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
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. (Isaiah 58:8-9)
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.
Dear heavenly Father, we praise you for being the God from whom all blessings flow; the Judge who declared us righteous in Christ; and the Lord now working in all things for our good. In response to such incredible grace and love, we gladly take the low place of humility and confession.
Forgive us for caring more about people’s approval than cherishing your acceptance. Forgive us for being quick to judge others and slow to forgive them. Forgive us for scheduling ourselves into exhaustion and bad attitudes. Father, teach us how to live and love at the pace of grace. In Christ’s name, we confess our sins and offer our prayer. 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: The writer of Hebrews was concerned that his readers were still dealing with external practices instead of being aware of their righteousness in Jesus Christ. Hebrews proclaims that the Jewish law, the prophets, and the Biblical narrative of the Old Testament all point to and are fulfilled in Christ. Meditate on the passage. What is the main point? Why is it important today?
OT Context: Amos prophesied during a period when Assyria was ebbing in power and both Israel and Judah were prospering. Israel saw a “golden age,” but Amos had the hard job of telling them that they were about to be overrun again. Reflect on the passage. What’s one way you can immediately apply this text to your life?
“Songs for Every Season” Readings
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.
Read Psalm 13:3-4
“When you are happy, so happy you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be — or so it feels— welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.”
C.S. Lewis penned these words, reminiscent of the “how longs” of Psalm 13:1-2, in the weeks following his wife’s death in July 1960.
We’ve seen over the last two days that God desires us to be honest as we talk with him and lament through prayer. But how do you follow that honesty up? How do you say what David and C.S. Lewis each said and move forward with God? Where does the conversation go from there? Happily, verses three and four provide us a map for navigating the terrain of healthy lament.
First, and this is subtle but significant, Yahweh (often translated LORD) is still David’s God. David is going to keep praying to Him, because Yahweh isn’t a mere concept to which David clings. He’s a Person. In fact, David is convinced that God is the only person upon whom his hope in life and in death can depend. So he’s going to pray like it. However long the wait. As another psalmist would later put it: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26). How do you get that kind of faith? Only as you slog along with God through the muck of life.
Second, David tells God what he needs. He asks God to supply him with fresh strength and energy to face all of the troubles he is enduring (that’s what “light up my eyes” means in Hebrew). David doesn’t stop there, though. It seems that he’s been thinking through the reasons that God should rescue him. He lists three. Each is what we might call “biblically informed.” David knows both who God is and what he has said and promised. And he brings that with him into prayer.
Do you pray that way? Do you press reasons emotion and reason together? You need both to have a true knowledge and relationship with God. Prayer is the place where you combine them. The place where , as one pastor put it, “at the throne of grace, tears fall from your eyes and arguments from your lips.”
Questions to Ponder
Are you specific when you are asking God to meet your needs? What have you learned about what a healthy lament looks like from your Scripture reading today?
Praise God for his mercy in calling you to himself and to your work as one of the main ways he has called you to participate in his work in your community.
Confess how you tend to live in ways that are conformed to the patterns of the world, rather than transformed by the renewal of your mind in Christ (Romans 12:2).
Think back on your day. Was there an instance where God enabled you to respond to a situation in a countercultural, Christ-like way? Thank him for that.
And now may the Lord, who is the strength of His people, be your Shepherd and carry you forever. Amen. (Psalm 23)