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
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
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.
God of grace, you love us, but we have not loved you. You call, but we have not listened. We walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped up in our own concerns. By our actions and our attitudes we praise what you condemn. Help us to admit our sin, so that as you come to us in mercy we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. 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: The Exodus is a powerful and dramatic and true story of God working salvation. The story has generated an extraordinary progeny through the centuries as it has reproduced itself in song and poem, drama and novel, politics and social justice, repentance and conversion, worship and holy living. It continues to capture the imagination of men and women, especially men and women in trouble. It is significant that God does not present us with salvation in the form of an abstract truth, or a precise definition or a catchy slogan, but as story. 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) for 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 Parables Reading Plan + Study Guideas we all read the Parables every day this Fall.
Read: Luke 11:1-14 + Psalm 103:8–13
Luke’s narrative has subtle (and not-so-subtle) connections throughout. When you read Luke 11:1-14 you begin to see that Luke’s places an emphasis on both our need to be forgiven for our spiritual debts and God’s willingness to forgive: we have but to ask.
This passage in Luke 11 shows us both how to pray and also how we should envision God’s response to our prayer. “Forgive us our sins” is followed by a parable about persisting in asking God for what we need, no matter how ridiculous the hour of our need. This parable is in turn followed by a vivid reflection on God’s willingness to give us what we need. Just as fathers don’t give snakes in place of fish; God doesn’t give us condemnation instead of the forgiveness we so desperately need.
Psalm 103:8-13 tells us a similar story. In fact, one wonders whether Jesus had this psalm in mind when he told the parable of the two debtors.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
The Psalm recalls God’s revelation to Moses on Sinai: “The Lord, the Lord, that is my name, a God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in hesed (God’s unfailing, steadfast love).
In what way is God merciful and gracious? Simply this: He does not deal with us according to our sins. He doesn’t give us what our sin deserves. Instead, much like the one man’s debt, he removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west. What’s more? He doesn’t treat us like ne’er-do-wells, but instead has compassion upon us as a Father does his children (a concept which will crop up again in Luke 15 with the parable of the two sons).
Questions to Ponder:
What do we do with this God who forgives us our sin, let’s us wake him up in the middle of the night, and gives us exactly what we need? Jesus seems clear: We approach him! We come into his presence without hesitation! We experience the joy of assurance of his steadfast love!
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.
Return O my soul to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:7)