moves us from doubt to confidence. “The very stones will cry out from the walls—the peoples labor is only to feed the flames—But, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” God’s vision is bigger than human vision.
Dear God, you created the world to be in companionship with your vision. Let us dream big like you! Amen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021. Prayer 1251. To Pray In The Silence
Prayer is speaking and listening with God. Habakkuk 2:20 instructs “The Lord is in the holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before the Lord!” Humans fashion idols of their own making. We want to be the fastest swimmer, the longest jumper, the last team standing, the most popular singer, and the most talented artist. Habakkuk asks, “What use is an idol? Can you say to the wood ‘Wake Up!’ or to the silent stone ‘Rouse Yourself!’ can they teach? Does silver and gold breath?” Stilling the human struggle is to embrace God’s.
Dear God, help me be as silent as a traveling brook in my prayers today. Let me embrace your direction. Amen.

Thursday, October 14, 2021. Prayer 1252. Rage Against The Sea
What do we hear with the prophet in the stillness of our moment on earth? In Habakkuk 3:8 we cry out to God, “was your wrath against the rivers, O Lord or your rage against the sea?” The ocean is large. Humans are small. The trip across the sea of despair is long and difficult, fraught with peril, perishability at every turn, every wave, every hour, every moment. The travail of human history is our rage against a sea of rage towards human life, dignity, and value. The daily news cycle is awash in violence. Will the whirlwind scatter us?
Dear God, the vision of justice will engage our rage against the machines of violence, we wait for you. Amen.

Friday, October 15, 2021. Prayer 1253. Rejoice In The Lord
Habakkuk’s wrestling with God ends with an exclamation of trust and joy in the midst of our troubles. In Habakkuk 3:17 we see the fig tree does not blossom, no fruit on the vines, no olive oil is produced, the fields yield no food, the flock is cut off from the fold, there is no herd in the stalls “yet, I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God the Lord is my strength. My feet run like the deer.” When we see the lack in all areas around the globe today, it is faith that feeds our vision. It is by faith we tread on the heights.
Dear God, exactly now when everything seems to be falling apart, let our vision soar to where you are. Amen.

Daily Devotions

Praying with Martin Luther

Monday, October 18, 2021. Prayer 1254. Grace Alone

The Protestant Reformation begins with Martin Luther posting his 95 Thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517.  Saying our salvation could be reached through divine grace alone, Luther opened a theological door to a whole new way of being God’s church in the world.  504 years later we look to Luther’s theology to inform our prayers.  Luther said, “God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own free will, saving me not according to my own work or running, but God’s grace and mercy.”

Dear God, too often I believe I am the boss of my own spirit life.  Grant me your grace to direct my steps. Amen.   

Tuesday, October 19, 2021. Prayer 1255. Christ Alone

Central to Luther is that salvation comes through the life, death and resurrection of Christ alone.  In the resurrection we awaken to a new world of selfless love.  Luther writes, “The body of Christ was God’s temple, castle, palace and royal hall.  At Jerusalem were the temple and habitation of God, now this is in the dear humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ…calling Christ’s body the temple in which God dwells so that all our hearts and eyes may be directed to Christ…with whom we find pure grace, love, and friendliness.”

Dear God, I cannot provide all the mercy this world and my life requires. Revive me in your great mercy. Amen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021. Prayer 1256. The Word

If we want to find God, Luther taught that we do not start looking inward at our own ego, but we start by looking outward and upward to the Word of God that speaks to us and to the church.  Gathered around Scripture, Sermon, Sacrament, and Prayer we receive the Word.  Before the authorities Luther stated, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures, I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience captive to the Word of God…I will not retract anything.”  God’s Word was central to all truth.

Dear God, lead me to read the Bible from the center out, understanding Christ’s mercy in all things. Amen.   

Thursday, October 21, 2021. Prayer 1257. No Lazy Prayers

When asked, Luther would teach people how to pray.  Morning and night we repeat such words as the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostle’s Creed.  Luther said to a student, “Be careful not to break the habit of true prayer…and to become lax and lazy, cool and listless for the devil who besets us is not lax and lazy.”  Pray in the name of Christ and with the saints, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  Save us from the time of trial.  And deliver us from evil. Amen.

Friday, October 22, 2021. Prayer 1258. Theology of the Cross

In Luther’s day the church promoted the “theology of glory” in which a person uses religion to secure their own advantage.  For Luther’s “theology of the cross” a person would give themselves away for love.  Luther taught, “Because in Adam we mounted up towards equality with God, God descended to be like us, to bring us back to the knowledge of God.  That is the significance of the incarnation.  That is where the cross of Christ holds sway, setting at naught the divinity for which we strive, restoring the despised weakness of the flesh.”

Dear God, show me the way to seek you while not rejecting the bodily suffering in this world. Amen.

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