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: Malachi 3.1-4
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for sending the message of Christ for me. Repent me and your whole church of thinking we can endure him, have him as our partner or religious assistant…instead of our Lord. Even as you take me down and reveal the frailty and failing of my own faith, refine me and stand me up afresh in your righteousness… that I may be pleasing to you. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.
Music: follow this link to a beloved classic by G.F. Handel which gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ0ScF0qzBQ
The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods before me. (Ex 20.2)
What does this mean?
We should fear, love, and trust God above all else.
(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.