Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Priority and Place of Prayer

"And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed" (Mark 1:35).

In Mark 1 Jesus gets up in the (very early) morning and prays, teaching and inviting us to do the same.

He makes time for prayer.  He had had a busy day and was about to have another.  Still He makes prayer the priority, the first thing, the foundation for the rest of the day.

He finds a good place to pray.  He finds a "desolate" place, a quiet place, free of distractions.  A place to focus the heart and mind.

These are things we can do.  We can begin each day, especially the busy ones, with prayer and God's Word.  We can make it the priority, the first thing, the foundation.  It doesn't have to be a long time, just a quality time.  5, 10, 15 minutes will do.  And find a good place.

Get excited about it, look forward to it!

Do it with your wife if possible, and with your family, as the case may be.

There are lots of resources, guides, orders, and ideas for morning and daily devotions.  Find something that works for you, or try different things.  Talk with your pastor.  And consider using Martin Luther's Morning Prayer:

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You.  For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things.  Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me.  Amen.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Be at Peace

Richard Bowry, who has been 11 weeks now at Elmhurst Extended Care in Providence, gave me a yellow card with words of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622).  I, in turn, want to give it to you.

Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; rather look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms.  Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.  He will either shield you from suffering, or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When Man and Wife in Love Conceive

With the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on January 22, many congregations will observe a special Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.  I wrote the following hymn several years ago, and it could be sung by a cantor, choir, or congregation.  To hear the hymn, and for congregational (bulletin) and accompaniment versions, go to www.oyeoflittlefaith.org/new-hymns/.

When man and wife in love conceive,
They have, O Lord, from You received
A holy gift beyond compare:
A child placed within their care.

The mother's womb is safe and warm,
The father's love will shield from harm,
And You, O Lord, together knit
The human body intricate.

"In pain," You said, "you will give birth;"
The woman feels the sin-brought curse.
By labor's end, the lesson learned:
"Your sorrow into joy will turn."

Your infant son or daughter bring
To be reborn through baptizing.
There I, the Lord, will take and bless
And robe each one in righteousness.

Dear Christians, never cease to pray
For faith and love these latter days,
For marriage, life, and family,
That all be held in sanctity.