Day 53 – Jesus Enjoyed Life!

Luke 10:21: “At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.’”

Devotion: Jesus enjoyed life.  He loved his family.  He delighted in his discipleship[1] and gathering disciples.[2] He took pleasure in attending parties,[3] wedding banquet, Sabbath suppers, and raising the dead.[4]  He savored solitude.[5]  Jesus was happy when he healed people.[6]   Jesus embraced children with a holistic love.[7]  God’s son relished thirty-three years of relationships on earth before the excruciating experience the week of his crucifixion.  Jesus’ death and resurrection was the most important event in human history, and his Second Coming will define history forever.  However, should the suffering of our Savior overshadow the fact that Jesus enjoyed life?

One might say Jesus came to enjoy life since God is a God of relationships (the Father loves the Son and Holy Spirit, who reciprocate love as Trinity).  The Father incarnated the Son, Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of Bethlehem, by the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of bringing joy to life.  Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they (my disciples) may have life, and have it abundantly.”[8]  Yes, Jesus came for multiple reasons: to reveal the Father,[9] give his life as a ransom for many,[10] to do the Father’s will,[11]  to bring division,[12] to serve,[13] etc.  Pleasure was also part of the plan.

As Christ’s followers, shouldn’t our lives match that of our Savior?  Should our lives solely reflect the final somber week of Jesus’ incarnation or can our lives be filled with the ecstasy of the Spirit which Jesus experienced in prayer?  Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Psalm 32:11)

Prayer:  Our Father in Heaven, you delighted in making us for the pleasure of your own good will in the joy of the Holy Spirit.  Give us a glimpse of your goodness that our hearts might sing, mouths praise you, and bodies dance, in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Jesus Dance,” page 311, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved. 


[1] Luke 2:49

[2] Luke 5:1-11

[3] Luke 5:27-32

[4] Luke 7:11-17, 8:40-56

[5] Luke 5:16

[6] Luke 8:26-39

[7] Luke 9:47

[8] John 10:10

[9] Matthew 11:27

[10] Matthew 20:28

[11] John 6:38

[12] Luke 12:51

[13] Matthew 20:28

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Day 52 – Do You Hear the Trumpet of the Lord?

Leviticus 25:1-24: “You shall count off seven weeks of years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years.  Then you shall have the trumpet sounded aloud; on the tenth day of the seventh month – on the Day of Atonement – you shall the trumpet sounded throughout all your land.  And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” (v. 8-10).

Devotion:  My daughter learned to play the trumpet.  We enjoyed listening to her play familiar melodies on her rented brass instrument, now that she is past practicing, “Hot Crossed Buns,” for one thousandth time.  Winter concerts became enjoyable, too.  Her insatiable desire to wake the family from our winter slumber with a trumpet blast, however, was something we have not grown to love.

The blast of a ram’s horn (Hebrew: yobhel, meaning jubilee) was essential to Israel’s worship.  The piercing sound proclaimed the onset of sacred time (time set apart for God).  God ordained the Sabbath (seventh day),[1] sabbatical rest (seventh year),[2] and the Jubilee year (seven times seven years).[3]  These festivals (along with other appointed festivals and at the beginning of your months) started with a trumpet call for all people – free and enslaved, rich and poor, male and female, Jew and non-Jew – to rejoice in the Lord who provides for human needs, protects God’s people, establishes justice, frees the prisoner, and stresses ownership of all things.[4]  This practice was to continue in perpetuity, until the Last Trumpet sounds for Christ’s Second Coming as the ultimate, unending Jubilee.[5]

Do you hear the ram’s horn blowing for you?  It summons you to lay down your weapons against God, and surrender to the truth of sacred time: you are a bankrupt sinner whom God yearns to set free through forgiving love.  You were an enemy of God by your rebellious will but the trumpet proclaims God’s festival celebration among the angels at the moment you repent.[6]  It is a trumpet of warning telling you that time is drawing nigh – For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and the with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.”[7] Don’t miss the ram’s horn for the ultimate Jubilee because you are asleep!

Prayer: God our Father, you call us to wake-up in Jesus Christ by the stirring of your Holy Spirit.  Open our ears to hear the Jubilee call by the blast of your trumpet in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Centering Prayer,” page 138, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  


[1] Exodus 20:8-11

[2] Leviticus 25:1-7

[3] Leviticus 25:8-55

[4] Numbers 10:10

[5] Revelation 11:14-19

[6] Luke 15:1-7

[7] 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

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Day 51 – Pitching His Tent among Us

John 1:1-18: And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth (v. 14).

Devotion:  My brother snored.  Actually, that is an understatement.  My brother SNORED.  He was more than a bedroom snorer or even a household snorer.  My brother as a neighborhood snorer: you could hear him a block away.  Sharing a room with him for most of my childhood must have made me deaf to his sleeping problem.

One time, my family went camping in a state park.  We pitched our tent, prepared the campfire, ate hotdogs, and roasted s’mores.  Then, we retired for the evening.  It was a busy weekend.  Campers filled every site in the park.  They were all gone the next morning when we awoke.  The rangers told my parents that my brother snored so loud that people packed up and went to other camp grounds in the middle of the night.

John tells a different story in his Gospel: In the middle of the night, while all the earth was sleeping, God came in the flesh as Babe of Bethlehem by pitching is tent among us.  God came to tabernacle among us in Jesus Christ – to dwell with us in complete harmony.  He caught us all unawares as he came to draw all people to himself.[1]  He did not come to drive people away.[2]  He came as the glorious light of Trinitarian community which he yearned to extend to humans in exhaustless companionship.

In the darkness of the world, let us remember that Jesus came as the True Light.  He was the fullness of God’s Light (Divine revelation).  Jesus was not a reflection of moonlight, the dim beam of a flash light, the flickering of a campfire, or the tail of a shooting star. Looking into him we see the fullness of God’s grace and truth; and we see ourselves (helpless, hopeless, and nude).  Do not hide out in the dark, snoring!  Wake up, and come to the one who has come to you.  Pull up a chair, warm yourself by the fire of Spirit, and join in the everlasting songs of praise.

Prayer: God our Father, thank you for coming to us in Jesus Christ, when we could not come to you because of our sin.  Thank you for pitching your tent among us, and not driving us from the land.  Shine your light upon, inside, and around us to reveal your divine self, and your invitation to true community.  Call us from the darkness of this world into your bountiful light.  We pray in the name of Christ. Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Novenas,” page 85, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  


[1] John 12:32

[2] John 6:37

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Day 50 – Union with God in Christ

John 17:20-21: Jesus prayed, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Devotion:  Union with God in Christ is the goal of Christian spirituality.  The goal of Christian living is not self-improvement (i.e., being the best spouse, parent, neighbor, worker, or citizen).  Transcendental meditation (emptying oneself for spiritual enlightenment) is not the goal of Christian spiritual practices, for baptized believers are called to be filled with God the Holy Spirit.[1]  Scripture memorization is not the goal of Christian maturity, but it is a helpful practice towards union with God in Christ.  Membership in a counter-cultural movement, or political ideology, is not the goal of Christian spirituality, for Jesus prayed, “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.”[2] Being one with the Father, as Jesus Christ is one with God, is the goal of the Christian life.

Seeking oneness with God requires submission and surrender to the revelation of God in Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus knew believers could not be one with God, and the community of the faithful, without God’s miraculous intervention and transformation that occurs in Christ.  Sinful humans want to be the center of all things, as the serpent tempted our First Parents.[3] Christ came to redeem the righteous order of the universe: God first, others second, ourselves third.  As the Father was working in Jesus Christ, so now the living Spirit of God abides and aligns the believer in the image and intimacy of the Trinity.

One of the petitions of Jesus’ prayer was that God would make believers one in Christ as a witness to the world.  This is a grand request: to make future believers one.  Jesus asked the Father to lay-out and construct a Church that revealed the divine image and intimacy of the One-in-Three, Three-in-One Godhead.  The Savior asked his Father to create a community of believers who would exist for one purpose: being one. God fashioned a people in faith.

The fruit of God’s formative work was world-wide witness.  Our congregational unity testifies to our Christian maturity (God in us) and God’s work in the world, just as Jesus’ oneness with the Father was a witness to the Apostles.  How can bitterly divided people tell a fractured world about the unifying love of God in and for Christ?  Unity for global evangelism will require that the Church move beyond tolerance to transformation, from happy friends to harmony, from liking one another to self-sacrificing love.

My pastoral friend expressed it best in her benediction: “Go in peace and live in unity with God, with yourself, with others, and with all of Creation.”  Amen and amen.

Prayer: Father, make me one with your people, and your people one with me, in Christ as you are one with your son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Benediction and Blessing,” page 123, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  


[1] Acts 2:4, Ephesians 5:18,

[2] John 17:15

[3] Genesis 3:5

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Day 49 – Tattooed

Leviticus 19:28: You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.

Devotion:  A grandmother lay in her casket.  The grieving family gathered around her body to mourn Rachel’s death.  Each grandchild processed passed the body to see if their name was still tattooed on their grandmother’s wrist, starting with the oldest to the youngest.  Parents comforted their children by saying, “see, grandma remembers you.”  It was the only time I witnessed this unique ritual.

Tattoos have become popular, again.  I write, “again,” because they were popular among the pagan cultures during the time of the Patriarchs.  It was customary in Near Eastern cultures to memorialize the dead by cutting or tattooing the body.  This superstitious practice attempted to keep alive the deceased loved one.  In the Hebraic law, God forbid this scandalous bereavement ritual of remembering the dead with tattoos and marks upon the body.[1] People were not responsible for remembering the deceased or keeping their death alive.  The Eternal One was responsible for remembering those who had gone before us.

Also, tattoos on or under the human flesh do not last forever.  Tattoos only last as long as an individual is alive.  God spoke of humanities temporary condition through the prophet of Isaiah, saying,  “Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”[2]  Memorials in human skin do not endure forever.

The People of God were to practice different grieving ritual.  We were to entrust the memory of our ancestors to the Lord who lives forever beyond time and space!  In Isaiah 49:16, God said, “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”   Instead of disfiguring the skin, which dishonors the image of God in the person, the People of God were to recognize God’s permanent inscription of our names on the palms of God’s hands.

The nails piercing Jesus’ hands were God’s inscription tool.  The indelible ink was Jesus’ crimson blood poured out on the Cross of Calvary.  The names are those who confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God.[3]  The canvas is the hand of the Creator.  Who better to remember – and call forth the memory of the deceased – than the One who is Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of all humankind?

Prayer: God our Father, you are eternal while we are finite.  You are permanent, while we pass away like the grass and leaves in each time of season.  You created in your image which we sinfully marred.  Forgive us.  In our grief, send us your indwelling Spirit to help us trust in your wisdom, permanence, and presence. Let us rejoice like the angels of heaven when a sinner comes home, and their name is engraved on your hand with the blood of Jesus. We pray.  Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Tallith: The Prayer Shawl,” page 128, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  


[1] Leviticus 19:28

[2] Isaiah 40:7-8

[3] Luke 10:20

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Day 48 – Be Careful with Your Prayers

Exodus 33:18-23 – Moses said, ‘Show me your glory, I pray.’

Devotion:  Be careful with your petitions unto the Lord, servants of God, for you may get what you do not understand or expect.  The Lawgiver asked the Lord, “Show me your glory, I pray.’’  Did Moses fully understand the request he was making of the Almighty One?  God had already promised the continued Divine presence with Israel.  Was the Word of the Lord not enough for their salvation?  Did the People of God, or their leaders, need to see the magnificent glory of the Lord to be assurance of God’s presence?

Was Moses prepared to see the kābôd, the glory, or literally, the “weight” of God?  No, for God answered his servant, “no one shall see me and live”?[1]  Although we long to be like Job, to see God with our own eyes,[2] we must remember that people who encounter the glory of God without divine protection are in danger of eradication.[3]  The marvelous splendor of God’s glory cannot be fully experienced or comprehended by sinful humanity apart from Jesus Christ.[4] Encountering the glory of the Lord is a dignified desire, and yet, a disastrous deed.  This did not deter Moses’ bold prayer for the impossible: let me endure your weight, God.

Instead of compromising Moses’ life, the Lord granted Moses’ petition in a different way: “You shall see my back” (v. 15).  Moses was placed in the safety of the cleft of the rock, protected by the hand of God, as the Lord passed by (v. 22).  Since God’s splendor was too great for humanity, we were allowed to experience God in past acts and deeds.  We see God’s passing glory, the revelation of the Divine self in history, and glimpse the glory of God.

But now, in Jesus Christ, our Rock of Salvation,[5] we do not need to pray the words of Moses, like the Apostle Philip, when he asked Jesus a similar petition, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”[6]  In Jesus, the fullness of God is pleased to dwell[7] and the glory of God shines upon humanity.   Therefore, in Christ, we confidentially enter into the presence of the Lord.[8]  Yet, let us be cautious not to enter God’s presence arrogantly.  For we must always be ready to encounter the fullness of God’s radical, reforming righteousness, which does not leave us unchanged, but humbles, convicts, and makes us grateful for God’s gracious presence.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for not destroying humanity by your glorious presences, but showing yourself to be compassionate and kind in Christ Jesus.  Invite us into your glorious presence where we can be transformed into the image of your Son, by the work of your Spirit.  Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Praying with Mandala,” page 293, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  


[1] Exodus 33:20

[2] Job 19:27

[3] Leviticus 10:2

[4] John 14:9

[5] 1 Corinthians 10:4

[6]  John 14:8

[7] Colossians 1:19, 2:9

[8] Hebrews 10:19-25

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Day 47 – I Thank My God for You

1 Thessalonians 1:1-3: “We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Devotion:  If prayer is primarily petition (“God, please…”), then worship is primarily praise (“Thank you!”).  Christians are accustomed to asking their Heavenly Father to draw near, counteract concerns, provide daily needs, heal others, etc.  This is exactly what Jesus Christ taught his followers.[1]   Do we also recall that “prayer is quite simply the first act of thanksgiving toward God”?[2]  Karl Barth wrote, “Every one of us who knows God must return thanks to him.”[3] The Lord is the only One who answers, blesses, and grants our petitions.  Therefore, the Lord is worthy of our thanks (praise, gratitude, expressions of appreciation, devotion, and love).

The Apostle Paul used two powerful words in his pastoral letter to the Christians in Thessalonica: “thank you.”  He repeated these words to God – not to the Christians in the church – constantly remember before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul knew the gifts of faith, love and hope were from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[4] Therefore, Paul expressed his praise to the Lord in written prayer.[5]

Are we in the habit of praising the Triune One like the Apostle Paul? Do we praise God for the work of faith church members perform for God on our behalf (e.g., serving in the nursery, teaching Sunday school, filling our bowls of soup, etc.?  Do we worship God for the labor of love fellow believers offer to God while serving us (e.g., gathering the offering, serving as ushers, cleaning the dishes, etc.)?  Do we adore the Spirit for the perseverance of the Saints who have shown us the way?  In this season of thanksgiving, let us begin our prayers with praise for the things we have already received, before we move on to the next need!

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all you have given me in Christ Jesus by the work of your Spirit.  Give me words and music to express my gratitude!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Adoration Prayer,” page 161, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  


[1] Matthew 7:7-11, Matthew 18:19, John 14:13-14,  John 15:7-8, John 15:16, John 16:23

[2] Barth, Karl, Prayer (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002), 15-16.

[3] Ibid, 16.

[4] James 1:17

[5] 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5, 2:13-16, and 3:9-10

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Devotional Day 46 – Jesus Prays for You

Acts 7:56: “Look,’ Stephen said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’”

Devotion:  “Listen to this, dad,” my daughter requested from the piano bench.  “I’m learning a new song.”  I recognized the tune within the first measure.  “That is, Good King Wenceslas,” I exclaimed.  “You’re right,” she belted back with her face aglow.  “Sing it with me.”  We like to wake our household the morning after Christmas with this song.

The Feast of Stephen is December 26. It commemorates the martyrdom of the first Deacon of the Christian Church.[1]  The Bible tells us that persecution erupted upon the fledgling followers of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, shortly after Pentecost, just as Jesus predicted.[2] Stephen was arrested, placed on trial before the Jewish Supreme Court (the Sanhedrin), and sentenced to the ultimate punishment: death.  As he was stoned, God revealed the great mystery of the Trinity: “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (v. 55).  The Three appear in one glorious sight, witnessing the martyrdom of God’s beloved saint.

What was Jesus doing standing at God’s right hand?  Scholars tell us he was welcoming Stephen’s spirit home, like the father welcomed the prodigal son home. Others tell us he was standing in judgment against this inhuman act.  I think Jesus was standing at the right hand of God praying for Stephen.[3]

What were Jesus’ words in prayer?  One could only image what Jesus was speaking at that moment.  Was Jesus praying again his high priestly prayer of John 17:6-26?  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours (v. 9).  Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one (v. 11).  While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by the name you gave me (v. 12).  I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them (v. 13). My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one (v. 15). Whatever Jesus said in intercession, it helped Stephen witness in death the truth of God’s redeeming love (v. 59-60).

Saintly soul, remember in your times of trial and temptation, Jesus intercedes for you.  Jesus prayed for you, is now at the right hand of the Father praying for you, and will continue to pray for you.  Let us not be like the courtly page who almost gave up following Good King Wenceslas through the snow, deep and crisp and even. Let us look to heaven like Stephen, filled with the Spirit, where we will see Christ at the right hand of God praying for us!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, you sent Jesus Christ into the world to redeem all of creation.  He came to us as the babe of Bethlehem.  He served you faithfully, persevering all the way to the cross of Calvary.  By the power of your Spirit, you raised Jesus Christ from the dead, giving all of your saints the glorious image of the Heavenly Trinity.  Now, full of the Spirit, help your children persevere through life’s trials until we join you in heaven.  In Jesus’ mighty name.  Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Tongsung Kido,” page 204, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  


[1] Acts 6:8-8:1

[2] John 15:18-16:4

[3] Romans 8:34

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Devotional Day 45 – Give Thanks!

Ephesians 5: Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Devotion:  My son, David, drew two charming pictures at Kids Bible Club.  The teacher asked the kindergartener class to draw a picture of something they thank God for this year.  The art is elementary with a little, orange boy with long arms, big eyes, and disproportionate feet. The picture shows, “Macy is sleeping,” and David is, “sneaking in to get my sister.”  This is a bedtime game they enjoy.

The second picture is better!  David is a little, green boy with spiked hair.  He drew me with a big red head, a tie (I am always wearing a tie in his drawings), spiked hair, and a “winking eye.”  He is thankful for our morning grooming habits of spiking his hair with gel.  These pictures remind me to give thanks for small moments in my day that give others a big heart!

The Apostle Paul instructed the Ephesians Christians to be thankful for every day moments!  In a society that expected alcohol to be part of “fun,” Paul said: be filled with Spirit.  This was a counter-cultural principle to the Roman philosophy of all things in moderation.  Paul taught that alcoholic spirits can lead to debauchery (a come occurrence in pagan festivities): excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures and crude behavior that robbed party goers of joyful memories.  How many people do we know who wake up with regrets because of things they said or did while intoxicated?  Worldly spirits do not give the same lasting joy as the Spirit of the Lord – who is eternal with the Father and Son. 

Paul suggested that we turn to the eternal virtue of worship to find pleasure in life, by singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  Temperance and simplicity, instead of moderation, enable us to giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything n the name of our Lord Jesus Christ with sober minds.  As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, let us recall our nation’s Puritan roots which inaugurated this annual festival of thanks!

Prayer: Father, we join with the heavenly hosts in the eternal thanksgiving which honors your name with sober minds and simple hearts.  We are truly grateful for all your wonderful gifts in the name of Jesus.  Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Adoration Prayer,” page 161, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  

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Devotional Day 44 – Talk to Me!

John 16:24 – Jesus said, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

Devotion:  David did not speak until he was almost four years old.  We worried as parents that he was deaf, mute, or had vocal cord problems.  The doctors assured us that David was a typical little boy – he preferred to grunt and use sign language to get want he wanted, instead of speaking to us.  Our family physician encouraged us to stop giving him things until he used words to communicate his wants and needs. 

It was difficult at first!  He threw a torrent of tantrums when he pointed and grunted, but did not get want he wanted, right away.  “Use words,” we would say to him.  He still refused.

His older sisters did not help.  “Mom, he wants a drink,” they’d say.  “I know dear,” my wife would reply.  “He needs to learn to use words.”  “Just give him what he wants,” they’d counter.  “No,” she replied, “he needs to learn to use words.”  Eventually he started using single words: milk, water, juice, now!  Later, he learned to use multiple words, phrases, and sentences, too.

How often do we act like toddlers when it comes to prayer petitions?   We treat God the same way our son treated us!  We want something but we don’t ask.  We think God understands our wants, needs, and desires because we point, grunt, and say, “I want that, now.”  Would we receive more answers to our prayers if we learned to ask in a spiritually mature way (I’m not suggesting there is a right mechanistic way)? 

Jesus’ disciples wanted to know things about his death and future kingdom, but they were afraid to ask him.  He told them repeatedly, ask God for anything in his name and the Father would do it (John 14:13, 14:14, and 15:16). Fear and indecision kept them from asking, and therefore, it kept from receiving the most basic needs.  The Apostle James told the Church of this truth when he wrote: “You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”[1]

What should be on our list of things to ask the Father?  There are countless petitions in the New Testament alone!  I made a list of all the requests the Apostle Paul asked of his churches (e.g., Colossians 1:9, 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, etc.).  This list kept me on my knees in prayer for several days simply praying for Paul’s requests that are still valid today!  Make a list of things you need God to grant to you, your family, and the Church.  Then, hear God’s invitation, “Talk to me!”

Prayer: God, I praise you for your patience and loving-kindness.  I confess that I am more likely to try things on my own, rather than turn to you in prayer.  I ask for you to hear my prayers and petitions.  Give us the Spirit of Jesus, in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “Prayer Beads,” page 266, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  


[1] James 4:1-3.

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