In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.
It is one of the central affirmations of the Christian faith that God wants to be in relationship with each of us, children of the earthly kingdom. But as in all relationships, a two-way street is the only way that this can be nurtured. We need to regularly take time to speak to God, but just as importantly, we need to take time to listen to God.
Even while the prayers of most of us Christians come far too infrequently, there are many of us who have trouble coming up with a list of things to lay at the throne of grace. We all have needs, concerns, thanksgivings, and even from time to time complaints about life. But how often do we take time to listen to God?
Our Moravian Daily Texts offer us a dynamic way to listen on a regular basis for God’s intent in our lives. Many Christians in the world (far beyond our Moravian Church) utilize these scripture texts, hymn verses, and simple prayers as a disciplined way of allowing the Word of God to be a lamp to our path. I have listened to many friends and family recount to me how these words brought meaning and purpose into even the most ordinary of times, let alone some of the most difficult moments of their lives.
Several years ago when my office was located in the Moravian Church Center in Bethlehem, Pa., it occurred to me that our Daily Texts could not only guide each of our lives individually, but they could also give meaning to the ministries that we shared within the various offices in that building (representing various Provincial, Interprovincial, and Eastern District offices).
So I began putting together a prayer form, much like our Liturgies in the Moravian Book of Worship, that would accompany the Watchword for the Week (as found each Sunday in the Daily Texts book). As brothers and sisters in Christ, we began meeting each day around noon to listen for God’s Word, to lift up our prayer concerns, and to encourage one another in our various ministries.
As this began to develop and as I was introduced to an Internet blogging service, I decided to begin posting these prayers online so that they could benefit the wider Moravian Church. So these are now available to anyone who has access to the Internet.
I recommend them for use in private devotions as a way to expand and deepen the discipline of praying the Daily Texts. These can also be used by groups within congregations who gather for either spiritual enrichment or to do the congregation’s work. For instance, I know of several people who print them out and use them at the beginning of their Board or committee meetings.
Each week (generally by Saturday afternoon), I have the prayers for the following week posted on the web site. The prayer itself remains the same throughout that week, what changes each day are the each days’ readings which you get from using the Daily Texts. This prayer form begins with words of praise and a bidding for God’s Spirit to be present. Next the Psalm for the week is read (this is the Psalm which is listed in your Daily Text each Sunday). This is followed by a confession of sin and an assurance of pardon. Then comes an opportunity to read that day’s Daily Text, and spend some time in prayer for matters pertinent to the group. It then concludes with a rotating version of the Lord’s Prayer and some concluding prayer petitions.
You can access these prayers in one of two ways. You can do so directly by going to dailyprayersformoravians.wordpress.com. Once the page opens that week’s prayer will be the first thing that you see.
For those readers who might begin to use this resource, and for those who have already been using it regularly, I would appreciate some feedback on how I might make it more effective in meeting your needs. There is an easy way to leave comments at the bottom of each prayer page.
It is my prayer that this online resource can be one more way that God can speak to you and guide you in your daily walk. In so doing I pray that this might only deepen your ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ, our Chief Elder, and shepherd of the flock. I also hope that it might encourage groups within our many congregations to remain focused on our primary task of making Christ known to the world.
Chris Giesler is pastor of Edgeboro Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa. and a bishop of the Moravian Unity. In lead photo, Chris edits "Daily Prayers for Moravians" in his Bethlehem office.
Watchword for Maundy Thursday — He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful. Psalm 111:4
Thursday, April 17 — Psalm 50:7-15
Leviticus 11:29-13:8; Mark 4:1-20
Lord, you have been a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm. Isaiah 25:4 (NIV)
Jesus said, "I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!" John 16:33
Lord, thank you for your presence, love, forgiveness, and peace. We so often try to live our lives in darkness but realize we cannot. Thank you, ever-present God, for bringing us from darkness to your light. Amen.
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