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Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Opening Prayer: O Lord, show me the wonders of your great love; keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.  For you are my God.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 17:7-8

Journal:  Which of these three phrases is most relevant in your life and world these days: Show me the wonders of your great love, Keep me as the apple of your eye, or Hide me in the shadow of your wings?  Why?  How is prayer helping you to become?

Reflection: Prayers are tools, but with this clarification: prayers are not tools for doing or getting, but for being and becoming. (Answering God by Eugene Peterson)


Closing Prayer: Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 17:7-8, NLT)

Monday, February 27, 2017


Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to not get so caught up in fretting and worrying today that it keeps me from delighting in you.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 37:1-8

Journal: Where in your life are you fretting?  What effect is it having on you?  How can you turn from fret to delight and trust?



it is so easy for me to get lost inside myself at times
to get stuck in a slow spiral of darkness and death
unable to break free
trapped in a maze ever deepening
a decaying orbit destined to crash in a dark land
void of light and life
stuck or marooned or stranded
seemingly unable to break free
from the gravitational pull

is it a choice that keeps me in this place
is it as simple as saying no
as interrupting the death spiral
and turning back to a more beautiful way
of being and of seeing
is it simply a choice to return home
to my best and truest self
the one you whispered into being
to turn the ear of my soul
back toward your lips
to hear a more reliable voice
the voice of truth and love and delight
the only voice it seems
that can stop the spinning

only you o god can break the tether
only you can stop this spinning
and restore hope and joy and peace
to my desperate soul


Closing Prayer: Lord, help me not to get so busy and preoccupied spinning around in my own little world today that I forget to pay attention to you and fail to love others.  Amen.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


Opening Prayer: As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:1-2)

Scripture: Psalm 42:1-11

Journal: What is the state of your soul these days?  What are your deepest longings?  How are you longing for God?  How do you offer that to him in prayer?

Reflection: There is much more to being human than simply surviving; there is God—looking for God, pleasing God, getting God’s help.  We are unfinished creatures—longing, reaching, stretching towards fulfillment.  We express these desires for completion in prayer.  Prayers articulate our seeking after the best.  Prayers give voice to aspiration towards the highest. (Answering God by Eugene H. Peterson)


Closing Prayer: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:11)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

stewards of grace

Opening Prayer: Lord God, thank you that you have made us stewards of your divine mysteries.  May we always take that responsibility seriously.  That the world might know the abundance of your grace.  Through Christ.  Amen.

Scripture: Ephesians 3:1-6

Journal: How have you been a steward of God’s grace recently?


     the life of ministry

the stewardship of God's grace
that was given to me for you.
~Ephesians 3:2

grace must be revealed
and then received
before it can be
passed along

i wonder why
that is so hard for us
this receiving

it cannot be achieved
but only given
and for some reason
that drives us crazy

but we cannot give
what we never been given
and receiving is an integral part
of the process of being
good stewards of god's
inexhaustible grace

o god
we beg you
make us good stewards
of the divine riches
of your grace
today and every day

help us to
fully receive it
for ourselves
that we may
freely offer it
to others


Closing Prayer: O Lord, my God, You know my weakness and failings, and that without Your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others’. Grant me, therefore, the help of Your grace. Grant it according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the task You will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and help me work hard at my appointed tasks. Teach me to bear patiently all the trials of suffering or failure that may come to me today. Amen.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

grace has appeared

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, or Savior Jesus.  We praise you with joy, loving God, for your grace is better than life itself.  Once again you have sustained us through the darkness and blessed us with life in this new day.  Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  In your tender compassion the morning sun has once again risen upon us, to shine on us in our darkness and to guide our feet into the paths of peace.  For this and your many mercies, we give you thanks.  Amen.

Scripture: Titus 2:11

Journal: How has God’s grace appeared in your life recently?  How is it doing a work within you?  How is he asking you to show grace to those in your life and world?



i was not looking for it
nor was i expecting it
yet there it was
it just appeared
right out of the blue
it took me by surprise
and filled me with delight

grace had appeared
it just showed up
on my doorstep
and now has
taken up residence
within me

that is the nature of grace
it just appears
that's what it does
it can't be
commanded or controlled
it can't be
manipulated or manufactured

it can only be
given and then received
it can only be
conceived and then born
within us

all we can do
is be open and hopeful
willing to let grace
have its way with us
whenever and wherever
it chooses to appear


Closing Prayer: Show us your grace, O God, that we might show it to others.  Amen.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Opening Prayer: O Lord, our God, thank you that you are always doing a new thing within and among us, whether we can perceive it or not.  Work you good work in us and through us, both this day and every day. Amen.

Scripture: Isaiah 43:18-21

Journal: What new thing is God doing within or around you these days?

Reflection: The life of faith is not only about what God has done—although that is certainly important—or even about what he will do, for that matter.  Isaiah is very clear to tell us that it is about what God is doing; that’s what he is calling us to pay particular attention to.  God is always up to something.  The good news of the gospel is that God is always at work, doing a new thing within and among us, whether we can yet perceive it or not.  The real question is: Do we really believe it’s true?  For if we do, it will significantly change how we go about living our lives.


Closing Prayer: O Lord, help me to let go of the former things, whatever they might be.  Those things that drag me down and tie me up.  Those things that keep me from being free and whole and completely yours.  For only when I let go of the former things will there be room within me to perceive, and receive, the new thing you have already begun doing in my heart and soul.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

beautiful in its time

Opening Prayer: Thank you, O Lord our God, for planting eternity in our hearts.  Thank you for birthing the Divine Life in our souls.  May it well up within us and pour forth from us to all who cross our paths today and everyday.  Amen.

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Journal: How has he made everything beautiful in its time for you?  How have you witnessed that?  How does that give you hope for your current season of life?  How in touch are you with the eternity he has planted in your heart?  What can help nurture that awareness?  How will you cultivate the divine life within you this day, this week, this month, and this year?

Reflection: For the miracle of God comes not only from above; it also comes through us; it is also dwelling in us.  It has been given to every person, and it lies in every soul as something divine, and it waits.  Calling, it waits for the hour when the soul shall open itself, having found its God and its home.  When this is so, the soul will not keep its wealth to itself, but will let it flow out into the world.  Wherever love proceeds from us and becomes truth, the time is fulfilled.  Then the divine life floods through our human relationships and all our works.  Then everything that is lonely and scattered and seeking for the way of God shall be bound together by divine power. (When the Time Was Fulfilled by Eberhard Arnold)


Closing Prayer: Lord God, regardless what the current season of my life may look like, help me hold onto the hope that you can and will make everything beautiful in its time.  Help me to trust you, O Lord, in the meantime.  Amen.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Opening Prayer: Satisfy us in the morning, O God, with your unfailing love, that we might sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 90:12-17

Journal: Who or what determines how you number, or arrange, your days?  What would it look like to allow God to determine that?

Reflection: Annie Dillard once wrote: "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.  What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing."  I think she must have understood the concept of numbering our days aright.  She realized how easy it could be to get lulled to sleep in our lives and lose touch with the fact that we have the responsibility to use our minutes and our hours and our days to live the life we have been given to live, rather than simply allowing life to live us.  We are not merely passive observers, but are active participants.  There is a certain stewardship to this life we have been given; to use it as the One who gave it to us intended.  Our lives are not our own.  They do not belong to us, but to Him.  Thus, we do not establish the work of our hands for ourselves; we ask God, as Moses instructed, to establish the work of our hands for us. (Psalm 90:17)  That takes a lot of time and effort, a lot of being still and making space, a lot of listening and paying attention.  If we are to have any real hope of knowing exactly what the work is that we have been given to do, we must first receive that direction from God, rather than just charging ahead, into our lives, determining for ourselves what our work and our direction will be.  When I finally begin to understand this I can actually hold some hope of someday becoming wise enough to know what it means to number my days aright.


Closing Prayer: Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—and treat your servants with kindness for a change. Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. Make up for the bad times with some good times; we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you’re best at—the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do! (The Message)

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Opening Prayer: O God, train us to pray with others who have prayed, and are praying: put our knees on the level with other bent knees; lift our hands in concert with other lifted hands; join our voices in lament and praise with other voices who weep and laugh.  Thank you that the primary use of prayer is not for expressing ourselves, but in becoming ourselves, and we cannot do that alone.  Amen. ~Eugene H. Peterson

Scripture: Psalm 1:1-6

Journal: Which image in this Psalm best describes your life these days?  What words capture you?  Why?  How can you be more like a tree planted by the streams?  What role does prayer play in that?

Reflection: Prayers are tools, but with this clarification: prayers are not tools for doing or getting, but for being and becoming.  In our largely externalized culture, we are urgently presented with tools that enable us to do things (a machine, for instance, to clean the carpet), and to get things (a computer, for instance, to get information).  We are also well trained in their use.  We are not so readily offered tools that enable our being and becoming human.
     . . . . At the center of the whole enterprise of being human, prayers are the primary technology.  Prayers are tools that God uses to work his will in our bodies and souls.  Prayers are tools that we use to collaborate in his work with us. (Answering God by Eugene H. Peterson)

The Psalms are acts of obedience, answering the God who has addressed us.  God’s word precedes these words: these prayers don’t seek God, they respond to the God who seeks us.  These responses are often ones of surprise, for, who expects God to come looking for us?  And they are sometimes awkward, for in our religious striving we are usually looking for something quite other than the God who has come looking for us.  God comes and speaks—his word catches us in sin, finds us in despair, invades us by grace.  The Psalms are our answers.  We don’t always like what God speaks to us, and we don’t always understand it.  Left to ourselves, we will pray to some god who speaks what we like hearing, or to the part of God that we manage to understand.  But what is critical is that we speak to the God who speaks to us, and to everything that he speaks to us, and in our speaking (which gathers up our listening and answering) mature in the great conversation with God that is prayer.  The Psalms—all of which listen in order to answer—train us in the conversation. (Answering God by Eugene H. Peterson)


Closing Prayer: Lord God, help us this day to mediate on your word and plant ourselves by your streams, that we might be the people that you made us to be.  Amen.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Opening Prayer: Lord, teach me to listen.  The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them.  Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.”  Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart.  Let me get used to the sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking voice.  Amen.  (The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer)

Scripture: Mark 4:9

Journal: How do you practice listening to God?  How often do you feel like you really hear him?  How do you feel about that?

have we become so deaf
to the voice that whispered us into being
that we can no longer hear anything
but the incessant noise of our own inner dialogue

is our hearing like any other bodily function
that must be regularly exercised over time
lest the muscles atrophy and decay to the point
where they no longer function properly

is the reason that we do not hear you o god
simply because we do not try
because we fail to make time and space to listen
is hearing you a lost art that must be rediscovered

how then shall we hear you o god when you say to us
he who has ears to hear let him hear
how can we stimulate that auditory nerve in a way
that the ear of our soul comes to life once again
and makes hearing you a possibility

for we do long to hear your still small voice o god
that voice that softly resonates deep within us
that voice that subtly reveals your great affection
that voice that touches our inmost being
and brings us to life inside

we do have ears o god
so please help us to hear


Closing Prayer: Speak, O Lord, for your servant is listening. (1 Samuel 3:9)

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Opening Prayer: O God, full of compassion, I commit myself to you, in whom I am, and live and know. Be the goal of my pilgrimage and my rest by the way. Let my soul take refuge from the crowding turmoil of worldly thought beneath the shadow of your wings. Let my heart, this sea of restless waves, find peace in you, O God. Amen. ~St. Augustine

Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30

Journal: What is the state of your life and soul these days?  What words would you use to describe it?  Are the words tired or busy two of them?  Why are we so busy?  What are we so resistant to the idea rest?  Why does God desire soul rest for us?  How will you take God up on his invitation to rest in him today?


When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
~John O’Donohue (Blessings)


Closing Prayer: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. ~Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

abundant grace

Opening Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank you for your abundant grace.  May I receive it this day, and may it well up within me and overflow from me to all who come across my path.  Amen.

Scripture: John 1:16

Journal: What is your sense of God’s fullness in your life, heart, or soul?  How does that fullness (or lack thereof) manifest itself in the way you live?  How (specifically) have you received grace upon grace from God these days?

Reflection: Grace is a beautiful thing.  Once it is truly received, it overflows.  Thus, it must become a part of how we live our lives in the world.  It is like a cup overflowing with goodness and blessing and love; it simply cannot be contained.  It is like a honeycomb, oozing with the beauty and the sweetness and the richness of the life of God that wells up within us.  It just spills out upon all who come across our path.  That’s just the way God’s grace and God’s fullness work.


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, may the fullness of your grace abound within me, and overflow from me, to all those in my life and world this day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Opening Prayer: O Lord, as we spend time with you and your Word this day, let us hear the words of your Ancient Song; and let us listen closely for the Song of God that rises in our hearts.  In Christ.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 98:1-9

Journal: What song have you been singing to the Lord these days?  What kind of song is it?  What is the default song of your soul?  What new song is God asking you to sing?

Reflection: In the darkness something was happening at last.  A voice had begun to sing.  It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming.  Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once.  Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself.  There were no words.  There was hardly even a tune.  But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard.  It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it.  The horse seemed to like it too; he gave the sort of whinny a horse would give if, after years of being a cab-horse, it found itself back in the old field where it had played as a foal, and saw someone whom it remembered and loved coming across the field to bring it a lump of sugar.
     “Gawd!” said Cabby.  “Ain’t it lovely?”
     Then two wonders happened at the same moment.  One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count.  They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices.  The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars.  They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening.  One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out—single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world.  There were no clouds.  The new stars and new voices began at exactly the same time.  If you had seen and heard it, as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves who were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.
     “Glory be!” said Cabby.  “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.” (The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis)


Closing Prayer: Sing to God a brand-new song.  He’s made a world of wonders!  He rolled up his sleeves, He set things right.  God made history with salvation, He showed the world what he could do.  He remembered to love us, a bonus to his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.  The whole earth comes to attention.  Look—God’s work of salvation!  Shout your praises to God, everybody!  Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!  Round up an orchestra to play for God, add on a hundred-voice choir.  Feature trumpets and big trombones, fill the air with praises to King God.  Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause, with everything living on earth joining in.  Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!”  And mountains harmonize the finale—a tribute to God when he comes, when he comes to set the earth right.  He’ll straighten out the whole world, He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it. (Psalm 98, The Message)

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Opening Prayer: O gracious and loving God, you work everywhere reconciling, loving, and healing your people and your creation. In your Son and through the power of your Holy Spirit, you invite each of us to join you in your work. We, young and old, lay and ordained, ask you to form us more and more in your image and likeness, through our prayer and worship of you and through the study of your scripture, that our eyes will be fully opened to your mission in the world. Then, God, into our communities, our nation, and the world, send us to serve with Christ, taking risks to give life and hope to all people and all of your creation. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. ~The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

Scripture: Colossians 4:2-4

Journal: Where are you asking God to open doors for the entry of his gospel into your life and world?  What open doors have you seen lately?  How did you respond?  According to these verses, how does God desire us to respond?

Reflection: When you know the story to which you belong, and when you know your role in that story, you have a profound sense of purpose.  That is what we are invited into: God’s ongoing work in this world.  When we find ourselves contributing to a greater story, we thrive. (An Invitation to Thrive by Pamela Ebstyne King, Fuller Magazine, Issue #7)


Closing Prayer: O Lord, may we continue steadfastly in prayer this day, being watchful and thankful.  Open doors, O God, both within us and around us for the declaration of the Mystery of Christ, and give us the grace and the wisdom to know how to respond to those opportunities.  Amen.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

by ourselves

Opening Prayer: For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:5-8)

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Journal: Where and how do you depend on your own sufficiency or competency?  What does it mean to trust the sufficiency and competency of Christ instead?

Reflection: We must once and for all give up trying to be self-made individuals.  Let us cease preaching by ourselves, being right by ourselves, doing good by ourselves, being sensible by ourselves, improving the world by ourselves.  God wants to do everything, certainly through us and with us and never without us; but our participation in what he does must naturally originate and grow out of his power, not ours.  O, how we could then speak with one another.  For whatever does not grow out of God produces smoke, not fire.  But that which is born of God overcomes the world. ~Karl Barth


Closing Prayer:
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand
~Stuart Townend, Keith Getty

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Opening Prayer: Let me know you, O Lord, who knows me; let me know you as I am known.  Enter into my soul and fit it for yourself so that you may have it and hold it without spot or wrinkle.  This is my hope.  Amen.  (Confessions by St. Augustine)

Scripture: John 17:20-23

Journal: What does union with God mean to you?  What do you think it means to God?

Reflection: The mystics keep telling us that the goal of that prayer and the goal of that hidden life which should itself become more and more of a prayer, is “union with God.”  We use that phrase often, much too often to preserve the wholesome sense of its awe-fullness.  For what does union with God mean?  It is not a nice feeling we get in devout moments.  That may or may not be a by-product of union—probably not.  It can never be its substance.  Union with God means every bit of our human mature transfigured in Christ, woven up into his creative life and activity, absorbed into his redeeming purpose, heart, soul, mind and strength.  Each time it happens it means that one of God’s creatures has achieved its destiny. (Light of Christ by Evelyn Underhill)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that what you offer us is far more than a distant, formal acquaintance.  You desire so much more for us and from us.  You desire an intimate, passionate connection—a deep knowing.  Thank you that what you really want is for us to abide in you, that what you really desire is intimate union.  And thank you that you will settle for nothing less, help that to be true of us as well.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

quenching the spirit

Opening Prayer: O Lord, my God, apart from you we have no good thing, but in union with you there is joy and love and peace without measure.  Enliven us by the power of your Spirit, and give us the ability to be joyful always, to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things.  For this is your will for us in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Journal: How do you tend to quench the Spirit in your own heart and life?  In your family?  In your marriage?  In your church?  In your community?

Reflection: They say every community of believers has one—a fire department, that is.  You know what I’m talking about, that person, or group of people, that as soon as something starts to catch fire within us or among us, here they come to douse those flames as quickly as possible with their complaints, or criticisms, or cynicism, or grumpiness, or even their own expert advice and opinions about what should be happening.  It’s like clockwork.  No sooner has something good and beautiful begun to take shape and come to life within us or among us, when someone rushes in to douse, or quench, what is going on.  And if I’m completely honest I have to admit that I have been guilty of being a part of that fire department on more than one occasion.  I’m not really sure what it is, but for some reason when something beautiful is going on, and I’m not a part of it, it makes me insecure and anxious.  Which leads me down that awful rabbit trail—or more accurately down into the cesspool—of criticism and complaint.  It’s really sad.
     I’ll bet Paul saw this happen all the time, which is probably why God had him pen these very words.  For he knew that if we would regularly do the first three things he wrote about—be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances—then, most likely the quenching of the Spirit would never be an issue.  Because the fires of the Spirit are stoked (not quenched) by those three life-giving things: joy, prayer, and gratitude.  O God, help us to pursue those three things (in you) each and every day.


Closing Prayer: O God, you are a consuming fire.  May the fires of your holy love have their way within us and among us, both this day and every day.  Amen.