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Daily Devotions

Daily Prayers for the OCC  2019 

We invite you to take a moment when you rise, or to pause in the middle of the day, or as you enter prayer at the close of the day to let these meditations attend to your soul.

 

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PRAYERS FOR THE LOST

 

Monday, September 9, 2019. Prayer 854. Search with Patience

It is extremely difficult to have patience with a person who is truly lost. We all want people to behave differently right away.  The Apostle Paul attributes his faith to patience that Christ showed him.  In 1 Timothy 1:13 Paul describes how grateful he is to have received God’s call to serve because he had been “a blasphemer, a persecutor, a person of violence, and acted ignorantly and in unbelief.”  Jesus’ utmost patience was on display in turning Paul from the worst of sinners into a person of faith, love and service.

Dear God, I can acknowledge how hard it is for me to be truly changed. Have patience with me!  Amen.

 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Prayer 855. Grumbling Grace

We don’t think of grumbling as graceful behavior. And, it is not in most cases, unless you are grumbling for justice, kindness, reconciliation, or healing.  When people with power and status saw Jesus hanging out with the worst known sinners in society, they grumbled mightily about the company he kept.  In Luke 15:4 Jesus responds to their miserly spirit with a teaching moment.  “There is more joy in heaven for the sinner who turns around than for the 99 others that need no turning.”  God is found where the lost live.

Dear God, every time I grumble, let me take pause, and turn around what has been lost in my faith. Amen.

Wednesday,  September 11, 2019. Prayer 856. Where Can I Go From Your Spirit?

Today is the eighteenth year since the attacks of September 11, 2001 in which over 3,000 people lost their lives to intentional acts of destruction. It was a dark day.  In Psalm 139:7 the psalmist pleads, “O Lord, where can I go from your Spirit?”  If we say, “surely the darkness shall cover me, even the darkness is not dark to you, O Lord.”  It is a gift of the Spirit to remember that all lives belong to the Lord.  Nothing is hidden.  Nothing is lost.  The psalmist laments, “O that the evil would depart from us!”  The Spirit gift of love never leaves us.

Dear God, may evil depart from our human community and may love come to find a light in us all. Amen.

 

Thursday, September 12, 2019. Prayer 857. Fearfully and Wonderfully Yours

Psalm 139:14 boldly proclaims to God, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Being human is both terrifying and wonderful.  We are born into a world in which we have some control over our choices and reactions, but very little over consequences and circumstances.  We can be overcome by our fears at our situation, especially if we live in desperate times.  Our limited vision, strength, and sight might lead us to give up, to lose hope.  Faith says, “No!” to despair.  Faith tells us to dare to dream, to wonder and work for love.

Dear God, don’t let me give up on myself or the world today. Where there is fear, let me bring wonder. Amen.

 

Friday, September 13, 2019. Prayer 858. Foolishly Lost

Sometimes being lost comes as a direct result of poor choices and foolish behavior. Psalm 14:1 begins by proclaiming, “Fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God!’”  Without God as an everlasting source of moral deeds, foolishness leads to harm, hurt and great injustice.  The Psalmist tells us that God is looking down from heaven to see if anyone is wise, yet “they have all gone astray.”  The foolish literally “eat up my people as they eat their bread.”  The fortunes of the people are restored when our common wisdom is to care for the poor.

Dear God, let the resources you have given me be a refuge and a comfort to those in need of help. Amen.

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PRAYERS FOR PERSPECTIVE

Monday, September 16, 2019. Prayer 859. Taking A Long View

In 1979 Fr. Ken Untener wrote a reflection in a homily that became known as “We are prophets of a future not our own.” It is often cited as a prayer for Oscar Romero who was outspoken about the plight of the poor, the injustice and violence in El Salvador.  Oscar Romero was assassinated in 1980 as were many others in opposition to the wars raging in their country.  Following are portions of the prayer for our reflection.  It begins, “It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.”

Dear God, help me to see that the bigger picture includes what I know, but is not limited by it. Amen.

 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019. Prayer 860. Beyond Our Vision

“The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.  Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.”  We get pretty good at thinking our problems are bigger than God’s power to help us.  We rely on our own strength and opinions to solve them.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Faith informs us that our best vision for the world includes God’s vision of peace for all.

Dear God, when I want to give up, let my soul be at ease knowing that you complete the work. Amen.

 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019. Prayer 861.  A Work In Progress

“No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith.  No confession brings perfection.  No pastoral visit brings wholeness.  No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.  No set of goals and objectives includes everything.”  We have a deep desire to fix all the problems quickly.  This gets us in trouble in our personal, professional and international lives.  No sentence says it all for all time.  No one action heals it all.  No goal can come anywhere close to resolving it all.  Letting God be at work in us is vital.

Dear God, let me resist the urge to think I have all the answers. Show me the way to bigger thinking. Amen.

 

Thursday, September 19, 2019. Prayer 862. Planting Seeds

“This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow.  We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.  We lay foundations that will need further development.  We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.”  Grace includes the experience of sharing in great work, often deep sacrifice for other’s well-being and safety, yet we are not seen, recognized, rewarded or thanked.  We plant seeds we will not see come to fruition.  This is being faithful to a future promise: not for ourselves.

Dear God, my work on earth is a joy when I see it a part of your greater works. Let me plant well! Amen.

 

Friday, September 20, 2019. Prayer 863. Doing Something, Not Everything

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.”  We are distracted by many things.  One of the most difficult distractions to overcome in living a faith life is our own judgment that we are supposed to do more and be more to be considered successful or productive.  We are set free when we realize we cannot fix all the world’s problems, but, we can do our part with conviction, joy, skill, and deep satisfaction.  Work for love.  Serve with joy.

Dear God, don’t let my self-critique keep me from getting started on my most important task to do. Amen.

 

Monday, September 23, 2019. Prayer 864.  An Opportunity For Grace

“It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.” We yearn for completion and closure, yet all of life continues to unfold even after we are gone.  What we can do is just a beginning of what others may do in the future.  Along the way it is good to pause, take a step back, and ask: where has God entered into this?  We are all an occasion of God’s grace.  We all stand in the need of prayer.  That never ends.  In our incompleteness, our brokenness, God shines in.

Dear God, let my limitations, my mistakes, my broken open places serve as a beginning to more love. Amen.

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019. Prayer 865.  A Future Not Our Own

“We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.  We are prophets of a future not our own.”  Our greatest humility is that all we do, all we are, all we accomplish, all we become, is just a step along the way.  None of us get to see the whole thing all wrapped up and done.  Our future is not our own, it belongs to everyone, it belongs to God.  We are caretakers, prophets, pastors, servants, workers.  God is the guide.

Dear God, let my faith grow. Increase my perspectives on life.  Let me work with your vision for all.  Amen.