Common Devotional

Thursday February 22nd, 2024

Opening

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and tthe truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

Confession of Sin

Confession

Father, I have sinned against you. Holy Shepherd, I have strayed from you like a lost lamb. I have wandered after the desires of my own sinful heart. I have done what I should not have done. I have also not done what I should have. Restore me, I pray, for I am lost without you. Point my compass back to you, for in you alone do I find my home. I ask this through the blood and sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Amen.

Assurance of pardon

Grant me peace and pardon, merciful Lord, that I might be cleansed from all my sin and serve you with a quiet mind, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

First Prayer

O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall speak your praise.
O God, come quickly to save me.
Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Praise the Lord!

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Psalms

48

48:1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
Within her citadels God
has made himself known as a fortress.

For behold, the kings assembled;
they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic; they took to flight.
Trembling took hold of them there,
anguish as of a woman in labor.
By the east wind you shattered
the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
in the city of the Lord of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God will establish forever. Selah

We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
As your name, O God,
so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments!

Walk about Zion, go around her,
number her towers,
consider well her ramparts,
go through her citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will guide us forever. (ESV)

Lessons

First Lesson

Genesis 15 - 16

15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

16:1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her,

“Behold, you are pregnant
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
because the Lord has listened to your affliction.
He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone's hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.

And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram. (ESV)

Second Lesson

Colossians 4

4:1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. (ESV)

Meditate

Dwell on what you're paying attention to in God's word. How has it connected with your heart or mind? Read again more slowly if you don't notice a connection.

Second Prayer

O God, you are the author of peace and lover of harmony. Knowing you determines my eternal life, and in your service is perfect freedom. Defend me, your humble servant, from every bad thing. I trust in you alone for my defence so that I will not fear the power of any created thing, through the might of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

O Lord my heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have safely brought me to the beginning of this day. Defend me today with your mighty power and grant that I not fall into any sin nor run into any kind of danger. Instead, grant that all my actions be ordered by your governance, to do always what is righteous in your sight, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who alone works great marvels, send down on the clergy, church leadership and all congregations committed to their charge, the healthful spirit of your grace. That they might all truly please you, pour out on them the continual dew of your blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of my Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

You have told me that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. You have told me to ask for more workers. Indeed, Lord, how will people hear the good news of your kingdom without someone to tell them? Break my heart with Christlike compassion that leads me to be the answer to my own prayer.

Father, may my governing leaders hear the voice of the oppressed and speak boldly on their behalf. Guide their hands and bend their wills towards your justice and mercy. May I do all I can to love my neighbor as well. Give me love for Christ and for the people in my neighborhood.

Almighty God, you have given me grace at this time to make my common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son to send your Holy Spirit. Fulfill now, O Lord, my desires and petitions as may be best for me; granting me in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

Unscripted Prayer

Pray to God freely about what has touched you today. Turn your thoughts to Him and enjoy His presence.
Prayer Topic Suggestions

Closing

The grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with me evermore. Amen.