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Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Garland of Prayer - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 4 - Purity 1277

The Garland of Prayer  - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 4 - Purity 1277

Purity 1277 02/17/2024 Purity 1277 Podcast

Purity 1277 on YouTube: 


Good morning,

Today’s photo of a twisted tree in the midst of man-made mist, ghostly lanterns, and unsuspecting strangers in Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears comes to us from yours truly as I captured this haunting scene while on line to get a fright at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando Florida yesterday.

Well, It’s Saturday if you can imagine it, my Friday began with silent stillness and an inch or two of snow on the ground at my countryside home in Easton and ended with a truly spectacular fire, water, and light-fueled extravaganza of dazzling Disney delights, watching the “Sorcerer Mickey” Imagined show “Fantasmisc” and enjoying temperatures in the 60’s as I traveled over 1240 miles to take a break from my normal routine on vacation in Disney World.  

Well, just because I have taken a departure from my normal routine and any semblance of maintaining my keto food plan and will be giving up giving up anything in these early days of the Lenten season, I am not giving up on my relationship with the Lord and am going to draw close to God in the wee hours of the morning before another day of vacation in the Magic Kingdom begins. In life, we set our priorities on what’s important to us and after being pulled out of the darkness of a life of sin, sadness, and addiction, I try to put God first and am doing that this Lenten season by going through the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther. 

It’s the fourth day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 4

If I have had time and opportunity to go through the Lord's prayer, I do the same with the Ten Commandments. I take one part after another and free myself as much as possible from distractions in order to pray. I divide each commandment into four parts, thereby fashioning a garland of four strands. That is, I think of each commandment as, first, instruction, which is really what it is intended to be, and consider what the Lord God demands of me so earnestly. Second, I turn it into a Thanksgiving; third, a confession; fourth, a prayer.

Biblical Wisdom

Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:3-6

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 15 minutes or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       Note the order of the four strands in the garland of prayer that recommends. Why do you think they come in that order?

Martin Luther’s garland of prayer makes sense and may have been taught to him by saints in his life who had gone before him or something he developed as a monk of seminary professor. Luther’s garland of prayer is logical and orderly, and it makes sense that they would flow in the following order:

1.    Instruction – to meditate on something we have to ponder what it means. What does this passage of scripture, commandment, or portion of the Lord’s prayer tell us? What does it tell us about God and what does it tell us to do, or what does it tell us not to do?  What does it teach us?  

2.    Thanksgiving – Pondering the scripture before us, we are naturally drawn to thank God for his wisdom, for His revealing it to us, and how it has benefitted us in our lives. We meditate on scripture and thank God for what He has done and for who He is – good, holy, loving, and just. 

3.    Confession – We learn from the scripture that we have not always followed God’s word and we continue to fall short of following it faithfully.  So we confess.

4.    Pray – and then we pray about that portion of scripture specifically – Lord help me, guide me, and strengthen me in this specific area of our faith, and help others who struggle with this area as well.

·       Why do you think Luther understands the garland of prayer as a response to the word of God?

As I just explained the garland of prayer that Luther talks about describes His relationship with the Lord and how He responds dynamically to the word of God that He encounters. Seeking to understand, to thank God for, to confess- or to agree with, and to pray over the Ten Commandments or Lord’s prayer – which are the word of God – is a response to the word of God.

 

·       How might your community of faith use the garland of prayer in public worship?

The garland of prayer can easily be brought to the corporate body through having the pastor or “Celebrant” direct the group’s attention to a particular portion of scripture by reciting it and then asking them to prayerfully consider: what it teaches us, how we should be thankful for it, how we can confess our failures in obeying it, and then to pray to follow it.

Psalm Fragment

You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-4

Journal Reflections

·       Reflect on your own method of meditating on Scripture. Have you ever used Luther’s method? If so, describe its effect on you. If not, why not try it?

You know, I never really thought about my process of meditation but as I have examined Luther’s method I see in it that those four garlands of prayer are not strange to me.  The four garlands are rightly called a response to God’s word – man must consider it to understand it and if we understand it naturally causes us to thanksgiving, confession, and prayer.  So I didn’t know Martin Luther wrote about this, but I can say that I have tried this method myself in a sense and it has had a profound effect on me as it formed the basis of my relationship to God and His word and has guided me to a transformed life.

·       Write about how you might begin to make the garland of prayer a regular habit in your faith life.

Well, it’s very simple – we just do it. Follow the outline that Luther writes about by asking God and yourself those questions. What does this mean? What does God want to teach me? How or why should I be thankful for this?  Do I agree with this, or have I failed to obey this?  How should I pray about this? Our responses to these aspects of our faith and these questions can easily make this a regular habit in our lives.

·       Practice this garland of prayer using the Psalm Fragment.

Our psalm Fragment, Psalm 91:1-4 , tells us:  “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”

Okay.  The Psalm Fragment teaches us that – God the Almighty is a fortress, a refuge, and that we should trust Him and abide in his “shelter”. It also teaches us to confess these things verbally to the Lord.  It causes us to give thanks for His goodness and His protection of us.  It reminds me of all the times I walked independently away from God and how I suffered.  It causes me to pray to be able to trust God more and to always abide with Him to experience Him as a refuge, fortress, and shelter.    

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that you will learn to follow the garland of prayer method in both your reading of Scripture and your response in prayer to what you read.

Lord, help me to use Luther’s garland of prayer to respond fully to what your word tells me and to draw me closer to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Prayer for Today

Gracious God,  open my mind and heart to your word as I mine your word for its depths and riches. 

Amen!

(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.)

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).

 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

Proverbs 13:3 (NLT2)
3  Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.

Today’s verse falls under the fourteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

14.     Be careful. Don’t speak rashly.

Today’s verse reminds me to keep the peace with the words I say. Hey I am on vacation and the best way to keep the good times rolling is to do our best to be kind to one another and to not complain about how we may be getting on one another’s nerves words as we examine other people we are traveling with or in passing and consider how what they are saying or doing doesn’t line up perfectly with how we would do things.  While we could speak out complaints and rebukes in reactivity, rashly.  If we hold on to silence until we can craft a caring and compassionate response, we can keep the peace and help to make everyone’s experience a positive one. So control your tongue, because sometimes opening your mouth rashly can ruin everything.

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: MARK 9

“Only Jesus.” – Mark 9:8

Had it been “only Moses,” they would have had to face the severe demands of the law. Had it been “only Elias,” they would have had to suffer the righteous demands of severe judgment. But it was “Only Jesus!” Blessed be His Name! “Only Jesus,” who not only fulfilled the law but also bore the judgment due to mankind, that as “The Only Savior” He might bring “grace and truth” (John 1:14, 17) to men and women. Had only Moses and Elias come down, they would have brought law and judgment. But in that “Only Jesus” came down, He brought truth (fulfilled law) and grace (satisfied judgment). Praise God for “Only Jesus!”

Jesus is All the world to me,
My life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day,
Without Him I would fall.4
“Only Jesus” (Mark 9:8).[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

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Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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