Fri. March 22

Friday March 22, 2019

 Today’s Focus                                                          Morning Blessing                

 Today’s Scripture Reading                                                 Mark 1:35-45

35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” 39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.

40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.

41 Moved with compassion,[i] Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 43 Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: 44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy.[j] This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

45 But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.

 Daily Reflection                                                         Luther’s Morning Blessing

How the head of the house is to teach the members of the household to say morning and evening blessings.

In the morning, as soon as you get out of bed, you are to make the sign of the holy cross and say:

God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me.  Amen.

Then kneeling or standing, say the Apostles’ creed and the Lord’s prayer.  If you wish, you may recite this little prayer as well:

I give thanks to You, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ Your dear Son, that You have protected me through the night from all harm and danger.  I ask that You would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please You.  Into Your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine.  Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me.  Amen.

After singing a hymn, or whatever else may serve your devotion, you are to go to your work joyfully.

Some questions for reflection

  • Prayer is often one of those topics which is difficult for many people to fully grasp. Many don’t think they have the time, some don’t think they have the need, others don’t think they know how to properly pray. At it’s essence, prayer allows us to continue to develop a relationship with our God.  Based on the fact that Jesus is often found in prayer, how should this knowledge inform our prayer life?

 Today’s discipleship challenge

  • Either write or say a prayer with your group or with someone close to you.

 Today’s prayer

I give thanks to You, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ Your dear Son, that You have protected me through the night from all harm and danger.  I ask that You would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please You.  Into Your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine.  Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me.  Amen.

10 thoughts on “Fri. March 22

  1. Mel Olenwine

    This is for yesterday’s blog. One of the best memories I have is when my son was about 5 or 6 years old and every Sunday we would go up to communion, and he’d stretch out that little hand to receive, and the Pastor would give him the “blessing”. He was so upset that he never got the wafer or “juice”. Pastor told me a bit later that it bothered him so much to see that every time (I don’t even remember if we were receiving communion every week yet but I believe we were…) and it was then that St Matthew’s took steps to allow younger children to receive – in fact – any age at all as long as they attended a class and understood the meaning of communion. My precocious son (he could recite the entire service) certainly had no issue with that and very soon after was receiving the body and the blood and the forgiveness granted to us all! <3

    1. Pastor Jerry

      Yes…. that’s a great story! I know the church had good reason for withholding communion to young people, but I am very grateful and thankful that the ELCA changed their opinion on this topic! I’m sure it’s very meaningful to your nieces too!

  2. Keith Ricks

    Prayer is a wacky thing for me. It evolved outside of an organized timeline, however (this ought to wake my Mother from a sound sleep), I do Love My God time!

    “Many don’t think they have the time”
    Feeling as though You do not have the time for something, (a work, play, love-it or hate-it thingy), I understand. For me it isn’t talking with God. Talking with God has made me see things in the World I had not been able to previously and see the old in a much Newer Happier way. Oh, I didn’t pray at first. In fact I made a point of How I don’t pray, wouldn’t and why. Usually only People who merely “Think they Don’t… Things” make such declarations, especially to those most willing and wanting to show them “They Do.”

    “Some don’t think they have the need”
    I can see why people would feel they don’t have the need. Asking God for Material favors in this World, whether it is for Health or Wealth for Self or Others, for even the best of the Purest of reasons is to ask for favoritism… in My Personal Opinion… and Many see it that Way… and Many do Not… and there is No audible Voice of God for All to Hear for such a declaration. So we must accept both as correct as well as anything in between. (Sounds Duh, however, I had to have a conversation along these lines to allow me to Pray for Help for others which means other people may struggle with this silently as well… Hmm)

    “Others don’t think they know how to properly pray”
    (I just Talk with God… that is how I Pray by the way, just like a conversation, out loud and now-a-days just about anywhere but most often involving nature… Water, outdoors, plants… oh, and when I’m fiddling, fixin’, and making stuff)
    Often I have found after talking with God about the suffering of other people, My Feelings and My earnest desire for a relieving of their hurting… I find I am the one who ends up benefiting either directly from the “Praying” or by some indirect way feeling ‘Relieved’. However, quite often this benefit is far more than a simple worded explanation. I end up with much more than I started with somehow and often with a Positive ‘Wanting’ to do something with that desire. Not always directed either. I have had experiences of Prayer that lead to My need to be consoled further by family or friends which in turn has had its own surprising rewards. At different points it seemed that My times with God were fruitless and / or destructive to My life and Our Relationship. And at those times it was because it seemed that way, and Truly Human Human Reality is Completely what I “Think” and “Believe” it is at any given moment. Fortunately Truth is different from reality, Pure, and of God. When I look back on those times with God, I see it as a time where some demolition of old ideas or ways was needed. Then when the dust settled, usually with help from those family or friends, enlightenment! So it was Pre – Enlightenment! Sometimes deconstruction just doesn’t cut it, at least for me.

    So, Yes, “Prayer is often one of those topics which is difficult for many people to fully grasp” I get it. I use to think for me it was a curse but God knows me well and it’s best that I only have ‘Hind-Sight’ and I keep learning the Hind-Sight God lessons keep updating on me too, so there is No Fully Grasping Prayer for Keith… and I’m good with it.

    At its essence, prayer allows us to continue to develop a relationship with our God.
    In the beginning I made… Hmm, it is lent so lets be kind… an effort to establish a relationship with God by agreeing to make an attempt to Talk to God, and so I did. It was basic and awkward and in the early days was in its nicest Me “Explaining To” and “Telling” God Things and at its Worst “EXPLAINING” and “TELLING” along with some unkind body language. It was still a Relationship, just not an Bidirectional Loving one. Besides the fact You can’t win out over something that doesn’t fight back nor Dominate something that encompasses You, the outcome is set once You engage. God has Everything We Want, and has said, “Hey, You want this? Go ahead, I Really want You to have it. In fact, I’ll Poof up some more just for You! All I want is for You to Take care of Each other, Yourselves and phone in the occasional ‘Hey God’ status update…” and We’re saying, “Oh God! Your so needy! It’s so busy down here You have no idea… I really want to but I just can find the time… Yeah I know Jesus did but they had more free time back then… Oh, God knows what I’m thinking anyway so I don’t need to Pray, right?”
    Relationship. For me it has ended up thus far being more than I expected, than I comprehended from the explanations given to me, than I understood I wanted from a Relationship, than was possible. I don’t believe in the abusing or throwing around words such as Relationship, Friendship, Family, etc.. Sacred, and as I see them now, Holy words, for the truly Marvelous connections. Like those of God that spread beyond the Relationship and before You know it the People around You seem to Mysteriously be happy and You find Yourself the same. Hmm. If You’re me You get paranoid, tell God about it, and hang out with them more to “Keep and Eye on the situation.” Yep, some of the cookies in My bag were crumbled, but Hey, God’s like “Okay guys, I’m gonna need a couple more glasses of milk for this one… nope, better make that three… somebody done went and gave him a complement!”

    Note on the Reading. I know this is just likely one of many translations, however I like the use of the word “Sought” prayer. I clicked around in the related prayer references of Jesus and as expected He actively sought His prayer time seemingly as a way to Arm himself for battle or defense, I would say, in his preaching. I use that reference because many of the times that the bible made a point of saying Jesus had just Prayed before something happened it was usually a kind of theological debate or hard core teaching event endeavor He engaged in or like the upcoming sad events where He is trying to foretell of His death.

    Peace to all, Keith

    Oh, P and S

    I have a hard time understanding prayers, but I love to try. So here it goes.
    PRAYER LINE: “I ask that You would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please You. “
    MY THOUGHT: Relationship 101: Take care of me how You can, or the way in which You can so I can do for You.

    PRAYER LINE: “Into Your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine.”
    MY THOUGHT: I trust You completely with everything that is Me.

    PRAYER LINE: Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.
    MY THOUGHT: Hard one. I think I remember Scripture where “Holy Angels” are like the archangels but not that there is one “holy angel”
    and all angels are holy… okay, Angles mess me up and I don’t know if I even want to know about them so, I’m good.

    1. Pastor Jerry

      Wow! Some wonderful thoughts on prayers! I am so grateful that you have made peace with prayer. I often think that since God already knows what’s in our hearts and minds, that the truest benefactor for prayer is really us. Prayer allows us to place things in a divine perspective and allows our eyes and hearts open to see/sense/hear/feel how God would like us to act in a given situation. I, like you, find constant prayer works best for me… I constantly find myself talking to God!
      Obtw… “I trust You completely with everything that is me.” absolutely beautiful and profound!
      P,b, &l


    The first thing that jumped out at me today is that “Luther’s morning prayer” is typed and taped to my computer monitor at work where it has been for several YEARS now. I remember when 9/11 happened, and my kids at the time were 8 and 11 respectively, how scared they were and afraid to go to sleep at night; they would come in and sleep on the floor in our bedroom with the dogs. I knew of nothing else to do to calm the kids except PRAYER. I found Luther’s evening and morning prayers, along with a bunch of other Bible verses and prayers that dealt with fear. I used to read them with the kids every night for a long while afterward, through the anthrax and other scares that followed, along with our usual “now I lay me down to sleep…”. I remember how eerily quiet it was at night without hearing any airplanes. The prayers were so soothing and comforting to the kids, and certainly to my husband and me as well at the time…a time American had really never experienced firsthand before. A time when the images splashed across our TV screens over and over and OVER again, despite our trying to change the channel quickly and protect the kids…a time when we realized how painful and disgusting war is in EVERY country, whether or not as Americans we were seemingly oblivious to the terror. Looking back, to me God was all we had then. And isn’t that all we ever really have still? The strength of God. The hope of our salvation. The light within. Another powerful Lenten devotion….

  4. Lisa Mantz

    All these comments and discussions about prayer. It made me think about my prayer life. I realized that even though I have been praying all my life (I still remember my dad coming in my bedroom at night to pray with me and then would always ask, “Who watches over you?” And my response was always, “God’s little angels.”) I used to think I was doing it wrong. After hearing all the eloquent prayers of pastors throughout my life, I never thought my prayers were “good enough.” Now I realize ANY prayer is good enough.

    Another thought on a different subject…after hearing Pastor ask questions like, “Do you believe in the resurrection?” Or “Do you know for sure that you are going to heaven?” My answer is, how could anyone believe anything else?

    1. Tom Keener Post author

      I have frequently driven past a church sign that said, “God doesn’t want you to pray right, he just wants you to pray.”

    2. Pastor Jerry

      I always like to think that God adores when we come to the Lord and offer our innermost thoughts and prayers. It allows God to draw closer to us, allows us to feel God’s presence!
      Peace and blessings


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