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 righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Ps. 145:17-18)

Prayer of Confession

Lord God, by an entirely supernatural work, not less than a new creation, you brought me from death to life. For this, and all your mercy, I thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen. (Prayer based on the Canons of Dort, Question 12.2)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Lent Devo: Backyard Pilgrim

Throughout Lent this year we will follow along over the next 40 days with quotes from Backyard Pilgrim by Matt Canlis which gives us a daily Bible Path (the story of God’s redemption) and Parish Path (a literal path through town where you can walk and ponder what God has shown you through his Word).

Day 31: In the Garden | Read: Mark 14:35-36


In the first garden, Adam and Eve hid from God in silence. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus bravely seeks his Father’s will in prayer. Jesus does so honestly: “Take this cup from me.” Jesus does so humbly: “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus prays affectionately: “ Abba, Father.”

This trinity of honesty, humility, and affection is without parallel. It is the first instance in recorded history that a person addressed God not just as Father, but as Abba—“Daddy.”

At the very moment when Jesus might doubt his Father’s wisdom and turn away, the Son leans into the Father. He speaks with hope and without shame. Many people miss the fact that Jesus asks for the cup of suffering to be removed, wondering if his Father can find another way. But Jesus’ honesty does not dampen his humility. He prays “your will be done” not because he is resigned to whatever happens next, but because he believes his Father is able to redeem whatever darkness follows. The Son gives his Father a clear either/or: “Daddy, either take away this cup of suffering or make it worth the pain. Take this cup away, or turn it into the salvation of the world.”

For you, here I AM . . . praying “Abba, Father.”


Do you pray with such honest hope? Such humility? Such affection? This is the kind of prayer the Father seeks, the Spirit inspires, and that Jesus has already prayed on your behalf.

What is something you are facing that is causing you pain or confusion? Join Jesus in praying to your Father in Heaven with his trio of honesty, humility, and affection. On your walk, feel free to “go a little farther” and even “fall to the ground and pray.” From dust you came, and to dust you shall return.

Sermon Devo

We are in our Winter series through the book of James. Each day we will dig into a different aspect of this New Testament wisdom book which will, by the end of the week, help to give you a fuller portrait of the kind of lives we are called to live as Christians.  

Read: James 5:12-20

Dan Doriani leads us forward into James’ teaching on prayer and healing by noting,

The topic of healing seems to arise abruptly in James, but it fits perfectly with the themes of chapters 4 and 5. You will recall that James promises grace to those who embrace gospel humility. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10). In the next section, James warns of three sins against humility: slander (4:11–12), presumptuous planning for riches (4:13–17), and abuse of wealth and power (5:1–6). Next, James proposes three antidotes to arrogance. Each reverses one of the sins of pride. James lists them in chiastic order.

  • We must not slander and judge our brothers (4:11–12).
  • We do not plan presumptuously (4:13–17).
  • The rich must not exploit the poor (5:1–6).
  • If the rich exploit us, we wait until the Lord, the Judge, comes (5:7–12).
  • We do not make proud plans, but take our joys and sorrows to God (5:13–18).
  • If our brother sins, we don’t slander; we correct and restore him (5:19–20).

So then, prayers for healing are part of the life of gospel humility. Yet James wants to do more than oppose arrogance one more time. He tells the church to pray in every setting of life, to take every concern to our Sovereign Lord. As James says: “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise” (5:13) Paul also summons Christians to pray in all circumstances (Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17–18). James develops the idea by giving directions for four situations:

  1. If anyone suffers hardship, let him pray.
  2. If anyone is in good spirits, let him praise.
  3. If anyone is sick, let him call elders.
  4. If someone calls the elders, let them pray.

James 5 also describes various groups of people and when they pray. Individuals pray for joys and sorrows (5:13–14), elders pray over sickness (5:14–15), friends pray over sins they’ve committed (5:16), and prophets pray in time of need (5:17–18). Whatever our condition, whatever the circumstance, we should take it to the Lord in prayer.

REFLECT: As you can see, prayer is the overarching theme in this passage. Is there anything that came to mind as you read about which your Heavenly Father is prompting you to pray? Take it to him now.

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.


“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life.” (1 John 5:11-12)