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
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:20)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Father, we are far too easily pleasedwith the limitations of this world instead of enjoying the limitless blessings that come from you.
We have sinned times without number, and have been guilty of pride and unbelief. We cling too tightly to our selfish ambitions and earthly possessions while neglecting to seek you in our daily lives.
Our sins and shortcomings present us with a list of accusations, but we thank you that they will not stand against us, for all have been laid on Christ. Help us to approach your throne of grace with confidence,so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
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).
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: Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: First, God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God. Genesis gets us off on the right foot. Genesis pulls us into a sense of reality that is God-shaped and God-filled. It gives us a vocabulary for speaking accurately and comprehensively about our lives, where we come from and where we are going, what we think and what we do, the people we live with and how to get along with them, the troubles we find ourselves in and the blessings that keep arriving. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide. Follow along with our Philippians Reading Plan + Study Guide as we all read Philippians every day this summer.
The Bible is meant to be our teacher in everything, and just as we search it to know the truth, and to know how to behave, so we should seek to learn from it how to pray.
Think, for example, of Psalm 139. The last five verses reveal that David is ‘up against it’, facing such hostility as can only be solved by asking for the destruction of his foes. Yet, pressing and deadly though the danger is, it takes him eighteen verses to get around to asking about it – eighteen verses telling God about God! Eighteen verses filling his mind with the glories of the God to whom he speaks! How very different is this prayer (v. 1, ‘O Lord, you …’) from the rush we so often make into the presence of God with ‘O Lord we …’, or ‘O Lord, I…’!
It would seem that, in Bible prayers, the first concern is the truth about the God to whom we would bring our needs. In Isaiah, starting with today’s passage, the proportions are not the same as in Psalm 139; eight verses of meditation on the Lord (63:7–14), followed by nineteen verses of request (63:15–64:12), but the truth about prayer is the same.
Start with God: his abundant goodness (v. 7), his loving claim of his people (v. 8), his identification with us in our needs (v. 9), his forbearance (v. 10), and his faithfulness now to what he was then (vv. 11–14).
Now that we know him we are better placed to speak to him of our needs, to know what to ask, and to be confident of a hearing. And does not ‘the Lord’s Prayer’ reveal the same pattern: first, God’s name, kingdom and will; then our needs – food, forgiveness and protection?
The great man who would rather call himself ‘poor George Muller’ would kneel daily with open Bible, read, and turn what he had read into godly meditation and praise, before ever mentioning his own need and that of two thousand orphans in his care. Lord, make me like that!
Questions to Ponder: Jesus’ redemption of you ensures that you can come to God the Father with your thoughts, needs, and concerns in prayer. Take 5 minutes today to spend re-reading the passage and pray the passage back to God. Kneel if you can and simply ask God to meet with you by his Word and Spirit.
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.
You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase. I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:7-8)