Monday, October 31, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, October 31, 2011

“To Fulfill”

Thank you, God, that in the life, death, resurrection, and words of Jesus Christ we see and experience what we really need to know about you and about your ways.

Thank you that through Jesus you teach us of the value you place on humility, service, and sacrifice.

Grant that our lives will show that each day we are learning that lesson more and more.


“This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Matthew 21:4-5)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, October 30, 2011

“The Lord Needs Them”

What do we have that you need, Lord?

Here it is—take it and use it for your glory.


“When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” (Matthew 21:1-3)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, October 29, 2011

“Moved with Compassion”

Thank you, Lord, that you are moved with compassion to touch us in our wounded places and to make us whole.

Thank you, Lord, that we, having been touched by you, have the privilege to follow you.

Help us to respond to your compassion and to your touch with our following.


“Jesus stood still and called them, saying, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, let our eyes be opened.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.” (Matthew 20:32-34)

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, October 28, 2011

“Have Mercy on Us”

Lord, have mercy on us.

You know how badly in need of your mercy we all are.

Give us awareness and acceptance of those places in our lives where we need your mercy.

Give us persistence and passion to keep on asking for your mercy even over the objections of those who think and say that we should not be asking you for what we need.

Give us grace and insight always to be aware of the ways in which we have received and are receiving your mercy.

You know how badly in need of your mercy we all are.

Lord, have mercy on us.


“As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!’” (Matthew 20:29-31)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, October 27, 2011

“To Serve….To Give”

Empower us to live upside-down and backwards lives, O God—the kind of lives in which we do things in Jesus’ way rather than in our way.

Empower us to want to give for others rather than have others give for us.

Empower us to want to serve others rather than have others serve us.

Empower us to live lives that are based on the greatness of smallness, on the power of humility, on the gain of loss, and on the reward of sacrifice.


“When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:24-28)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, October 26, 2011

“Are You Able?”

Teach us, O Lord, what it means to drink your cup; teach us that it means to share in your life which in turn means to share in your service, in your sacrifice, and in your suffering.

Guard us from arrogant thoughtlessness that would lead us to make claims of an ability to drink your cup that we do not in fact possess.

Guard us from timid reticence that would lead us to shrink from a humble willingness to at least be always moving toward an ability to drink your cup.

Guard us from selfish seeking that would lead us to draw the inspiration for our willingness to drink your cup from the hope of reward for doing so.

Give us, O Lord, minds, hearts, and spirits like yours so that we will want to drink your cup, so that we will want to share in your life which in turn means to share in your service, in your sacrifice, and in your suffering—because it is what we truly want to do.


“But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’” (Matthew 20:22-23)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, October 25, 2011

“Asked a Favor of Him”

It is normal and natural, O Lord, that we would ask you to bless our loved ones.

So please bless our loved ones.

Help us, though, to make that request with hearts and minds wide open, accepting that you know not only what is best for our loved ones but also the motives behind our asking.

So do bless their lives.

And do guard our hearts.


“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’” (Matthew 20:20-21)

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, October 24, 2011

“See, We Are Going Up to Jerusalem”

O God,

Jesus said it over and over and we read it over and over and we hear it over and over: to walk in his way, the way that leads to life, is to walk in the way of self-emptying service and sacrifice.

To walk in his way is to walk in his truth that leads to his life.

So, give us grace and strength to walk in the way of Jesus, wherever it may lead us.


“While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.’” (Matthew 20:17-19)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, October 23, 2011

“What I Choose”

Help us, O God, to celebrate whole-heartedly your amazing grace, even when it is applied to someone else and especially when it is applied to someone else who really doesn’t seem to deserve it—which is, after all, the point of amazing grace.

Teach us the hard but wonderful lesson that deserving has nothing to do with grace.


[For the full context, read Matthew 20:1-16] “But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:13-16)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, October 22, 2011

“What Then Will We Have?”

First, O God, give us the courage to consider the degree to which we actually are leaving everything and following Jesus.

Second, O God, give us the insight to understand that leaving everything and following Jesus is its own reward.

Third, O God, give us the grace to look forward to the ongoing and eternal results of our leaving everything and following Jesus.

Fourth, O God, give us the humility to remember that when your kingdom fully comes there will be great surprises in the revealing of who has gone the farthest in leaving everything and following Jesus.


“Then Peter said in reply, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will, be last, and the last will be first.” (Matthew 19:27-30)

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, October 21, 2011

“For God All Things Are Possible”

We ask you, O God, to keep us aware of what we cannot do for ourselves—no matter whatever else we have managed to do for ourselves.

We praise you, O God, that what we cannot do for ourselves you by your grace and in your love do for us.

Forgive us for our efforts to attempt our impossibilities rather than submitting to and celebrating your possibilities.

It’s grace, grace, grace! It’s up to you and not up to us—Hallelujah!


“When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:25-26).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, October 20, 2011

“Hard for a Rich Person”

Lord, we confess our inclination to put way too much stock in our stocks—and in our other sources of “security.”

As our financial resources stand between us and you, give us the power to let them go.

As they encourage selfishness in us, give us the grace to become selfless with them.

As they lead us to help ourselves, give us the love to help others.

Help us, Lord, to find our security in you and not in our stuff.


“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’” (Matthew 19:23-24)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, October 19, 2011

“If You Would Be Perfect”

O God,

Give us a constant desire to be moving toward greater wholeness and completeness in this life that we live in you.

Give us a constant awareness of our great need for greater wholeness and completion, an awareness that will not allow us not to claim more progress for ourselves than we have in fact made.

Give us a constant willingness to grow in our commitment and ability to give up those things, as you call us to do, that mean the most to us and on which we inappropriately base our security.

Give us a constant motivation to have as the goal of our life to follow Jesus and to lay up treasure in heaven through service to others and sacrifice for others that are compelled by the presence of your grace in our lives.


“The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these; what do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” (Matthew 19:20-22)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“Keep the Commandments”

It is very interesting, O God, that when your Son named the commandments that should be kept if one wishes to experience your real life, he named the “second tablet” commandments—the ones that have to do with how we treat each other.

Somehow, someway, O God, let us take to heart the truth that eternal life involves forgetting self and thinking about others.


“And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 19:17-19)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, October 17, 2011

“What Good Deed Must I Do?”

Fill us with the desire, O God, to share in the eternal life that comes from knowing you.

Guard us from the belief, though, that there is some one big thing that we can do to share in that life, as if by our will or by our action we can earn it.

Make and keep us open instead to the truth that it is by your grace that we enter into that life and that it is by your grace that we experience the changes in our lives that show that we indeed share in eternal life.


“Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’” (Matthew 19:16)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, October 16, 2011

“Let the Little Children Come”

Prevent us, O Lord, from standing in the way of any who come to you in their humility, in their need, and in their vulnerability.

Prevent us, O Lord, from standing in our own way of coming to you by denying our humility, our need, and our vulnerability.


“Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ And he laid his hands on them and went his way.” (Matthew 19:13-15)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, October 15, 2011

“Only Those to Whom It Has Been Given”

O God, inspire and empower each one of us to live in line with the grace, the insight, and the responsibility with which you have gifted us.

Fill us with your best light and then help us to follow that best light in the living of our lives.


“His disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’” (Matthew 19:10-12)

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, October 14, 2011

“Because You Were So Hard-Hearted”

Make it our hearts’ desire, O God, to experience your grace in the best and most positive ways possible.

We recognize and we thank you for those concessions that you have made to our humanity and to our sinfulness; it is possible, because of your mercy, for us sometimes to justify what we feel like we have had to do even though it did not live up to your best way for us.

And if we really did have to do something because it seemed right even though we knew it was not best, then we thank you for your mercy that allows us to try to keep moving forward.

But please, O God, don’t let us take the easy way out; don’t let us nonchalantly tell ourselves that you understand our hard-headedness and our hard-heartedness and so somehow it’s just fine for us to do what we want to do.

Fill us instead with the desire to do everything we can, empowered by your love and your Spirit, to live up the highest ideals possible in our marriage relationships and in all of our relationships.

We thank you for the allowances that your grace sometimes causes you to make; but we ask you for grace that will keep us from needing the allowances so much.


“They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of divorce and to divorce her?’ He said to them, ‘It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.’” (Matthew 19:7-9)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, October 13, 2011

“What God Has Joined Together”

We praise you, O God, for the gift of personal relationships.

We praise you for the gift of the marriage relationship in which so much mutual fulfillment is possible.

We praise you for the ideal that you established for our marriage relationships; we praise you for the purpose of your creation that is fulfilled in the ways that we relate to one another as husband and wife.

Give us grace, O God, to learn from our failures to live up to your ideal.

Give us grace, O God, to live up to your ideal from this moment on.


“He answered, ‘Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“To Test Him”

O God, your Book tells us that your Son Jesus has the words of life; we can, therefore, come to him for the help we need as we live these lives of ours.

Help us when we come to him to have minds and hearts that are open to his truth rather than minds and hearts that are looking for ways around his truth.

Give us the grace to seek guidance for the ways he would have us live rather than justification for the ways we want to live.


“Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’” (Matthew 19:3)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, October 11, 2011

“He Cured Them There”

Wherever we go and wherever we are, O Lord, people will be there; and wherever people are present there is need and hurt.

So wherever we go and wherever we are and with whomever we find ourselves today, O Lord, position us and empower us to be conduits through which your healing and restoring grace can flow to them.


“When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.” (Matthew 19:1-2)

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, October 10, 2011

“Should You Not Have Had Mercy?”

When we pray the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says, ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive those who are indebted to us,’ help us to do so with our eyes wide open, Lord.

Constantly remind us of the great mercy that you have shown to us and cause that mercy to flow out constantly from us to those people who have wronged us.

Inspire us by your great forgiveness that comes from your great heart and is thus full and real, Lord, so that our forgiveness will come from our hearts that have been changed and are being changed by your mercy.

Grant that the mercy we extend to others will be as willing and sincere as the mercy you extend to us.


“Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you? And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’” (Matthew 18:32-35)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, October 9, 2011

“They Went and Reported”

Keep us aware, O God, of our responsibility to one another; keep us especially alert to those situations in which forgiveness is not appropriately offered and grace is not appropriately practiced in our community of faith.

When we see such actions carried out in our midst, remind us to cry out to you, knowing that you care very much about the ways that our experience of your grace does or does not impact our attitudes and behaviors.

Give us the grace to pay enough attention to how other people are mistreated that we will be distressed over it.

“When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.” (Matthew 18:31)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, October 8, 2011

“But He Refused”

Grant that your grace would fill us with so much gratitude, O Lord, that it will flow over into the ways that we treat other people.

Grant that your grace would fill us with so much grace, O Lord, that we will forgive others as you have forgiven us.


“But that other slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt.” (Matthew 18:28-30)

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, October 7, 2011

“Forgave Him the Debt”

We acknowledge, O God, that we owe you more than we could repay were we to live an infinite number of lifetimes.

We confess our folly in thinking that we could ever by our own effort make things right with you.

But mainly, O God, we praise you for your great compassion that leads you to forgive us. Cause us always to recognize that your great grace is not cheap but is rather very, very costly to you.

Gratitude, O God—how can we feel anything other than great, great gratitude for your great, great grace?


“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.” (Matthew 18:23-27)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, October 6, 2011

“Seventy-Seven Times”

Make us so fully and constantly aware of your forgiveness of us, O Lord, that we can’t help but have forgiveness flow from us to those who sin against us.

Protect us from a self-congratulatory spirit that is impressed with the forgiveness that we are willing and able to offer; remind us that to grow into your kind of forgiveness, to grow in having your kind of forgiveness flow through us to others, is a lifelong process and so we always have the need to make progress.

May the grace that we receive reveal itself in the grace that we offer.


“Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.’” (Matthew 18:21-22)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“If Two of You Agree”

Keep us aware, O Lord, of the importance of community and fellowship in your Church.

Keep us aware, O Lord, of the responsibility that we have to one another and of the accountability that we are to have to one another.

Keep us aware, O Lord, of the power that is present through you in the Christian community—power to offer forgiveness, power to offer restoration, power to offer discipline, power to offer acceptance, and power to offer grace.

Keep us aware, O Lord, that we truly are the Body of Christ and that you truly are present among us, helping us to help each other grow into the people that we can and should be.


“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”(Matthew 18:18-20)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, October 4, 2011

“Sins Against You”

Cause us always to remember, O God, how important our relationships with each other are; give us the initiative to be proactive in the effort to maintain them when they are whole and to heal them when they are broken.

Give us grace to approach someone who has sinned against us and give us grace to be approached by someone against whom we have sinned.

Empower your church to be a body within which relationships are valued and real effort to preserve them is expended.

And even if a relationship is so badly broken that we have to back away from it, inspire us never to give up on it—just like you never give up on us.


“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, October 3, 2011

“That One of These Little Ones Should Be Lost”

Help us, Lord, to see those are struggling with their faith or who are wandering away from you in the same way that you see them—with love, with grace, and with compassion.

Cause us to share in your ruthless pursuit of those who wander away and get lost and to share in your great joy when they are found.

Never let us forget that we are little ones, too, and that we can go astray and get lost too, and that we need your love, grace, and compassion—and maybe a little help from our brothers and sisters—too.


“Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.” (Matthew 18:10-14)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, October 2, 2011

“Causes You to Stumble”

We confess, O God, that sometimes we stumble and that in our stumbling we become stumbling blocks for those who are even weaker in their faith than we are.

We acknowledge, O God, the graphic hyperbole of Jesus that makes us aware of how serious such stumbling is.

Please help us to receive and to grow in the grace that both forgives our stumbling and that helps us to grow beyond our stumbling.


“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.” (Matthew 18:8-9)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, October 1, 2011

“Stumbling Blocks”

We acknowledge, O God, how important it is that we who are adults in the faith—we who have had the privilege of gaining some maturity—take care not only not to do or say anything that would impede the faith development of those who are children in the faith—who have not yet had the privilege of gaining some maturity—but also to live and speak in ways that will help their faith to develop and to grow.

So help us not only not to be stumbling blocks to the developing faith of young and new believers but instead to be building blocks.


“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)