Invitatory: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” II Cor 5.19
Morning prayer: Heavenly Father, you sent your Son to us and laid on him the burden of the cross that we might see and know the glory of your holy love. Grant that our faith in him may not be shaken by adversity or daunted by the threat of it, but that we may ever follow steadfastly the way that leads to perfect fellowship with him, and so with you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [Charles M. Jacobs in Paul Z. Strodach, Collects and Prayers (Philadelphia: Board of Publications of the United Lutheran Church in America; 19350, p.166.
Bible reading for the day: Acts 9.1-10-22
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for carrying out your plan not Saul’s, not Ananias’, not mine… your plan to carry Jesus’ name to everyone with ears to hear. Repent me and my congregation of not listening to you… of staying put when you tell us to go. Use precisely us the way you did Ananias and Saul: to pray, to lay hands on, and to proclaim Jesus your Son… and your Holy Spirit will do the work, amazing many and confounding the proud. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
“Thy will be done…”
What does this mean?
The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.
How is this done?
God's will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will. (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)
Benediction: The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. Phil 4.7
*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.