Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 12.27.21

By December 27, 2021Daily Bread

Good morning!

I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.

Today’s Scripture: Colossians 4:2-6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.[a] Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.


Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

The opening words of today’s reading from Colossians urge us to devote ourselves to prayer, “keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.”  For some people, keeping alert in prayer is easy.  But, for others—myself included—there are often distractions and the mind wanders.  Some Christians say that praying is one of the hardest parts of the Christian life.

C.S. Lewis was one of the strong voices for Christianity in the 20th century. Yet in his autobiography, he tells about a struggle with prayer as a young person, a struggle so filled with distractions that for a while, it was one of the things that led him away from the faith. He had it in his mind that there was a certain way to pray and he had to do it just right.  It became such a burden that he said, “Had I pursued the same road much farther I think I should have gone mad.”

Even the original disciples had their struggles and needed help regarding prayer.

According to Luke 11, the reason Jesus gave what we now call the Lord’s Prayer was because the disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (11:1).  In response, Jesus gave the Lord’s Prayer as a model, which tells us that Jesus understood that praying is something with which many people need help.

In more than one place in the New Testament, the apostle Paul talks about different Christians having different gifts. Paul lists such things as prophecy, serving, teaching, preaching, giving aid, acts of mercy, discernment and other abilities as gifts, and he says that they are given in different measures to different people.  Prayer is one of the spiritual gifts, and like the other gifts, it is not given in the same measure to every Christian.

Even so, every Christian needs to pray and we all benefit from prayer.  Everyone is different and what is effective for some may not be helpful for others, but I can share some things that have been helpful for me:

First of all, I have found that praying while walking helps me to focus.  For someone like me who has a hard time sitting quietly in one place and focusing, praying while walking is helpful.

Secondly, I like to use prayers and hymns that are in the form of prayers.  This helps me expand my prayer life to include areas I may not otherwise explore.

Third, I have found it to be helpful to write my prayers down, though I haven’t been very consistent with that practice.  Putting pen to paper can help the thoughts flow.

Finally, a long time ago I got over feeling guilty about my wandering mind.  I have learned to allow my wandering thoughts to be included in my prayers.  After all, a large part of prayer is placing your thoughts before God.  Why not include the random and wandering thoughts?  John Wesley said, “The comfort of [prayer] may be taken away by wandering thoughts, but not the benefit.”

One of the prayer hymns that I like to use in prayer is “Spirit of the Living God.”  You can sing it or recite it several times as a way of helping you move into a time of prayer:

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and reflections I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor


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