Prayer, Bible Reading and Devotional Thoughts
A Tapestry of Devotions
The Christian practice of daily Bible reading and prayer developed over centuries as it was framed and modified into a beautiful service know as Morning Prayer. Through times of tribulation and blessing Christians applied the Bible's teaching to life and began to catalog passages which related to each other in the Old and New Testaments and Psalms. In particular companion selections from an Epistle (New Testament Letter) and Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were associated with the calendar year, especially remembering the events and actions of Christ's life and important doctrines which were subject to heretical interpretation such as the Trinity. To help apply the Bible's teaching a short prayer, known as a Collect, turns the Godly instruction of the Lessons into a prayer for God's help in applying it to our lives. Together they set a theme for us to model our life after each week.
You may wonder why the Bible selections are called, "Lessons." They are called this for a simple reason. Since they are the inspired and infallible words of God, they are not merely readings, they are God's Lessons for us.
The six daily radio devotionals of Morning Prayer each have a different emphasis. This tends to make each one distinct from the others in any given week, but when viewed in their entirety they produce a wonderful tapestry of devotions. Prayer and Bible readings are the common thread of Morning Prayer. Frequently the words of great hymns and other elements are woven in as well. Following is a brief description of each day's part in the tapestry.
- Sunday - Sunday Worship
- Sunday Worship's emphasis is worship. In addition to one of the weekly Scripture Lesson selections, the Collect for the week and prayer that relates to our worship experience are included. Since the focus is on worship we limit our words to essential elements and do not introduce ourselves on Sunday.
- Monday - Design for Worship
- Design for Worship focuses on the core of the Morning Prayer service, the Epistle, Gospel and Collect for each week. In addition to these three elements we state the design the framers of Morning Prayer had in mind for our worship that week. The other Scripture Lessons we use throughout the week are mostly the companion, Old and New Testament Lessons and Psalms. If the Design for Worship can be kept in mind it will be seen how it is woven into the fabric of all the Lessons.
- Tuesday - Patterns in Worship
- Patterns in Worship uses elements of worship that have stood the test of time and are familiar to many Christians. The patterns vary and include: portions of the actual service of Morning Prayer; Litanies, which are short, very interactive, prayer services; Creeds, which are statements of faith made by Christians to clarify true biblical teaching and state correct doctrine; and various other items like expansions on the Lord's Prayer.
- Wednesday - Bible Themes
- Bible Themes is a day devoted to following threads through the Bible and using them as the basis for our devotions. Various Bible reading schemes are used, such as, a sequential reading through the book of Proverbs and Prayers of the Bible. Prayer related to the theme rounds out the devotional time.
- Thursday - Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs
- The Bible instructs us to worship with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. On Thursday we use the lyrics of a hymn which speaks of the week's subject and we read one of the Psalm selections for the week in the Christian calendar. We round out this devotional time with prayer that compliments the hymn and Psalm.
- Friday - Family Prayer
- Family Prayer, like Prayer and Thanksgiving is prayer and Scripture Lessons. On this day they help us focus on the needs of our families. We don't limit our prayer to the immediate nuclear family, but rather expand our interest to all our familial relationships; family, church, community, nation and world. From time to time we include things like a Table Grace which we have found to be beautiful in their statement of thanks to God for His good gifts to us.