Monday, February 28, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, February 28, 2011

“Blessed Are the Peacemakers”

If we wait until we have complete peace in our own lives, meaning absolute wholeness in our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with others, to work for peace in our families, in our churches, in our communities, in our nation, and in our world, then we won’t work for peace until we get to heaven and the effort would then be, to say the least, superfluous.

So God, thank you for the peace that you have brought about in our lives, in process though it may be.

Help us, God, to go in the peace that we do have to work for peace prayerfully and faithfully—to work for increased wholeness and soundness in the hearts, lives, and relationships of everybody we can, and especially of the person or people in whose presence we happen to be at the moment.

To be peacemakers is to bear a strong family resemblance to our brother Jesus who was and is, after all, the Prince of Peace.

Help us to look, through our efforts at bringing about peace, more and more like your children every day.


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, February 27, 2011

“Blessed Are the Pure in Heart”

In one of the more interesting paradoxes in life, you, O God, are everywhere, but we have to know where to look to see you.

And the key to knowing where to look is to look from the right vantage point.

Give us, O God, pure hearts—hearts, wills, and lives that want one thing and one thing only: to know you—because it from the vantage point of that one desire that we can see you.

We look forward to the day when we will have absolute purity of heart and we will see you face to face.

But cause us to grow in singleness of heart here and now, day by day, moment by moment, blessing by blessing, and crisis by crisis, so that we might see you more and more clearly with each passing second.

Thank you that each time we see you a little more clearly our hearts become a little more pure.


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, February 26, 2011

“Blessed Are the Merciful”

Mercy leads to mercy leads to mercy leads to mercy…

O God, we praise you for and we celebrate the mercy that you have lavished upon us; for you in your holiness to extend such grace to us that we are accepted and forgiven by you is incredible, especially when we know that we did nothing—indeed, that we can do nothing—to deserve it.

Remind us, we ask, even in our embarrassment at having to ask, to rejoice in your mercy.

O God, we acknowledge that the reception of such mercy does, or at least should, motivate and move us to extend mercy to those who have wronged or hurt us—after all, any affront committed against us by a peer can hardly compare to those committed by us against you.

Empower us, we ask, even as we repent of our failures to do so, to lavish mercy on others as it has been lavished on us.

O God, we acknowledge that, as we receive your mercy and as we extend your mercy to others, we become more and more able to receive mercy both from you and from other people.

Open us, we ask, even as we mourn the ways and places that we are closed, better to have your mercy flow into us and then out of us to others.

After all, mercy leads to mercy leads to mercy leads to mercy…

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, February 25, 2011

“Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness”

We hunger for food and we thirst for water because we must have food and water to live.

We are blessed if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, for a sound and whole relationship with God that develops into a similar relationship with ourselves and with each other, like we hunger and thirst for food and water, meaning that we realize that we just can’t live without it.

We cannot be blessed, then, if we can live our lives without a craving for such relationships that leads us to do everything we can to experience them.

Lord, as paradoxical as it may sound, fill us with a hunger and a thirst for righteousness.

Lord, deliver us from the frustration that will come to us if we think that we can satisfy that hunger and thirst for ourselves; help us instead to depend on you to satisfy them.

And Lord, would you cause us, as we experience some satisfying of our hunger and thirst for righteousness, to share what we have gained with others who are similarly hungry and thirsty.


“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, February 24, 2011

“Blessed Are the Meek”

To be meek is not to be mild; the Lord Jesus was meek but we would hardly regard him as mild.

Indeed, no greater strength can be displayed than that which is displayed through meekness and no one ever displayed greater meekness and thus greater strength than did the Lord.

To be meek is to be willing and able to accept and to absorb the harm or wrong that someone inflicts on you and thereby perhaps to redeem it, to turn it into something positive for the community or the world—and maybe even for the one or ones inflicting the harm.

Perhaps there is no greater form of meekness than to be willing and able to take and to absorb the harm or wrong that someone inflicts not on you but rather on another—or on many others—and thus to redeem it.

It is hard to imagine a characteristic that is more Christ-like than meekness.

So God, give us the vision to see beyond the present hurt; give us the faith to see how you might work in it and through it and beyond it to bring about something better; and give us the courage to be meek and the meekness to be courageous.


“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“Blessed Are Those Who Mourn”

We mourn when we lose someone or something; we mourn because of the sense we have of the absence of someone or something that used to be there or that should be there.

Those who mourn are blessed because those who mourn face their losses and their empty places honestly and openly rather than living with false bravado and feigned invulnerability.

Those who mourn are blessed because those who mourn accept the comfort they need rather than pretending that they don’t need it and thus depriving themselves of it.

Those who mourn are blessed because they practice accepting the grace they need in the here and now which will make them especially ready to receive the grace that will come to them in the there and then.

Those who mourn are blessed because they embrace, with great faith and hope, the fact that they are not all that they should, could, or will be along with the fact that God will work in their lives to give them the comfort of ever-increasing wholeness and—one blessed day—absolute and complete wholeness.

O God, we mourn what we are not.

O God, we accept what we are.

O God, we live toward what we will be.


“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, February 22, 2011

“Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit”

Those who are poor in spirit realize that they are lacking, know that they are needy, and therefore are open to receive what they need from God to find fulfillment. Those who are not poor in spirit do not admit their lack, do not face their need, and therefore are closed to receiving that which can fulfill them.

Those who are poor in spirit are humble without being humiliated; they are poverty-stricken without being pitiable; they are self-aware without being self-consumed. Those who are not poor in spirit are rich in pride; they are endowed with foolishness; they are full of self.

O Lord, make our true poverty so clear to us that we can’t help but see it; reveal our true need to us so that we can’t help but admit it; replace our false pride with true humility so that we can't help but live out of it.

Then, use our awareness of our true spiritual state as a conduit through which your grace that constitutes the essence of your kingdom can flow into our lives—and then can flow back out of us to others who also realize their spiritual lack and are as desperate as we are to be filled with what really matters.


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, February 21, 2011

“He…Taught Them”

The words that follow this line constitute what we call the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps the most inspiring and challenging collection of teachings ever gathered in one place.

These amazing words, though, are only a portion of the words of Jesus collected in the Gospels and we can safely assume that the words of Jesus found in the Gospels are only a fraction of the teachings given by Jesus during his life on earth. We trust that our Bibles preserve for us the words of Jesus that we really need to hear, to know, and to do.

Cause us, O God, to take the words of Jesus with more seriousness than we do any other words, since those words come from the One of whom it is elsewhere said that he was the Word that was with God and that was God and that became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

Cause us, O God, to be able to hear the teachings of Jesus that still come to us through the presence of your Holy Spirit with us, teachings that are perhaps more liable to come to us in the sense of guidance in the ways we should feel, think, talk, and act than in any other form.

Cause us, O God, to be formed and shaped by the spoken and written words of Jesus and by the influence of the living Word who is Jesus into the best version of ourselves that we can be.

But before any of that, O God--cause us to listen to him…


“Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying…” (Matthew 5:2).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, February 20, 2011

“His Disciples Came to Him”

It seems so simple and so basic but it is so very important: “his disciples came to him.”

What if they hadn’t? Then they would have missed the confounding and compelling words that Jesus was about to speak; they would have missed an experience of fellowship with him and of learning from him that could and no doubt did make a tremendous difference for them.

God, it seems odd to ask you to inspire us to come to Jesus; after all, if we are his disciples, shouldn’t we naturally want to come to him? Apparently, based on what we have shown so far in our lives, we do need such inspiration, so please give it to us.

God, help us to develop in our lives the discipline of continually coming to Jesus to fellowship with him, to learn from him and to submit to him. Help us to come to Jesus every moment of every day but also to seek and to set aside particular times of every day, of every week and of every year that we make a determined effort to come to him.

God, in your great grace you caused Jesus to come to us and in your great grace you allow us to come to him; cause us to praise you for your grace by taking advantage of the privileges and responsibilities that you in your grace have given us.


“And after he sat down, his disciples came to him” (Matthew 5:1b).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, February 19, 2011

“When Jesus Saw the Crowds”

Great crowds were following Jesus and great crowds have great needs. Jesus had been healing people and no doubt he could have spent every minute of every day dealing with disease and with other devastating factors in the people’s lives.

So Jesus looked at the great crowd that was following him, the great crowd with its endless needs—and he turned around and walked up a mountain; he changed his location, his position, and his perspective and by so doing changed the location, the position, and the perspective of the crowds.

Lord, as the Body of Christ in the world today, we who are the Church have a responsibility toward the crowds, a responsibility to deal with their hurts and needs—to deal with their lives—with your grace and love and Spirit.

Give us discernment and wisdom that we will know when, faced with such great need as we perpetually are, it is time to make a shift in our location, in our position, and in our perspective—for their sake and for our sake.

For in making the shifts that we must make we may lead them to make the ones that they must make—and we might all then see you more clearly.


“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain…” (Matthew 5:1a).

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, February 18, 2011

“His Fame Spread”

Great fame and great crowds attached themselves to Jesus because of his great acts of healing, healing acts that were great because they demonstrated the very real presence of God and because they were driven by the very real power of God’s very real grace, love, and mercy.

Later, though, Jesus would demonstrate the very real presence of God, the very real power of God and the very real grace, love, and mercy of God in ways that would turn his fans who considered him famous into foes who considered him infamous.

God, give us the grace and the wisdom not to put too much stock in the ways that our ministry and service do or do not impress people; give us the grace and the wisdom not to evaluate the effectiveness or validity of our ministry and service by the ways in which people do or do not respond to us; give us the grace and the wisdom—and the courage—to understand that sometimes people will respond well when our ministry and service are not Christ-like and that sometimes they will respond badly when our ministry and service are Christ-like.

And if fame does come our way, don’t let us quite believe it.


“So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan” (Matthew 4:24-25).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, February 17, 2011


Jesus went throughout Galilee and everywhere that he went he taught, he preached, and he healed.

It’s a good model for how the Body of Christ, the Church, should live out its life and carry out its ministry today; we are to live our lives in the area where we are—and, given how small the world is getting with our travel and communications technologies, our “area” is less and less limited—and everywhere that we go we are to share the good news of Jesus Christ, the good news that offers and delivers acceptance and wholeness and wellness to lost and sick and broken people, with our words and with our actions.

O God, help us to pay attention to where we are and to the people who are all around us; help us also to be willing to go beyond the perceived borders of “our” area and to reach out in love to the people that we find as we go.

And as we go, help us to speak and to act and to touch in ways that communicate your love and grace and healing to everyone we meet.


“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people” (Matthew 4:23).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, February 16, 2011

“They Left the Boat and Their Father”

It’s not hard to imagine Zebedee standing there, net in hand, shouting after his sons and partners in the family business, “Hey—where do you think you’re going?” It’s also not hard to imagine him standing there, net in hand, mouth open, not knowing what to say. It’s also not hard to imagine him standing there, net in hand, wishing he could go, too.

James and John did leave their father, though, didn’t they?

O God, this is a hard prayer to pray.

Help us to have the faith and the courage to leave our father or mother or sister or brother or anyone else that we need to leave behind to do what we need to do for you.

We can never leave them completely behind, of course; we always carry them with us. But if going with you means going without them, help us to do that.

Maybe the even harder thing, Lord, is to have to leave them even if we stay where they are—to find it necessary to be different than they are and to live differently than they do right there in their town and right there under their noses. Maybe that takes even greater faith and courage.

But Lord, maybe our leaving them, whether we physically stay or go, can be the catalyst that leads them to follow you, too.

It would be great, Lord, if we could all go together…


“Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him”(Matthew 4:22).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, February 15, 2011

“He Saw Two Other Brothers”

There are always others.

Jesus always sees others and he always calls others. He had already called Peter and Andrew but Peter and Andrew would just have to understand that they were not enough; Jesus also needed James and John—and dozens and hundreds and thousands and millions of others that he has seen and still sees and has called and still calls.

Lord, if I have felt your gaze and heard your call, thank you—but protect me from the pride that tells me that I am more important than I am or that I need less partnership with others than I do.

Lord, if I feel your gaze and hear your call, thank you—and lead me to follow you and in following you to walk and work gladly beside the others that you have seen and called.

After all, you and we need all the sisters and brothers that we can get.


“As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them” (Matthew 4:21).

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, February 14, 2011

“Immediately They Left”

Lord, give us the courage to leave what we need to leave in order to follow you.

There may be sinful things that we need to leave to follow you but there may also be good things that we need to leave to follow you; there may be things that have done right by us and through which we have done right by others that nonetheless now stand in the way of our being who we need to be and doing what we need to do.

There may be tried and true ways of living that just won’t work anymore—not, at least, if we really want to follow you.

So help us, Lord, to leave behind what we need to leave behind to follow you.

And help us to do so immediately, since the one moment we know we have is this one.


“Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:20).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, February 13, 2011

“I Will Make You”

The Lord Jesus sees us as we are and takes us as we are and uses us as we are—and, if we follow him and are open to him, develops us into the best version of ourselves that we can be, a version of ourselves that will touch people with the grace of God and with the love of Christ that will flow freely into us, through us, and from us.

Jesus, give us the desire and the will to follow you wherever you lead and into whatever developments in our character and in our approach to life need to happen for us to be the best conduits of grace and love to those around us we can be.


“And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people’” (Matthew 4:19).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, February 12, 2011

“He Saw”

He sees us right where we are doing whatever we are doing for whatever reasons we are doing it.

He sees us exactly as we are regardless of the choices or the circumstances that have made us who we are right now in this moment.

In the course of who he is he sees us in the course of being who we are.

There is something to be said for being seen, for being noticed, for being taken into account—by anyone, much less by the Lord of the universe and the Savior of the world.

Thank you, Jesus.


“As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen” (Matthew 4:18).

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, February 11, 2011

“The Kingdom of Heaven Has Come Near”

In Jesus, the kingdom of heaven, the reign of God, broke into this world in a way that was at the same time majestic and intimate, revealed and hidden, and complex and simple.

The kingdom is still here and it is still all those things.

It makes a difference now, as it made a difference then, for those who are able and willing to receive the grace through faith that opens their lives up to the fact of God and to the attendant facts of God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s will, and God’s way.

O God, make us able and willing.

O God, turn us evermore to you and away from everything that is not you.


“From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near’” (Matthew 4:17).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, February 10, 2011

“Light Has Dawned”

Jesus, by his very presence in the world, brought light into the darkness, light that dispelled the shadow of death.

He still does.

God, this world still struggles with darkness and we who live in it still struggle with the shadow of death. Open our lives up to the light of Jesus that will, by your grace, dispel the darkness of anxiety, fear, and dread.

And grant that we who have experienced and received that light will reflect it just enough that others might catch enough of a glimpse of it through us that they will be able to turn toward it themselves.


“He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned’” (Matthew 4:13-16).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, February 9, 2011

“Now When Jesus Heard”

Jesus responded to the changing circumstances around him; he made decisions about what to do that were based on what was happening in his environment. He was sensitive to what was happening in the world around him and he responded in light of that sensitivity.

Help us, O Lord, to pay attention; help us to be sensitive to what’s happening around us and to the possible implications of those happenings for our living of our lives and for our service to you and to others.

Then help us to make our decisions and to carry out our actions based on what seems best not just for ourselves but for our role and responsibility in your kingdom.

Perhaps Jesus withdrew at the time of John’s arrest because he perceived a danger to himself; there would come a time when he would not withdraw but would instead place himself directly in the path of danger. Give us, O Lord, a similar sense of your timing as we make our decisions.


“Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee” (Matthew 4:12).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

“Throw Yourself Down”

Jesus could have utter trust that if he fell into danger in the course of living his life and fulfilling his calling the angels of the Lord would take care of him in whatever way he really needed to be cared for, whether or not it meant physical rescue.

That’s faith—and we can have it too. Lord, help us to have it.

But Jesus would not presume upon the favor of God by intentionally doing things that were outside the flow of his faithful life or outside the parameters of his faithful service, thereby daring God to take care of him anyway.

That’s presumption—and we don’t need it, either. Lord, help us not to have it.

As Jesus knew and as Jesus found, there is danger aplenty in just being and doing what God has made us and has called us to be and to do.

If Jesus had thrown himself down from the pinnacle of the temple that day, maybe the angels would have saved him from getting hurt. So Jesus would have had his life saved—but what would he have lost in the process? This much we know: when the time came for him to be lifted up on the cross and he no doubt desperately wanted to cry out for the angels to take him down, to stop him from being hurt, he didn’t do it. And so he lost his life…but think of what he—and we—gained.

Help us, O Lord, to submit in trust to your tender mercies that we can know no matter what happens to us as we try to follow you, even when we have to be hurt, even when we have to give up, and even when we have to die.

Help us, O Lord, never to give in to an attitude that presumes upon those mercies as if we are entitled to them and that pursues them outside the parameters of what constitutes a life lived in the following of Jesus Christ, who came not to save his life but to give it away.

“Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test”’” (Matthew 4:5-7).

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, February 7, 2011


The devil opened his first two challenges to Jesus with the word “If”—“If you are the Son of God,” he said, and then made his proposals. “If you are the Son of God,” the devil said to Jesus, “then prove it.”

To whom was Jesus supposed to prove it? To himself? Just forty days before he had heard his Father say it but forty days can be a long time especially when they have been forty days of deprivation and trial.

For us, one day can be a long time, even without the deprivation and trial—so Lord, help us not to doubt that we are your beloved children and deliver us from trying to prove it to ourselves. Help us to rest in the knowledge that it is so.

Or was Jesus supposed to prove it to others? Perhaps the devil wanted Jesus to want to put on a big show; perhaps he wanted Jesus to want to demonstrate his status so that others would have to be amazed at the proof he offered. But perhaps had Jesus done so he would have amazed people by giving them a false image of what it meant for him to be the Son of God.

Lord, help us not try to prove to others that we are your children; help us rather to live lives of simple faith, love, grace and service and to trust you to cause others to see us as we really are and you as you really are.


“…saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God…’” (Matthew 4:6a).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, February 6, 2011

“On the Pinnacle”

There may be no more dangerous place to be than on the pinnacle, than on a high place, than at the peak—the view from there can get mighty skewed.

We might get impressed with ourselves for having gotten ourselves there.

Or we might have sold our souls to the devil to get there.

Jesus knew that it was the devil that got him there this time. Jesus also knew that there was another way for him to get to another pinnacle and it was a much harder way but it was the right way because it was God’s way and so it was a much better pinnacle.

And so when he looked around and saw the entire world beneath him—and the devil beside him—he was not impressed.

God, if we are to have success, if we are to find ourselves on the pinnacle, let it be because we have lived life the way you called Jesus to live his; let it be because, overwhelmed by your love and driven by your grace, we gave and gave and gave ourselves away until we had no more to give.

Don’t let it be because we let ourselves see things from the devil’s perspective.


“Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple…” (Matthew 4:5).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, February 5, 2011

“By Every Word…From the Mouth of God”

Jesus was famished after his forty days of fasting and he had it in his power to turn stones into bread. It’s hard to imagine that, under the same circumstances, any one of us would not have done what the tempter suggested. Jesus, though, kept the big picture and the larger good in mind; while not denying that people need bread to survive, he affirmed that we need the spiritual sustenance that comes only from God to be truly alive.

Jesus would not trade the eternally good for the temporarily helpful.

Lord God, we cannot deny our physical needs and appetites but forgive us for when we think primarily of them or even only of them.

Develop in us the kind of life that craves spiritual sustenance even more than it craves physical sustenance.

Help us to have the kind of discipline that goes without a physical need for a set time in order to help us become more aware of our spiritual needs and of the resources that you have to meet those needs. Make us aware that, at the end of such a set time of fasting, the temptation to fall back onto a reliance on the same old patterns will be great; give us strength at such times to turn even more fully to you.


“The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”’” (Matthew 4:3-4).

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, February 4, 2011

“Afterwards He Was Famished”

It’s a vivid picture of the humanity of Jesus; he so badly needed and wanted communion with his Father that he was willing to pay any price for it and to go through any suffering to have it.

God, fill us with such a desire to know you and to commune with you that we will give up whatever we have to give up and that we will do whatever we have to do in order to focus all the energies of our spirit on you.

God, form in us a spirit that is willing to forego even what we need in order to gain what we really need.


“He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished” (Matthew 4:2).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, February 3, 2011

“Led by the Spirit…to Be Tempted by the Devil”

It’s an interesting juxtaposition: the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness; in the wilderness, the devil tempted Jesus. It’s hard not to conclude that the Spirit led Jesus to the place where he would face temptations because somehow the temptations offered by the devil were necessary to Jesus’ development and maturation.

It’s also hard not to conclude that if that’s the way it was for Jesus in his life, it just might be the way it is for us in ours.

O God, lead us not to places in our lives that harbor temptation for us.

But if you must lead us to such places, whether they be outside or inside us, help us to deal with our temptations in a way that will be for our ultimate benefit and that will help lead to the clarification of our identity as your children and as Jesus’ followers.

If and when we must face the devil, remind us that we are empowered to face him by your Spirit that cares enough about our growth and progress to lead us to face him if that is what we need to do and that would not lead us into such a battle without also giving us the resources to win it.


“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, February 2, 2011

“The Beloved”

The voice of the Father said that Jesus was the Father’s beloved Son before Jesus had done anything, so far as we know from the record at least, to earn the Father’s blessing of love.

That is precisely the point: the Father’s blessing of love is not and cannot be earned; the Father loved Jesus just because Jesus was Jesus and the Father loves me just because I am me and the Father loves you just because you are you. The Father loves us because we are the Father’s children.

Help us to know, Father, that you love us; help us to rest, Father, in your love for us.

Help us to hear you say, Father, that you are well pleased with us.

Then help us, Father, to live our lives in light of your love, your blessing, and your pleasure.


“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:17).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, February 1, 2011

“The Heavens Were Opened”

Jesus’ baptism somehow prompted an amazing representation of the thing about which Jesus’ life in its entirety was about: the barrier between heaven and earth was penetrated and the way from heaven to earth and from earth to heaven was opened.

Perhaps when we are baptized, when we enter into the thing about which Jesus’ life was about, we have a similar experience.

O God, we praise you because in Jesus you brought heaven to earth and made it possible for earth to experience heaven.

O God, increase our awareness—or maybe just begin our awareness—of the way in which the heavens have been opened to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Make us so heavenly minded that we will be good for something on earth.


“And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him” (Matthew 3:16).