FIRST, LAST AND IN-BETWEEN

Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually. [Romans 12:12 (GW)]

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)]

daisy fleabane“Let Christ be first in your thoughts in the morning and last in your thoughts at night,” were the words at the bottom of an Our Daily Bread devotion. A great way to bookend our day, it makes sense to have our first thoughts of the morning and the last at night to be of Christ. Nevertheless, I wonder about all those hours between the opening and shutting of our eyes. What should be first in our thoughts then?

I recently met a woman who said she’s been saying a short prayer before she starts any activity throughout her day, be it thanking God for the privilege of having clothes to launder, asking Him for patience while helping her son with his homework, or keeping her awake during a boring business meeting. Her prayers aren’t fancy; they are, however, heartfelt. “Help me… patience please…direct me…give me understanding…make me strong…show me how to share your love… inspire my words” and “Thank you, Jesus,” are all we need to keep Him in our thoughts all day long. One I frequently say is, “Lord, put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth!” I only wish I used that one more often.

Jesus, as we move through our day, may your Holy Spirit keep our thoughts centered on you—whether we’re in the “ten items or less” line behind someone with a cart full of groceries, on hold while trying to reach a real person at Comcast, struggling to stretch our dollars to the end of the month or sitting in the doctor’s office hearing news we never wanted to hear. Thank you for the privilege of coming to you in prayer.

I need Thee every hour, Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine Can peace afford.
I need Thee every hour, Stay Thou near by;
Temptations lose their power When Thou art nigh.
I need Thee every hour, In joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, Or life is vain.
I need Thee every hour, Teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises In me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour, Most Holy One;
Oh, make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior! I come to Thee.
[I Need Thee Every Hour (Annie Sherwood Hawks)] 

At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for God’s people the way God wants him to. [Romans 8:26-27 (GW)]

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