Invitatory: My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior Lk 1.46-47
Prayer for the 4th week of Advent: “Lord, purify our hearts that they may be worthy to become your dwelling place. Let us never fail to find room for you, but come and abide with us that we also may abide in you, for you were born into the world for us and now live and reign, King of kings and Lord of lords, for evermore. Amen.” (William Temple in A.E. Baker, William Temple’s Teaching, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1951, p.128)
Bible reading for the day: Romans 16.25-27
25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for publically disclosing your will & testament in Jesus Christ…and for including me and your whole church in your will. Kill off the old sinner in us that wants our will instead...and each day raise us anew, establish us in Christ rather than ourselves…bring about in us the new obedience of faith. To you be the glory forever! In Jesus’ name, amen.
“What is the significance of baptizing with water?”
It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily sorrow for sin and repentance and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Where is this written?
Saint Paul says in Romans, “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)
Hymn: follow this link to an excerpt from Handel’s “Messiah” which gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lckl0Cf5HfM
Benediction: Blessing and honor and thanksgiving and praise, more than we can utter, more than we can conceive, be unto thee, O holy and glorious Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by all angels, all people, all creatures, for ever and ever. Amen. (Thomas Ken quoted in Frederick B. Macnutt, The Prayer Manual London: Mowbray, 1951, p.39)
*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:
R: regret (repentance)
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.