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: “In his letters to two young associates—Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete—we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations. This is essential reading because ill-directed and badly formed spiritual leadership causes much damage in souls. Paul in both his life and his letters shows us how to do it right.” 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?
JESUS PRAYS FOR HIS DISCIPLES*
Read: John 17:6–19
Joy, not grit, is the hallmark of holy obedience. — Richard Foster
With Judas having fled, Jesus here prays for his eleven disciples in the upper room. This prayer is rich and deep. A slow and thoughtful reading yields many treasures. One is that Jesus longs for the unity of his disciples. Another is that he desires for them to have his joy made complete in them.
Whenever Jesus repeats something, we know it’s important. In John 15:11, Jesus told his disciples he wanted them to have the same joy that he had. Now, in John 17:13, he prays for that same thing. This word for “joy” means gladness, happiness, calm delight. Here Jesus is on the brink of a horrific death, betrayed by one of his closest companions, talking about gladness. It’s astounding. The writer of Hebrews says it was “for the joy set before him [that] he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). What kind of joy was this that could sustain the Son of Man in the face of such suffering?
1. Why is joy—gladness, cheerfulness, calm delight—so important to Jesus? What do you think is the “joy set before him” that sustained him on the cross?
2. Let’s linger on joy for a moment more. Imagine the face of Jesus. It is a face free from anxiety or hurry. His eyes are full of compassion and his smile says, “I’m glad you are here.” Close your eyes and take one or two minutes in quiet to linger with this picture. End with this simple prayer: “Father, I desire the joy of Jesus. Please do whatever it takes to make that joy a reality in me.”
*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)