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Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Opening Prayer: Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of you.  You only know what I need.  You know me better than I know myself.  O Father, give to your child what he himself knows not how to ask.  Teach me to pray.  Pray yourself in me. ~Archbishop Francois Fenelon

Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Journal: What is your experience and practice of prayer like these days?  How can it be deeper and richer?  What does God desire for you in your prayer life?  How, where, and when will you pray this week?

Reflection: I have a sneaking suspicion that prayer is much larger than most of us realize.  Just look at these verses in 1 Timothy for example.  In them Paul uses not one, but four different words to describe the practice of prayer, each with its own image, emphasis, and definition.  And that seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.  There are so many different forms of prayer described in scripture, so many different ways to connect with God and to open ourselves so that he can, in turn, connect with us.  Which makes prayer not just some dry, dutiful ritual, but a wonderfully intimate and unique adventure.  And for that I am eternally grateful.  The key is to just do it.  Henri Nouwen once said that “The only way to learn how to pray is to pray.  And the only way to pray well is to pray much.”  So in order to pray, we must simply begin.  And as we become more familiar with the ways of prayer we will become more familiar with the One to whom we pray.  Then prayer will flow much more naturally due to the intimacy of our relationship with him.
     Maybe that’s why, in The Message, Eugene Peterson translates these verses: “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.”  Let’s do that!


Closing Prayer: Look upon us, O Lord, and let all the darkness of our souls vanish before the beams of thy brightness.  Fill us with holy love, and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom.  All our desire is known unto thee, therefore perfect what thou hast begun, and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer.  We seek thy face, turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory.  Then shall our longing be satisfied, and our peace shall be perfect. ~St. Augustine

Monday, January 30, 2017

zeal and fervor

Opening Prayer:
I ask you, Lord Jesus,
to develop in me, your lover
an immeasurable urge towards you,
an affection that is unbounded,
longing that is unrestrained,
fervor that throws discretion to the winds!
The more worthwhile our love for you,
            all the more pressing does it become.
Reason cannot hold it in check,
            fear does not make it tremble,
            wise judgment does not temper it.
(The Fire of Love by Richard Rolle)

Scripture: Romans 12:11

Journal: What do the words zeal and fervor do within you?  Do they describe your spiritual life?  Do they describe anything in your life?  How would you describe your spiritual life right now?  How do you increase your spiritual zeal and fervor?

Reflection: To kindle in his heart such a divine love, to unite with God in an inseparable union of love, it is necessary for a man to pray often, raising the mind to Him.  For as a flame increases when it is constantly fed, so prayer, made often, with the mind dwelling ever more deeply in God, arouses divine love in the heart.  And the heart, set on fire, will warm all the inner man, will enlighten and teach him, revealing to him all its unknown and hidden wisdom, and making him like a flaming seraph, always standing before God within his spirit, always looking at Him within his mind, and drawing from this vision the sweetness of spiritual joy. —The Inner Closet of the Heart by St. Dimitri of Rostov, from The Art of Prayer, Igumen Chariton of Valamo


Closing Prayer:
O living flame of love
That tenderly wounds my soul
In its deepest center!  Since
Now you are not oppressive,
Now Consummate! If it be your will:
Tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand!  O delicate touch
That tastes of eternal life
And pays every debt!
In killing you changed death into life.
O lamps of fire!
In whose splendors
The deep caverns of feeling,
Once obscure and blind,
Now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
Both warmth and light to their beloved.

How gently and lovingly
You wake in my heart,
Where in secret you dwell alone;
And in your sweet breathing,
Filled with good and glory,
How tenderly you swell my heart with love.
—John of the Cross

Sunday, January 29, 2017

he cares

Opening Prayer: O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of your presence, your love, and your strength.  Help us to have perfect trust in your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to you, we shall see your hand, your purpose, your will through all things. ~St. Ignatius

Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10

Journal: What words or images from today’s scripture capture your heart for some reason?  Why?  What does God want to say to you today?  What do you want to say to him?

Reflection: It is often my tendency, due to fear, to white-knuckle life rather than to live it in trust and in peace.  I start to worry that God may never show up, that I am really on my own, and I immediately try to manage, control, and manipulate life instead of simply living it—which, in turn, creates even more anxiety and insecurity.  In fact it seems that the harder I try, the more anxious I become.
     Luckily, that’s where Isaiah comes in; to remind me that God is both willing and able to care for me, and my family, and my job, and my world.  My job is not to rigidly control things or try and make things happen.  My job is merely to open my hands, to let go, and to wait on the Lord.  My job is to trust and to pray.  God will come; in his own time and in his own way.  And when he does gladness and joy will overtake us, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.  Thanks be to God!


Closing Prayer: In Thy will, O Lord, is my peace.  In Thy love is my rest.  In Thy service is my joy.  Thou art all my heart’s desire.  Amen. (A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

genuine love

Opening Prayer: Our Father, here I am, at your disposal, your child, to use me to continue your loving the world, by giving Jesus to me and through me, to each other and the world.  Let us pray for each other as we allow Jesus to love in us and through us with the love with which His Father loves him. (Seeking the Heart of God by Mother Teresa)

Scripture: Romans 12:9-10

Journal: What does it mean for you today to let love be genuine?  How will you do that?

Reflection: “Let love be genuine.”  The Greek word used here for “genuine” is anypokritos.  It means without hypocrisy or disguise; unpretentious.  Thus, we are called upon to love each other truly, from the heart.  True community is a thing of beauty.  When we choose to live openly and honestly with each other, in loving transparency and vulnerability, it does something powerful both within us and among us.  It touches and transforms.  It creates a safe space where we can come out of hiding and truly be ourselves, and thus be truly loved.  True community ignites something beautiful deep within us that can be ignited in no other way.  For the Spirit of God is present and active in genuine community in a dynamic and powerful way.  A way that gives each of us a little taste of what the kingdom of God is all about.


Closing Prayer: God of our creation and re-creation, you who are constantly at work to shape me in the wholeness of Christ, you know the hardness of the structures of my being that resist your shaping touch.  You know the deep inner rigidities of my being that reject your changing grace.  By your grace soften my hardness and rigidity; help me to become pliable in your hands.  Even as I pray this, may there be a melting of my innate resistance to your transforming love.  Amen. (Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.)

Friday, January 27, 2017

thy will

Opening Prayer:  Thy will be done, O God, and not my own.  Amen.

Scripture: Romans 8:26-30

Journal: How would you describe God’s will and God’s work in your life?

Reflection: There are religious men who have become so familiar with the concept of God’s will that their familiarity has bred an apparent contempt.  It has made them forget that God’s will is more than a concept.  It is a terrible and transcendent reality, a secret power which is given to us, from moment to moment, to be the life of our life and the soul of our own soul’s life.  It is the living flame of God’s own Spirit, in Whom our own soul’s flame can play, if it wills, like a mysterious angel.  God’s will is not an abstraction, not a machine, not an esoteric system.  It is a living concrete reality in the lives of men, and our souls are created to burn as flames within His flame.  The will of the Lord is not a static center drawing our souls blindly toward itself.  It is a creative power, working everywhere, giving life and being and direction to all things, and above all forming and creating, in the midst of an old creation, a whole new world which is called the Kingdom of God.  What we call the “will of God” is the movement of His love and wisdom, ordering and governing all free and necessary agents, moving movers and causing causes, driving drivers and ruling those who rule, so that even those who resist Him carry out His will without realizing that they are doing so.  In all His acts God orders all things, whether good or evil, for the good of those who know Him and seek Him and who strive to bring their own freedom under obedience to His divine purpose.  All that is done by the will of God in secret is done for His glory and for the good of those whom He has chosen to share in His glory. (No Man is an Island by Thomas Merton)


Closing Prayer: O God, accomplish your divine purposes in my life and in your world this day.  And give me the wisdom and the grace to know how I can be a part of that.   For your kingdom and your glory we pray.  Amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

our own efforts

Opening Prayer: Lord God, forgive us when we take matters into our own hands and try to live our lives on our own.  Anytime we do this we are destined for failure and confusion.  Help us, O God, live in constant dependence on, and surrender to, you.  In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Scripture: Genesis 11:1-9

Journal: How are you trying to control life these days?  How are you trying to live by your own efforts?  What would it mean to surrender to God, and to his will, instead?

Reflection: In our own daily lives, in our efforts to do right, what is decisive is that we accept and live by and surrender ourselves to a strength which is not our own, to the piercing white light of God’s love.
     When we experience this love we turn away from the notion that we initiate and God responds; that we, by our religious efforts, can set something in motion that God must obey in response.  To believe that by an effort of will we can mount nearer to God or add one cubit to our stature is as unchristian as the belief that we have no task as Christians for the mundane affairs of this world.  Both beliefs have the same root—the pride that seeks to climb its way to God—and produces the same kind of confusion as the ancient attempt to build the tower of Babel.
     The direction to which our wills must be put is in obedience to God’s will in response to the breaking in of the Spirit.  Then something decisive happens for this earth. (Yielding to God by Philip Britts)


Closing Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, there are some lessons in this life of grace I seem to have a hard time remembering, or at least accepting. My limits and insufficiency are certainly two of them. The magnetic pull of the “cult of competency” is always lurking. Forgive me for not wanting to need the gospel, your Spirit, and community as much as you say I do.
     So, Father, as this day begins, I forsake the illusion of my competency and cast myself on you, the God who raises the dead—beginning with Jesus. I’m not facing deadly perils, but I am facing people I love that I cannot fix, injustices in the world that I cannot right, old lingering wounds that I cannot heal, stubborn addicts that I cannot rescue, an aging process that I cannot reverse, cold marriages that I cannot thaw, and my own heart that I cannot change.
     Grant me grace to accept my limits and faith to trust you more; and a greater willingness to let friends enter my struggles and carry my burdens. I know you to be the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; I want to know you that way much, much more. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ kind and grace-full name. ~Scotty Smith

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Opening Prayer: Set a fire down in my soul, that I can't contain, that I can't control. I want more of you God, I want more of you God. Set a fire down in my soul, that I can't contain, that I can't control. I want more of you God, I want more of you God. I want more. (Set a Fire by Will Reagan and United Pursuit)

Scripture: Luke 3:7-17

Journal: What does the word repentance mean to you?  Where do you sense the need for it in your life?  What in your life needs to be chopped down or burned away?  How do you long for Jesus to ignite his fire in you?

Reflection: When crowds of people came out for baptism because it was the popular thing to do, John exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God’s judgment? It’s your life that must change, not your skin. And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as ‘father.’ Being a child of Abraham is neither here nor there—children of Abraham are a dime a dozen. God can make children from stones if he wants. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.”
     The crowd asked him, “Then what are we supposed to do?”
     “If you have two coats, give one away,” he said. “Do the same with your food.”
     Tax men also came to be baptized and said, “Teacher, what should we do?”
     He told them, “No more extortion—collect only what is required by law.”
     Soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
     He told them, “No shakedowns, no blackmail—and be content with your rations.”
     The interest of the people by now was building. They were all beginning to wonder, “Could this John be the Messiah?”
     But John intervened: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.” (The Message)


Closing Prayer: Ignite a fire within me, O Lord, that burns away all that is not you.  Transform me, that I might be changed, more and more, into the person you created me to be.  Give me the power, the courage, and the grace to truly repent, whatever that may look like.  Make me more like you.  In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Opening Prayer: Forgive me, Lord Jesus, when I try to do life on my own.  Somehow I’ve convinced myself that it is possible to manufacture fruit, when the only way for fruit to really grow is for me to remain in the Vine.  You, O Jesus, are the source of all life.  Help me to live my life in you, this day and every day.  Amen.

Scripture: John 15:1-5

Journal: How does the image of the vine and the branches speak to your life today?  Are you abiding in him?  If not, what are you abiding in?

Reflection: “For apart from me you can do nothing.”  I know Jesus said it, but do we really believe it?  What’s more do we really live like it?  We act, for the most part, like the direct opposite is true.  We act as if apart from us God can do nothing.  We have eliminated the abiding altogether.  We have taken away its necessity, much to our own demise.  Somehow we have come to believe that we can bring God’s kingdom and rule into existence on our own.  Somehow we have come to believe that we are responsible for the redemption of the universe.  When all God needs is an open and willing—and abiding—heart.  “Oh but nothing will get done,” we say (maybe out loud and maybe just in our hearts).  “If we don’t do it, no one will.”  And we disconnect from the Vine and charge off on our own, trying to change the world in our own strength.  But the world doesn’t change, and then we wonder why.  The why has to do with the lack of abiding.   The spiritual reality is that it all starts with abiding in Christ.  Abiding in him is how the real fruit of the kingdom is grown.


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, remind me this day that unless I abide in you, I can do nothing.  Nothing of eternal value will be accomplished in my life apart from your life-giving power.  Amen.

Monday, January 23, 2017

refiner's fire

Opening Prayer:
There must be more than this,
O breath of God come breathe within,
There must be more than this,
Spirit of God we wait for You.

Fill us anew we pray,
Fill us anew we pray.

Consuming fire fan into flame,
A passion for Your Name,
Spirit of God fall in this place,
Lord have Your way,
Lord have Your way with us,

Come like a rushing wind,
Clothe us with power from on high,
Now set the captives free,
Leave us abandoned to Your praise.

Lord let Your glory fall,
Lord let Your glory fall.

Stir it up in our hearts Lord,
Stir it up in our hearts Lord,
Stir it up in our hearts Lord.
A passion for Your Name.
(Consuming Fire by Hillsong United)

Scripture: Malachi 3:1-4

Journal: What do the images of a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap do within you?  Where do you sense their need in your life and heart?  What need to be refined or cleansed within you?  How is God refining you these days?

Reflection: When I come with my refiner’s fire, who can stand?  For I will burn away all that stands in the way of you being all that I made you to be.  I will burn away all of the impurities and imperfections that you have allowed to take up residence in your life and heart.  The things that mar and harm and defeat you.  O how I long to get my hands on you and plunge you into the consuming fire of my love and holiness; to burn away all of your doubt and your fear and your uncertainty.  To destroy all of your anxiety and your insecurity and your self-contempt.  To put an end to the constant comparison and competition and performing.  To eliminate the incessant inner dialogue, the voices of fear and deception that determine so much of how you live your life.  For then, when all of these things have been done away with, there you will stand, pure and strong and beautiful and precious, just the way I made you to be.


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, how can I face your refining fire?  I know I am but a broken and distorted image of the one you dreamt into being.  Forgive me for that.  Thank you for the comfort and the confidence of knowing that no matter how hot your consuming fires get, within or around me, your intention for them, and your work through them, is good.  It is for my refinement, that I might be the one you made me to be.  Amen.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

abounding love

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to love like you love today.  Amen.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

Journal: How is your love level these days?  How might the process of your love increasing and abounding to others take place?  How are you feeling about holiness these days?  How is your heart being established blameless in holiness before God?  What difference will these verses make in your life and your love today?

Reflection: Lord God, make your unfailing love increase and abound within me, that it might find its way out to all of those in this broken and hurting world who are in need of help, or hope, or healing, or affection this day.  You did not give me that love just so I could keep it and cherish it myself, but also so that I might give it away to others.  Give me the strength and the courage to do just that today.  Help me not to get so wrapped up in my own plans and needs and agendas that I miss those for whom you have sent to me to care.
     O God, would you also establish my heart blameless in holiness by the power of your Spirit within me; that I would be who and what you created me to be, and not some broken and distorted version of my best, God-breathed self.  Rid me of all that is not of you.  Purge me of pride and arrogance and selfish ambition.  Break me of all of my dysfunctional and broken patterns of being and relating that are not in line with your greatest hopes and deepest desires for my life.
     Thank you that I was created out of the life and love and intimacy of the Trinity, in order to be a partaker and a participant in that life of affection and delight.  And to offer that love and care to all who come across my path, this day and every day.  Amen.


Closing Prayer: May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers. (The Message)

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Opening Prayer: New every morning is your love, great God of Light, and all day long you are working for good in your world.  Stir up in us the desire to serve you, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:16

Journal: Is the life of God renewing itself within you day by day?  If so, what does that look like?  What has been the fruit of that renewal?  And if it has not been renewing itself in you, why not?

Reflection: Is the life of God renewing itself within you day by day?  Or is the daily grind taking its toll on your heart and soul?  Have you gotten so used to doing the same old things in the same old ways over and over again that all of the life has been completely sucked out of you?  Have you gotten into such a rut, such a dull routine, that life is on autopilot?  If so, you need to know that this is a dangerous place to be.  God wants so much more for you than that; more life, more quality, more joy.  Don’t settle for less.  Don’t settle for less than what he created you for—life.  He longs for you to live a life in which he is ever-renewing you within; a life of ever-increasing depth and quality.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t be doing the same old things over and over again, but it does mean that you will not be doing them exactly the same way, because you will be a new and different person (at least a little bit) each time you do them.  Let God renew you from within today.


Closing Prayer: O God, bring me to life inside.  Renew your life within me, minute by minute, day by day, that I would live with the depth and the quality and the energy that you long for me to live with.  Through Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

keep your heart

Opening Prayer: God unto whom all hearts are open and unto whom every will speaks, and from whom no secret thing is hidden, I pray You to cleanse the intent of my heart with the ineffable gift of Your grace, that I might perfectly love You, and worthily praise You.  Amen. (The Cloud of Unknowing)

Scripture: Proverbs 4:23

Journal: What is the state of your heart these days?  What is springing up from it?  How do you keep your heart with all vigilance?

Reflection: It is impossible to overstate the importance of the heart in the spiritual journey.  For it is from the heart that life springs forth.  It is from the heart that the streams of living water flow.  The heart is the place that the work of the Spirit—the work of transformation—is truly done.  When our hearts are captured, then everything else follows.  Thus, when our hearts are seized by the power of the Great Affection, all of our other affections will be properly ordered.  But when our hearts are filled with—or captured by—things other than the God who made us for himself, everything will be in disarray.
     That is why Solomon warns us, to watch over, guard, or keep (depending on your translation) our hearts with all diligence and vigilance.  But what does that really look like?  How do we go about doing that?  Maybe by simply paying careful attention both to what we let into our hearts, as well as what we allow to go on in our hearts.
     We are the gatekeepers, the guardians, the caregivers, and the stewards (by the power of the Holy Spirit) of what goes on within us.  Therefore, we need to stand watch over them and not allow things to enter our hearts that will have a negative impact on them.  For example, what will we allow ourselves to watch?  What will we listen to?  What kind of conversations will we have?  We must be diligent and vigilant as we stand guard over what we will let into our hearts.
     We must also be mindful and careful and diligent about what we will allow to go on in our hearts.  What thoughts will we allow to roam free and unfettered?  What images will we give time and space to, in order that they might grow and take root?  What feelings will we allow to dominate and control us?  What inner dialogues will we allow to continue on, even if they are harmful or hurtful?
     Keep vigilant watch over your heart,” The Message tells us, “for that’s where life starts.”  May we all take this exhortation to heart this day.


Closing Prayer: Deliver us when we draw near to you, O God, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind: grant that with steadfast hearts and kindled affections, we may worship you in Spirit and in Truth.  Amen. (Venite by Robert Benson)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

the potter

Opening Prayer:
Dear Potter,
The lump of clay that I am
keeps crying for some form
day by day
I yearn for you to mold me.

This is a trust-song, Lord
I am in your hands like clay
I am ready to be transformed:

I expect
     to be molded
I expect
     to be beautiful
I expect
     to be loved.

And if by chance
someone should drop me
as your apprentices sometimes do,

I expect
     to be hurt.

I’m just trying to say
I have surrendered
     to your dream for me
I am in your hands
     like clay.
(Seasons of Your Heart by Macrina Wiederkehr)

Scripture: Isaiah 64:8

Journal: What does it mean that God is your Father?  What does it mean that God is the potter and you are the clay?  How do those two fit together for you?  How is God forming and molding you these days?

Reflection: God is the potter and we are the clay.  It is so easy to get that backwards.  We live in a world where we are the movers and the shakers.  We are the ones who make things happen.  We are the ones who determine the shape and the content of our days.  We are the ones who mold and form our lives, as well as the lives of those around us.  It’s just what we do.
     So when Isaiah reminds us that we are not the potters, but God is, it throws us for a little bit of a loop.  I mean, we all know how to be potters, right?  But few if any of us know how to be clay, or even like the idea.  What does clay do?  It sits there.  Its job is to be acted upon.  Its job is to be open and receptive to the hands of the potter.  Its job is to yield and surrender to whatever it is to become.  Its job is to be supple and pliable and moldable.  In a word, its job is to be dependent.  And few of us like the idea of total dependency, of absolute surrender, of complete receptivity.  But such is life with God.  We are the work of his hands, he is not the work of ours.


Closing Prayer: Help me always to remember, O God, that you are the potter and I am the clay.  I am the work of your hands, you are not the work of mine.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

assigned task

Opening Prayer: Lord God, remind me this day that my life belongs to you and is not my own.  You have given me the opportunity and the responsibility to be about your kingdom and your purposes this day.  Help me not to get distracted from doing your work today, and no merely my own.  Amen.

Scripture: Mark 13:33-37

Journal: What is the mission to which God has called you?  What is the assigned task for which he has gifted and made you?  What tends to distract you from that task?

Reflection: “It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.” (Mark 13:34, NIV)
     Each of us, it would seem, is given a particular task in the work of God.  It is something God has assigned to us, something specific and unique that he has made us to do.  Thus, he has wired it into our DNA, breathed it into our very being.  It flows from who we are and who he has made us to be.  And it is up to us, with God’s help, to discover just exactly what that work is, and then to do it, at all costs.  For life with God involves being about his work, and not merely our own.
     The problem is that life is so full of demands and obligations and distractions that it is easy for us to lose track of—or to never discover in the first place—what God has given us to do, or who he has called us to be, in his great big world.  We get so consumed with making a living or managing our own lives that we lose sight of the fact that God made us bigger purposes—the purposes and work of his kingdom.  And it is this work that we must not get distracted from.


Closing Prayer: Keep me focused today, O Lord, on who you have called me to be and on the things you have given me to do.  Amen.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Opening Prayer: Lord, awaken me, you whose love burns beyond the stars; light the flame of my lantern that I may always burn with love. (A Traveler Toward the Dawn by John Eagan)

Scripture: Matthew 26:38-41

Journal: What are you most vigilant about these days?  How might Jesus want you to be more vigilant in your life with him?  What does that look like?

Reflection: There’s no way to escape or avoid the fact that life with Jesus requires vigilance.  It is one of the key practices in all of the spiritual life.  Keeping vigil is about staying awake.  It is about being keenly watchful and alert.  It is about wakefulness maintained throughout the darkness of night, when we are tempted to drift off into sleepy inattention and to become lax and lazy in our prayer and our practice.
     Vigilance requires something of us.  It demands an active waiting, an intentional diligence, a determination to stay awake regardless of the cost.  For as high as the cost of vigilance may be, the cost of falling asleep is much greater.  Will we keep vigil with Jesus today?


Closing Prayer: Most Holy God, wake me up from my soul’s deep slumber and bring my life under your complete control.  By your grace, awaken me to the reality of your presence within and around me.  And, by the power of your Spirit, make me responsive to your will and your direction.  Help me to be vigilant in my life with you this day.  Amen.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Opening Prayer: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
     Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.
     Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Scripture: Jeremiah 1:4-10

Journal: What do you truly believe about how and why God made you?  What do you truly believe was in God’s heart as he formed and made you?  For what purpose did he breathe you into being?  Are you accomplishing his purposes with your life?  If not, why not?

Reflection: O God, what was in your mind when you formed me and dreamt me into being, before the foundations of the earth?  What was your divine intention for me and for my life?  What were your grand plans for me?  What mission did you have for me that only I could accomplish?  How did you mold and make and form me to be a unique expression of your love, care, and creativity?  And was there a smile on your face and joy in your heart as you breathed me into being?
     For what, O God, have I been consecrated and appointed?  To whom did you intend to send me, and what words did you specifically put in my mouth to deliver?  O Lord, forgive me when I fall short of your grand design.  Forgive me when I think too little of myself—and too little of you—to think that you could possibly have made me for some grand purpose when you formed me.  Forgive me when I let fear or inadequacy stop me from fulfilling the mission for which I was sent.  And forgive me when I allow the busyness and chaos of everyday life to distort or distract me from that mission.
     Lord God, I belong to you.  I am the work of your strong and loving hands.  You made me to be a unique and beautiful expression of yourself in the world.  Give me the strength and the courage to be that.


Closing Prayer: “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations—that’s what I had in mind for you.
     Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’ I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there. I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it. Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.
     Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered! See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do among nations and governments—a red-letter day! Your job is to pull up and tear down, take apart and demolish, and then start over, building and planting.” (The Message)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

whose house

Opening Prayer: Lord God, you alone are worthy of our attention and our affection.  Help us to fully give ourselves, our lives, and our attention to you this day.  For you demand to be our primary focus, not merely some secondary character in our life’s story.  Amen.

Scripture: Haggai 1:1-9

Journal: What, or whose, house are you building these days?  How do these words speak to you and your life right now?

Reflection: It is so easy to get caught up in the ebb and flow, and chaos and activity, of our lives that we lose track of the reason we are here in the first place—God, and his kingdom.  We invest so much of our time and our energy, and even our money, in building up our own lives and careers and our own financial security that we forget that our ultimate purpose is not to build our kingdom, but his.  It’s a matter of what is focal.  It’s a matter of what is primary and what is secondary.  Surely we would never admit that God’s work and his kingdom was secondary, but the way we spend our time and our resources tells us the real story.  What is the story of your life telling you about who (or what) is primary and who (or what) is secondary these days?


Closing Prayer: Lord God, help me to never be so busy building my own “house” that I do so at the expense of yours.  Amen.