A orange, purple, and pink starry sky with the text, "April 20, 2021."

Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?

Call to Prayer

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Prayer of Confession

God of grace, the gospel is like a key that opens up all of heaven and unlocks dead-bolted human hearts.

As you send your church to declare the good news, remind us that we carry a key and not a hammer; convince us that the gentle gospel promises fit the contours of human life, opening minds to know and receive the forgiveness of sins through what Jesus has done.

Today, unbolt my heart to accept the grace of Jesus. Amen.

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Reading Plan

This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow! 

Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm 90 | Read 2 Thessalonians 3

  • Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
  • NT Context: “The way we conceive the future sculpts the present, gives contour and tone to nearly every action and thought through the day. Paul’s two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica, among much else, correct such debilitating misconceptions about the future and our present, prodding us to continue to live forward in taut and joyful expectancy for what God will do next in Jesus. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 91 | Read Joshua 4

  • OT Context: “People who want God as an escape from reality, from the often hard conditions of this life, don’t find this much to their liking. But to the man or woman wanting more reality, not less—this continuation of the salvation story—Joshua’s fierce and devout determination to win land for his people and his extraordinary attention to getting all the tribes and their families name by name assigned to their own place, is good news indeed. Joshua lays a firm foundation for a life that is grounded.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?

Sermon Devo

LITURGICAL PRAYER*

Read: Deuteronomy 6:1–9

When you don’t have to think all the time about what words you are going to say next, you are free to fully enter into the act of praying. — Lauren Winner

Liturgical prayer, written rather than spontaneous, offers many gifts. It gives us words when we have none. It puts in our mouth what saints have prayed through the ages and makes our prayer corporate rather than individualistic. It alleviates the burden of being original or clever. And it can help cultivate a holy reverence for God. It isn’t in competition with spontaneous prayer, but rather another means God gives us to draw near to him. Richard Foster writes:

Over the centuries an unfortunate and, in my opinion, completely unnecessary division has arisen among Christians. On the one side are those who stress liturgy and sacrament and written prayer. On the other side are those who stress intimacy and informality and spontaneous prayer. And each group looks at the other in pious condescension. It is here that we need the holy conjunction “and.” We need not be forced to choose one over another. Both are inspired by the same Spirit. . . . Ours is a spirituality that can embrace both.

Reflect:

1. In today’s passage, God commands the reciting of his commandments. Why? What was the promised result for those who kept God’s commandments?

2. Do you find it difficult or easy to use written prayers? Why?

3. The Shema—”Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone” (Deuteronomy 6:4)—was likely recited by Jesus, like all Jews, at least twice a day. Try setting an alarm for later today to remind yourself to pray.

*This week’s devos come from The Reservoir by Christopher Hall and Carolyn Arends

Evening Prayer of Examen

  • Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
  • Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
  • Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.

Benediction

“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (Eph. 6:24)

© 2014 - OPC|Milford