Praying the Psalms for One Another
Using the pamphlet "Praying the Psalms Daily" and combining it with our "2022 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.  Perhaps after praying for the person of the day you could call, text or email them and let them know you prayed for them. 

December

 1         Psalm 123:1-4                       Minister – Jeff and Deb Southard – Michelle Coonradt

 2         Psalm 124:1-8                       Elders – Joelle Howlett – Danielle Mudge

 3         Psalm 125:1-5                        Trustees – Deb Eibert – Jordan Sanford

 4         Psalm 126:1-6                       Clerk – Nancy Simmons – Cathy Smith

 5         Psalm 127:1-5                        Treasurer – Eric and Christine Robinson

 6         Psalm 128:1-6                       Financial Secretary – Margaret Isensee

 7         Psalm 129:1-8                       Ministerial Relations Chair – Audrey White

 8         Psalm 130:1-8                       Worship Director – Tom and Noreen Schmidt

 9         Psalm 131:1-3                        Worship Services – Dorothy Herold

10        Psalm 132:1-18                     Sunday School – Jen Drummund

11         Psalm 133:1-3                       Bible Studies – Donna Sundwall – Kris Volles

12        Psalm 134:1-3                       Youth Fellowship – Gary Sanford – Connie Carlton

13        Psalm 135:1-21                      Christian Education Director – Dawn McDonough

14        Psalm 136:1-26                     Men’s Club – Roxanne Pikarsky

15        Psalm 137:1-9                        Women’s Fellowship – Nancy Frost

16        Psalm 138:1-8                       Chkurch Growth – Deb O’Brien – Alyse Bradley

17        Psalm 139:1-24                     Outreach Director – Barbara Kittelson-Webster 

18        Psalm 140:1-13                     CCCC – Jeanne Yale

19        Psalm 141:1-10                      CCCF Congregational Churches – Connie Amidon

20       Psalm 142:1-7                       Neighboring Churches – Angela Trendowski

21        Psalm 143:1-12                      WMHR (Wayne Taylor) – Caitlin Henderson

22        Psalm 144:1-15                      RBC Ministries – Laurie Just-Torrance

23        Psalm 145:1-21                      His Mansion – Jodi Green

24       Luke 1:46-55                         Teams 4 Medical Missions (John Heater) – Cindy Casler

25        Isaiah 9:2-7                           New Hope (Kathy Jerman) – Doug and Lynn LaFrance

26       Luke 1:68-79                         Men’s and Women’s Conferences – Jenn Schultz

27        Psalm 146:1-10                     Word of Life Brazil (Meredith Arnold) – George Schmidt

28       Psalm 147:1-20                     Schools for Haiti (Carla Flesch) – Melanie Shelley

29       Psalm 148:1-14                     Adult & Teen Challenge (Dave Pilch) – Peter Barnes

30       Psalm 149:1-9                       The ShoreLight – Larry Wheeler

31        Psalm 150:1-6                       Samaritan Committee – Jared Locke

 

Prayers for the Day – December 8, 2022

 

Psalm 130:1-8

 

Today’s prayer-psalm is one of hope and forgiveness.  It starts at our lowest point, “Out of the depths I cry to you” (130:1).  How deep are the depths?  Corrie Ten Boom’s story The Hiding Place has the line quoted in the Nazi prison camp, “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.”  So whatever the pain we may be enduring, God is still present to hear our cry.

 

The cry in this prayer appears to be one for mercy as we think of our own sins.  “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins…who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness” (130:3-4).  Guilt can certainly trap us in pits of despair, but there is still hope because there is still God.  “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope” (130:5).  The forgiveness and the answer of God is as reliable as the sun rising.  “My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning” (130:6).  It may seem like a long night but the morning always comes right on time.  

 

What has been a personal prayer from verse 1 to 6 turns into a corporate prayer at verse 7.  “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD.”  The lesson and experience of the individual is shared and applied to the community.  God will bring “full redemption…and will redeem Israel from all their sins” (130:7-8).  So as we share the lessons of our personal lives with others then they too get the chance to have their hope realized from out of their depths. 

 

Our Prayer Reminder has us praying today for our Worship Director, Nancy Barber, and for Tom and Noreen Schmidt.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, that you are deeper than any sin we can commit or any sin that others can commit against us.  Thank you that because of your death and resurrection in the midst of the worst day of our lives we can still have hope, a sure and confident hope, a true assurance of your presence and forgiveness.  

 

We thank you also for all those who attend our church Worship and ask that you walk with each one through the struggles of their life.  May our times together strengthen us all.  Bless and be with Nancy and Tom and Noreen we pray and supply their needs and give them all a growing faith in the midst of life’s journey.  Be our strong Savior as we cry out to you in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Prayers for the Day – December 7, 2022

 

Psalm 129:1-8

 

This is a prayer that celebrates survival.  We often refer to a person who has suffered through a difficult time as a “survivor.”   These folks are inspirations to us all with their strength and endurance.  “They have greatly oppressed me from my youth…but they have not gained the victory over me.  They have plowed my back and made their furrows long.  But the LORD is righteous; he has cut me free” (129:1-4). 

 

I think of those who sustained abuse as children.  Their still forming brains developed paths of insecurity and fear and post-traumatic stress that leaves a mark on their psyche for the rest of their lives.  Certainly there are skilled therapists who can help them I am happy to say, but in our prayer-psalm we pray for the freedom that only God can bring.  

 

The later part of our prayer-psalm focuses on the perpetrator.  We don’t seek revenge, but we are to pray nevertheless that God will bring his corrective punishment to bear upon them.  May they “be turned back in shame…like grass on the housetops which withers” (129:5-6).  May that not know prosperity and may they be seen for who they really are so that no one will say to them, “The blessing of the LORD be upon you” (129:8).  

 

This is a very serious prayer, one that may seem hard to pray unless you have either been a victim or have known one personally.  It is another prayer from our all-occasion-prayerbook (the Psalms) which it is nice to have when we face those times when we don’t know how to pray.     

 

Our prayers today are for our Ministerial Relations Committee and for Audrey White.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

O Father hear our prayer as we cry out to you for those who have been abused.  Be the Father to the children whose experience with their own fathers may not have been at all positive.  Restore and set free the ones whose traumas have scared them deeply.  And direct us that we might be helpful brothers and sisters.  We also pray that you will correct those who harm others and bring them to their knees before you.

 

We pray for our church family today as well.  We so need the experience of family, of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters.  May we learn to be that to each other even as we learn to worship you, our Heavenly Father.  We pray for the folk on our committee that are involved with the search for a new minister.  Indeed we pray that you would even now be preparing the person who is to come and be our next pastor.  We pray also for Audrey, grant her better mobility and less pain as she continues to follow you with her whole heart.  Hear us as we come to you in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – December 6, 2022

Psalm 128:1-6

 

The prayer-psalm for today follows nicely on the one from yesterday.  In Psalm 127 we were reminded to build our homes, our lives, on the Lord.  Anything else will be fruitless and empty.  Today we pray a prayer of blessing as we seek to be numbered among those who “fear the LORD, who walk in his ways” (128:1).  Those who do so find that their labors are blessed, they are prosperous in all the best ways, and they have a family life that is relationally strong and healthy.  

 

Now that may sound too good to be true, but the blessing is not ours to give but to receive.  Our part is to “fear the LORD” (128:1,5).  We often lack a good definition for that phrase.  The Book of Proverbs uses it as its primary theme and purpose.  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7).  A familiarity with the wisdom of Proverbs reveals that this fear of the LORD affects every aspect of our lives, it is living with the eternal in mind.  Doing so is the way God designed life to flow which ushers into the reality of blessing.  

 

I love the last verse, “may you live to see your children’s children” (128:6).  Grandchildren are indeed a special treasure, a special blessing.  Let’s pray for them that they too learn to live in the fear of the LORD so that they too will find true blessing.

 

Our prayers today are for our Financial Secretary, Faith Stopyro, and for Margaret Isensee.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Lord, give us a true and godly fear of you.  Give us the clear awareness of who you are and who we are.  And as we seek to follow you in the everyday aspects of life give to us the encouragement of your blessing.  We pray this especially for our families that our spouse and children will know the peace that only you can give.  Make our homes a haven in what is often an uncomfortable world.

 

We pray this as well for Faith and for Margaret.  Bless their efforts to learn and share your truth.  Give them the joy of your presence and help us all to be wise followers of Christ so that our families will experience the peace and joy of knowing you.  We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – December 5, 2022

 

Psalm 127:1-5

 

“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1).  What is vain to pursue here is generalized by the writer of Ecclesiastes in the words, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity, says the preacher” (Ecclesiastes 1:2), or as the NIV translates that verse, “Meaningless, meaningless…utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”  Our prayer-psalm talks about family life, of the goal of providing for a secure financial future in contrast to building relationships with God and with our spouse and children.  How many times have we heard of those who pursue a “better” life, and that life always seems to be described in terms of financial success? 

 

I read a reference recently to the fact that you never hear of a dying man saying on his death bed, “Oh if only I had spent more time making money, if I had only stayed at work later more often…”  No, they always say, “How I wish I had spent more time with my wife and family.  How I wish I had recognized the need for God.”  

 

Psalm 127 puts the priority where it belongs on God, and also notes that when he is recognized as the “watchman” that he grants the home and not just the house to his loved ones.  I do like verse 2 and don’t really want to choose between the two alternate readings as I think both are correct.  The NIV text has “he grants sleep to those he loves.”  The footnote reads, “while they sleep he provides for those he loves.”  That is restful sleep that comes from assured confidence.  It is the opposite of that which is referred to here as “labor in vain.”

 

We pray today for our Treasurer, Gail Frary, and for Eric and Christine Robinson.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Father, we call you Father today as we think about our families.  You are the Creator of this wonderful relational partnership.  You designed us for each other and for the joy of children.  Now we pray that you will walk with us as we seek to be good family people, putting our priorities where you say they belong.  To do so means that we will also pray to you as our Lord and Master.  

 

What we pray for ourselves we pray especially for the Gail, for Eric and for Christine.  May they see your grace evident in their families, their children, and their grandchildren. Help all the parents to put you first so that their children will see in them the beauty of relationships as they were designed.  May the truth of family life be visible in all of us to your glory.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – December 4, 2022

 

Psalm 126:1-6

 

“When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed” (126:1).  Have you ever had a dream, either one that was a part of your subconscious while you were sleeping or the kind that is a mental daydream that you imagine yourself?  Dreams are the opposite of nightmares; they are what happens in the best possible world.  Pentecost is the season that the Apostle Peter said was the time when “your sons and daughters…your young men and your old men will dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).  That is the experience of our prayer-psalm today.

 

The previous world had been one of “captives” and that isn’t good.  But God was ending that dark time.  In its place there is “laughter…and songs of joy” (126:2).  In addition, God will “restore our fortunes” (126:4).  This is the good life indeed.  

 

But it is important for us to realize that this process from captivity to dreams to laughter, joy and fortune happens to “those who sow in tears…who go out weeping carrying seed to sow’ (126:5-6).  We only appreciate the good times when we have known the struggle of bad times.  So regardless of where we are presently, we can rest assured that “the LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (126:3).  Those times are either here or they are coming because we worship and pray to the God who inspires our dreams.  

 

We are sharing this prayer today with our Clerk, Cheryl Curtis, and for Nancy Simmons and Cathy Smith.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Dear Father, the God who gives us such a longing for good things and for the joys of life, we thank you for walking with us through all of our experiences.  You are with us in our low times and with us in our times of great success.  Thank you for giving us songs in the night.  Thank you for the hope that things will always get better.

 

For Cheryl, Nancy and Cathy we pray this as well.  Thank you for the dreams that you have given them. Thank you for filling them with your joy and your laughter.  Thank you for meeting every need.  Now for them and for ourselves we pray that you will liberate us from all that binds us and keeps us down.  Lead us to the place of your peace in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – December 3, 2022

 

Psalm 125:1-5

 

In our prayer-psalm this morning there is a note of assurance, of security, of confidence.  It is not that things have turned around for us to such an extent that there is no trouble, no pressures, no opposition to righteousness.  We have endured the storms that brought devastation to our country.  We continue to have both mass shootings and health issues.  We have lost loved ones.  The war in Ukraine is still being fought bringing senseless deaths.  All these make us aware of inequalities of economics and race in our world.  Nevertheless, “those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever” (125:1).  And what is the source of this strength?  It is not in ourselves, but it comes from our relationship with God.  “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore” (125:2).

 

God will put down the wicked.  They “will not remain over the land” (125:3).  It is not just that God’s judgment will fall on them, but we take heart in the knowledge of his justice to give us the encouragement we need to stay faithful so that we, the ones made righteous by the grace of Christ, might not allow our “hands to do evil” (125:3).  What a temptation it is to give in and attempt to fight evil with evil, violence with violence.  But that is not the way of peace.  “Do good, O LORD, to those who are good” (125:4).  That is our best weapon.  As Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).  The Apostle Paul added, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).  The conclusion of this is “Peace be upon Israel” (125:5). 

 

Our Prayer Reminder tells us to pray today for our Trustees, and for Deb Eibert and Jordan Sanford.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Thank you, Father God, that you can keep us safe and secure in your hand.  Nothing can touch us that you have not allowed and cannot use to make us stronger people.  Keep us from the intentional or unintentional harm of others.  Give us confidence in your protection, and as we so often pray “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

 

We pray today for our Trustees and their responsibilities in handling the church’s financial affairs.  We also ask for our friends, Deb and Jordan.  May they know the reality of your grace in their lives.  Guard and guide them in the paths that are straight.  Keep them from desiring and expressing vengeance on those who hurt them.  Give them strength to do good and grant us all your peace in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – December 2, 2022

 

Psalm 124:1-8

 

This is a prayer-psalm of help.  “If the LORD had not been on our side…” (124:1) when difficulties and opposition hit then “they would have swallowed us alive; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away” (124:3-5).  It is a humbling realization to know that we are not able to defend ourselves and are in danger of complete annihilation if it were not that “the LORD is on our side.”  

 

It is one thing to recognize this, it is another to actually praise and thank God for rescuing us.  Too often I’m afraid that we just take God’s part for granted, after all isn’t saving us his job?  Well, no it isn’t.  He is not at our beck and call to do whatever we say.  Instead we are his servants, as yesterday’s prayer taught us.  So “praise be to the LORD” for “our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (124:6,8). 

 

We pray today for our Elders and for Danielle Mudge and Joelle Howlett.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Lord, we say thank you for all that you have done to protect us.  We often don’t even see your hand in this and think we have escaped things by our own skill or by some coincidence.  Help us realize who you are and all that you do.  We desire to be more thankful.  

 

We pray words of thanks for our Elders today.  Thank you for these who are willing to step into this role of leadership and give them your wisdom and guidance for the health of us all.  We pray too for Danielle and Joelle.  Please give them an increased awareness of your presence and of the love and support of their church.  Thank you that you continue to hold them and draw them to yourself.  We honor you Lord, our Maker and our help.  Amen.   

Prayers for the Day – December 1, 2022

 

Psalm 123:1-4

 

“I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven” (123:1).  This prayer-psalm begins just as Psalm 121 did although this time our sights and attention are correctly focused on God.  We come to him in the place of worship.  We are servants, yes even slaves of our Master Jesus.  The Apostle Paul reminds us that this is the proper outlook of all those who truly see themselves as having been freed from the bondage of sin by the grand liberator, Jesus.  He wrote, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).  If we come to God with anything other than an awareness of our place as his servant, then we have truly not understood either the reality of our sin or the depth of his forgiveness.

 

We are those who constantly stand in need of mercy.  Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve.  Mercy is the theme of this servant-prayer.  We know that we are not worthy of the least of his favor.  And although we have not earned the right to stand before God, we have also not deserved the “contempt and ridicule” that we have received from the “proud and arrogant” (123:3-4).  

 

And who can change this for us?  Only the LORD.  So gladly we surrender ourselves as this new day begins to the Lord, our Master and Savior.  We place ourselves in his service. 

 

We pray today for our minister, for Deb and Jeff Southard, and for Michelle Coonradt.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Lord Jesus, we come to you as needy people, people who don’t deserve your goodness but plead for your mercy.  This is a daily prayer for us for every day we acknowledge our place before you as your servants.  And we give you thanks that you hear and respond to our weakest cry.  We praise you for your forgiveness and the provision of our daily needs.

 

We pray for our church today and for our present minister and for the search committee as they look for our next one.  We pray also for Jeff and Deb and for Michelle.  Bless each of them as they seek to follow you.  Keep them alert to your mercy in their lives and always mindful of their position as your servants.   Hear us as we come to you in the name of Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – November 30, 2022

 

Psalm 122:1-9

 

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD’” (122:1).  Wouldn’t that be great, to have someone encourage us to go to church, perhaps they could give us a reminder on Saturday evening and a wake-up call on Sunday morning, so that “our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem” (122:2).  In other words, even now before we meet together, we have our minds and hearts in the right place.  We are standing in the place of worship.  We are ready to go physically because we are already there spiritually.

 

We are “praising the name of the LORD according to the statute given” (122:4).  We are living our lives according to the teaching of the word of God which is an act of praise.  And we are “praying for the peace of Jerusalem” (122:6).  I think this prayer is not for the physical city of Jerusalem but for the spiritual place of worship which for us is the church.  And not the building on Otisco Valley Road but the church as the people who worship God together in covenant and in community.  You are “my brothers and friends, so I will say ‘Peace be within you’” (122:8).  Indeed, “for the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity” (122:9).

 

Our prayers today are for our church newsletter and for Mike Wheeler.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Lord God, we do look forward to a time when all of your people willingly and joyfully attend public worship together.  When we assemble now we are often aware of those who are missing, the ones who are away or those who have died but were always with us on a Sunday morning in days gone by.  We are grateful, Lord, for the church family that you have given to us.

 

We ask that you be with all our members, the Covenant, Inactive and Non-Parish.  We pray especially today for Mike.  Continue to hold him close to you and make him mindful of your great gifts to him.  Bless our church newsletter as it is mailed out to all our members that it may encourage their hearts to follow you. This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – November 29, 2022

 

Psalm 121:1-8

 

This is the second Song of Ascent, Psalms 120-134.  They were songs used by worshipers either as they approached the temple each Sabbath day or as they made their trips to Jerusalem for the major festivals of the religious year.  By the way, if any of you are interested in reading an excellent book on these Psalms, I would recommend the book by Eugene Peterson entitled “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.”  We have a copy in our church library.

 

This one begins “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from” (121:1)?  As people who live in a valley, we are familiar with the hills around Otisco Lake.  These are scenes of picturesque beauty to us.  But to the people of Israel in the days of our writer the hills were places where pagan and false worship shrines were built.  The prophet Jeremiah said of them, “Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and the mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel” (Jeremiah 3:23).  They and we are tempted to look to what is on the hills to be our source of help.  For them it was an idolatrous image.  To us it may be a home with a view or the belief that technological means can solve every problem.  

 

But the prayer-psalm continues as the prophet’s words did with the note that only God can keep us safe and supply all that we need.   “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (121:2).  The fact of the matter is that only God provides what satisfies our souls. 

 

Five times in the remaining verses we read of God “watching over us” (121:3,4,5,7,8).  In these days of uncertainty, divisiveness and insecurity this is a great prayer of comfort.  It is no one else but “the LORD who will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (121:8).  Relationship with him is our only true security.

 

We are to pray today for Teen Challenge and for Carole Ianuzi.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

O Lord, in these days of difficulty and anxiety we turn our eyes to you.  Please hear our prayers and comfort our hearts.  We need you.  Keep us from thinking that anything else will be able to meet our needs or satisfy our hearts desire.  

 

For those struggling to overcome the addictions in their lives we pray today.  Be with those at Teen Challenge and for the staff there who seek to help them connect positively to Jesus.   We pray for our church family and for Carole in particular.  Give to her and to us all a real sense of your peace and your presence.  Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayer and bless us all as we seek to live as your people in this place.  Amen.  

Prayers for the Day – November 28, 2022

 

Psalm 120:1-7

 

Recently I was reminiscing with an old friend about politics and politicians back in our youth.  Senator George McGovern was the last major candidate to run for President who was clearly opposed to war.  He carried only one state in the electoral college vote.  I think of him, the son of a Methodist minister, as I read this prayer-psalm today.  

 

We live in a violent world.  A world where power is the ultimate determiner.  But from the Biblical perspective, violence is never the answer and whenever violence is used it generates more violence.  As Christians this is not a path we can take.  What can we do? We may have different answers to that question but the united thing we can do is pray.  And even when it appears that we don’t have words that can fully or intelligently address what tears at our hearts when we watch the news, we have the Psalms.  Today’s prayer-psalm appears a fitting one.  

 

It is certainly a time of “distress” (120:1), a time when we are surrounded by “lying lips and deceitful tongues” (120:2).  We have grown tired of “deceitful tongues” (120:3) that don’t produce solutions but only “sharp arrows and burning coals” (120:4).  We cry out “Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech” (120:5), in the places where people who do not know or respect the Lord live.  Can it be that our country has become such a place?  Well, it is where those who long for peace live with those who talk peace but “are for war” (120:6-7).  It is a terrible thing to realize that the world’s peace is really war and that the world’s truth is really lies.  Let’s pray for enlightenment for us all.

 

Our Prayer Reminder has us praying today for Schools for Haiti and for Faith Stopyro.

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Father, we are praying today for our country, a divided people, fractured and at war with each other.  We hear the voices of unrest and see the images of violence.  We hear the chants of oppression and the calls for justice.  Yet the confidence that anything close to truth and justice seems illusive.  As the prophet said, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.  ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 8:11).

 

Lord God Almighty, we have no confidence in anyone but you.  Hear the prayers of your people.  See the suffering of the poor and abused.  Bring your Almighty correction to the institutions of our country so that “justice will roll on like a river, and righteousness like a never-failing stream” (Amos 5:24).  We pray this for this land.  We pray this too for the land of Haiti, a country desperately poor.  Aid those who seek to minister to the children there who have so little.  We pray too for Faith that you would continue to provide her with wisdom and discernment in the affairs of her life.  Enable her to be a beacon of hope and justice for those in her world.  All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who suffered and died to put an end to the guilt and rage of the human heart.  Amen. 

Prayers for the Day – November 27, 2022

 

Psalm 119:169-176

 

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 Meredith Arnold 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 for the work of Word of Life in Brazil and for Meredith and her ministry there with them.  We also pray for Nancy.  Help her to be drawn to your word and to following you every day.  Indeed, help us all to walk with you in light of what you reveal to us in the pages of holy Scripture.  We pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.  

Prayers for the Day – November 26, 2022

 

Psalm 119:161-168

 

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 Laura Isgar. 

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Father, 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.

 

We pray today for Laura and ask that you would keep her from anxiety and give her confidence in you as she faces the future.   Draw her closer to you through the struggles of her life.  And 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, 2022

 

Psalm 119:153-160

 

“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 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 the work they do for those with crisis pregnancies.  May they be used to bring life and joy to these women in need.  We also pray for Dave and Kristin and ask that you provide for them and their family.  Help them to remember you in every aspect of their life.  Hear us again as we call to you.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – November 24, 2022

                                                          Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 119:145-152 

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.  

 

We pray for the ministry of TEAMS and ask your provision and blessing on their work in Jamaica.  May those in such need be given aid physically and spiritually.  We also thank you for Marilyn and ask that you remain close to her and make your presence known.  Give her confidence that you will never leave her or forsake her.  All this we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – November 23, 2022

 

Psalm 119:137-144

 

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 His Mansion and for Matt 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 for the men and women who are seeking to put you first in their lives as they seek recovery from addictive patterns as residents of His Mansion.  May these experiences give them both information and encouragement to live their everyday lives to your glory.     We pray this for Matt today and for ourselves.  Give us all a humble and obedient heart to follow you.  Teach us the beauty of your truth and righteousness.  This is our prayer in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – November 22, 2022

 

Psalm 119:129-136

 

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 the RBC Ministries and for Jim and Gail Frary.    

 

Let’s pray together.

 

Father God, Creator of us all, thank you for not giving up on us but for seeking us out, providing the means of our redemption, granting us your forgiveness, and patiently instructing us in your ways.  We love you for all of that even as we acknowledge that we have a long way to go in becoming like you in character.  We thank you especially today because we are beginning to see that you are indeed changing us.  We are not the people we used to be.  

 

We are grateful for the ministry of RBC and for their provision of Our Daily Bread devotional guides.  Continue to meet their needs so that they can continue to assist us and so many others in following Jesus and understanding the Bible.  We pray too that you will be with Jim and Gail.  We ask that you draw them closer to yourself and closer to each other in these years of retirement.  Thank you for all that both of them do for our church.  We pray this in the strong name of Jesus.  Amen.

Prayers for the Day – November 21, 2022

 

Psalm 119:121-128

 

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 Tom and Cheryl Fetterman.

 

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 ministry of WMHR and pray that you will supply what they need to continue their ministry.  We pray too for Tom and Cheryl, may their personal walk with you be as servants that are continually growing in understanding and practice.  Keep them connected to you we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayers for the Day – November 20, 2022

 

Psalm 119:113-120

 

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 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.  Help us together to discover the wonderful freedom of yoking ourselves to Jesus.  We also pray for Barbara.  Give her guidance and success as you draw her closer to yourself.  Bless Charlette too as she grows up in this loving home.  May we all know the wonderful experience of a similar acceptance and love from one another and from our Lord Jesus Christ.  In his name we pray.  Amen.