Invitatory: Prepare the way of the Lord...behold, the Lord comes with might.” Isaiah 40:3,10
Prayer for the 2nd week of Advent: “Lord, accept our prayer and supplication, and grant that we may heed the call of John to prepare the way for your Son, and receive him into our hearts, that we may become your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (K. B. Ritter, Gebete fur das Jahr der Kirche, 2nd ed. Kassel: Johannes Stauda-Verlag, 1948)
Bible reading for the day: Acts 3.1-21
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for preachers like Peter who give us not what we are expecting, but who give us instead Jesus. Lord, our infirmity is not just in our feet & ankles, it is deep as our souls. Deliver daily us from a small faith that asks only typical, small, quick-fixes from you. Turn me and my congregation back to you today… that instead of our own power or piety we may know your refreshing presence in Jesus Christ, through your Holy Spirit. 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)
Benediction: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
*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.