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
“Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.” (Ps. 66:1-2)
Prayer of Confession
Holy God, I confess I’m not far from murder because I see shoots of it snaking through my heart. The ugly wish for another to fail, bitter sarcasm, anger I throw like grenades, even the secretly guarded prejudice I keep locked down. Kill off this ugly root and grow the good fruit of love. In Christ who died for me. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 106)
*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).
Pray Psalm 16 | Read Luke 3
- 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: Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 17 | Read 1 Kings 15
- OT Context: “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines…This story makes it clear that it was not God’s idea that the Hebrews have a king, but since they insisted, he let them have their way. But God never abdicated his sovereignty to any of the Hebrew kings; the idea was that they would represent his sovereignty, not that he would delegate his sovereignty to them. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This week marks our 10th year as a church. So in celebration of God’s faithfulness, we are re-running a series of devotions from the Psalm 13 about God’s faithfulness in his person, promises, and provision.
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?
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.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)