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: Luke 1.26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for your kingdom breaking in for us through the fruit of Mary’s womb. Your kingdom means trouble for mine…and ultimately the end of my kingdom. So kill off all my desires for my kingdom…and open my ears afresh – my ears & the ears of your church – open them afresh Lord, that by your promise we may be moved from doubt to faith… and with Mary may confess: let it be with me according to your word. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
“Thy kingdom come…”
What does this mean?
The kingdom of God comes indeed by itself, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may also come to us.
How is this done?
God's kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that by his grace we believe his holy Word and live a godly life now and in eternity. (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)
Hymn: Follow this link to J.S. Bach’s “Magnificat” (the single word from Mary’s confession in Luke 1.46, “my soul magnifies the Lord…”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo1x-62WmrI
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.