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Daily Devotional Prayer

Daily Devotion for July 19, 2024


Acts 5:19|Saint Peter Delivered from Prison</i>, Gustav Doré, ca 1870.
Saint Peter Delivered from Prison, Gustav Doré, ca 1870. (Acts 5:19)

Prayers

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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.

Prayer for the Armor of Light

The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let me then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Most merciful Father, I beseech you, for your mercy’s sake, continue your grace and favor towards me this day; let the sun of your gospel never go down out of my heart; let your truth abide and be established with me, and among all of us, forever. Help my unbelief, increase my faith, give me a heart to consider the time of my visitation. In faith clothe me with Christ, that he may live in me, and your name may be glorified in me, in the sight of all the world.

Amen.

Teach me Your Way

Jesus and the rich man, Matthew 19
Jesus and the rich young man

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; Unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify your name forever more. Great is your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of hell. All praise be to You, Oh God my Redeemer, today and forever.

Amen.

To Be Powerless

Lord Christ, may all of my expectations be frustrated. May all of my plans be thwarted. May all of my desires be withered into nothingness, that I may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child, and sing and dance and pray utterly in the love of God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

Amen.

Meditation

If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?

Benediction

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,

Amen.

Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.


Enjoy “Classical Friday”! A pretty setting of Ave Maria by Pietro Mascagni, sung by the wonderful Sissel.



Scripture

Proverbs 10:11-12 (KJV)

The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life:
but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Hatred stirreth up strifes:
but love covereth all sins.


Blue Latin Cross

Acts 5:21-26 (ESV)

The Empty Prison

(Previous verses: Acts 5:17-20.)

And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.

N

ow when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.”

Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

Notes on the Scripture

Don’t you just want to say “Ha! Take that!” to the high priest and the Sanhedrin? The time of miracles is still with the apostles, and it will continue (although perhaps diminishing) for several years. During that time, the theme of defeating prison, which relates to Christ defeating death, will reoccur several times.

Our prison is our mortal self. Just as physical stones can prevent a person from physically moving outside a wall, so our body—and our “physical” mind, which is part of our body—can keep us from moving towards God and hold us, forcibly, inside the world we can see and touch.

If you doubt that our minds are part of our bodies, think of this example: Imagine a person standing on a ledge 1000 feet in the air. There is no wind and the person is healthy and has such good balance that he can snow ski skillfully. Will this person feel giddy? Almost certainly. (I have walked out on the Skywalk of the Grand Canyon, a transparent walkway thousands of feet above the jagged rocks of the canyon floor, and I could barely bring myself to move!)

temptation in church

Our human mind is hard-wired to our physical body. If a young heterosexual man sees a beautiful woman in a bikini (or less!), he will be aroused against his will. If someone points a loaded shotgun in our face, our heart will beat faster. If someone insults us, we get angry, even if we can suppress it.

But God’s Holy Spirit can ameliorate and even overcome our physical mind, given time and prayer. Thousands of Christians have faced death without apparent fear, singing hymns and praising God. Their courage, in fact, was one of the primary historical reasons for the rapid growth of Christianity in the first few centuries after Christ died. It is one of the great lessons of the resurrection. God can and will overcome the greatest power of the world, the power of death.

We can thus overcome sin, at least in great part. The Bible promises this to us: 1 Corinthians 10:13. Just as a prison of stone walls cannot hold Peter’s body, the prison of our mortal selves cannot hold our souls in captivity. The laws of the physical world ultimately crumble before the power of Almighty God.

Notice that the guards are afraid to take the apostles by force; the apostles, however, show no fear at all. Immediately upon their release, they return to the activity for which they were being tried: teaching at the temple. Christian belief has spread quickly, to the point that the greatest human power on earth, the soldiers of the Roman Empire, become cautious.



Daily Inspiration

“Courteous”


<i>Madonna</i>, linen macramé by Vladimir Denshchikov, contemporary.+
Madonna, linen macramé by Vladimir Denshchikov, contemporary.

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