Praying the Psalms for One Another
Using the pamphlet "Praying the Psalms Daily" and combining it with our "2020 Amber Church Prayer Reminder" which lists all the members of the church family, we encourage you to pray for each other every day. Below is the list of daily Psalms and the office or mission and the individual for each day. During this time of restricted assembly why not call, text or email the individual and let them know you prayed for them.
1 Psalm 114:1-8 Minister – Jack and Janet Seymour
2 Psalm 115:1-18 Elders – Mel Simmons, Jenn Simmons
3 Psalm 116:1-19 Trustees – David and Roxann Bailer
4 Psalm 117:1-2 Clerk – Arlette Sherwood – Jared Locke
5 Psalm 118:1-29 Treasurer – Andy and Linda Henderson, Alex
6 Psalm 119:1-8 Financial Secretary – Duane Wright – Jason Wright
7 Psalm 119:9-16 Ministerial Relations Chair – Jenny Wright, Alex Wright
8 Psalm 119:17-24 Worship Director – Jim Seymour – Andrew Henderson
9 Psalm 119:25-32 Worship Services – David Angelo
10 Psalm 119:33-40 Sunday School JAM – Chuck and Sue Ellen Harris
11 Psalm 119:41-48 Bible Studies – Teal Trendowski – Karen Swierk
12 Psalm 119:49-56 Youth Group – Mike and Cheryl Curtis
13 Psalm 119:57-64 Christian Education Director – Kim Vile
14 Psalm 119:65-72 One-to-One Meetings – Mark and Brenda Henderson
15 Psalm 119:73-80 Women’s and Men’s Groups – Rick and Lois Chaffee
16 Psalm 119:81-88 Supper Club – Garrett Crysler – Larry Wheeler
17 Psalm 119:89-96 Outreach Director – Rich and Lisa McVicar
18 Psalm 119:97-104 CCCC – Bob Post
19 Psalm 119:105-112 CNY Congregational Churches – Adele Reagan
20 Psalm 119:113-120 Neighboring Churches – Barbara D’Aiutolo
21 Psalm 119:121-128 WMHR (Wayne Taylor) – Terry Wheeler
22 Psalm 119:129-136 RBC Ministries – Jim and Gail Frary
23 Psalm 119:137-144 His Mansion – Matthew Henderson
24 Psalm 119:145-152 Teams 4 Medical Missions (John Heater) – Marilyn Fish
25 Psalm 119:153-160 New Hope (Kathy Jerman) – Dave and Kristin Heath
26 Psalm 119:161-168 Men’s and Women’s Conferences – Emma Crysler
27 Psalm 119:169-176 Young Life Syracuse West – Carl and Nancy Barber
28 Psalm 120:1-7 Schools for Haiti (Carla Flesch) – Faith Stopyro
29 Psalm 121:1-8 Teen Challenge (Dave Pilch) – Carole Ianuzi
30 Psalm 122:1-9 The ShoreLight – Mike Wheeler, Scott Trendowski
Prayers for the Day – November 27, 2020
Our very long prayer-psalm of 119 is over with this last stanza. It has been a prayer that revealed our own ups and downs of emotional feeling but has refocused us repeatedly on the word of God. All but just a couple of verses in this 176-verse prayer makes some mention of God’s word, commandments, decrees, precepts, etc. They all point us back to Scripture. How important it is for us to read it on a daily basis.
This last stanza makes five requests, all of them politely worded as opposed to some of the more demanding or confusing requests of earlier verses. Here we pray, “may my cry come before you…may my supplication come before you…may my lips overflow with praise…may my tongue sing of your word…may your hand be ready to help me” (119:169-173). This is our desire, to walk hand in hand with God and to have him be our ever-present help and companion.
I am struck with the final verse and its confession. “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commandments” (119:176). After this lengthy attention to God’s word we conclude our prayer with the acknowledgement of our own sin and ask for God to continue to pursue us. It is not ignorance but will that still plagues us as Christians.
Our prayers today are for the ministry of Young Life and for Nancy Barber.
Let’s pray together.
Dear Lord, you have listened to us cry out to you in times of struggle, frustration and sin. We have been tempted and we have failed. You have instructed us and we have wandered. Now hear us again as we pray for your help and guidance and for your forgiveness and strength.
We pray today that you would use the written word to bring your truth to our hearts. We pray especially for the youth of our church and of our community. Draw them to yourself. Reinvigorate the local Young Life program in our area we pray. And bless our dear sister, Nancy, as she visits with family and seeks to adjust and accept this great loss of Carl. We pray all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 26, 2020
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Whether you are home alone or assembling with nine others from your family unit, eating outdoors and wearing a mask or not, this is a different Thanksgiving for us all. The present pandemic has changed everything and made this a fearful time across our country. But as we observe this day let’s not forget to start with prayer and thanksgiving. We turn again to Psalm 119.
Very often we are afraid of the wrong things. We are upset and worried about what other people might think of us, or how much money we have saved, or if we have fulfilled our responsibilities to others. We are nervous that we might be on the wrong side when people of forceful temperament push their opinions on us. Our prayer-psalm today says, “Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word” (119:161). This is the expression of one who knows who to fear and who not to fear. I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 12:4-5, “I tell you, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
Fear is not a pleasant word for most of us. It makes us uncomfortable. But my observation is that the fear that scares us like a horror movie becomes entertainment and not a true and realistic assessment of truth. God is the only one we are to fear and fearing him is a reverent approach to life lived in accordance with his word. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear” (1 Peter 1:17).
It is those who choose to live life in this fashion that are able to pray, “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (119:165).
Let’s pray today for our families, scattered wherever they may be scattered, and our members in nursing homes. Our Prayer Reminder has us praying especially today for Emma Cryster.
Let’s pray together.
Father, on this Thanksgiving Day we give you thanks for all that we have enjoyed and for your presence with us in the good and difficult times of life. We are indeed grateful to be able to call you Father. Jesus himself taught us to do so in the prayer that begins “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Every good relational concept that is associated with this term is who you are to us. We fear you with a reverent love that desires to never disappoint and always please you. Thank you that this fear makes us invulnerable to all other fears.
As we celebrate today we also pray for Emma and for all those who are in facilities for seniors. We pray also for all who are sick and for those who are fearful of this virus. Give to us all the confidence that we are safe in your hands no matter what comes. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 25, 2020
“Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law” (119:153). That is a great beginning line for our prayer-psalm today. Too often we must admit that we have been forgetful, and not just absent-minded. We have intentionally and deliberately chosen not to remember. This is what we are warned about in Hebrews 2:1, “We must pay more careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” But here, today, our prayer affirms the opposite. “We have not forgotten.”
Perhaps it is because of our difficulties that we remember. We need to be “defended…for many are the foes who persecute me” (119:154, 157). There is nothing like trials to make us aware of our need for God. Nothing like opposition to make us return to the teachings we have learned. “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal” (119:160).
There is an interesting admission in this stanza that differs from a previous one. In verse 136 we prayed, “Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law in not obeyed.” Here in verse 158 we acknowledge that “I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word.” I wonder if the change is due to who is doing the rejecting of God’s law. It is easier to weep for those we love then for those we dislike or don’t even know. Perhaps we can add this personal confession to our prayer today. Change us God and give us your compassionate heart.
We are reminded to pray today for New Hope Family Services and for Dave and Kristin Heath.
Let’s pray together.
Father, we rise today to acknowledge and thank you for hearing our repeated prayers for help. Thank you that you never tire of us, nor do you forget us, regardless of whether or not we remember you. Today we are remembering your word, the principles you have revealed which we have read and learned perhaps as long ago as Sunday School. They never change, nor does our need to apply them to our everyday lives.
We thank you for the ministry of New Hope and are particularly grateful for the recent court decision in their favor. Continue to provide for them as they seek to help both those in crisis pregnancies and those who seek to adopt children into their families. We also pray for Dave and Kristin and ask that you provide all of their needs and help them to remember you in every aspect of their lives. Hear us again as we call to you. This we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 24, 2020
Just because we are making some progress in our Christian life doesn’t mean that we ever get to the point where we outgrow needing God’s help in our everyday lives. So as this new day begins we pray “I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD…I call out to you; save me…I rise before dawn and cry for help; my eyes stay open through the watches of the night…hear my voice in accordance with your love” (119:145-149). We are getting toward the end of this very long prayer-psalm and still we cry out in in our place of need.
There are issues around us that trouble us as “those who devise wicked schemes are near” (119:150), but we remind ourselves that “you are near, O LORD” (119:151). I like the way The Message translated this line. It reads, “But you’re the closest of all to me, LORD.” Yes, as the writer of the book of Hebrews quotes, “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Our prayer this morning ends with the words “Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever” (119:152). That is our place of confidence for every day. So as we begin this day we open our Bibles and read again and ask God for grace for this day.
Our Prayer Reminder has us praying today for TEAMS for Medical Missions and for Marilyn Fish.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, we ask that you be present in our minds today. Keep us attuned to your ways so that whatever this day brings we will know your presence with us and be reminded of your will and your ways for all we face.
Meet the needs of the for at TEAMS as they make plans for when they will again be able to travel and to minister in Jamaica. And bless Marilyn and draw her close to yourself so she can walk consistently with you every day. Be near us all as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 23, 2020
It is often a difficult thing to admit that we are wrong. It may be even more difficult to admit that another person is right. This is true even if the other person is God. Yes, we do grudgingly admit it, perhaps because we are forced to since after all, he is God so I guess he must be right. But even when we do this sometimes we still harbor the thought in the back of our mind that our view of things is still correct and God is being inconsistent.
Kids often feel and say similar things to their parents. And we can be such kids when it comes to admitting that we are wrong. Our prayer-psalm today has moved on from these childish games we play and simply starts with the statement that God is right. “Righteous are you, O LORD, and your laws are right” (119:137). In this short stanza he will mention God being right three more times. That is the point that he has finally gotten. It doesn’t mean that he has things all figured out. He doesn’t and we don’t. We will never truthfully have God figured out. But if we can start and end with the recognition that he is right we can then learn something more about him, and perhaps something more about ourselves. And in the process, even if it is a confusing one, we can say “your commands are my delight” (119:143). They are delightful because getting to know God is what we were created for and when we do so we are fulfilling our own purpose and destiny.
Our prayers today are for the His Mansion and for Matthew Henderson.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, we come to you as those who need to surrender our wills to yours. We know in our heads that you are always righteous and good. Help us to allow this truth to be the force in our hearts that seeks understanding instead of resisting and complaining about your way and your truth.
We are praying today also for the folk at His Mansion. They are beginning to come to grips with your truth and to understand your ways. May this be an encouraging enlightenment and not one that they resist. We pray too for our friend and brother Matt and ask that you give him a humble and obedient heart to follow you. Teach him the beauty of your truth and righteousness. This is our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 22, 2020
The perspective of this stanza in our prayer-psalm today seems to be of one who has spent enough time in the Scripture, walking with Jesus, that it has become a real way of life. What at times he may have had to force himself to do has now become his love. “Your statutes are wonderful…I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands” (119:129,131). This is what all true Christians want, we want our godly desires to match up to our Christian experience.
Of course we still have much to learn and so although we have gained some “understanding for the simple” (119:130) we still pray for further help. “Direct my footsteps…redeem me…that I may obey…teach me” (119:133-135). But the evidence that we are making progress is seen particularly in the last verse, “Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law in not obeyed” (119:136). What saddens the heart of God saddens our hearts too. Is that true consistently in our lives?
We are to pray today for RBC Ministries and for Jim and Gail Frary. Join us in Worship today or listen to the audio of the service later today.
Prayers for the Day – November 21, 2020
Three times in this stanza of our prayer-psalm we call ourselves servants. It is a good term. It lacks the brutal force of “slave” but in reality it is the same thing. The willing slave becomes the forever servant, at least that is how it is described in Exodus 21:5-6. I like the reference in Matthew 10:14 that “it is enough for…the servant to be like his master,” and the one in John 15:15 where Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
That is the kind of progression I see in verses 122-125. The first statement is about safety, perhaps we could say about salvation. “Ensure your servant’s well-being.” But as we continue to walk with Jesus we want a deeper relationship than merely the assurance of our eternal security. So we pray, “Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. And then we want more than just the knowledge of his teaching, we want the internal change that comes only as his mind becomes our mind. We pray now, “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” That is or should be the cry of our hearts.
Our prayers today are for Mars Hill Radio and for Terry Wheeler.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, it is easy to call you by that name and to call ourselves your servants, Lord and Master, servant and slave. Please help us to understand what we say and have our words actually reflect our hearts and not merely the repetition of what we read. May we fully identify ourselves with you, and not as equals, but as true followers who seek only your glory. In light of this we ask in advance that you seek us and correct us when we stray from this devotion.
We thank you for the benefit we have experienced in listening to the Christian programs of WMHR. Continue to bless their ministry and supply all that they need to remain broadcasting your gospel in Upstate New York. We pray too for Terry and his personal walk with you as well as his service for you as chair of the Trustees. Keep him connected to you, walking as your servant in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 20, 2020
As we consider this next section in our prayer-psalm we are reminded of our decision to follow God and to live by his word. It is normal for us to be tempted and discouraged but it is for that reason that we persist in a determined commitment to follow through. So we pray, “I hate double-minded men, but I love your law” (119:113). Being double-minded is thinking that we have options in life and that God’s directives are not commands but suggestions that we can take under advisement. But we don’t have any options. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18). To seek to maintain some kind of control over our choices as Christians is to be “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:6-8).
Perhaps the best way to look at life as Christians is to remind ourselves that we are not God. And although God has set us free and wants us to enjoy living free lives, that freedom is best understood as living in relationship with Almighty God. Consequently, “my flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws” (119:120).
We are praying today for the ministry of our neighboring churches and for Barbara D’Aiutolo.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, you have been our God since the beginning. We have wandered in confusion and rebellion until you made the way clear. We give you thanks for the forgiveness of our sin and for the light of your truth. Help us now, to continue to walk with you with liberated hearts that choose you. Keep us from the dilemma of thinking we have options about good and evil. Give us clear direction.
We pray this too for all our brothers and sisters in the churches around us. We are not the only Christians in this valley. Bless and prosper the churches here as they seek to follow you. We also pray for Barbara and for her daughter Charlotte and her need for hip surgery. Give guidance and success as well as peace and confidence. Bless this family in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 19, 2020
In this short section of this lengthy prayer-psalm it would appear ss though our author has turned the corner with regard to his faith. I hesitate to say that it will endure as there are still eight more stanzas in this prayer. But for now, this is a determined and positive viewpoint.
I recall learning verse 105 in Sunday School in my youth. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Someone put it to music, and we sing it in church occasionally as it is in our hymnal. It is a nice upbeat tune and fits the tone of this section of our prayer very well. After all, “we have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws…I will not forget your law…I have not strayed from your precepts” (119:106-110). And this determination has become more than a force of our will but also is “my heritage forever…the joy of my heart” (119:111-112). This is true despite the fact that we “have suffered much” (119:107), and still have the wicked “setting a snare for me” (119:110). May this positive affirming attitude continue to be our strength. Let’s pray that our hearts be “set on keeping your decrees to the very end” (119:112).
As we pray this for ourselves, we are reminded to also pray today for the Central New York fellowship of Congregational churches, and for Adele Reagan.
Let’s pray together.
Lord Jesus, we have walked with you long enough to know that the road is not always easy. Nevertheless, you have never failed to be present and to provide. So today we register our heartfelt thanks and, with a touch of joy, pray a determined prayer of positive faith. Please sustain this attitude in us in the days ahead.
We are also grateful for the encouraging help of other like-minded Christians and churches. We ask that you strengthen them as well as they seek to live their faith in their respective communities. And be with Adele, keep her strong and safe as she continues to be an outspoken witness for you in this area. Bless her we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 18, 2020
This section of our prayer-psalm seems particularly appropriate in the mouths of the young. At least most of us with age can remember when we thought these things about our elders. The focus of the prayer remains the word of God. Our attention is to be on that as our basic source of truth. Everything else that we learn in life is to be evaluated in light of the message of this book. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (119:97).
If indeed we practice this kind of attention to what God’s way are than we can say “your commands make me wiser than my enemies…I have more insight than all my teachers…I have more understanding than the elders” (119:98-100). This certainly sounds like young people who think that they know more than everyone who has lived before them, or, as the saying was when I was a teenager, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”
But there is truth in this psalm, and we should remind ourselves that it is a prayer, and the truth is that the one who lives according to the Scriptures is wiser than those who disregard your word, regardless of their age. It is God’s truth that trumps all others. So the Apostle Paul writes to the young man, Timothy, these words of counsel. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity…devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Timothy 4:12-13).
Our prayers today are to be for our Conference and for Bob Post.
Let’s pray together.
Dear Father, we remember the idealism of our youth. Thank you for those days, for the lessons learned and for the teachers and elders who instructed us. And thank you that your word continues to be the Christian’s standard for faith and practice. Inspire us to a continued appreciation and devotion to your teaching.
We thank you for our teachers, our parents and our grandparents. We thank you for our Conference which holds us accountable to follow you in a community setting. We also thank you for the oldest member of our church family, Bob Post. Bless him and keep him safe we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 17, 2020
In this section of our prayer-psalm we return to the progressive description of “affliction.” This began back at verse 67, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray.” The difficulty encountered may have been the consequence of our own sinful choices, or merely the trials of life that made us aware of our need of God. In either case affliction served a positive purpose in arresting our attention.
The next reference is in verse 71, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” That is a profound realization. We often say it in other words such as “the most important lessons we have learned in life we learned from our failures.” This doesn’t make us want to fail, or experience affliction, but we can begin to see that difficulties can produce good effects.
The third mention of affliction comes in verse 75, “O LORD, your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” Here is where we begin to allow God to set the definitions of our words. What God says, because he is good and loving, must be righteous and faithful. This must be affirmed before it can be felt. We wrestle with this until we discover the wonder of relationship with Jesus.
And now the last word on affliction is in verse 92, “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” This is not an easy thing to work through. Affliction brings out the best and the worst in us. And if it is to have the desired effect in our lives then we must learn to put a priority on faith and a secondary role on feelings. The Apostle Paul said it like this, “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).
This is the progression that not only we are called to work through, but all Christians must learn life in this fashion.
We pray today for Cathy Smith our Outreach Director, and for Rich and Lisa McVicar.
Let’s pray together.
Father, dealing with the ups and downs of life is always difficult. Often it seems we spend more time in the downs then we do in the ups. Come to us by your Holy Spirit and encourage our hearts. Teach us the lessons of faith so that we can live by what you declare is true and not by the effects of sin, ours and others. Use the times of affliction to make us strong.
We pray this as well for our fellow believers Cathy, Rich and Lisa. May their journey of faith be always one of growth and understanding, in good times and in difficult. We pray too that through us as a church family we can reach those around us with the confidence of lives lived for Jesus. This is our prayer today in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 16, 2020
The last two stanzas have discussed “affliction.” The next one will return to that again, but here we have a break of sorts. It is a prayer of waiting. “My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word” (119:81). Things haven’t turned around so that all is well. Far from it. The “arrogant” are still up to their efforts to discredit and get the best of us. “The arrogant dig pitfalls for me” (119:85). We are waiting for God to finally address the concerns we have, or perhaps we could say, to teach us how to master life in these difficult situations.
Instead, we wait. And while we wait, we read and pray. Waiting is not an easy task. We continually ask the question, “How long must your servant wait” (119:84)? But we cling to what we know even when our feelings don’t support it. “Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees” (119:83). Not forgetting God’s word is the point of this verse, but it is a very picturesque image of this smoked wineskin. And what does it mean? It is shriveled, unusable, of no value. And that is how we often feel when things aren’t going all that well for us. It is especially in times like this that we need to hang on and not forget what God has said.
We are to pray today for our two of our inactive members, Garrett Crysler and Larry Wheeler.
Let’s pray together.
Father, sometimes it seems like all we do is wait. This pandemic and its restrictions on our movements only intensifies our restlessness. When will things turn around for us and life be easier? When will we understand what we need to know so that we can live above the circumstances of life? When will we again feel useful? Lord, help us to see ourselves and each other as you see us. We have never been nor will we ever be in control of things and yet we are objects of your special love and grace. Draw us closer to yourself.
We pray this for Garrett and Larry as well. Give them the confidence that you hold them in your hand. Help them to commit themselves to following you, to the routine tasks of Bible reading and prayer. And enable us all to encourage and care for one another so that together we can be strong and faithful as we seek to serve you. This we pray in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 15, 2020
After acknowledging that God has a reason for bringing affliction into our lives and that in fact it is good for us, which was contained in the previous stanza of our prayer (119:67 & 71), we now have to deal with the seeming contradiction in all of that. How can a God who loves us allow awful things to happen to us? Certainly God in all his wisdom could come up with a better system for teaching those he loves than that of affliction.
But the reality is that “your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (119:75). What is especially difficult for most of us to come to is the realization that our definition of things is not always accurate. When we describe fairness and love and justice we always think in terms of how these can benefit us. But what if righteousness and faithfulness can only be truly known when we allow God to write the definitions? And what if his definitions include affliction? The New Testament makes an amazing statement about Jesus, who is the omniscient God himself, that “he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). How can God learn something? How can God suffer? How can God be made perfect? All of that seems contradictory and yet, it is the only way that he could become the source of our salvation. I guess that means that we need to keep reading and praying for understanding. “I will meditate on your precepts” (119:78).
Our Prayer Reminder has us praying today for our Men’s and Women’s groups and for the Chaffees.
Join us in our Sunday Worship prayer or if you cannot attend the in person service then listen to the audio recording that is posted later in the afternoon.
Prayers for the Day – November 14, 2020
In the next couple of stanzas I notice a progression with the experience of affliction. This starts off with a normal Christian prayer that God would “do good to your servant…teach me knowledge and good judgment” (119:65-66). That’s a good and honest prayer, somewhat like the one we have heard illustrated in many sermons about asking God for patience. It is a virtue that most of us somewhat lack, but the way to gain patience is only through trial, “you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:3). I suppose asking to be taught anything by God will always be done in the classroom of life not in the idyllic atmosphere of the mount of transfiguration.
So asking God to teach us in verse 66 immediately leads to the affliction of verse 67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” This particular affliction is not clearly identified but it involved having to deal with “the arrogant who have smeared me with lies” (119:69). This is certainly not the classroom most of us would want. Yet it produced. “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (119:71). This was a lesson money couldn’t buy. It was “more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver or gold” (119:72).
Our prayer involving affliction will be continued tomorrow. Today let’s pray this beginning prayer for ourselves and for Mark and Brenda Henderson.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, we need your book to understand our lives and we need our real-life experiences in order to understand your book. We admit to missunderstanding things often and being upset about the difficult trials of every day. We need to learn to “consider if pure joy whenever we face trials…because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3). This “affliction” can indeed help us to “learn your decrees” (119:71) but oh do we need your help.
We pray for Mark and Brenda as they wrestle with this everyday practice of spiritual understanding and growth. Teach them, support them, show your love to them, even as you walk them through the ups and downs of life. Again Lord, we commit ourselves and each other to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 13, 2020
I have to admit that each day as I look ahead to reading the next section in Psalm 119, I wonder what mood or outlook will be presented in this part. The message of the verses is similar in every stanza, a focus on attending to the word of God, but what emotion will be heard in the prayer today? In verses 57-64 I detect the tone of matter-of-fact commitment. There isn’t a low poor-me expression, nor a jubilant victory assurance. It is just another day, another day to do what I know is right.
And the right is “You are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to obey your words” (119:57). The lines that follow begin “I have sought your face…I have considered my ways…I will hasten to obey...I will not forget” (119:58-61). These are the things I have done and will continue to do. They aren’t driven by my emotional feeling but by the knowledge that they are the right things to do. The payoff comes in the results noted in the last couple of verses. “I am a friend to all who fear you…the earth is filled with your love, O LORD” (119:63-64). Good relationships with God and with others follow those who continue to read and pray “teach me your decrees” (119:64).
We are praying today for Kim Vile.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, our Lord, we pray on this new day that you will be the king and master of our way. Actually, we know that you are that so what we are asking is that by your Spirit you make us more aware of who you are and how we are to live in relationship to you. May our everyday be lived in the knowledge of your presence. Keep us from wandering.
We pray this for our Kim as well. May her everyday be filled with honest and real commitment to follow you. Bless her family, her health, her job, and especially her spiritual walk with you. Show her that “the earth is filled with your love” made evident particularly in the person of Jesus. In his name we pray. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 12, 2020
Arising today we pray a prayer of hope. “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope…Your promise renews my life” (119:49-50). There is the recognition of “the arrogant mockers” (119:51) but they are not the focus of our lives or our prayers. Instead “I remember your laws…and I find comfort in them…your decrees are the theme of my song” (119:52-54).
It is not always easy to pray these prayers or to remember God’s word. So today we pray for a consistency. Our prayer began with a request that God would “remember his word to us” (119:49) and it ends with our determination to “remember you name, O LORD, and keep your law” (119:55). I have no doubt that God’s memory of us is much more dependable than our memory of him. The key to remembering anything is to use it, to repeat it, to share it, to do it. So our prayer ends with the words, “This has been my practice; I obey your precepts” (119:56). The Apostle James counsels us with a similar instruction. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
On this the 12th of the month we are to pray for our church youth and for Mike and Cheryl Curtis.
Let’s pray together.
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by your name.” Lord, you have heard all of us recite this prayer by heart. We know it. We say it. Help us to do it. The reading of our Bibles is something that we know we should do as well. Help us to commit to a routine practice. You remember us, Lord, help us to remember you.
We also pray today for Mike and Cheryl. Give them the determination to follow you day by day, always choosing to do the things that they know are your design for them. Be with the youth of our church families. May they see in us a faith that is consistent and real and attractive to them. Hear our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 11, 2020
Whereas yesterday’s prayer focused on what we need God to do for us, today’s prayer sees those around us who are either opposed to our faith or see it as a needless hold on a superstitious perspective of a previous era. So they “taunt” us or seek to “put us to shame” (119:42 & 46). This attitude is often heard from both our cultural comedians and the educated scientists. In the midst of this pandemic we hear both making fun of religion in all its expressions.
Yet it is now more than ever that we need to cling to God’s “unfailing love…his promises…and our hope in his word” (119:41-43). There is truth here that sustains the soul, so that we can “walk about in freedom” (119:45). Certainly we are to be wise and follow the recommendations of the doctors and scientists. We pray that both a present treatment can be discovered and that a vaccine can be approved and distributed. And yet we also recognize that physical life and health is not all there is to being human. So we pray and we read and we determine to “always obey your law, for ever and ever” (119:44). There is nothing else that even promises a “for ever and ever.” So let’s maintain our faith even in the midst of a critical culture.
We pray today for our church Bible Studies, for Teal Trendowski and for Karen Swierk.
Let’s pray together.
O LORD, give us the knowledge of your presence with us and of the truth of your word. Help us to align our lives with your precepts and not be intimidated by others who are not believers. May we be steadfast in our prayers and in our attention to you. Bless all those who attend our church Bible studies that these times of shared instruction will be both encouraging and enlightening.
We pray also for Teal and for Karen. Thank you for them and their family. Bless all three generations we pray. Continue to both meet their physical and spiritual needs, keep them safe and healthy and growing in their understanding of you. We commit them and ourselves to you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 10, 2020
The attitude of the heart in this section of our prayer-psalm is one of humble need. Too often we think we have things under control and can handle life all on our own. God is a useful back-up plan if we get in an emergency situation. But generally, we are okay.
But our prayer here sees a different reality. We need God’s help every day, all the time, if we are going to even see life properly. So we pray “teach me to follow…give me understanding…direct me in the path…turn my heart toward you…turn my eyes away from worthless things” (119:33-37). Without God’s direct intervention in our daily lives we will never know his truth. The end result would be that our lives will become “the disgrace I dread” (119:39).
Those who have walked with God just a little know these things and pray “how I long for your precepts! Renew my life in righteousness” (119:40).
This is to be our prayer today for ourselves and for Chuck and Sue Ellen Harris. Our Prayer Reminder also has us praying for our Sunday School.
Let’s pray together.
Lord Jesus, we come to you in our need. Sometimes we must confess that we don’t even know what we need. When things seem to be going well we assume that we have everything under control and tend to even forget about you. But today we are reminded that we need you in the day-in-day-out routines of life. We are so forgetful and so self-absorbed.
We pray for Chuck and Sue Ellen today that you would be their present companion, teacher, friend, and LORD. Make their life complete to overflowing with yourself. Fulfill your promise to them and to us that we might properly fear you. We pray too for our Sunday School. In these days of Covid we only have the one adult class meeting, but you are present and continue to encourage and instruct those who come to read and share their thoughts on the Bible. We commit this ministry and ourselves again to you in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 9, 2020
Our prayer-psalm today seems like one for a down day. “I am laid low in the dust, renew my life according to our word” (119:25). We all have those days from time to time, a blue day. We may feel like complaining about our lot in life. Well, go ahead. God is willing to listen to us. “I recount my ways…my soul is weary with sorrow” (119:26 & 28). Of all the ones we could talk to on this depressing day, God should be the first to hear our cry.
But it isn’t just a complaint that we share. It is also a cry for help, “teach me…let me understand…strengthen me…be gracious to me” (119:26-29). And we rise to do our part even if we don’t feel like it. “I will meditate on your wonders…keep me from deceitful ways” (119:27). Yes, we still need to attend to our daily routines of Bible reading and prayer if our perspective is ever going to change. And we do need to recognize the temptation is present to do nothing or worse, to fall into what appears to be an easier path. Christian faith continues to focus on the things God directs until the gloom passes and we once again experience the reality that says “you have set my heart free” (119:32).
Our Prayer Reminder tells us to pray today for our Worship Services and for Dave Angelo.
Let’s pray together.
Lord, it is so easy to live on our emotions. When things are going well we feel up and when the days are dark we feel discouraged. Lift our spirits and renew our determination. Give us an encouraging word from our Scripture reading to inspire us today.
We pray today for our public worship services. As Covid continues to increase in our area we know that we may again face the reality of a church shutdown. If this happens, Father, please help us to stay connected to you in worship and connected to each other by whatever means available. We pray too for Dave and ask your grace and blessing on his life. Keep him from dark days and help him to renew his perspective by attending to your word. In all this we commit ourselves to you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayers for the Day – November 8, 2020
The prayer request here is a very personal one. I need your help, O God. I recognize and gladly acknowledge that I am “your servant” (1119:17 & 23) but I feel like “a stranger on earth” (119:19). I am determined to “obey your word” (119:17) but it seems like I have two things working against me. First, it seems that you “hide your commandments from me” (119:19). That is, I have a hard time understanding the Bible, what it is that you want me to do. And second, there are “arrogant” people who “slander me” (119:21 & 23). Even when it seems I know what I should do I am opposed by those around me from actually following through with my desired obedience.
It isn’t easy being a Christian. Even when our hearts are in the right place we still face a difficult challenge. Our culture, even sometimes our Christian culture, is not supportive. Lord, sometimes we all are just having a hard time with the basics of Christian living. Hear our prayer today and help us.
Our Prayer Reminder has us praying today for our Worship Director, Nancy Barber, and for Jim Seymour and Andrew Henderson. Join us in Worship today, or if you are unable to do so, listen to our shared prayer on the audio service that will be posted later in the day.