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
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: “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.
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?
Read: Matthew 19:13–15
Lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us. — C. S. Lewis
Nothing stops prayer in its tracks like feeling inadequate. How are we finite creatures to approach the eternal Creator? And if we do come, are we really to bring our little troubles? Surely the God of the universe has more important things to deal with than our trivialities. So our thinking goes. But it is a limitation of earthly kings to have no time for small matters. God has no such limitation. His power affords him total presence to every person and every situation at all times. He’s big enough to care for small situations. His love is strong enough to embrace us where we are, not where we wish we were.
In “Simple Prayer,” we come like a child to God with whatever is on our minds, big or small. It’s the first kind of prayer we pray, and one we never outgrow. Richard Foster says:
Simple Prayer involves ordinary people bringing ordinary concerns to a loving and compassionate Father. There is no pretense in Simple Prayer. We do not pretend to be more holy, more pure, or more saintly than we actually are. We do not try to conceal our conflicting and contradictory motives from God—or ourselves. And in this posture, we pour out our heart to the God who is greater than our heart and who knows all things (1 John 3:20).
1. Why do you think the disciples wanted to stop the children from coming to Jesus?
2. What is it about children that Jesus wants us to emulate? How can we apply that to the way we come to God, how we talk to God, and what we talk to God about?
*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.
“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (Eph. 6:24)