Archive for May, 2021


Written by Craig Denison, a contemporary author and publisher of First15, a daily devotional.

Relationships are one of the parts of life that can most rob us of our peace in the Holy Spirit. Our lives are all in some way impacted by one another. If I am counting on someone and they don’t come through, it can profoundly impact my circumstances. If I truly love someone and they wound, neglect, or reject me, it can undoubtedly hinder my ability to enjoy the peace of God. But God offers us peace in the midst of all circumstances. The pathway to peace with others begins with choosing to die to yourself. We are completely unable to control anyone. Each person has a will and the power to love us or reject us. Even believers will consistently fail you. If the people of God could stand in the presence of God incarnate and shout, “Crucify him,” you can know others will reject you. But when you choose to continually humble yourself before others and serve, you will be filled with the “peace of Christ.”   When we choose to put on “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” regardless of the actions of others, we position ourselves to continually bear the fruit of peace. We find our greatest example of this in the person of Jesus. Just as he could ask forgiveness from his heavenly Father by saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” as the soldiers who nailed him to the cross gambled for his clothing, you will have a supernatural peace when you choose to live selflessly in love. The Holy Spirit will fill you with peace in your relationships when you choose to live like Jesus. Take time today to put on a “compassionate [heart], kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Choose to die to yourself and live for Christ. And watch as the Holy Spirit anoints you with the fruit of peace and love to live like Jesus did. May your relationships be filled with patience today as you live in obedience to the word of your loving heavenly Father.


This prayer is an ancient collect from the 6th century.

May our Lord  Jesus Christ

be near you to defend you,

within you to refresh you,

around you to preserve you,

before you to guide you,

behind you to justify you,

above you to bless you;

who lives and reigns

with the Father and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.

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Written by Sheri Rose Shepherd, a contemporary Christian author, speaker, and humorist.

I believe if The Lord was going to write you a personal letter about battles this life brings it may read like this….

My Child, the enemy of your soul wants to divide you against members of your own family. If you’re not careful, you will end up falling prey to his plan of attack and wound loved ones. Even if you win the argument, you will lose if you’re not fighting for the good of the relationship. Before you engage or entangle yourself in a war you cannot win with words, stop and call out to Me. When you feel anger welling up inside, remember that love is your greatest weapon in any conflict. Because your flesh will fail, you will need to be controlled by the power of My Holy Spirit. Remember you are a family–My family. You are on the same team and fighting the same enemy. So, fight by doing what is right in my sight, and you will win.  Love, your Heavenly Father

It’s not who you’re fighting with, it’s what you’re fighting for that matters.


Written by Rachel Wojnarowski, a contemporary author, speaker, and writer.

Dear Father, When I look up to you in this moment,
I feel like I can only see stars. My angry heart is frustrated and I can’t understand the situation. In a world where things are messy and hurtful, today’s circumstance just makes me angry and I find myself asking “Why?” Help me, Lord. I need you. I need the reminder that I am not the one in control, and although others may seem out of control, You are always in control. I need the reminder that while my heart is fighting a battle, though others may intend to do evil, You make everything good. May your glorious grace flood my heart to wash away the madness. May your redeeming love replace my anger, flowing through me as a light on a hill, shining brightly for you. Again. Amen.

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Private Language


Written by Eugene H. Peterson (1932-2018), an American Presbyterian minister, scholar, theologian, author, and poet.  He is known for his translation of the Bible called “The Message.”  This is an excerpt from his book “Earth and Altar.”

We can no more have a private prayer than we can have a private language. A private language is impossible. Every word spoken carries with it a long history of development in complex communities of experience. All speech is relational, making a community of speakers and listeners. So too is prayer. Prayer is language used in the vast contextual awareness that God speaks and listens. We are involved, whether we will it or not, in a community of the Word—spoken or read, understood and obeyed (or misunderstood and disobeyed). We can do this in solitude, but we cannot do it in private. It involves an Other and others. The self is only itself, healthy and whole, when it is in relationship, and that relationship is always dual, with God and with other human beings. Relationship implies mutuality, give and take, listening and responding.


Written by Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), a Spanish Carmelite nun, reformer, theologian and author.

Let nothing disturb you.

Let nothing frighten you.

All things are changing.

God alone is changeless.

Patience attains the good.

God alone fills all our needs.

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Written by Gustavo Gutierrez, a contemporary Peruvian philosopher, theologian and Dominican priest.  This is an excerpt from his book “We Drink From Our Own Wells.”

The initial encounter with the Lord is the starting point of a following or discipleship.  The journeying that ensues is what Paul calls “walking according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). It is also what we today speak of as a spirituality. The term “spirituality” is a relatively recent one in the history of the church. It came into use around the beginning of the seventeenth century in French religious circles at a time that saw a wealth of contributions and works on the subject. Everything that had to do with Christian perfection fell under the heading of spiritual life, whereas reflection of the subject yielded to spiritual theology.  Every great spirituality is connected with the great historical movement of the age in which it was formulated. This linkage is not to be understood in the sense of mechanical dependence, but the following of Jesus is something that penetrates deeply into the course of human history.


Written by Kevin Halloran, a contemporary pastor who is working with the Unlocking the Bible ministry.

Lord, I long to walk by Your Spirit, continually communing with You in the Triune community of love that I can access by the blood of Your Son. I long to know You more and be used by You to minister the gospel to a world that desperately needs You.

Make my thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions testify beautifully that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me. May Your truth mightily flow from my lips for the encouragement of the discouraged, the edification of Your body, and the evangelization of the lost. May the way I live, lead, and love make Your grace obvious, praised, and greatly treasured. Amen.

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Encountering God


Written by Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1999), a Swiss theologian and Catholic priest. This is from his book “Prayer.”

We contemplate Christ, his world, his truth, in order to encounter God and “see” him. We do this with the eyes of faith, but they are genuine, objective eyes; and they are the eyes of our mind and senses, but they have been enlightened interiorly by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We have already spoken of this illumination. Now we are concerned with the object of our contemplation: God. Everything else, creation, humanity, salvation history, is considered within the context of God in order that we may find him there. But this finding is to be a spiritual and personal encounter in which, by faith, we become aware of the “life” which God gives to the believer objectively in the form of grace, i.e., in the form of a participation in the divine nature, with its triune exchange of life and love. 


Written by Margaret Grun Kibben, contemporary Chaplain to the US House of Representatives and former Chief of Chaplains for the US Navy

We pray Your kindness to fall upon us, O Lord, that the work of our hands would have effect and that our well–intended actions serve Your ultimate purpose. May we in all that we encounter this day and all days, have the faith to proclaim, “the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God endures forever.”

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In The World


Written by Ken Shigematsu, a contemporary pastor and author. This is an excerpt from his book “God in my Everything.”

As Celtic monks drew close to God in the sixth century, they intentionally built their monasteries close to the “world” – near settlements, on well-known hilltops, or on islands by established sea lanes – so they could reach out to people with the hospitality of Christ. The monasteries not only provided a place of prayer but also served as hotels, emergency shelters, hospitals, libraries, universities, centers for the arts, and mission-sending bases. Although our values will differ from those of mainstream society as we are guided by the Spirit we will not withdraw from the world or disconnect from people who don’t know the living God. Just as Christ was sent by his Father into the world, when we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we will seek to obey him by being “in the world, but not of the world.”

An important first step in becoming people who share the gospel is to pray for people around us who don’t know Christ and to trust God to work in their lives. As we turn to God in prayer, we are reminded that God is preeminent in all of this, preparing people’s hearts to receive him. Communicating Christ is not primarily about our competencies; it is something the Holy Spirit does through us.


Written by Rev. Charles Lewis Slattery (1867-1930), Bishop of Massachusetts in the Episcopal Church.

Almighty God, thank you for the job of this day.

May we find gladness in all its toil and difficulty,

its pleasure and success,

and even in its failure and sorrow.

We would look always away from ourselves,

and behold the glory and the need of the world

that we may have the will and the strength to bring

the gift of gladness to others;

that with them we stand to bear

the burden and heat of the day

and offer you the praise of work well done.

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Spiritual Discipline


Written by Dallas Willard  (1935-2013), an American philosopher and writer on Christian spiritual formation.  This is an excerpt from his work “The Divine Conspiracy.”

To put off the old person and put on the new we only follow Jesus into activities that he engaged in to nurture his own life in relation to the Father. Of course, his calling and mission was out of all proportion to ours, and he never had our weaknesses, which result from our long training in sin. But his use of solitude, silence, study of scripture, prayer, and service to others all had a disciplinary aspect in his life. And we can be very sure that what he found useful for conduct of his life in the Father will also be useful for us. It was an important day in my life when at last I understood that if he needed forty days in the wilderness at one point, I very likely could use three or four.

This crucial point carries on down through the ages during which his people have been on earth. The ones who have made great spiritual progress all seriously engaged with a fairly standard list of disciplines for the spiritual life. There has been abuse and misunderstanding, no doubt, but the power of solitude, silence, meditative study, prayer, sacrificial giving, service, and so forth as disciplines are simply beyond question. This is a field of knowledge, and we remain ignorant of it to our great disadvantage.


Written by Dallas Willard, author of today’s meditation.  It is a paraphrase that highlights elements of the Lord’s Prayer.

Dear Father always near us,
may your name be treasured and loved,
may your rule be completed in us —
may your will be done here on earth in
just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today,
and forgive us our sins and impositions on you
as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials,
but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one in charge,
and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours — forever- which is just the way we want it!

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Written by James C. Fenhagen 1929-2012, an Episcopal Rector, author, and Seminary administrator. This is an excerpt from his book “Invitation to Holiness.”

Holiness in human life is a reflection of the holiness of God and, therefore, has always been associated with religious experience. Holiness is a special word that suggests not so much a particular quality of the divine, as the essence of that transcendent mystery which for the believer stands at the center of human existence. The word holiness carries with it connotations of the numinous, and therefore includes the experience of awe and wonder and power—all of which cannot be clearly defined. Holiness always implies something more — pointing to that mystery which can never be contained. More than any other word in the history of language, it speaks of the essence of religious experience.


Written by Pope Gregory I (Unk – 604), famous for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome to convert the then pagan Anglo-Saxons in England to Christianity.

 Almighty and eternal God,

you are the brightness of the faithful.

You have made this day holy

by the first-fruits of the chosen Gentiles.

Fill the world with your glory

and show yourself by the radiance of your light

to the nations that are subject to you;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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Written by Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), an American Quaker author and theologian and former chaplain to both Harvard and Stanford Universities. This is an excerpt from his book “The New Man for Our Time.”

When we begin to ask what the conditions of inner renewal are, we receive essentially the same answers from nearly all of those whom we have most reason to respect. One major answer is the emphasis upon discipline.  In the conduct of one’s own life it is soon obvious, as many have learned the hard way, that empty freedom is a snare and a delusion. In following what comes naturally or easily, life simply ends in confusion, and in consequent disaster. Without the discipline of time, we spoil the next day the night before, and without the discipline of prayer, we are likely to end by having practically no experience of the divine-human encounter. However, compassionate we may be with others, we dare not be soft or indulgent with ourselves. Excellence comes at a price, and one of the major prices is that of inner control.


Written by Jennifer Clarke, a contemporary Christian author.

 Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that too often, I allow myself to be controlled by my desires and my impulses rather than by Your Spirit. Please forgive me and help me to draw me closer to You, walking in Your Spirit every moment of every day. This is impossible for me apart from Your grace, so please grant it lavishly, as you promise. It’s in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.

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Written by Macrina Wiederkehr, a contemporary Christian author. This is an excerpt from her book “A Tree Full of Angels.”

Every time I say no to the birthing and dying that is set before me at the table of daily life, I seem to hear the echo of Jesus’ words to the woman at the well, “if you but knew the gift of God…” Whether God weeps at the beauty and potential of our lives at birth, or the lost potential of graced moments along the way, I hear that voice urging us to claim our splendor and our glory, “If you but knew the gift of God…”  The gift of God is the Divine Indwelling. It comes quietly into your frailty at baptism. You become a tabernacle for the Source of Life. When you come to understand this old yet often forgotten truth, you will know what is meant by the words “heaven on earth.” This is it! You are beginning to live heaven on earth in the Divine Indwelling. You, frail earth-creature, having given your frailty over to God, have created a place of splendor within the depths of your being, a holy and eternal space where you meet God face to face. Cherish this truth. It is costly grace.


This prayer is from the Lord’s Leaven Mission Society.

My Lord and my God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I believe that You are dwelling in spirit in the deepest center of my soul. I adore You, I love You and I trust in You; for You are the source of my being and my life in all that I think, say and do. Help me to see You in the heart of others, and see the reflection of You in everything that You have made. Help me to understand the things I cannot change. May Your name be praised, blessed and glorified forevermore. Amen.​

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