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Daily Devotions 2021

Welcome to our daily devotions page.

 

 

Prayers of our unique calling

 

Monday, February 1, 2021. Prayer 1066. A Tale of Two Fish

When Jesus first appears on the scene he goes down to the fishing boats to gather some helpers.  In Mark 1:17 Jesus says “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of people.”  Soon they would have amazing stories to tell.  My favorite fish story is the day I caught a blue fish on the run while chasing after a school splashing down the shoreline.  Marinated and grilled, it was delicious.  In the Sea of Galilee you catch tilapia called “St. Peter’s Fish.” From a hot skillet and served with fries, it is delicious.  Let’s face it, good fish attracts a crowd.
Dear God, let me remember the importance of fishing in the right places that serves joy to others. Amen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021. Prayer 1067. Our Own Calling
Jesus sees James and John, the sons of Zebedee working in their boat.  Mark 1:20 records that “immediately he called them.”  We do not all work on the fishing fleet, but we all have our unique call.  We must trust God to guide us before we really fully understand our call.  How we serve those in our world, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers and clients, reveals our calling.  God sees us with our strengths and weaknesses and immediately calls out to us.  In our mistakes we discover a higher calling.  God’s call takes a lifetime.
Dear God, shape my call with your guidance and grace. May you define for me my direction in life.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021. Prayer 1068. Commanding Spirits
Mark tells the story of how Jesus entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and healed a person suffering from an unclean spirit or inner demon.  He addresses the unclean spirit directly saying, “Be silent.”  He then tells the unclean spirit to “come out.”  Jesus addresses the illness, names it, uses talk therapy to silence it, and has the evil be exposed for what it is in the sight of all to see.  In Mark 1:27 all who saw it were amazed saying, “What? A new teaching?  With authority? Why, he even commands the unclean spirits and they listen.”
Dear God, grant me the wisdom to know the truth of an unclean spirit and the courage to call it out. Amen.

Thursday, February 4, 2021. Prayer 1069. Casting out Chaos
There are many ways to be disruptive.  In fact, human history shows that it is all too easy to destroy something than it is to build it up.  Chaos threatens community.  In Mark 1:34 we are told that the disciples brought to Jesus many who were sick or oppressed by demons, “And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.”  Jesus casts chaos out of relationships.  Our relationship with God, each other and ourselves is always at risk for falling apart.  Pay attention to what you say yes to and no to.
Dear God, grant me to follow in your footsteps to turn out chaos and build up community. Amen.

Friday, February 5, 2021. Prayer 1070. Synagogue Stones
The root words of synagogue literally mean, “Bring a meeting together again.”  That is what a synagogue is in Jesus’ day, a place the people would gather again to meet and experience their sacred scrolls in reading and discussion.  According to Mark 1:21 Jesus went to “Capernaum and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching.” Today in this seaside village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee the stones of the synagogue are still standing for all to gather and see.  Imagine sitting on a bench, looking out at the blue sea, Jesus’ words still in the air.  Healing.
Dear God, may my prayer seat always be a place I may gather again with your words of healing love. Amen.

 

Prayers for new paths

 

Monday, February 8, 2021. Prayer 1071. Teach Me Your Paths
Where do we go from here? We are approaching the one year mark since society responded to new virus by shutting down life as we had known it. With vaccines rolling out and the great anticipation of returning to public life again we are faced with great questions. What kind of world will we be building? David lifts up his soul to the Lord asking in Psalm 25:4 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth. You are the God of salvation.” A saving path must incorporate the truth of everyone’s well-being.
Dear God, when choices come and responses must be made, make me to know your path from here. Amen.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021. Prayer 1072. Remember Mercy
What we hold onto can determine our destination. David was greatly talented and he was both a good actor and a bad actor in his own days. He pleads in Psalm 25:6, “Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, for the sake of your goodness!” It is not helpful to forget the sins of our past without learning the lessons of them to move forward. God was merciful to our ancestors of old. God remembers not just our sins. God remembers occasions of mercy.
Dear God, all our lives we encounter occasions for mercy. When we fail, remember to us your mercy. Amen.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Prayer 1073. All God’s Paths
Do we believe the path we are on will take us closer to God or further away? Which path do we want to be on? Would hiding from our sins allow us to function more efficiently, not being slowed down by how we feel about how we handled things? Have we already taken the wrong path at the crossroads? Or do all paths lead back to God? David affirms in Psalm 25:10, “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep the Lord’s covenant.” All roads will take us into the wilderness. Is God also on our path?
Dear God, teach me to find love and faith on the road I have chosen. Let this way be a part of your way. Amen.

Thursday, February 11, 2021. Prayer 1074. To Dwell in Wellness
Is it our fears that keep us from following through on a path that truly leads us to where we want to be? Are we concerned we will be found to be a fraud, that we are not who everyone says we are, that we are merely imposters of who we want to be? Who dwells behind the masks we wear? Even our latest digital face security systems can no longer see us plainly. David tells us in Psalm 25:13, the one who truly fears the Lord more than any other thing, “their soul shall abide in well-being.” If we know more than God, our soul is not well at all.
Dear God, at many points I believe I have learned all there is to know. In humility, show me your path. Amen.

Friday, February 12, 2021. Prayer 1075. Turned by Grace
A prayer being spoken from so many corners of the globe this year is “Our troubles are large, bring us out of our distress.” We are hoping that the vaccines will slow the transmission of COVID-19 to the point that we may open up society to public gatherings again. We have a long way to go. What ways will we turn from? What ways will we return to? Are they healthy? Are they full of grace? David prays in Psalm 25:16 “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” Turned by grace, our road will lead to grace.

Dear God, guard our souls and deliver us from distress. May all our turns from here be full of grace. Amen.;

 

Prayers in a new light

 

 

Monday, February 15, 2021. Prayer 1076. Transfigured
Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him to the top of a high mountain apart. In Mark 9:2 it reports, “And Jesus was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white.” Then in the light appeared Moses and the prophet Elijah talking with Jesus. Peter didn’t know what to say. Fully exposed to the bright light on the mountain peak, Peter caught a glimpse of the full glory of God. It spans generations of the faithful. Those who gave us the faith, had us return to it, and live by it, transfigure our appearance.
Dear God, may all my spirit companions continue to change my appearance with a holy glow. Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Prayer 1077. Afterglow
When we suddenly close our eyes after being out in the snow on a bright sunny day, the light stays with us. When we suddenly remember a wonderful relationship that nurtured our soul, the light stays with us. We can’t always be on the mountaintop with Jesus, but the experience stays with us. In Mark 9:5 Peter proclaims, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.” When facing moments of great transition: life, death, birth, surgery, travel, new positions or roles, it is so important to see the faces of those who have shown us the way.
Dear God, my life requires great changes in me. Let my loved ones keep a holy light on in my soul. Amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Prayer 1078. Stardust
We live on the third planet from the Sun. We are stardust. From the earth, we stand out, bright, against the backdrop of a vast universe of cold darkness. On Ash Wednesday, we recall the words of God to Adam and Eve while they contemplated life before them. Genesis 3:19 instructs, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The earth is perishable. Food is perishable. We are perishable. Our light takes on imperishability.
Dear God, on Ash Wednesday let me remember that it is by turning toward you that we then glow. Amen.

Thursday, February 18, 2021. Prayer 1079. A Garland
From the ashes we rise. God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah in 61:3, we are to comfort those who mourn, “to give them a beautiful garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.” A beloved child’s forehead is the best place for a crown made out of flowers of the field. Every daughter is queen. Every son, noble. From the ashes of destruction, devastation and despair, a new spirit emerges. A spirit to rebuild and build new. Ashes are used to color pottery in the kiln.
Dear God, color our world anew. Let the signs of loss remain, yet be used for a headdress of nobility. Amen.

Friday, February 19, 2021. Prayer 1080. Rising Suns
Every morning the sun rises. The new day may be bright or overcast. It still comes. Lent is about turning around. We turn from our daily stress, our everyday tasks, our perpetual worries, and we face God. Psalm 50:1 sings, “The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” When God’s people enter into the light of a new day, “the perfection of beauty, God, shines forth.” In Lent, remember that God shines a light on us that we may find the way through each day, in beauty.
Dear God, we pray to see our lives in a whole new light this Lenten season. What is rising new? Amen.

 

Prayers of resilience and surrender

Monday, February 22, 2021. Prayer 1081. With the Wild Beasts

Lent begins with being driven out.  Mark 1:12 tells us, “And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness…forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts.”  Imagine finding cover in the desert.  What do the wild things teach Jesus?  The gazelles survive with swift movement.  The rock rabbits hide until sundown.  The giant cats conserve energy with sleep.  The raptors look for the tiniest detail from the heights.  Wildness is not as wild to the wild things.  Jesus learns strength from strength with the beasts.

Dear God, help me to learn in the wildest of places that I too may share in your wisdom and strength. Amen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021. Prayer 1082. The Angels Waited

Forty days is a long time in a desert.  The wilderness is not so much a geographic location, but an empty place we all find ourselves in at some point in our lives.  Our hunger leaves us not at our best.  Our thirst makes us choose wrong paths.  Our uncertainty makes us believe our stark fate is all there is.  Then come the angels.  Mark 1:13 reports that “the angels waited on Jesus.”  That’s the same thing as saying, “A good word was just waiting on me to receive it.”  It is in the hardest moments of life we must listen for a good word.

Dear God, when I am tempted to give up so quickly, send your messengers of love to wait on me. Amen. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021. Prayer 1083. Naming the Source

We all suffer.  It can be difficult to name the source of our suffering.  Especially difficult is to name it before others.  Jesus takes his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi located at the beginning of the River Jordan and known as military outpost for Greek and Rome.  There was an ancient spring that flowed through the dry rocks—a source of life in the desert.  In Mark 8:29 Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter wants to say the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed of God.  And yet, following Jesus would bring so much suffering.

Dear God, lead me to do the right things to follow you even when everything inside me says don’t go. Amen.

Thursday, February 25, 2021. Prayer 1084. Accepting Rejection

No one wants to suffer.  No one wants to be rejected in their suffering either.  In Mark 8:31 Jesus teaches his disciples “that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”  Peter rejects this immediately.  He is beginning to deny Jesus in front of others.  The way of Jesus was to enter into poverty with the poor, suffering with those who suffer. The authorizing society rejects Jesus. A follower accepts Jesus and his suffering for others.

Dear God, it is too easy to look away at other’s suffering. Grant me the strength to enter it with them. Amen.

Friday, February 26, 2021. Prayer 1085. Losing and Gaining

Jesus teaches the crowd in Mark 8:34, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”  When we take up our cross that does not mean we are on our own.  It means that the particular burdens that are ours to lift is our portion of Jesus’ cross that we bear with him and for him. Losing our way means gaining God’s way for us. Faith moves toward Easter.

Dear God, let me see that in my worries and work for others is also where I am lifting you up too. Amen.