Devotional Thought of the day:
17 Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)
16 Ultimately, if we should list as sacraments all the things that have God’s command and a promise added to them, then why not prayer, which can most truly be called a sacrament? It has both the command of God and many promises. If it were placed among the sacraments and thus given, so to speak, a more exalted position, this would move men to pray. (1)
448 You haven’t been praying? Why, because you haven’t had time? But you do have time. Furthermore, what sort of works will you be able to do if you have not meditated on them in the presence of the Lord, so as to put them in order? Without that conversation with God, how can you finish your daily work with perfection? Look, it is as if you claimed you had no time to study because you were too busy giving lessons… Without study you cannot teach well. Prayer has to come before everything. If you do not understand this and put it into practice, don’t tell me that you have no time: it’s simply that you do not want to pray! (2)
Let’s be honest, most of us hate Mondays with a passion!
The trying to adjust to “reality”, the drudgery of work, the lack of “freedom”, the stress, and the fact that Mondays somehow seem cursed to have everything going wrong. The only thing that is worse, a Monday after a vacation.
If only there were a way to change the anture of Monday, to flip it on its side, to turn it from curse to blessing! We need to see it as a new opportunity rather than a drag. We need to somehow realize that Mondays, like Sundays and the rest of our weeks, is a day the Lord has made!
But it is Monday…. did I mention I hate them? Not because of their effect on me, rather, the effect they have on those I pastor. ( I simply lock myself in my office and study for next week’s sermon.) I see the frustration, the quickness to respond to defend, or attack, the cynical matures that peak, the sarcasm and struggles that turn into great burdens.
Even when what was heard yesterday was. “come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest...” It is as if we expect Jesus to say – well except on Monday – I take Monday’s off!
Here is the secret to Mondays. Sanctify them! Make them Holy! Set them apart as a special day for you to watch God at work in your homes, in your workplaces, in your appointments throughout the day. Spend the day in prayer, talking to God throughout it. Spend time praising His name, giving thanks, asking for His blessings and advice on each part of the day, and listening to that advice. ( I would suggest that you make sure it is consistent with scripture – that’s how you can confirm it is His voice you are hearing. )
That brings up a point – praying – using God’s name as He meant for us to use it, in our relationship with Him is not just a commandment, it is not law, it is the purest of gospel messages. It is a blessing beyond belief to realize we can spend our day walking with a God who comes to us, who will cleanse and restore and heal that which is broken, and that which we break. It is the blessing that transcends all others, this conversation that we have with God, this relationship where He is God and we are His children.
That is why Melancthon and the reformers considered Prayer a sacrament in the Apology… for then it might help men pray more often. . That is why St Josemaria, also noted the need for it to be the basic action of our life. This conversation, this relationship, it is who we are, what we are made for… praying will change us, change our lives, not because it is a forced, but because it reveals the presence of God… here for us.
It will even blow apart a Monday… even if you haven’t started it the right way… take a break… and start talking to Him.
Your Monday will change into a Sunday…
Start with this – Lord, Have mercy!
(1) Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 213). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.
(2) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1986-1991). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought for a Monday:
23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. Romans 8:23-27 (NLT)
449 Prayer, more prayer! It may seem odd to say that now when you are taking examinations and working harder… But you need prayer, and not only the habitual prayer as an exercise of devotion; you also need to pray during odd moments, to pray between times, instead of allowing your mind to wander on silly things. It does not matter if, in spite of your effort, you do not manage to concentrate and be recollected. That meditation may be of greater value than the one you made, with all ease, in the oratory. (and oratory is like a chapel or small church that is for a specific group)
450 Here is an effective custom for achieving presence of God: your first audience every day should be with Jesus Christ. (1)
It’s a Monday, and I got to the office nearly 2 hours ago. There was a situation or two (I hate to use the term emergency) that had to be dealt with, there is a call I need to make this afternoon, a friend starting checmotherapy.
I am tempted to put aside my devotional time, and my prayer time, and get craking on my studying the passage for next Sunday’s sermon. I have to have all the research done by 6:30 tonight, to share with the group of guys who study it together, to prepare to pray for another week in the pulpit. My heart sceams not to overlook this time of devotiona and prayer, for then my research will be dry, done as a matter of duty, not as a matter of loving God’s revelation to us, the revealtion of His love. I need to spend this time thinking of He and I, of laying burdens down, of spending a few moments, completely aware of God’s presence.
Yet my mind urdes me onto the tasks of the day.
I think that if this is my struggle, it must be your struggle as well. Heck I work with the word of God and forget I work in His Presence. How much more so for those of you who sit behind desks looking at paperwork or terminals, or those of you serving others in industry. Or those of you in class, or in a doctor’s office. How can you “afford” to take the time to spend a large amount of time on this? Do you neglect what you are paid for? I realize we must take time for Jesus, to revel and rest in His presence, but how when the times are so minimal?
We rely on God… we pray what we can – we lay our heart before Him and we trust in His faithfulness, in His love, in the promise of the Holy Spirit fulfilling what we are unable to come up for the words to describe. Romans tells of this, and we count on His promise, His presence, and in doing so, we might find ourselves more refreshed than when we spend great lengths of time in His presence serving Him in prayer and study. (Please do not use that as an excuse for not spending appointed times in prayer! ) But there is something special, when throughout our day, as we work at being our best,, for us to hold a running conversation with Him, to lay before Him our burdens, and our work, and to realize we do it, strengthened by God.
So make your prioirities, set your days in order… but remember the first priority that each priority is part of, to realize God’s presence with you, through every part of every day.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1998-1999). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- God’s Agenda – The Purpose of Prayer (bornfun.wordpress.com)
- Have you been neglecting yourself? (justifiedandsinner.com)
- One of the greatest blessings, that (or those) who annoy us? (justifiedandsinner.com)
- May our spirit of forgiving and understanding grow progressively… (justifiedandsinner.com)