Bring some Spirit-filled peace into your hectic schedule every weekday morning with this new Daily Devotional.
- Start your day with God
- Renew your spirit
- Refocus your faith
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'Oh, praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, you who serve at night in the house of the Lord. Lift your hands toward the sanctuary, and praise the Lord.'
Once I’ve entered my day, time appears to rush by. Pursuing my rhythm of prayer as a contemplative, managing the Oratory, responding to the questions of those seeking advice, life is full. The day makes many demands and sometimes it’s a challenge maintaining my focus on God. I guess we all face that daily challenge.
'Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.'
In a noisy world, one of the greatest challenges we face is finding space for ourselves, away from the demands that stalk our every waking moment. The pressures of daily living are intense. Reviewing the many prayer requests that cross my desk reveals the intense strain that finding regular employment, affordable housing and managing ongoing health conditions places on us. It is incredibly difficult to take each day at a time, when anxieties about the future encircle us. We are easily robbed of any sense of peace.
'I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn...'
What is your first thought, when you wake up? I go into day having offered my first thoughts to God. I have a very simple sequence of three prayers committed to memory.
'Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.'
Some time ago, over a period of months, I lost a considerable amount of weight. One consequence was that my clothes were too large for me and I had to replace them with new outfits.
'He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.'
The wonderful truth is that we are not born to live isolated and lonely lives. Just as God is a Trinity, a community of interrelating persons of divinity, so we are created for relationship or, more simply, friendship. We enjoy friendship with God and that finds its fullest expression within the mutuality of our interpersonal relationships. Church is the vehicle which is intended to give the fullest expression to that mutuality.
'Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.'
In the Oratory garden we have a number of fruit trees. Every spring their future harvest is heralded by the appearance of blossom, which is beautiful, but only the promise of what is yet to come. In much the same way, we begin our Christian journey as blossom. Bright and beautiful expressions of the future promise of God seeded within each one of us.
'Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.'
I don’t trust my heart’s desires. They are usually selfish and all about my comfort and well-being. Yet, the psalmist declares that God will grant me my heart’s desires. Maybe there’s a contextual problem here. In an individualistic, materialistic society, it’s difficult not to become wrapped up in self-indulgence. My horizons are very often established around what I determine is in my best interest. This, of course, is not God’s way. Jesus taught that our interests are first to be directed towards God, and then to the other. There is an established framework for this ‘heart’s desire’ equation.
'My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.'
‘Wisdom’ derives from the root word meaning ‘to see’. The very name of our species, homo sapiens, signifies ‘wise man’. Yet, wisdom is not something that is taught. Indeed, the great philosophers of old recognised that wisdom was not a form of knowledge but a recognition of the limits to their own knowledge. As Socrates said: “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” And this is how we are to approach God. Always with a recognition of our lack of understanding and in humility. Wisdom, then, is not enhanced understanding or knowledge, rather it’s a way of seeing life and building a perception on life, one that is built upon God.