kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Monday, February 8, 2016

Faith does not do a touchdown dance...

Invitatory:  “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil”  I John 3.8

Morning prayer:  O God, by whose Spirit we are led into the wilderness of trial, grant that, standing in your strength against Satan’s powers of darkness, we may so win the victory over all evil suggestions that with singleness of heart we may ever serve you and you alone; through him who was in all points tempted as we are, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (John Wallace Suter, Prayers of the Spirit  New York: Harper & Bros. 1943, p.22.)

Bible reading for the day:  Matthew 6.1-6
 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method)Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for giving wrong ones like us your rightness in Christ, and for teaching us how to live it. Repent me and my congregation of faith that wants to be seen and heard for its own sake. Pour out your Holy Spirit and give me afresh today that blessed self-forgetfulness of faith that gives simply for my neighbors’ sake… and that calls on you with humble, profound trust. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

“Our Father, who art in heaven...”
What does this mean?
God encourages us to believe that he is truly our Father, and that we are truly his children, so we may boldly and confidently pray to him, just as beloved children speak to their dear father. (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

Benediction:  Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.  Amen.  II Thess 2.16-17

*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  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:
T: thanksgiving
                                                          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.  

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