Joy Comes With the Morning

Today is Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Day 21,824.

13 more days until Christmas!

Charles Wesley, born on this date in 1707 (died 1788), said, “Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to God alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And cries it shall be done.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is Wanderjahr (German), a noun, meaning, “a year or period of travel, especially following one’s schooling and before practicing a profession.”

Today is Gingerbread House Day.

We had a most wonderful time with our church friends and family, last night, at La Hacienda Ranch. It was a great meal with fajitas and cheese enchiladas, and the fellowship was even better.

C goes back to work today, for the first time in six weeks. Well, she’s been working, but from her easy chair in the corner of the living room. I told her that she should stay in her office today and make everyone come to her.

I get “free” lunch at work today. But we all know “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” right? TANSTAAFL. The price for this free lunch is having to sit in a conference room with our site manager for a while, letting him know how we feel. As if we’re going to be honest about that, right?

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Tuesday – Second Week of Advent

“Bless God in the great congregation, the LORD, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
Psalm 68:26
Have regard for the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
Psalm 74:20
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
Psalm 17:13-14
When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. 
Psalm 53:6
Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. . . . And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
Luke 1:57-66, 80
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:1-5

Father, I echo the psalmist’s sentiment about the “dark places of the land” that are “full of the habitations of violence.” This seems to be more and more true of our time. but then I see the encouragement in Psalm 30 that tells me that “joy comes with the morning.” I can see the truth of this for each new day, but I can also see the truth of it for all of life. Some day, Father, some day, that “morning” will come and there will be eternal joy abounding for all who are in your Church. I long for that day. But until then, allow me to see the daily joy that comes with each new day.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

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Help My Unbelief!

Today is Monday, December 11, 2017. Day 21,823.

Only 14 more days until Christmas!

Hector Berlioz, born on this date in 1803 (died 1869), said, “Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one had no time to write down.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is cri de coeur (French), a noun, meaning, “an anguished cry of distress or indignation; outcry.”

Today is International Mountain Day. The web site says to “Head out to your local mountain to discover all the things it has to offer.” Yeah, right. The web site doesn’t know I live in north central Texas. We ain’t got no “mountains.”

C has a final appointment with her surgeon today, for clearance to go back to work tomorrow. I guess it’s already been six weeks! That sure went by fast. I think she’s mostly ready, but she still gets tired pretty quick. I will say that she has slept much better the last few nights.

This evening, our church is giving us a dinner, as part of a group of people who have been workers and servants in the various ministries of the church. It’s at a place that’s about halfway between my work and home, and it’s at 6:00 PM, which doesn’t give me enough time to go home and go back. So I’ll just go straight there from work. And be about thirty minutes early. Should be a good time, though.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Monday – Second Week of Advent

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:15
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Psalm 119:18
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
Psalm 86:12
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Psalm 18:31
In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Matthew 21:18-22
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. 
Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. 
He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. 
He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. 
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 
they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!

Psalm 111:2-9

Father, I have long struggled with passages such as Matthew 21:18-22. It’s certainly not because I don’t believe what your word says, what Jesus said. I do believe. But what I struggle with is the faith involved. “If you have faith and do not doubt,” said Jesus, “even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.” I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think I’ve moved any mountains. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps I’ve moved mountains that I don’t know about. But, this morning, I echo the prayer of the man whose son was possessed by demons. “I do believe! Help my unbelief!”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

Inscape

“Artists make us insiders to the complexity and beauty of what we deal with every day but so often miss. They bring to our attention what is right before our eyes, within reach of our touch, help us hear sounds and combinations of sounds that our noise-deafened ears have never heard.”

Today is Sunday, December 10, 2017. Day 21,822.

Only 15 more days until Christmas!!

George MacDonald, born on this date in 1824 (died 1905), said, “How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is cachinnate, a verb, meaning, “to laugh loudly or immoderately.”

Today is Human Rights Day, first established in 1948. Because humans have rights, whether we like them or not.

we are getting ready for our worship gathering, this morning. We worship with The Exchange Church, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach in Fort Worth, TX. The worship gathering begins at 10:15. We usually arrive between 8:00 and 8:30, to help with setup.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Sunday – Second Week of Advent

I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.
Psalm 101:1
But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Psalm 88:13
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
Psalm 93:5
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23
When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Luke 7:24-28
Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 149
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Practice Resurrection)

(Pages 138-140)

In this segment, Eugene Peterson gets somewhat “artsy.” He begins by referring to the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who coined a term, “inscape.” In juxtaposition to “landscape,” which is “what we see spread out before us against the horizon,” “Inscape is the intuitive sense that what we see is a living, organic form that strikes through the senses and into the mind with a feeling of novelty and discovery. Inscape is what something uniquely is, that which holds together whatever you are looking at or listening to, gives it distinction.”

We find this in many forms of art, whether it be painting, sculpture, music, or poetry. “Artists make us insiders to the complexity and beauty of what we deal with every day but so often miss. They bring to our attention what is right before our eyes, within reach of our touch, help us hear sounds and combinations of sounds that our noise-deafened ears have never heard.”

Sometimes we are surprised, thinking we have never heard or seen this before. But in reality, it was there all the time. “It was all there before us in the tree we walked past every morning on our way to work, in the face that we thought we knew through and through, in the whispers of wind in the willows and the lapping of waves on the beach.

“The artist helps us see what we have always seen but never seen, hear what we hear daily but don’t hear, fell what we have touched a hundred times but never been touched by, recognize that we are living a story and not just drifting through fragments of journal jottings or disconnected bits of gossip.”

Artists bring us in touch with true reality.

Hopkins never defined the term he coined, “but he used it frequently enough in his journals and notes to give us a feel for what he is reaching for.” Said Hopkins, “All the world is full of inscape and chance left free to act falls into an order as well as purpose.”

Father, help me to see “inscape” as I look around, as I go about my daily business. Show me true reality in this life, things that I have passed by hundreds, even thousands of times, yet not truly seen. Show me yourself in this world, Father. Show me love in this world, peace in what I encounter, and give me joy over all things.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Dear Father always near us, may your name be treasured and loved, may your rule be completed in us – may your will be done here on earth in just the way it is done in heaven. Give us today the things we need today, and forgive us our sins and impositions on you as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us. Please don’t put us through trials, but deliver us from everything bad. Because you are the one in charge, and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours – forever – which is just the way we want it! (Dallas Willard)

Grace and peace, friends.

Beyond the Senses

Today is Saturday, December 9, 2017. Day 21,821.

16 more days until Christmas!

Imogen Heap, born on this date in 1977, said, “Some people think electronic music is cold, but I think that has more to do with the people listening than the actual music itself.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is pervious. While it may sound similar to “pervert” or “perverted,” it’s an adjective that means, “open or accessible to reason, feeling, argument, etc.”

Today is Techno Day, which seems fitting, based on the quote from the birthday girl above. While “Techno” generally refers to dance music, I think it can be broader than that, and Imogen Heap is one who has made good use of technology in her music. In case anyone is confused, the song I linked, “Hide and Seek” does NOT use autotune. She is actually running her voice through a synthesizer, playing the chords as she sings. I’ve seen her do it live, and it is quite fascinating.

I’ve got myself in a quandary, here. Tessie (the dog) has an appointment for a checkup at 11:00, and I told C I would try to get finished and go with her. At the current moment, I have less than fifteen minutes to accomplish this. So here goes.

(I didn’t make it.)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Saturday – First Week of Advent

Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
Psalm 46:8
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.
Psalm 20:9
O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress.
Psalm 59:9
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Psalm 103:13
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:22-23
O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
Psalm 15
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

(From The President’s Devotional)

The reading for today is, “Beyond Our Senses.”

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
1 Corinthians 2:9

“We differ, blind and seeing, one from another, not in our senses, but in the use we make of them, in the imagination and courage with which we seek wisdom beyond the senses.” ~ Helen Keller, The World I Live In

“Dear Lord, grant us wisdom beyond our sense. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but our flesh is nonetheless limited.
Give us perspective beyond what our eyes behold, perception clearer than our ears, sensitivity beyond our touch.
Help us go beyond the limits of these senses today and experience wisdom.
Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Yes, Lord, I echo this prayer. Show me ways to know you and experience you that go beyond what I might normally see, hear, and feel.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Which Side Are You On?

Today is Friday, December 8, 2017. Day 21,820.

17 days until Christmas!

Gregg Allman, born on this date in 1947 (died 2017), said, “I would like to be remembered as a – somebody who could rock your soul or make you cry with a song. And somebody who’s kind, who loved to laugh, and loved his God.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is dundrearies, a noun, meaning, “long, full sideburns or muttonchop whiskers.”

Today is Pretend To Be A Time-Traveler Day. I don’t have to pretend! I AM a time traveler! I just moved into the future! There! I did it again!

We don’t have a lot going on, this weekend, fortunately. It’s next weekend that’s going to be busy. We have a very good friend coming to visit on Friday, along with her new twin daughters! Then on Saturday, I have “Yuleslide” in Grapeving, followed by C’s company Christmas party. The really fun part of that is that she won a night at the hotel where the party will be! So we will just spend the night there.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Friday – First Week of Advent

Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66:5
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings
Psalm 17:7-8
Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
Psalm 118:25-26
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”
Luke 20:34-38
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

(From The President’s Devotional)

The reading for today is, “On God’s Side.”

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20

Joshua DuBois tells a story of a time right before the Civil War when a group of people from the South came to visit President Lincoln. They were there to warn them that, in the approaching conflict, “the south would prevail, because God was on their side.” Lincoln’s response: “It is more important to know that we are on God’s side.”

Many have believed, over time, that God was on their side. And we, like those Southerners, tend to constantly ask God to enter into our plans, or bless our plans, without bothering to check with him to see what his plans are. What does God want us to do? “Do we know his side?”

“Lord, we want to know your side. We’re willing to put down our desires and pick up your cause, for the building of your kingdom. We will shift toward righteousness as you command. Amen.” (Joshua Dubois)

Father, there are many people out there, today, who believe that you are on their side. However, they are too busy trying to build a kingdom of their own, and seem to be forgetting to work toward your kingdom. I pray that I am not one of these, and if I am, please change me. I want to be on your side. Truthfully, I believe that the only way you will be “on my side” is if I am on your side. Help me to display the light of your presence today.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Grace and peace, friends.

Waiting

Today is Thursday, December 7, 2017. Day 21,819.

18 days until Christmas!

Johnny Bench, born on this date in 1947, said, “That’s the remarkable thing about baseball. The game has a way of having you scratch your head one minute and drive you crazy, and then the next, you’re entertained beyond your wildest hopes. That’s why it’s the best game.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from Dictionary.com is gleek, a verb, meaning “to make a joke; jest.”

Today is Cotton Candy Day. It’s odd, though, that it seems that the only place to get cotton candy is either the ballpark or the fair.

Besides being Cotton Candy Day, and Pearl Harbor Day (December 7, 1941), today is also the 33rd anniversary of my first date with the girl who would become my wife. We met at Wedgwood Bowl, in Fort Worth, which, sadly, no longer exist. Wedgwood Bowl, that is. Fort Worth is still there. On that wonderful night, a Friday, because we bowled in the TGIF league, C and I went to a Laser Magic show, at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. I still remember how our fingers touched during that show, and the resulting spark has lasted 33 years.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Thursday – First Week of Advent

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
Psalm 62:5
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.
Psalm 93:5
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
Psalm 118:26
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Luke 1:26-30

Father, as I make my way through this day, may the words of the Psalms be strong in my soul. Let my soul wait in silence for you, alone. May I remember your decrees and your holiness, that I, too, may be holy and hope in you.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

Alone

Today is Wednesday, December 6, 2017. Day 21,818.

19 days until Christmas! The packages of gifts are beginning to arrive!

113 days until Opening Day!

Steven Wright, born on this date in 1955, said, “I had some eyeglasses. I was walking down the street when suddenly the prescription ran out.”
BrainyQuote

The word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is biggen, a verb, meaning, “To make big; to increase, enlarge; to strengthen.”

Today is Put On Your Own Shoes Day. I’m really not sure I get that. I don’t usually put on someone else’s shoes, and no one else puts my shoes on for me. Maybe it’s to encourage children to put on and tie their shoes? Who knows?

I haven’t update things in a few days. C got a good report from the vascular surgeon on Monday, pretty much agreeing with the first doctor (as well as everything C had read on the Internet)(I bet doctors hate the Internet), and said she should get another scan in three months.

However, the last couple of days, C has been experiencing some pretty severe nerve pain in that leg. Monday night, she hardly slept at all. I’m not sure about last night, as I have not yet talked to her, this morning. Mobility-wise, she’s getting around great. She is supposed to have a PT appointment today

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)
Wednesday–First Week of Advent

Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared.
Psalm 76:11
Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word! Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
Psalm 119:169-170
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
Psalm 54:6
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10
Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”
Mark 3:28-29
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah. But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah. 
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:6

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
Matthew 6:6 (The Message)

When Jesus gives his disciples instructions on how to pray, one of the first things he tells them is to get alone, get away from other people. I like the way Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message: “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play.” Because isn’t that what we do when we pray in front of others? I catch myself doing it, even when my intentions are otherwise. I find myself saying phrases that I think will impress others. It’s hard not to do that.

Sometimes, even when I pray alone, I catch myself saying some of the same phrases. But I stop, sometimes, even in the middle of a sentence and ask, “Why am I saying that??” The idea behind the discipline of solitude is exactly what the Message paraphrase indicates. Get away from everyone, from all the distractions, all the noise (easier said than done, in the city), and the temptations to impress. Just be alone with God. We might even find that, in that solitude, the discipline of silence will avail itself. Just be still and quiet before God. Then be honest and transparent. Might as well be, because he can see right through us, anyway!

Father, help me to find a place where I can go be alone with you. And even when I’m not, help me to be open, honest, and transparent when I pray, with no attempts to impress anyone, most especially not you.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.