Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 34

Wednesday, 10/31:

Pray for leaders at the national level: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, members of the cabinet, your state's senators and all members of the US Senate, your representative and all members of the US House of Representatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and justices of the US Supreme Court, circuit and district judges, and other Federal officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Wednesday

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 119:17-24, Jeremiah 33:1-11, and Matthew 20:29-34

Blindness was a very common thing in ancient times – Palestine is a sunny, dusty land, and there was no eye protection or eye doctors or glasses.  Sometimes blindness was congenital (Jn. 9:1), but often it was caused by later illness or injury.  It was a fairly serious thing, because blind people could not work, and therefore could not earn wages.  They were therefore reduced to begging.  Blindness is also a symbol of spiritual ignorance – often willful.  Jesus described the Pharisees as being blind, because although they were certain they understood how to find God, they refused to see the truth and refused to change their minds.

God wants us to heal blindness today – both literal and figurative.  We are surrounded by people who refuse to see the truth.  Our job is to show it to them with grace and love.

Pray for those who are blind.  Ask God to show you where to go and what to do.  Write your own prayer.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 33

Tuesday, 10/30:
Pray for leaders at the state level: the governor, lieutenant governor, and cabinet; your senator and representative and all members of the state legislature; the justices of the state supreme court; the attorney general; circuit and district judges; and other state officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Tuesday

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.



Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 119:17-24, 2 Kings 6:8-23, and Acts 9:32-35

St. Peter, traveling through the area around Lydda (now called Lod, located close to modern-day Tel Aviv), walked by a man who was paralyzed.  Peter didn’t make a big fuss about it.  He simply said to the man, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you.  Take up your bed and walk.”

We don’t realize the great power that we have to heal in Jesus’ name.  We don’t realize how Jesus has given us that responsibility as his followers.  It’s not something we just throw around, to be sure, but at the same time we are not powerless to help those whom God would heal.  We may do so with faith – the ability to hear God telling us to do something, and the obedience to carry out his commands.  If we will hear God telling us to bring healing to someone, and if we will go in obedience and do that, then God will certainly heal that person.  Including those who are paralyzed.

Whom have you healed?  Has God led you into situations where you could be his instrument of healing?  Perhaps the healing wasn’t physical, but was just as real.
Have you seen people be physically healed by God?  What if God chose to use medicine and doctors?  What if God had chosen to use you?  Would you do it?  Would you do it just the way he wanted?

Take some time to pray about this.  Ask God to use you as an instrument of healing, whether it is from injury, sickness, or something else.  Ask him to give you the faith to hear and follow him and the grace to carry out his commands.  Write your own prayer.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 32

Monday, 10/29

Pray for leaders at the local level: School officials and members of the county board of education, the sheriff and law enforcement, members of the county commission (or applicable county government), the mayor and city council of your municipality, or of nearby towns and cities, judges and magistrates, and other local leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Monday

Monday, October 29, 2012 – Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles (Transferred)
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 119:89-96, Deuteronomy 32:1-4, Ephesians 2:13-22, and Matthew 13:54-58.

On the various New Testament lists of the disciples, the tenth and eleventh places are occupied by Simon the Zealot (also called Simon the “Cananean,” the Aramaic word meaning “Zealot”) and by Judas (also called Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus).

Some ancient Christian writers say that Simon and Jude went together as missionaries to Persia, and were martyred there. If this is true, it explains, to some extent, our lack of historical information on them and also why they are usually put together.  We don’t know for sure if the brother or cousin of St. James of Jerusalem and Jesus, the man also known as Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus, and the author of the epistle of Jude are all the same person – although tradition holds that it is.

The first apostles really took Jesus’ words to heart and didn’t allow themselves to become complacent.  We can learn a lot from them.  We should take their lives as examples for our own.  Take some time to pray about this.    You may find the following prayer helpful:

O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 31

Sunday, 10/28:
 
Pray for the news media. Pray that they will report the facts with honesty and integrity. Pray that they will be discerning in their interviews with the candidates and that they will ask the right questions and report the answers fairly. Pray that their viewers and readers will also have discernment and wisdom.

Morning Prayer Guide - Sunday

Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost, October 28, 2012 (Proper 25)
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Jeremiah 31:7-9, Psalm 126, Hebrews 7:23-28, and Mark 10:46-52

Today is a day of rest and worship.  Allow the readings to guide your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 30

Saturday, 10/27:
Pray for yourself. Pray for discernment as you choose the candidates for whom you will be voting. Pray for discernment as you watch the news, read the paper, visit news sites on the internet, and talk to your friends, relatives, and neighbors. Pray that God will help you to choose the right candidates, even if they aren’t members of the party you normally choose. Pray that God will help you see through the spin and semantics to discern the candidates’ real beliefs. Pray that God will give you grace toward others who may have different views from you.

Morning Prayer Guide - Saturday

Saturday, October 27, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.



Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 126, Jeremiah 29:24-32, and Mark 8:22-26

One of Jesus’ signature signs was healing blindness.  Blindness is also a symbol of unwillingness to face up to the truth.  Jesus described the Pharisees as being blind, because although they were certain they understood how to find God, they were badly mistaken and refused to change their minds.

God wants us to heal blindness today – both literal and figurative.  We are surrounded by people who refuse to see the truth.  Our job is to show it to them with grace and love.

Pray for those who are blind.  Ask God to show you where to go and what to do.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 29

Friday, 10/26:
Pray for all candidates of the party for which you do not normally vote. If you normally split tickets or vote independent, then choose the party you did not pray for yesterday. Pray that God will lead the candidates of this party, that they will abstain from making promises that cannot be kept and accusations that cannot be proven, and that they will refrain from “slinging mud” at their opponents. Pray that God will speak to them and through them. Pray for the voters who listen to the candidates, that they will be discerning and wise in their choices. Note: Be gracious in your prayers, even though you may not agree with their politics, policies, or personal beliefs.

Morning Prayer Guide - Friday

Friday, October 26, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 126, Jeremiah 26:12-24, and Hebrews 7:11-22

The writer of Hebrews is trying to show that just because Jesus was not a Levite does not mean he cannot be our high priest.  Melchizedek was not a Levite, and yet he was a priest of the Most High God, and Abram recognized his ministry.

This was important to the audience, who were Jewish Christians in the Disporia – those Jewish believers who lived outside of Israel, mainly those who lived in Asia Minor and Greece.  They were interested in Jesus’ Jewishness and how his life and ministry fit with the prophecies and ancient writings.  They were also interested in how he, a Judean of the lineage of King David, could be a priest – something carefully reserved to the Levites.

We’re not so worried about that as they were, but we can still learn from it.  The main point for us is that Jesus is our High Priest, representing us to the Father.  And not only that, but he suffered and was tempted in the same ways we are – so he knows what we’re facing.

Thank Jesus for helping you withstand temptation.  Write your own prayer.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 28

Thursday, 10/25:
Pray for all candidates of the party for which you normally vote. If you normally split tickets or vote independent, then choose one party or the other for which to pray. Pray that God will lead the candidates of this party, that they will abstain from making promises that cannot be kept and accusations that cannot be proven, and that they will refrain from “slinging mud” at their opponents. Pray that God will speak to them and through them. Pray for the voters who listen to the candidates, that they will be discerning and wise in their choices.

Morning Prayer Guide - Thursday

Thursday, October 25, 2012Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.













Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 126, Genesis 14:1-20, and Hebrews 7:1-10

Today’s readings deal with Melchizedek, king of Salem.  He suddenly appears in Genesis, with no prior warning, with bread and wine.  Abram gives him a tithe of the spoils of war, and Melchizedek is not mentioned again until the book of Hebrews.

Melchizedek was a real person.  At the same time, his name (“king of righteousness”), his actions (bringing bread and wine), and his home (Salem, which means “peace”) point toward Jesus.  In that regard, he is a type and shadow of Jesus.  The writer of Hebrews recognizes this, saying that he “remains a priest continually” (Heb 7:3).

It is also significant that Abram gave a tithe to the man.  The writer of Hebrews said that in so doing, even Levi, Abram’s great-grandson, paid tithes through Abram.
Abram was a giving man, and God had promised to bless him so that he could, in turn, be a blessing to others.  How have you been blessed?  How can you use those blessings to bless others?  Write your own prayer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 27

Wednesday, 10/24:

Pray for leaders at the national level: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, members of the cabinet, your state's senators and all members of the US Senate, your representative and all members of the US House of Representatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and justices of the US Supreme Court, circuit and district judges, and other Federal officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Wednesday

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 37:23-40, 1 Samuel 12:1-25, and John 13:1-17

“You will never wash my feet!” St. Peter exclaimed.  Jesus, down on his knees in front of Peter, replied, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.”

Sometimes it is difficult to accept gifts.  We’ve all been taught that giving is better than receiving.  Also, the giver has a power that the receiver doesn’t.  So we give, sometimes to the point of causing harm, but we refuse to receive.  God wants us to be graceful receivers as well as graceful givers.

Jesus also wants us to wash each others’ feet.  Washing feet was the job of the lowest slave.  Rabbis did not ever wash anyone’s feet, much less their disciples’ feet.  That was part of Peter’s astonishment.  He couldn’t believe that the master would be doing a servant’s job, when it was the job of the disciples to wash the master’s feet if no servants were around.

Washing feet is a quite humbling.  It’s even more humbling to allow someone else to wash your feet.  It’s part of being a graceful receiver.  It is hard to let others wash your feet, because you instinctively think that you should be the one doing the washing.

Go and wash someone’s feet today.  It may be figurative, or literal.
And when someone wants to wash yours, gracefully allow them to do so: They are being obedient to God, and they need to wash your feet almost as much as you need to let them.

Let your service be your prayer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 26

Tuesday, 10/23:
 
Pray for leaders at the state level: the governor, lieutenant governor, and cabinet; your senator and representative and all members of the state legislature; the justices of the state supreme court; the attorney general; circuit and district judges; and other state officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Tuesday

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 – St. James of Jerusalem, Martyr
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.




Read: Psalm 1, Acts 15:12-22a, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, and Luke 4:14-21

There were two men named James who were among Jesus’ disciples; the older one, brother to John and son of Zebedee was known as “James the Great”, while the younger one was known variously by James “the Less”, “of Jerusalem”, “the Righteous”, “son of Alphaeus”, and “the brother of the Lord”.

This last name comes from his relation to Jesus.  Some, who believe that the Mary never had children other than Jesus, say that James was Jesus’ cousin – which in those days was about the same as being a brother, and since neither Aramaic (Jesus’ native tongue) nor Hebrew had a word for cousin, the word brother would have been used.  Others, who believe that Mary did have children after Jesus, point to the listing of James, Joses, Jude, and Simon (Mt. 13:55) as Jesus’ brothers, and that therefore James was Jesus’ half-brother.

James is said to have been a Nazarite – one who does not shave or cut hair, or drink wine or eat grapes.  James apparently took this further, becoming one who never drank strong drink, never ate meat, and never shaved, anointed himself with oil, or even bathed!  He prayed so often in the temple that his knees are said to have become as tough and hard as camels’ knees.

After Jesus’ ascension, James began to grow in importance.  He eventually became the first bishop of Jerusalem.  St. Paul writes about meeting with him and St. Peter at the first Jerusalem Council, which occurred about 50ce.  Later on he authored the Epistle, known as “the Proverbs of the New Testament”.  He also wrote a liturgy for Christian worship; it is the oldest liturgy we have.

James was martyred in about 60ce, following the death of the Roman governor Festus (of Acts 25 fame), but before his successor had taken office.  He was accused by the High Priest and Sanhedrin “of breaking the law” and was thrown off the temple and stoned.  As the rocks were falling on him, he knelt and prayed that God would forgive them.  Someone shouted, “Cease, what are you doing?  The just man is praying for us.”  But someone else, a man who dyed cloth, took his club and hurled it at James’ head, killing him.  The historian and priest, St. Jerome, later wrote that the Jews considered the act to be little more than judicial murder, and it angered many people.

St. James gave his life to holiness and leadership.  When being stoned he prayed for his attackers, begging God to forgive them.  We can learn much from James’ example.  You may find the following prayer helpful:
Grant, O God, that, following the example of your servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for and ever.  Amen.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 25

Monday, 10/22

Pray for leaders at the local level: School officials and members of the county board of education, the sheriff and law enforcement, members of the county commission (or applicable county government), the mayor and city council of your municipality, or of nearby towns and cities, judges and magistrates, and other local leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Monday

Monday, October 22, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 37:23-40, 1 Samuel 8:1-18, and Hebrews 6:1-12

The people wanted a king.  They were unhappy with Samuel’s sons, because they were dishonest.  They wanted to be like all the nations around them, with one clear leader instead of relying on God to raise a judge for them.  Samuel warned them that they didn’t know what they were asking for, and that a king would do things that would make their lives harder.  Still they insisted.  They didn’t trust God to send them leaders.  They didn’t trust God to show them the way.  They wanted a king.
We often do the same thing.  We don’t trust God to send us what we need, when we need it.  We demand God to set us up like everyone around us, instead of trusting him and celebrating our uniqueness.  We want to tell God what to do, not the other way around.

Pray about this.  Do you need to step back and allow God to have his own way?   Write your own prayer.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 24


Sunday, 10/21:
 
Pray for the news media. Pray that they will report the facts with honesty and integrity. Pray that they will be discerning in their interviews with the candidates and that they will ask the right questions and report the answers fairly. Pray that their viewers and readers will also have discernment and wisdom.

Morning Prayer Guide - Sunday

Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost, October 21, 2012 (Proper 24)
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Isaiah 53:4-12, Psalm 91:9-16, Hebrews 5:1-10, and Mark 10:35-45

Today is a day of rest and worship.  Allow the readings to guide your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 23


Saturday, 10/20:

Pray for yourself. Pray for discernment as you choose the candidates for whom you will be voting. Pray for discernment as you watch the news, read the paper, visit news sites on the internet, and talk to your friends, relatives, and neighbors. Pray that God will help you to choose the right candidates, even if they aren’t members of the party you normally choose. Pray that God will help you see through the spin and semantics to discern the candidates’ real beliefs. Pray that God will give you grace toward others who may have different views from you.

Morning Prayer Guide - Saturday

Saturday, October 20, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 91:9-16, Isaiah 47:10-15, and Luke 22:24-30

If we want to be great in the kingdom of God, we have to be the servant of everyone else.  We have to take on humility and put aside our pride and self-importance.  We have to be ready to wash everyone else’s feet.

Being a servant isn’t easy.  It’s not always rewarding here on earth, either.  It’s also kind of counter-intuitive – you don’t see the President waiting tables in the White House, for instance.  Most of the time we think that to be great we have to show power, not hide it.

Go and be a servant today.  Take on humility and do a job that no one else wants to do.  If that means cleaning toilets, then do it well.  If that means standing and serving homeless people in a soup kitchen, then do it with a smile.  Find a way to be a servant, and do it for Jesus.  Let your work be your prayer.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 22


Friday, 10/19:

Pray for all candidates of the party for which you do not normally vote. If you normally split tickets or vote independent, then choose the party you did not pray for yesterday. Pray that God will lead the candidates of this party, that they will abstain from making promises that cannot be kept and accusations that cannot be proven, and that they will refrain from “slinging mud” at their opponents. Pray that God will speak to them and through them. Pray for the voters who listen to the candidates, that they will be discerning and wise in their choices. Note: Be gracious in your prayers, even though you may not agree with their politics, policies, or personal beliefs.

Morning Prayer Guide - Friday

Friday, October 19, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 91:9-16, Isaiah 47:1-9, and Revelation 17

Both of our readings deal with Babylon; the Isaiah reading with the earthly kingdom and the Revelation reading with the figurative, symbolic kingdom.  In Jewish thought, Babylon was a symbol for all that was evil in the world.

St. John was writing a letter to seven churches in what is now Turkey.  He was imprisoned on the island of Patmos, and was trying to make sure his captors would allow the letter through.  It is heavy with allegory.  He was using classic apocalyptic language and symbols to talk about things that were about to happen – namely, the fall of Jerusalem, which occurred in 70ce.  In this case, Rome was seen as the evil successor to Babylon.

Evil will be overthrown, and Good will prevail.  But since we are born in sin, it takes God to cleanse us and help us to do good.  We can’t naturally do it on our own.
Ask God to help you reflect his light in the dark world.  Write your own prayer.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 21

Thursday, 10/18:

Pray for all candidates of the party for which you normally vote. If you normally split tickets or vote independent, then choose one party or the other for which to pray. Pray that God will lead the candidates of this party, that they will abstain from making promises that cannot be kept and accusations that cannot be proven, and that they will refrain from “slinging mud” at their opponents. Pray that God will speak to them and through them. Pray for the voters who listen to the candidates, that they will be discerning and wise in their choices.

Morning Prayer Guide - Thursday

Thursday, October 18, 2012 – St. Luke, Evangelist
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Isaiah 43:8-13, Psalm 124, 2 Timothy 4:5-13, and Luke 4:14-21

St. Luke, the author of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, was a companion of St. Paul.  They probably met while attending college in Tarsus.  Luke was a physician by training, and perhaps as a result he reports more miracles of Jesus than the other three Gospel writers do.

We know little else about Luke.  Tradition has it that he never married, and died quietly at age 86.

How can you be like Luke?  Take a moment to pray about this.  You may find the following prayer helpful:

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: The Halfway Point

Twenty days in.  Twenty days to go.  How are you doing?  Have you remembered to pray every day?

I want to take a moment to remind you to pray with grace when praying for people with whom you disagree.  You may believe that person is Satan incarnate, and you may have a point.  But all people, no matter how imperfect, no matter how broken, are made in God's image - the Imago Dei.  We need to be careful that we don't pray evil on people simply because we disagree with them.  We can pray that God will reveal himself to them, that they will have their eyes and ears opened to God's leading, and that God will help them find the right way to go.  But we shouldn't pray that God will smite them, or that they will have bad things happen to them because they believe differently from us.

When we pray grace on people, we pray that God will work in their lives to bring them closer to him.  We pray that they will have their minds opened to new possibilities.  We pray God's will upon them (not specifying our will, or telling God what his will should be), and we pray that as they follow God that he will bless them.  We pray that they will recognize and follow God instead of themselves.  We pray that the decisions they make and the words they speak will be of God and not of the flesh.

Praying grace on people is also about praying for yourself.  If there are people with whom you have disagreements, then praying for them is a great way to begin to forgive them.  We pray for ourselves that our own eyes will be opened so that we can understand why those people think or believe the way they do.  We pray that we will have grace to deal with them, and patience to quietly listen when they speak.  I might still disagree with him, but I will have given him the benefit of the doubt and will have allowed God to deal with me.  If it turns out I was wrong, and that does happen often, then I've gracefully dealt with this person and I don't feel like I have to "save face" by continuing to disagree.

As you pray for your leaders, pray with grace and love, not hatred and anger.  Pray for what you believe in, but do so in a way that brings glory to God and allows for God to show you new things.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 20

Wednesday, 10/17:

Pray for leaders at the national level: President Barak Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, members of the cabinet, your state's senators and all members of the US Senate, your representative and all members of the US House of Representatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and justices of the US Supreme Court, circuit and district judges, and other Federal officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Wednesday

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 26, Obadiah 17-21, and Luke 16:19-31

The Lazarus in this story was probably not the Lazarus whom Jesus resurrected from the dead.  Lazarus (the Greek version of the Hebrew Eleazar) was a common and popular name at the time.  At any rate, Jesus takes a popular story and changes the ending.  In the first version, Lazarus came back from the dead to talk to the brothers.  In Jesus’ version, Abraham tells the rich man that it won’t do any good.

Jesus’ point in telling this story to the money-loving Pharisees was to show them that just because a person has money does not automatically mean that God is pleased with that person.  The Jews believed that being rich was a sign that God had greatly blessed that person, because he was righteous.  Jesus isn’t against us having money, and God does bless us.  But we get into trouble when we begin to trust that money more than we trust God.  The rich man in Jesus’ story trusted his money and the fact that he was born a Jew to get him into heaven, and it failed.  Jesus demonstrates over and over that being a part of the kingdom is a heart thing, not a genetics thing or a money thing.

Do you trust your stuff more than you trust God?  Would you willingly put aside everything you own to follow Jesus?  Be honest in your assessment.  If there is anything you would have trouble giving up, ask God to help you release that.  Ask him to help you trust him.  Write your own prayer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 19

Tuesday, 10/16:
Pray for leaders at the state level: the governor, lieutenant governor, and cabinet; your senator and representative and all members of the state legislature; the justices of the state supreme court; the attorney general; circuit and district judges; and other state officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Tuesday

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 26, Obadiah 10-16, and Revelation 8:1-5

There is a lot of symbolism in this short passage in Revelation, but one of the more interesting items is the use of incense.

Protestants have largely forgotten how to use incense.  In the Reformers’ drive to purge all of the failures (both real and perceived) of the Roman Catholic Church, incense was one of the proverbial babies thrown out with the holy water.  This is very unfortunate, because incense is mentioned many times throughout the Bible as a tool for, and symbol of, prayer.

God created us with five senses.  We are to worship God with our whole bodies, and this includes the sense of smell.  Protestant worship focuses on the ears (hearing the Word proclaimed) and to an extent sight (symbols of the empty cross and, in some denominations, the colors of the altar hangings).  But often the senses of touch, taste, and smell are left out.  Incense is a very recognizable scent, and allows us to engage that sense in worship.  Additionally, smells are uniquely and firmly tied to memory.  The scent of apple pie, for instance, can bring us to a fond, childhood memory.  The scent of incense should bring us to a memory of worship and prayer.

Unless you are affected by smoke or scents, try using some incense when you pray.  It is readily available in many different scents.  Find one that evokes feelings of prayer and the mystery of God.  If you want the scent that is usually found in churches, a quick internet search or a trip to a Catholic bookstore can help you out.

Whether you use incense or not, ask God to help you recognize symbols that you can use in prayer and worship.  Ask him to help you overcome any prejudices against using various symbols in worship.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 18

Monday, 10/15

Pray for leaders at the local level: School officials and members of the county board of education, the sheriff and law enforcement, members of the county commission (or applicable county government), the mayor and city council of your municipality, or of nearby towns and cities, judges and magistrates, and other local leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Monday

Monday, October 15, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 26, Obadiah 1-9, and Revelation 7:9-17

No one is quite sure who Obadiah was or when he lived.  The name itself means “servant” or “worshiper”; the modern name “Christian” would be comparable.  It could be a pen name.  Some scholars believe that he lived during the reign of Jehoshaphat or Jehoram, but it was most likely written much later, after the destruction of Jerusalem.  Edomites were known to have been in on the plundering of the city after the Babylonians overthrew it.

Edomites were the descendants of Esau, whom Jacob had cheated over a bowl of lentils.  The two nations never got along well, and Israel conquered them several different times.  Obadiah is writing down a prophetic message, addressed to the Jews (most likely of the dispersion), about the coming fall of Edom.  It is in the format of a liturgy.
We don’t like to think of God as a judge who punishes wrongdoing.  But the Israelites saw him as one who was good to them when they followed him, and who punished them when they turned away.  They also saw God as being the ruler and guide of all the nations, especially Israel.  They believed that God allowed the other nations to prevail against Israel as a punishment, and allowed Israel to prevail against them in times of blessing.

God still cares what happens among the nations of the earth.  However, we Americans are too quick to think of the United States as Israel’s successor, forgetting that the Church is “a nation without borders or language”. The blessings that God promised to Abraham are inherited by the Church – which is throughout the world, not just in the U.S.
Take time to pray for peace on earth and for the advancement of God’s kingdom.  Write your own prayer.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 17

Pray for leaders at the local level: School officials and members of the county board of education, the sheriff and law enforcement, members of the county commission (or applicable county government), the mayor and city council of your municipality, or of nearby towns and cities, judges and magistrates, and other local leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Sunday

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, October 14, 2012 (Proper 23)
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Psalm 90:12-17; Hebrews 4:12-16; and Mark 10:17-31

Today is a day of rest and worship.  Allow the readings to guide your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 16


Pray for the nation as a whole, that God will guide the his followers to stand up and make the changes needed. Pray that God will show his followers what the needed changes are.

Morning Prayer Guide - Saturday

Saturday, October 13, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 90:12-17, Amos 3:13-4:5, and Matthew 15:1-9

Honoring parents while defining self is an interesting balance.  On the one hand, at some point we have to stand up for ourselves and begin making our own decisions about things, both great and small.  On the other hand, we have a responsibility to our parents, who took care of us and tried to teach us all those years.

Not all parents are as wonderful as we’d like them to be.  They, like all of us, make mistakes, but some parents seem to make more (or larger) mistakes than others do.  Other parents disengage, moving away from the relationship – even while we’re still children.  A few become abusive in one form or another.  Do we have to honor these parents too? The ones we’d rather not be around, or the ones we wish we’d never had?  Do we really have to honor them?

Jesus would say yes.  He did teach forgiveness, after all.  That doesn’t mean that we allow the behavior to continue, and it doesn’t mean that we mimic every single thing we’ve learned from them.  Honoring less-than-perfect parents can be really tough sometimes.

Every person, no matter how depraved or evil, was created in God’s image – the Imago Dei.  That they allowed themselves to fall as far from God as they did isn’t God’s fault.  To look into the face of a Hitler, or a Stalin, or an abusive parent and see God definitely takes grace.  God will give us that grace if we simply ask for it.  But every person, no matter how far from God he is, no matter how evil her actions and words are, has worth.  Jesus gave all of us worth when he died on the cross.

How then do we honor the image of God?  How can God use us to take broken images and make them whole again?

Pray for grace for yourself and others who have made mistakes.  Pray that God will show you how to honor parents that weren’t perfect, especially those who caused harm.  Pray for others whose parents make mistakes and bad choices.  Pray that God can use you to help others become more like him.  Write your own prayer.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 15

Pray for the news media. Pray that they will report the facts with honesty and integrity. Pray that they will be discerning in their interviews with the candidates and that they will ask the right questions and report the answers fairly. Pray that their viewers and readers will also have discernment and wisdom.

Morning Prayer Guide - Friday

Friday, October 12, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 90:12-17, Deuteronomy 5:22-33, and Hebrews 4:1-11

Verse 11 in the old King James is, “Let us therefore labor to enter into this rest.”  The idea of working to rest is a bit counter-intuitive.  Doesn’t rest mean the absence of work?  Why should we work to rest?

Of course, another way of looking at it might be better.  Think more along the lines of working to arrange everything so that when rest time comes, it can truly be a rest.  Most people have a list of things to accomplish before they can take a few days off.  They have to work to enter into their rest.

Like many analogies, this one will only take us so far.  But it is clear that God wants us to be diligent in what we do.  Both half-hearted obedience and delayed obedience is disobedience.

Be obedient to God’s commands.  Get up and get moving.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 14

Pray for yourself. Pray for discernment as you choose the candidates for whom you will be voting. Pray for discernment as you watch the news, read the paper, visit news sites on the internet, and talk to your friends, relatives, and neighbors. Pray that God will help you to choose the right candidates, even if they aren’t members of the party you normally choose. Pray that God will help you see through the spin and semantics to discern the candidates’ real beliefs. Pray that God will give you grace toward others who may have different views from you.

Morning Prayer Guide - Thursday

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 90:12-17, Deuteronomy 5:1-21, and Hebrews 3:7-19

God is serious about obedience.  While he will not force us, like puppets on strings, to do what he wants, he does want us to willingly and faithfully follow him.  He wants us to learn from him and do the things he tells us to do.  If we don’t, there are often consequences.

The Israelites spent forty years circling the same mountain in the desert because they allowed their fear to stop their obedience.  God would have helped them just as much then as he did later.  He already had the Canaanites shaking in fear of the Israelites, and had they been obedient they could have taken the land and settled down.  They essentially wasted a whole generation.

What has God told you to do?  Does fear prevent you from doing it?  What mountains have you had to circle in the desert?  Ask God to help you overcome your fear and respond with obedience.  Write your own prayer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer - Day 13

Pray for all candidates of the party for which you do not normally vote. If you normally split tickets or vote independent, then choose the party you did not pray for yesterday. Pray that God will lead the candidates of this party, that they will abstain from making promises that cannot be kept and accusations that cannot be proven, and that they will refrain from “slinging mud” at their opponents. Pray that God will speak to them and through them. Pray for the voters who listen to the candidates, that they will be discerning and wise in their choices.
Note: Be gracious in your prayers, even though you may not agree with their politics, policies, or personal beliefs.

Morning Prayer Guide - Wednesday

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 112, Jeremiah 3:6-14, and Matthew 5:27-37
It isn’t so much that Jesus wants us to go around as blind quadriplegics.  It’s that he wants us to control our urges.  He wants us to get rid of things that cause temptation.  To use a non-sinful example, if having a box of donuts causes you to eat them all, then don’t buy them in the first place.  If having something causes you to sin, then cut it off and put it away.  Get rid of it.  Having a relationship with God is more important than all the stuff in the world.  We have to be so focused on following Jesus that we would cut off our own body parts if they got in the way of that.

Take some time to pray about this.  Ask God to help you put aside temptation and follow him.   Write your own prayer.




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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 12

Pray for all candidates of the party for which you normally vote. If you normally split tickets or vote independent, then choose one party or the other for which to pray. Pray that God will lead the candidates of this party, that they will abstain from making promises that cannot be kept and accusations that cannot be proven, and that they will refrain from “slinging mud” at their opponents. Pray that God will speak to them and through them. Pray for the voters who listen to the candidates, that they will be discerning and wise in their choices.

Morning Prayer Guide - Tuesday

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Read: Psalm 112, Deuteronomy 24:1-5, and 1 Corinthians 7:10-16

St. Paul writes about what we are to do when one spouse is a believer and the other is not.  He tells us to remain married, so long as the unbelieving spouse is willing to do so as well.  Further, he writes that the believer sanctifies the unbeliever.

There are a growing number of marriages where one spouse is a believer and the other is not.  Or maybe they both claim to be, but one refuses to come to church or live a Christ-like life.  It would seem that men are more often the ones who prefer not to attend church, and they use any number of excuses to do so.  It functions the same way, where one spouse finds him- or herself going to church alone, being the sole follower of Christ in that household.  It also can put a strain on the marriage.

If you find yourself in this situation, take heart: God is using you to reach the other person.  Trust God to show you the way.  Ask God to show you what to do and say.
If you do not find yourself in this situation, pray for those who do.  If you know specific people, pray for them.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 11

Pray for leaders at the national level: President Barak Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, members of the cabinet, Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions and all members of the US Senate, Representative Robert Aderholt and all members of the US House of Representatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and justices of the US Supreme Court, circuit and district judges, and other Federal officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Monday


Monday, October 8, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Read: Psalm 112, Deuteronomy 22:13-30, and 1 Corinthians 7:1-9

Today we read some of St. Paul’s thoughts on marriage. He was of the opinion that staying single was better than getting married, but getting married was better than “burning with passion”, as he put it. He also wrote that husbands and wives are to give each other the affection they each need, and that they aren’t to withhold sex from each other unless it’s agreed upon for a certain period of time.

There are many who look back at this and say that he was a product of his times, and that what he wrote shouldn’t apply to us. Further, they say that what he wrote was very contextual, that he was addressing a specific problem in Corinth that may or may not apply to us. While the latter argument is almost certainly true, we can still draw some principles from it that are very relevant to us.

Corinth was a major crossroads in the eastern Mediterranean, and there was a thriving trading business between the east and west. It was a very cosmopolitan city, and it was known as a place where promiscuity and sexual freedom was the norm. As a result, Paul spent a great deal of time working on the new believers who had formerly been as much a part of that culture as anyone else. It took them many years to grow out of their old habits and ways of thinking.

God wants us to be faithful to our spouses. He wants us to treat each other with honor and love, and not be selfish. He wants us to respect others by not taking advantage of them.

How does this apply to you? Do you need to make any changes? Ask God to help you. Write your own prayer.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 10

Sunday, 10/7:

Pray for leaders at the state level: the governor, lieutenant governor, and cabinet; your senator and representative and all members of the state legislature; the justices of the state supreme court; the attorney general; circuit and district judges; and other state officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Sunday

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, October 7, 2012 (Proper 22)
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 8; Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12; and Mark 10:2-16

Today is a day of rest and worship.  Allow the readings to guide your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 9

Saturday, 10/6:

Pray for leaders at the local level: School officials and members of the county board of education, the sheriff and law enforcement, members of the county commission (or applicable county government), the mayor and city council of your municipality, or of nearby towns and cities, judges and magistrates, and other local leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.

Morning Prayer Guide - Saturday

Saturday, October 6, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 8, Genesis 23:1-20, and Luke 16:14-18

Jesus has some strong words for us today.  He told the Pharisees that they thought a lot of themselves and their money, but God considers it an abomination.  He then goes on to tell us that to divorce is adultery.

Divorce has been one of the hot topics in the Church, and while in some denominations it is no longer discussed, in others it is still very controversial.  While we won’t get into the details of the argument, it is important to note that God gives grace and forgiveness to people who make mistakes, and we should, too.

Jesus wants us to treat each other with honor and integrity.  He wants us to be careful with major life decisions, not rushing into things because they feel good or because friends or family are pushing us, but instead pausing to really look for his will in the matter.  If we would simply step back and ask God first, we would save ourselves a lot of heartache and trouble.  He knows us inside and out, and whenever we’re thinking of becoming partners with anyone – be it by marriage, business arrangement, or whatever else – we need to call on his wisdom to see the way forward.  He may have very good reasons why we should step away.  He may also smile at us and say, “What are you waiting for?”

Pray for grace for yourself and others who have made mistakes.  Pray that, going forward, God will help you will remember to ask him before jumping into major life decisions.  Write your own prayer.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 8

Friday, 10/5:

Pray for the news media. Pray that they will report the facts with honesty and integrity. Pray that they will be discerning in their interviews with the candidates and that they will ask the right questions and report the answers fairly. Pray that their viewers and readers will also have discernment and wisdom.

Morning Prayer Guide - Friday

Friday, October 5, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 8, Genesis 21:22-34, and Romans 8:1-11

Our New Testament passage is about the conflict between the flesh and God’s Spirit.  St. Paul writes that the flesh is “at enmity” with God.  It boils down to the fact that God wants us to do things his way, and we want to do things our own way, because we’re selfish.

God wants us to follow him.  We have to declare war on the self, and put aside what we want in order to follow God.  God has many good things for us, and giving up self will ultimately result in more good than we can imagine.  But it is difficult, because we are broken by sin.

Take some time to pray about this.  Ask God to help choose him and life over self and death.  Write your own prayer.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 7

Thursday, 10/4:

Pray for yourself. Pray for discernment as you choose the candidates for whom you will be voting. Pray for discernment as you watch the news, read the paper, visit news sites on the internet, and talk to your friends, relatives, and neighbors. Pray that God will help you to choose the right candidates, even if they aren’t members of the party you normally choose. Pray that God will help you see through the spin and semantics to discern the candidates’ real beliefs. Pray that God will give you grace toward others who may have different views from you.

Morning Prayer Guide - Thursday

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 8, Genesis 20:1-18, and Galatians 3:23-29

St. Paul writes that in Christ the divisions we put between ourselves – Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free – are no more.  We are one in Christ.

Jesus calls many people, from many backgrounds and with many skills.  He  doesn’t look at outward things like we do.  “You can’t do that job, you’re a woman.”  “You’re too Catholic.”  “You’re from the wrong side of the tracks and you have too many piercings.”  We sure know how to put people down and go against Jesus’ call, don’t we?

Pray about how you can affirm a person’s calling today, especially someone who might be, by human standards, the wrong person for the job.  If there is anyone with whom you have trouble, ask God to help you change your heart.  Write your own prayer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Technical Difficulties

Good morning,

I'm sorry for the outages this week; I thought that I had arranged everything to post correctly, but I apparently made a mistake or three.  I've re-set everything, so we should be good to go.

Thanks for your patience.  Blessings!

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 6

Wednesday, 10/3:


Pray for all candidates of the party for which you do not normally vote. If you normally split tickets or vote independent, then choose the party you did not pray for yesterday. Pray that God will lead the candidates of this party, that they will abstain from making promises that cannot be kept and accusations that cannot be proven, and that they will refrain from “slinging mud” at their opponents. Pray that God will speak to them and through them. Pray for the voters who listen to the candidates, that they will be discerning and wise in their choices.

Note: Be gracious in your prayers, even though you may not agree with their politics, policies, or personal beliefs.

Morning Prayer Guide - Wednesday


Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Read: Psalm 5, Zechariah 10:1-12, and Matthew 18:6-9

Jesus is pretty clear that we aren’t to lead people astray. While we shouldn’t be afraid to teach others what we’ve learned about following Jesus, at the same time we should be careful that what we’re teaching is actually the truth.

Fortunately, there is a way to be reasonably sure. It takes a lot of work, though. It involves walking so close to the Master that we’re breathing his dust. Remember what we prayed about yesterday?

Take some time to pray about this. Ask God to help you to be a good leader and faithful to him. Ask him to show you when you make mistakes and help you correct them. Write your own prayer.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 5

Tuesday, 10/2:

Pray for all candidates of the party for which you normally vote. If you normally split tickets or vote independent, then choose one party or the other for which to pray. Pray that God will lead the candidates of this party, that they will abstain from making promises that cannot be kept and accusations that cannot be proven, and that they will refrain from “slinging mud” at their opponents. Pray that God will speak to them and through them. Pray for the voters who listen to the candidates, that they will be discerning and wise in their choices.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 4

Monday, 10/1:

Pray for leaders at the national level: President Barak Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, members of the cabinet, Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions and all members of the US Senate, Representative Robert Aderholt and all members of the US House of Representatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and justices of the US Supreme Court, circuit and district judges, and other Federal officials and leaders. Pray that they will hear and follow God as they make decisions and carry out policies.