Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 4.21.21

By April 21, 2021Daily Bread

I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.

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

Today’s Scripture:

Romans 8:26-28 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes[a] with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God,[b] who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit[c] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.[d]

28 We know that all things work together for good[e] for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

If you feel somewhat inadequate in knowing how to pray, just know that you are in good company. The disciples felt that way and asked Jesus to teach them to pray.  Paul wrote in Romans 8:26 that we don’t know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us “with sighs too deep for words.”

Years ago, British pastor Leslie Weatherhead told a beautiful story about an elderly Scottish man who was quite ill. The pastor came to see the dying man and noticed an empty chair on the opposite side of the bed.  The chair was pulled up especially close to the bed. The older man said, “Let me tell you about this chair. Many years ago I found it quite difficult to pray, so one day I shared this problem with my pastor. He told me not to worry about kneeling or about placing myself in some pious position or about speaking in high-sounding words. Instead, he said, ‘Just sit down, put a chair in front of you, and imagine God sitting there in that chair… and then just talk to God as you would talk to a friend.'” The older man said, “I’ve been doing that ever since.”

A few days later the man’s daughter called the pastor to tell him that her father had died peacefully. And then she said this: “For some reason, his hand was on that empty chair on the other side of the bed. Isn’t that strange?”

“O no, it’s not strange at all. I understand perfectly. He was reaching out to his ‘Best Friend.'”

Theresa of Avila (1515–1582) described prayer in this simple way: “The life of prayer is just a love of God and a liking to be with God.”

In the 28th verse in today’s reading, the apostle Paul expresses his confidence that not matter what happens, ultimately things work together for good.

Julian of Norwich famously expressed that same confidence when she wrote, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

When Dr. Webb Pomeroly, one of my favorite college professors who was also an ordained pastor, died a number of years ago, they played a recording at his memorial service of a portion of an interview he gave not long before his death.  The interviewer asked about his experience of being diagnosed with the rare blood disease that would ultimately take his life and how he had coped with that reality.  He answered with a story: that expresses well Paul’s words a few chapters later in Romans:  “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.  If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:7-9)

Here is what he said:

When I was diagnosed, they knew that it would come as a shock to me, so they sent a chaplain into my hospital room to see me.  He did not know me or what I did for a living.  He said, “I want to pray with you now and ask God for a miracle.”

I said, “Okay, but before we pray, I want to tell you two things.  First of all, there is a little girl downstairs who is being fitted with leg braces today.  She can’t walk.  If we’re going to pray for a miracle, let’s pray for the miracle to be for her–she has a lot of life ahead of her.

“Second, I want to tell you about my father.  He used to take me fishing. I never once said, ‘Daddy, please don’t push me out of the boat.’  I never even said, ‘Daddy, if I fall out of the boat, will you save me?’  I just knew he would.  I knew that everything would be okay.  I know that, no matter what, ultimately everything will be okay.  All right, now we can pray…”

There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Spirit of the Living God”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul.

Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Break me, melt me, mold me, fill 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 music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

Here’s more about this passage of scripture via Upper Room devotionals:

PRAY CONTINUALLY

Even when my prayers have no words, God is listening.

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