Try Harder!

“This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”~~Neil Armstrong
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is cognomen, which means, “a surname,” or, “any name, especially a nickname.”

Today is Something On A Stick Day. This is, of course, referring to edibles, such as “Sausage on a Stick,” or anything else that you might like to eat that comes on a stick. Corn Dogs for instance.

Yesterday’s worship gathering went well. I feel like I played pretty well, especially during the actual gathering. The rehearsal was a totally different story. I was struggling with keeping my “head in the game,” so to speak, during rehearsal, but after we prayed together, it all came together, and went pretty well.

Christi and I did our grocery shopping after church (yes, groceries on Easter Sunday, *gasp*), and the store was not very crowded. After that, we had lunch, and were set for the day, to just chill for the remainder of the day. It was very nice.

It’s Monday again, back to the routine. I have band practice tonight, Christi has bowling tomorrow. Not much else going on, that I know of, though.

Except for a special birthday tomorrow, that we will probably have to wait until Saturday or Sunday to celebrate.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.
Remove your stroke from me; I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah.
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.
Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!”

Psalm 39:7-13

In verse 12 (the one in bold), the word “guest” is translated “alien” in some versions. Aliens had no citizenship rights (similar to our country) in the ancient East. “They were wholly dependent on the courtesy and goodwill of the people of the land.” Again, similar to our country. This, of course, was, and still is, a “precarious and uncertain existence. But when God is the host and human beings are totally dependent on the divine mercy, there is nothing to fear and everything to hope for.”

“God of the fathers, I have no claims to press and no rights to demand. I throw myself on your mercy, confident of the courtesies of the city of God: ‘You prepare a table before me’ (Psalm 23:5). Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

“Watch and pray . . . The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:41

In today’s reading, Karen Barber finishes up a series of Easter week writings. She writes of being in Israel, at the “very rock on which Jesus agonized in prayer right before His arrest and Crucifixion.” She knelt on a pad along a rail that had been placed around the rock, frustrated as she attempted to pray. It seems that there was a lot of noise around.

There were many tourists and pilgrims from all around the world, many standing in a long line, waiting for an opportunity to kneel at the rock. As Karen was attempting to pray, someone whispered loudly, “Take a picture of me here!”

A priest attempted to keep things quiet, but that only worked temporarily.

“This crowd is ruining my ability to pray! I thought grumpily. Then, Try harder.

When Jesus and his disciples came to the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked them to pray as he withdrew a little further to pray on his own. But they kept falling asleep. Jesus woke them, several times, in essence saying to them, “Try harder.” “But perhaps Gethsemane-praying is not only about wrestling to do God’s will but also about our daily struggles against the inner and outer distractions.”

“Father, may I learn from Christ in Gethsemane to pray harder when life makes it hard to pray. Amen.”

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
Luke 18:1
And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Luke 22:39-46

Father, many times I am distracted while trying to pray. More often, it is my own mind distracting me with thoughts from everywhere pouring in. I pray that your Spirit will enable me to “try harder” when those distractions come. Help me to stay focused on you and Christ as I pray each day.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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