Invitatory: “See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me” Malachi 3.1
Prayer for the 3rd week of Advent: “Lord Jesus, our Light and our Salvation, you alone are the one who was to come to save us. We thank you for your coming and for your will to perform in us again your saving work. Rule us by your Holy Spirit, that henceforth we may wait for none other and put our trust in nothing in heaven or earth except you alone, our Lord. Amen.” (Martin Moller, Thesaurus precationum, 1603; text in Gerhard Molwitz, Lutherisches Gebetbuch, p.41.)
Bible reading for the day: Luke 3.7-17
He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for your Son Jesus, the first fruits of the harvest of righteousness. Take your axe to the old sinner in me that wants to make you just a philosophy, a religion… the old sinner in me who wants at all costs to avoid the truth that you are real, alive, holy, present and active among us. Take hold of me again today with your Holy Spirit that I may be your wheat, your workmanship… and may carry out the good works that you have prepared beforehand that I should walk in them… that I may share and give generously, and be honest in my work and content with the daily bread you provide. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn: follow this link to a beloved, classic hymn that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0Byp7aK2DA
“I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord…”
What does this mean?
I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true! (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)
Benediction: “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 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 (
www.dailytext.com). The method is founded on scripture and easy
to remember: Alexandria, MN
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.