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 gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Ps. 145:8)

Prayer of Confession

Holy God, corruption is everywhere. For too long sin and disobedience has been our master, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve. And still today, I look around and see this sin that poisons our life. We’re all natural born sinners, corrupt from conception on. And I stand as another generation of such born sinners. Lord, have mercy. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Questions 7)

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

Lent Devo: Backyard Pilgrim

Our normal devotional will resume after Easter. During Lent this year we will follow along over the next 40 days with quotes from the daily “Bible Path” and “Parish Path” of Backyard Pilgrim by Matt Canlis. 

Our journey along the Bible Path will follow the story of God’s history with humanity and contains many questions arising from the Biblical text and centering around the question that we often ask God, but also one that he asks us: Where are you?

Our journey along the Parish Path will take us, for at least 15 minutes each day, outside our front door and into the parish of our town. So find a path and get to know our town as you ponder the place where God has planted you. 

Day 1: Darkness | Read: Genesis 1:1-2

As parents we are tempted to comfort our children with words, yet in the very beginning, God said nothing. God was simply present—present in the deepest darkness. 

Words would come, and with them whole galaxies would be song-spun into existence. But for the moment, it was enough for God to simply be there. To be present. To be patient. To be both at peace and powerful to create. 

What kind of parent is God? Genesis’s opening words give a silent answer: God is the parent who is present. Before there was light, before there were any signs of life, and even without words, God said: Here I AM…present in the dark.

Your pilgrimage during Lent starts in darkness. Don’t go outside, first find a room with no windows and close the door. You can also find a quiet place and simply close your eyes. Hold out your hand and feel the empty space before you. Ask God to guide you from darkness to light during this lenten season. 

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 2:14-26

Kent Hughes writes, 

“Illumination through Illustration (vv.15-17)
To further emphasize the importance of a faith that works, James now gives a shocking illustration: “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food…”(vv.15-17). In this illustration a “brother or sister,” a fellow believer who sits at the Lord’s Table with the rest of the church in worship, is inadequately clad, perhaps in rags or lacking an outer garment, and is so destitute that he or she does not even have food to eat that day. You, feeling full and satisfied in your fashionable wardrobe, see the tattered believer and with a radiant smile say, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed” and without the slightest twinge of conscience go merrily on your way.

If and when this happens, something is radically wrong with one’s faith. So James properly asks, “What good is it?,” the only answer being, “None at all.” Thus he concludes, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (v. 17). It is not only outwardly dead, but inwardly dead—totally lifeless and useless…

True faith requires compassion and action. An English preacher happened across a friend whose horse had been accidentally killed. While the crowd of onlookers expressed empty words of sympathy, the preacher stepped forward and said to the loudest sympathizer, “I am sorry five pounds. How much are you sorry?” Then he passed the hat. Profession requires action or it is not real!

If we tend to talk about our faith in Christ and the truth of his Word, but do nothing, or very little, we may be in spiritual trouble. If we refuse to get our hands dirty, or if we are cheap and grudging with other people, we must take inventory of our souls. James says “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”—nekros, an ugly word. If we are “lite” on works, we may be in the clutches of Satan, the necromancer of lost souls.

REFLECT: James gives us an illustration to help illuminate us as to the nature of true faith. How would you describe the difference between true faith and nekros faith? Where in your life do you see each growing?

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.


Redeem us from all wickedness, purify us and make us your very own, eager to do what is good. (see Titus 2:14)