Verse for the week: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Mark 13.31
Prayer for the week: O Lord, teach us how to pray. Direct the lives of you servants toward the goal of everlasting salvation, that, surrounded by all the changes and uncertainties of life, we may be defended by your gracious and ready help in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship, Minister’s Desk edition, p.113.)
Bible reading for the day: Mark 11.11-19 (note: picking up where yesterday’s reading left off)
11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19 And when evening came they went out of the city.
Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for giving Jesus as our Lord for free and for insisting that we be able to call on you in prayer absolutely for free as well. Keep turning the tables on all our attempts to make faith into a religious barter system. You know what your house is for: for our hearing of your Word and for us to call on you in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving… keep it that way. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.
Hymn: follow this link to a beloved, classic hymn which gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EShZmo4B2vA
The Second Commandment
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.
The Third Commandment
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it. (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)
Benediction: Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:20-21)
*There are many patterns for devotions. This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray. It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN www.dailytext.com). The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember: T: thanksgiving
I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God.