Archive for September, 2021

Growth As Disciples


Written by Edward J. Farrell (1897-1993), pastor and author.  This is an excerpt from his book “Gathering the Fragments.”

We begin, sometimes without realizing it, to worship things, to relate to them as persons. And in the process, we inevitably relate to other persons as if they were things. No wonder Jesus spoke five times as often about money and earthly possessions as about prayer. And everywhere in scripture, we hear the warnings; money has power, wealth is addictive. Be careful, be on your guard…When God breaks in on a sufficiently prepared people, a new generosity emerges, one that is outgoing, joyous, spontaneous, and free. Growth in Christian discipleship manifests itself by compassion for the poor. A new stewardship unfolds, a stewardship that cares deeply for all of God’s created order, including the earth and its fullness—people, animals and things.


Today’s prayer is Jonah’s prayer for Salvation (Jonah 2:2-9).

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise,  will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good.  I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.” 

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Written by Joan Puls, a contemporary author. This is an excerpt from her book “Every Bush is Burning.”

Spend some time with children. Count among your friends and regular associates those who are poor. Learn from the sick and those who treat life as the gift it is. And observe true lovers, or better, become one. Such as these are sacraments of freedom in a world frightened by its own uncontrolled destructiveness and oppressed by its own denial of innocence and gentleness.  It was not by accident that Jesus placed a child in the midst of his adult followers and said: “Unless you become like this…” Spontaneous in your response to life, honest in your assessment of people, vulnerable to the world about you. Children are obedient to their element: innocent joy, eager trust, endless inquisitiveness.


Written by Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), a Danish philosopher, theologiean, poet, social critic, and religious author. .

God our heavenly Father, when the thought of you wakes in our hearts, let its awakening not be like a startled bird that flies about in fear. Instead, let it be like a child waking from sleep with a heavenly smile.  

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Jesus In You


Written by Mother Teresa (1910-1997), a nun and missionary who dedicated her life to care for the destitute and dying in the slums of Calcutta, India.

Just allow people to see Jesus in you

to see how you pray

to see how you lead a pure life

to see how you deal with your family

to see how much peace there is in your family,

Then you can look straight into their eyes and say, “This is the way.” You speak from life, you speak from experience.


Written by Izwe Nkosi, a contemporary South African author, passionate about worship and prayer.

God of every blessing, I invite you to shape my soul with Your words and inspire my life through Your works. Teach me to walk in the way of blessing. Amen. 

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Masters of Our Fate


Written by Eugene Peterson (1932-2018), an American Presbyterian minister, scholar, theologian, author, and poet. This is an excerpt from this book “Earth and Altar.”

Atheism, the attempt to be master of our fate and as many fates around us as we can decently manage, is not the bold swashbuckling affair of legend but a grim, tight-lipped business. These atheists are cramped, full of pretense, diminished beings. They depend on consumer goods or status positions or peer opinions – always something impersonal or abstract—to validate their sense of worth. With no inner life they require external paraphernalia, personalized things or depersonalized persons, to get a sense of self. Narcissism is the most recent term for this secret atheism of the heart. It typifies the character structure of a society that has lost interest in God.


Written by Francis Xavier (1506-1552), a Spanish Catholic missionary and saint who was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus.

Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember that You alone have created the souls of unbelievers, which You have made according to Your Image and Likeness. Remember, O Lord, Your Son Jesus Christ, Who so generously shed His Blood and suffered for them. Do not permit that Your Son, Our Lord, remain unknown by unbelievers, but, with the help of Your saints and the Church, the Bride of Your Son, remember Your mercy, forget their idolatry and infidelity, and make them know Him, Who You have sent, Jesus Christ, Who is our salvation, our life, and our resurrection, through Whom we have been saved and redeemed, and to Whom is due glory forever. Amen. 

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A Life of Service


Written by James Merritt, a contemporary pastor and author.ctor of Impact Prayer Ministry.

In the church where I pastor, as in every mainstream church, we talk often about serving others. Often we make a list of serving roles on Sundays, from being an usher and collecting the offering, to being a greeter, helping on the parking team, or leading a preschool classroom. Each of these roles is important and helps our church function and be an engaging and welcoming place to come to know God and grow in His Word. But don’t let that hour on Sunday be the totality of your service. As a Christ-follower, Jesus instructs us specifically in the area of serving others. What it looks like, He says in Mark 10, is that each of us in daily life put our own interests behind the interests and needs of others. So far behind, in fact, that our desire should be that we are consistently meeting the needs of everyone else.

Jesus reminds us that He did not come to be served, but to serve. This is an astounding statement. The Son of God—if anyone should expect to be served it is Jesus. Yet His life on earth was filled with examples of serving others. And His specific instructions to us follow along with His example. To follow Jesus is to live a life where we are always looking for ways to meet the needs of others, through our talents, gifts, and abilities. It is a lifestyle of putting others first, thinking not about ourselves and our own desires, but also about what others lack that we can provide. Certainly opening doors and handing out bulletins on Sundays is a way we can serve. But don’t let your Sunday service keep you from a lifestyle of service. What are you doing Monday through Saturday to impact your community, your school, your family, or your business through your service? Is your life, as Jesus commands, one in which you are not first, but last, following the example of Jesus and using what you know and what you have to lift up and help everyone around you?


Written by Kevin Halloran, a contemporary pastor and author.

Lord, Your Son left the pleasures of heaven for a life of service on earth—and He gave his life for undeserving and ungrateful people. Help me have His attitude, remembering that You oppose the proud and give grace to the humble. You must become greater; I must become less—only then does the glorious reality shine forth that Christ is highly exalted above every name in heaven and on earth. May my entire being bow before You in loving allegiance, confessing You as Lord over all of my life and all of creation, to the praise of Your glory. Amen. 

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Being Content


Written by Tom Lemler, a contemporary author and the  director of Impact Prayer Ministry.

Are there things that you want, or want more of, just because you see someone else have them? What are some of those things? How effective is visual advertising in getting you to think you need something? With the costs of 30-second advertisements during events like the Super Bowl in the millions of dollars, how effective do you think companies believe visual advertising is? How would a lifestyle of contentment help you to live obediently to God’s command to not covet?

Doing the right thing has always been a core part of who I am. Not that I have always chosen the right thing, but the desire to do so seems to have been imbedded in me by my parents and by God Himself. Our society makes living with an attitude of contentment a very difficult thing to do. Knowing that God commands me to be content, to not covet what others have, helps me have a desire to be satisfied with what He gives me.

Each of us have different things that bring us satisfaction and make contentment more likely in our lives. For some it is financial or material reward. For others it is being recognized or honored for what we do. Still others have great contentment when they see the lives of people changed as a result of the effort they have given. Whatever is our “reward” of choice, we will all have times when that reward doesn’t come and we must choose to be content in the circumstances we face. Pray that your life would be a reflection of both the godliness and contentment displayed in the life of Jesus.


Written by Scotty Smith , a contemporary pastor and author.

Father, growth in contentment is growth in grace, so supersize the chambers of my heart to receive more of your grace. Rescue me from my pathetically small notions of your love and goodness. Free me from the stranglehold of my unbelief; revealed in the fear I have in even praying for contentment. Liberate me for being, not just satisfied in Christ, but overwhelmed, smitten and in awe of every good thing you have given us in Jesus. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ powerful and beautiful name. 

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A Branch of the Vine


Written by Andrew Murray (1828-1917), a South African writer, teacher, and pastor who considered missions to be “the chief end of the church.”  This is an excerpt from his book “Abide in Christ.”

Of God I am in Christ: created anew, made a branch of the Vine, and made for bearing fruit. Oh, that believers would stop looking at their old nature so much, and complaining of their weakness, as if God called them for what they were unsuited! How much better for them to believingly and joyfully accept the wonderous revelation of how God, in uniting them to Christ, has made himself responsible for their spiritual growth and fruitfulness! Then all hesitancy and laziness would disappear, and under the influence of this mighty motive – faith in the faithfulness of Him of whom they are in Christ—their whole nature would arise to accept and fulfill their glorious destiny!

Take time to meditate and to worship, until the light that comes from the throne of God has shone into you, and you have seen your union to Christ as the work of His mighty Father. Take time, day after day, in your whole Christian walk, with all its claims, duties, needs, and desires, and let God be everything. See Jesus, as He speaks to you, “Abide in Me,” pointing upward and saying “My Father is the vinedresser. Of Him you are in Me, through Him you abide in Me, and to Him and to His glory shall be the fruit you bear.” And let your answer be Amen, Lord! So be it. From eternity Christ and I were ordained for each other; inseparably we belong to each other. It is God’s will for me to abide in Christ. It is of God I am in Christ Jesus.


Written by John Eldredge , a contemporary American author, counselor and lecturer on Christianity.

Dear God, holy and victorious Trinity, You alone are worthy of all my worship, my heart’s devotion, all my praise and all my trust and all the glory of my life. I love You. I worship You. I trust You and I give myself over to You in my heart’s search for life. You alone are Life, and You have become my life. I renounce all other gods, I renounce all idols, and I give You, God, the place in my heart and in my life that You truly deserve. This is all about You, God, and not about me. You are the Hero of this story, and I belong to You. Forgive me, God, for my every sin. Search me and know me and reveal to me where You are working, what You are asking, and that You would grant to me the grace of Your healing and deliverance and a deep and true repentance.

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Practice Hospitality


Written by Richard M. Gula, a contemporary priest, lecturer, and educator. This is an excerpt from his book “To Walk Together.”

Hospitality does not seek power over others. Cruelty does. Cruelty deliberately causes harm, especially by crushing a person’s self-respect. By manipulating a disparity of power, cruelty sets up a relationship wherein the stronger becomes the victimizer of the weaker. As long as the difference in power is maintained, cruelty will be maintained. To the extent that the difference in power is eliminated, to the extent cruelty will be eliminated. Philip Hallie’s studies of cruelty led him to discover that the opposite of cruelty is not liberation from the disparity of power. Rather, he found that the opposite of cruelty is hospitality, a sharing of power.


Today’s prayer is a reflection from  the Celtic Rune of Hospitality. A rune is a written character that was used in northern European cultures before the use of Latin and Latin letters took over. This Celtic Rune predates our alphabet, but doesn’t predate the Christian witness.

We saw a stranger yesterday.
We put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the listening place.
And with the sacred name of the triune God
He blessed us and our house,
Our cattle and our dear ones.
As the lark says in her song:
Often, often, often, goes the Christ
In the stranger’s guise.

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Blessed Are the Powerless


Written by Vicki Kemper, a contemporary pastor.

Here are some things I learned from almost four years of walking with the faithful, strong, courageous, and utterly vulnerable Guatemalan immigrant who took sanctuary in our church: Powerlessness is exhausting. It affects every single thing. Powerlessness will chew you up, spit you out, and then come back for what little is left of you. Powerlessness will leave you gasping for breath and grasping at straws. Some days will feel like a roller coaster ride, others like a train wreck. Fear and desperation will never be far away. The temptation to despair will be constant. Anger and bitterness will nag you to feed them. Powerlessness can be existential or circumstantial, trivial or life-threatening, imagined or all-too-real. You may feel powerless over the design flaws of your kitchen, powerless to change your partner’s annoying habits, powerless to end systemic racism, powerless to get out of debt, powerless to fix the climate crisis, powerless against gun violence, powerless against the ravages of Covid-19, other diseases, or the bittersweet march of age. You may feel powerless in the face of your job’s nonstop demands or the constant clamoring of your kids. So here are some other things I learned, most of them from Lucio Perez, the seemingly powerless immigrant who lived in our church, and his family: God’s faithful love lasts all day long, every day. Prayer is the key that unlocks the door. There is power in community and strength in solidarity. Blessed are the powerless, because they know their need. Blessed are the powerless, because God dwells with them.


From the Roman Breviary, the liturgical book of the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church. Published in 1482, it became known as the Liturgy of the Hours.

Almighty and merciful God,

you give your faithful people

the grace that makes every path of this life

the straight and narrow way which leads to life eternal.

Grant that we,

who know that we have no strength to help ourselves,

put all our trust in your almighty power,

and by the assistance of your heavenly grace,

always prevail in all things,

against whatever arises to fight against us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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I Release You


Written by Hugh Prather (1938-2010), an American writer, lay minister, and counselor. This is an excerpt from his book “The Quiet Answer.”

I release you from my hurt feelings. I free you from my reading of your motives. I withdraw my “justified” outrage and leave you clean and happy in my mind. In place of censure, I offer you all of God’s deep contentment and peace. I will perceive you singing, with a soft smile of freedom and a glow of rich satisfaction. I bless you. You are a shining member of the Family of God, and I will wait patiently for this truthful vision to come honestly to my mind.


Written by Jessica Van Roekel, a contemporary author and speaker.

Holy God, we come to you unknowing how you will work things out, but we stand firm in our faith that you love, that you are our refuge, that through you we are strong. And as we stand, we release our praise for your goodness and kindness. That you are great and mighty and oh so gracious. Oh Lord, you are with us, right here, right now. You are in our past, and already in our tomorrows, and we are grateful. God, we release our angst over our lives and our kids’ lives and the circumstances that we have no control over, but seem to be controlling us. We surrender them to you and we trust you. We know that as we trust, we cannot be shaken, we cannot fail, because you are our rock and refuge. You help, you provide, and you guide. Lord, as we release we ask that you would move on our behalf and that you would enable us to trust you even when we cannot see you. Holy One, you are mighty and good and filled with inexpressible love for us and we receive you. We believe you and we receive your love. Let us go into our todays with confidence and face our tomorrows with trust because you are with us. I love you, Lord and praise you with all that I am. I look to you. You are my everything, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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