No Little Prayers

Today is Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Twelve days until Opening Day!

Quote of the Day

“I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things.” ~ Lech Walesa

Word of the Day

Ort ~ a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

Today is Goof Off Day. I wish I had known that ahead of time. I would have planned to stay home today.

I got my copy of Mass Effect: Andromeda for the PS4 yesterday. I played for about an hour last night. Tonight, I’ll get some more time, because C is meeting up with a friend after work. Hopefully, I’ll get into it a little more and figure things out better. It’s fun, but challenging.

Friday night, we have what looks like is working out to be a quarterly meeting with everyone involved with the worship ministry at church.

I don’t really have much else to talk about, so I’ll head on into the devotions.


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

(From Living the Message)

Eugene H. Peterson writes of what he calls “one of the indignities” that pastors have to endure constantly. Imagine a gathering of people for a meal of some other kind of meeting. Inevitably, someone says, “Reverend, get things started for us with a little prayer, will ya?”

Peterson indicates that he would love to shout out something that William McNamara once said: “I will not! There are no little prayers! Prayer enters the lion’s den, brings us before the holy where it is uncertain whether we will come back alive or sane, for ‘it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.'”

I agree with this sentiment. “There are no little prayers!” Every prayer that comes out of our mouths should be sincere. We have no business rolling off rote prayers before meals, just as a routine. We should never utter a prayer, but it comes from the deepest places in our heart, even if it is just grace before a meal.

On the flip side, we should not also be hesitant to pray because we believe our prayers are too “little” and meaningless. Again, there are no little prayers! No matter what your concern, our Father in heaven is interested in what you have to say!

Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege. 
Matthew 7:6 (The Message)

Father, let us not be guilty of trivializing prayer. I confess that, sometimes, when reciting Jesus’s model prayer (the one we keep calling The Lord’s Prayer), it sometimes goes by to quickly and I don’t grasp the meaning. So I’m just saying “vain repetitions.” Let me not be guilty of this! I pray that you draw my mind into my prayers, so that I know what I’m saying and that it comes from deep in my heart, even the smallest of prayers. Also, I pray that I would never hesitate to pray something because I think it might be too small a matter with which to bother the Creator of the universe.

I lift up a special prayer for Karen, my work friend, today, as she is having her surgery. I pray for a successful outcome, and for healing for her body, whether through surgeons or your healing hands. May her recover be swift and complete.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Present In the Darkness

“Experience cannot heighten the certainty of his presence any more than fear of his absence can lessen it.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 22, 2014. Nine days until Opening Day.

Today is Goof Off Day. I’m all about that. That’s what weekends are for, right?

We had a men’s gathering last night, hosted by one of our church leaders. The grills were fired up, and we all brought meat. There were steaks, brats, pork, and even some bacon-wrapped jalapenos. It was a great time. Except for the part where I got asked if I was a “liberal” because I don’t like guns. Fortunately, that part didn’t last long. And to be perfectly honest, this is why I’m hesitating about going to the upcoming “men’s retreat” in May. It is being held at our worship leader’s property out at Possum Kingdom. He’s a hunter. There will be lots of guns. I’m not interested in being around guns. At this point, I’m undecided, but leaning towards not going. Besides, we always go to Scarborough Faire on Memorial Day. It’s a “family tradition.”

Christi is still hurting, but getting around. She has not gotten a confirmation, yet, on the next interview with UTSW. I’m going to go up to the Carrollton CEVA location Monday, to see what goes on there and talk about a potential position there. However, I’m still hoping for an offer from the Grapevine Verizon facility. The Carrollton location services the Raytheon account.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1758 that pastor, theologian, scientist, and educator Jonathan Edwards passed away from smallpox. His most famous sermon was probably “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God.” His most well-known book is probably A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, written in 1746.

There are 252 birthdays listed for this date on History Orb. Among them are Chico Marx, Marx Brothers, 1887, Ellin Berlin, wife of Irving, 1902, Louis L’Amour, author, 1908, Karl Malden, actor, 1912, William Shatner, actor, 1931, Roger Whittaker, singer, 1936, Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer, 1948, Matthew Modine, actor, 1959, and Reese Witherspoon, actress, 1976. Oh, one more. Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise, 2233. Who knew he shared a birthday with Shatner??

Here is a clip of William Shatner’s World of Warcraft commercial.


(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

Psalm 96:7-9
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
Psalm 62:5
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Psalm 16:1-2
. . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

“O God, the source of eternal light:
Shed forth your unending day upon all of us who watch for you,
that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you,
and our worship may give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Hidden God.”

Yesterday’s revelation of God’s presence to Catherine of Siena changed forever the way she would understand or experience that presence. “His word taught her that his presence in the soul is something deeper and holier than she could imagine or feel.” Our feelings cannot touch God; our thoughts cannot measure him. He will always, in a sense, remain hidden in our lives. Here is an important statement, especially for our culture. “Experience cannot heighten the certainty of his presence any more than fear of his absence can lessen it.” Ponder that for a few minutes. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. (Brennan writes that “nothing but sin” can separate us, but I disagree with that statement. My sin does not “separate me from Christ.” It definitely hinders my relationship with him, but it does not separate.) He will always be here, in the quiet stillness of our souls, even in the darkness; especially in the darkness.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
Isaiah 30:20

Father, make me aware of your presence, even in the darkness of my soul. Help me to know and believe that you are present all the time, even when there is darkness in my soul, even when I do not feel your present. And just because I might happen to feel your present does not mean that you are more present than you were when I did not feel it. This is a precious truth. We rely too heavily on experience, Father. Let me no longer look to experience, but look to faith; the faith of the certainty of your presence in my spirit, all the time. Help me to celebrate this presence, daily.

I pray for the remainder of this day. As we go out and about, doing the things that we need to do, I pray for safety and peace. I pray for our worship time this evening, that it might bring glory to you and peace to our spirits. Teach us your ways, that we, as a community of faith, might walk in your truth. Teach us to be and make disciples.

Your grace is sufficient.

Grasp the truth that God is always present, even in times of darkness. The fact that you feel him or the lack of that feeling has absolutely no bearing on this truth.

Grace and peace, friends.