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Daily Devotions

Daily Prayers for the OCC  2019   

 LENTEN DAILY DEVOTIONS

 

FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT. April 7, 2019. Prayer 805.

Leave Her Alone

Boundaries make good neighbors. That’s a poetic phrase from an old New England poem.  On a cellular level, we live, thrive and survive because we are able to give and receive what we need through our cell walls.  Without the boundary, we literally melt, or evaporate.  If the boundary was too permanent in nature, we would wither, and again, disappear.  Faith asks for such living boundaries.  Jesus says to Judas who would criticize a dear friend’s generosity in John 12:7 “Leave her alone.”  We must nurture right boundaries.

Dear God, we see how cruel people can be to one another. Protect the vulnerable with kindness. Amen.

 

DAY 29. Monday of the Fifth Week in Lent. April 8, 2019. Prayer 806.

Of Barriers and Bridges

The Holy Bible is the story of God making a way for us. Sometimes we find ourselves standing in the midst of troubled waters.  The waters are deep.  Sometimes we find ourselves crying out in need of rescue.  Will help come in time?  In the time of the prophets, the people were reminded that though the present way looks bleak, with only a thin chance of success, God will turn those obstacles into stepping stones.  In Isaiah 43:16 God “makes a path through the sea…a way in the wilderness.”  Faith dreams a new way into being.

Dear God, don’t let my uncertainties determine my path. Direct my steps to the most effective ways. Amen.

 

DAY 30. Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Lent. April 9, 2019. Prayer 807.

To Remember or Not to Remember

To remember or not to remember, that is the question. The Bible gives us that question in lively contradiction.  Isaiah 43:18 goes, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.  I am about to do a new thing.”  And then a little later God says to us in Isaiah 43:26 “Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right.”  God invites us to argue, to plead our case.  But here is the secret: you have to remember the truth.  Did you stray from the right path?  Be honest!

Dear God, I ask for mercy where I have intentionally chosen the wrong way. Show me your way again. Amen.

 

DAY 31. Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Lent. April 10, 2019. Prayer 808.

Noisy Spring

In 1962 Rachel Carson published the book Silent Spring documenting the impact of pesticides on nature and wildlife.  Without change, would spring grow silent?  We participate in God’s creation.  We too can do something new!  In Isaiah 44:3 God says, “I will pour water upon the thirsty land, my Spirit upon your offspring, my blessings upon your descendants, who shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams, saying, ‘I am the Lord’s.’” When we remember that the earth is holy, we can do new things!

Dear God, thank you for the people who speak up for the right thing. May Spring be noisy with life! Amen.

 

DAY 32. Thursday of the Fifth Week in Lent. April 11, 2019. Prayer 809.

Dreams Restored

Traveling through Lent, weary pilgrims of the faith acknowledge that even the strongest amongst us go through hard times. Even the most holy can experience a lack of faith and a loss of spirit.  This is what lent is all about.  In the midst of busy days, we remember that God keeps calling us forward.  God restores our fortunes and our dreams.  Psalm 126:1 begins, “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.”  God never tires to give the people new songs to sing, shouts of joy, lines of laughter.

Dear God, when I am tempted to give up on my dreams, restore the fortunes of my faith to keep going! Amen.

 

DAY 33. Friday of the Fifth Week in Lent. April 12, 2019. Prayer 810.

Patient Bearing

It’s hard to wait for healing. Living with chronic pain or illness is not for the faint of heart.  Constant suffering is much like the potter at the wheel, the artist at the canvass.  We are works in progress, not completion.  We are not content with today but long for tomorrow.  Psalm 126:5 has us cry out for restoration in our prayers, “May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.  Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing.”  Our tears water the seeds of new life, as the gardener plants seeds in the hopes for rain to come.

Dear God, grant me the patience to work with you in my healing. Let time bring the rains and the sun! Amen.

 

DAY 34. Saturday of the Fifth Week in Lent. April 13, 2019. Prayer 811.

Press on Toward the Goal

The Apostle Paul is convinced in the power of Christ’s resurrection. He says he wants to know Christ, and to become like Christ.  That is the definition of being a Christian: we strive to be “Christ-like.”  In Lent we are asked to consider the role that death and dying plays in our living.  In biological and psychological terms we fear death and avoid thinking about it.  This is natural.  Paul says in Philippians 3:14 “Press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  In God’s love, even dying is a part of fully living.

Dear God, sometimes I feel faith is hard to understand, help me not to resist learning, but to press on! Amen.

 

PALM SUNDAY. April 14, 2019. Prayer 812.

The Cry for Peace

When Jesus enters the city it is a moment that is mixed with anxiety and great expectation. The people want peace.  Having seen Jesus healing and teaching in the countryside, the city folks want Jesus to be their new leader.  They shout, “Hosanna! Save us! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  The authorities tell Jesus to silence his people.  In Luke 19:40 comes his reply, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”  The cry for peace will not be stopped.

Dear God, there are so many people crying out for justice, for peace, for life. Grant them your mercy. Amen.

 

DAY 35. Monday in Holy Week. April 15, 2019. Prayer 813.

Jesus Wept for the City

The story of Holy Week is the story of God’s visitation to the heart of the human community. A city is home to all kinds of people.  It can be called a beautiful city.  It can be called a hard city. Luke 19:41 reports, “And when Jesus drew near and saw the city, he wept over it.”  In his eyes were the scenes of people hungry for peace and living far from that desire.  In his heart he felt all the barriers between the people and the peace they sought.  Jesus knew there was going to be hate speech, violence, death and destruction.  He wept for us.

Dear God, we accompany you into the city of life and the city of despair. Lead us all into your peace. Amen.

 

DAY 36. Tuesday in Holy Week. April 16, 2019. Prayer 814.

Making Room for Prayer

In the gospels we are told that when Jesus entered the temple he overturned the tables of the money changers. In Luke 19:45 we are told, “And Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, ‘It is written, My House shall be a House of Prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers.’” The crowds were hanging on to every word. Everyone knew that the place had become corrupt.  There was money being made exploiting the need to pray to God.  Jesus made room for every prayer to be accepted.

Dear God, help me to make room in my heart, and in my world, to hear and receive other’s prayers. Amen.

 

DAY 37. Wednesday in Holy Week. April 17, 2019. Prayer 815.

Facing the Future

When Jesus came into the city which was longing for a new day and far from justice and peace, he reminded the crowds of Psalm 118 where it says, “The stone that the builder’s rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” If the city is built on peace and love, it will shine.  If it is built on rejection, it will fade away.  In Luke 21:9 he says, “Do not be terrified” of what is to come.  Even the stones of the temple will be thrown down.  Things will happen suddenly, but he said, “Watch yourselves. Pray for strength. Stand with faith.”

Dear God, give me the strength to take the time to walk with you again to your cross. Amen.

 

DAY 38. Thursday in Holy Week. April 18, 2019. Prayer 816.

Until It Is Fulfilled

On Thursday in Holy Week Jesus meets with his disciples in the upper room. In Luke 22:15 he says to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer.  For I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” After Jesus was crucified the disciples pondered what this meant.  Then, in the days after Jesus was risen they began to see him when they broke bread together and these words came back to them.  Whenever people sit down together and eat in peace, the Lord of love is in their midst.

Dear God, let me make room for others to come together in peace and speak of a loving future. Amen.

 

DAY 39 Friday in Holy Week. April 19, 2019. Prayer 817.

You Will Be With Me In Paradise

We all hope we have lived right. Life is so short.  The moment comes when it is our time.  Jesus was crucified but had done no wrong.  The criminal beside him, receiving the same fate, but for crimes committed, says in Luke 23:42, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.  And Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Paradise is an ancient word that means “walled in city, walled in garden.”  Jesus’ response to even the worst of our sins is to offer forgiveness that protects us from evil.

Dear God, protect me from all evil. When I come to my Good Friday, remember me to paradise. Amen.

 

DAY 40 Saturday in Holy Week. April 20, 2019. Prayer 818.

To You I Commit My Spirit

The Christian life is a call to commitment. It is a deep commitment that comes from the depths of our being and is given directly to God, expressed in how will live towards others.  On the cross, the hour has come in which Jesus’ body can no longer survive in this world with its wounds.  Luke 23:46 recalls, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’”  Jesus gave his whole life to listening to his Father in Heaven through prayer.  He was committed to God even unto his final breath.

Dear God, let my life come alive with commitment to you in all the ways I may love others to the end. Amen.

 

 

EASTER SUNDAY. April 21, 2019. Prayer 819.

He Is Not Here

Easter Sunday begins with an empty space. Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the other women with them, go to the tomb.  They are looking for Jesus.  Instead, they find that the stone has been rolled away.  Perplexed, they see angels in dazzling apparel who say, “He is not here.” Luke 24:6.  From the empty space they remember what Jesus had told them.  From the empty space they begin to tell the others of what had happened.  From empty spaces new possibilities emerge.

Dear God, may I respond to the empty spaces I encounter as the occasion to begin a whole new life. Amen.

 

April 22, 2019. Prayer 820.

Their Eyes Were Opened

Sometimes it is the visitor that helps us see who we are. On the very day Jesus’ tomb was found empty, two of his group encountered a stranger on the road that they did not recognize.  They spoke to him about how they had hoped Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel, yet was handed over and crucified.  Later, at table with them, Luke 24:30 reports, “he took bread, blessed, broke it, and gave it to them, and their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”  Then, he vanished.  They would see Jesus anew in their life together.

Dear God, grant me the spiritual courage to welcome and bless everyone. I want to see you again. Amen.

 

April 23, 2019. Prayer 821.

Standing On The Promise

The hope for a community to create a life in peace is everlasting. In the days after Jesus was crucified, members of his group began to put the meaning of his life and message together.  We are told in Luke 24:36, “As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace to you!’”  Jesus had told them he would suffer and rise on the third day.  He had told them to turn to God in prayer, proclaim forgiveness to all, and to stand and wait for the promise of God to come upon them.

Dear God, address me with the words of the Spirit that empower me to live courageously for love. Amen.