Free Prayer

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”~~George S. Patton (BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day is syzygy, an “the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse) in a gravitational system.”

Today is World Choral Day, a day to celebrate vocal music around the world. The theme for 2015 is Integration.

What a full day yesterday was! The band concert went very well, I think. The new amphitheater at The Marq in Southlake is a very nice venue. I look forward to playing more events there. We played for about an hour and a half, which is the longest concert we have played since I joined the band. It was great fun, and the weather held out for us to play outside.

The part last night was also great fun. The food service, however, was lacking. The main issue was that, somehow, they got the count of chicken and beef dishes confused, so some of us had to wait about twenty minutes to get our beef dishes. Considering that the meal orders were turned in at least a month ago, this was an unprofessional mistake. However, my steak, once I got it, was very tasty and cooked just right. Oddly, Christi’s was not. It was rather bland and a bit overcooked. I have witnesses, though, that I offered my steak to her three times and she turned me down every time.

There were prizes galore for the USBC employees. Christi won what was described as a “baker’s bag,” a gift bag of various baking accessories. I would guess it valued around $25. There were a number of bigger gifts, such as a 32″ HD TV, and several one-night stays at various Arlington hotels. There was also some crazy dancing, most of which we did not join. I did get up and do the “Electric Slide.” I did not, however, “whip” or “nae nae.” Whatever that means.

I will be going to church this morning, but not until about 9:45. Everyone was warned that I would not be there early for set up. We also have to do our grocery shopping today, since we didn’t go yesterday. Outside of that, we have nothing else planned for today.

On this date in:

1545–The Council of Trent began
1577–Sir Francis Drake began his round-the-world voyage
1769–Dartmouth College was founded

Today’s birthdays include:

1818–Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady
1903–Carlos Montoya, Spanish guitarist
1925–Dick Van Dyke, american actor/comedian
1929–Christopher Plummer, Canadian actor
1941–John Davidson, American singer/actor/game show host
1943–Ferguson Jenkins, Canadian baseball player
1945–Kathy Garver, American actress, Family Affair
1948–Ted Nugent, American guitarist
1948–Jeff Baxter, American guitarist, The Doobie Brothers
1954–John Anderson, American country music singer/songwriter
1957–Morris Day, American singer, Morris Day and The Time
1957–Steve Buscemi, American actor
1967–Jamie Foxx, American actor/singer
1981–Amy Lee, American singer/songwriter, Evanescence
1988–Rickie Fowler, American golfer
1989–Taylor Swift, American singer

Taylor Swift has done quite well for herself. In addition to making millions off of recordings and concerts, she has also been seen mentoring young musicians on shows like The Voice, where it has become obvious that she is, in fact, a quite brilliant young lady. Like her or not, she knows what she is doing. Here is my favorite song of hers.

Donatello (not the turtle), Grandma Moses, and Lamar Hunt are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

So far, we have looked at evocation, meditation, and word prayer, in Tim Keller’s suggested framework for daily prayer. Today we come to the part that most people probably begin (and end with), what he calls “free prayer.” This simply means pouring our hearts out to God.

Even with that, most reliable prayer guides suggest that we follow a patter within this free prayer–“adoration and thanksgiving, confession and repentance, petition and intercession.” While we don’t want to be rigid with this, “it can be a good discipline to move through them habitually in some order that works for you.”

This is also the place where our prayer lists can be helpful, as long as “we remember J.I. Packer’s warning that petitionary prayer is only life changing and powerful if we do not rapidly run down a ‘grocery list’ but instead lift each cause to God with theological reasoning and self-examination.”

Keller recommends a book by Matthew Henry, called A Method for Prayer, with Scripture Expressions, Proper to Be Used Under Each Head. This older book takes hundreds of Scripture prayers and organizes them in categories of “praise, confession, petition, thanksgiving, intercession, and conclusion.”

Father, my only prayer this morning is that you teach me to pray. I am grateful for the time spent with Christi last night at the Christmas party. It was very special and meaningful. You have blessed me more than I can say.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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