The Bridge to Prayer

Good morning. It is Thursday, August 13, 2015. Pre-Friday.

Today’s word of the day is ambisinister. This one made me laugh. It’s an adjective, meaning, “clumsy or unskillful with both hands.” I suppose it is the opposite of ambidextrous.

Today is International Lefthanders Day. So rock on, all you lefties, southpaws, and so on. Maybe MLB should have a rule. Only southpaws pitch on this day. 😀

We had a nice evening, last night. Nothing really spectacular. We watched the rest of So You Think You Can Dance, along with the summer finale of Major Crimes. Oh, and some friends from church had a baby. From all reports, baby and mother are fine. Not sure about father, though. He looked like death warmed over Tuesday night. 😀

Rachel defends her thesis at 2:00 PM today. If you are of the praying persuasion, all prayers would be appreciated.

I’m going in early this morning, trying to get to work by 7:30, so I can leave at 4:00, to make my 5:30 eye appointment. So, without further ado, I will jump into my devotions.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Bible reading will be Genesis 45-46 and Matthew 20.

The Psalm reading from Heart Aflame is Psalm 91:7-11.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

“When all these attempts to encourage us have been tried, and God finds that we still linger and hesitate to approach him, or cast ourselves upon his sole and exclusive protection, he next makes mention of the angels, and proffers them as guardians of our safety. as an additional illustration of his indulgent mercy, and compassion for our weakness, he represents those whom he has ready for our defence [sic] as being a numerous host; he does not assign one solitary angel to each saint, but commissions the whole armies of heaven to keep watch over every individual believer.” (p 226)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Martin Luther also has a famous writing on prayer that is in the form of a letter. Luther was famous for his extraordinary prayer life. One of his friends, Veit Dietrich, wrote that Luther was known to spend at least three hours every day in prayer. “‘He speaks with the great reverence of one who speaks to his God, and with the trust and hope of one who speaks with his father and friend,'” wrote Dietrich.

Luther’s barber, Peter Beskendorf, one day asked Luther for a “simple way to pray.” Luther’s response was the letter referred to in this section. As he begins his instruction, Luther “counsels the cultivation of prayer as a habit. He suggested praying twice a day. “‘It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night.'” He also cautioned against thinking that we should take care of some other business first, and then pray. In addition, he encourages us to pray whether we feel like it or not.

Luther then gives some ways to “focus our thoughts and to warm and engage our affections for prayer.” This balances the idea that we need to pray, regardless of how we feel, with the idea of being engaged. After all, prayer is “a lifting of the heart to God” (Lamentations 3:41). Luther goes so far as to suggest that we recite Scripture to ourselves, as preparation for prayer. Let us not get bogged down by thinking that he is suggesting Bible study at this point. This is more meditation and contemplation (words that make some of our more fundamentalist brothers and sisters run screaming from the room). “It is taking words of the Scripture and pondering them in such a way that your thoughts and feelings converge on God.” We could think of it as a bridge between more formal study and prayer.

Father, as I get ready to pray on my morning drive to work, lead me to some Scripture that I might meditate upon, in preparation. Warm my heart; engage my spirit with yours as I go. I desire my prayer to be heartfelt and sincere, rather than a duty, done by rote. I pray for constant communion with you throughout this day, and keep my spirit attuned to yours to the point that, if he brings someone to mind, I am ready and willing to pray at a moment’s notice.

I pray for this day ahead. May our trip to work be safe and smooth. May our work day go well for us. I pray for Christi’s calf muscles, that her pain would be healed. I pray that you would grant her favor, that she would be successful in everything that she does today. I pray for Rachel today, above all days, Father, that you would grant her confidence in herself and in her work, that she would defend her thesis brilliantly, as we know she is able. I pray that she finds favor with her committee and that they deem her work successful. May you also show your great love and affection to Stephanie today. Grant grace to my mother for whatever she encounters on this day.

Thank you for the successful birthing of Kevin and Jacque’s baby last night.

Your grace is sufficient.

We should not fear meditation and contemplation, if done in the proper spirit, for the proper reasons. As a bridge to prayer, there is nothing better.

Lamentations-341

Grace and peace, friends.

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