The first thing I do

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The first thing I do when I awaken each day is to pray, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

The first thing I do after I arise and get the coffee started is to listen to a podcast of a daily devotion, then read the lessons from the daily lectionary, which includes a psalm and readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, and one of the Gospels.

The first thing I do as I head out to go jogging is to pray, “Lord, please keep me safe and strong and smart.”

The first thing I do after my run is underway is to recall my baptism by speaking the invocation—In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit—then pray the Lord’s Prayer, and then pray my family prayer and whatever other things in my life, or the lives of others, which need addressing.

The first thing I do when I am eating by myself is to pray, “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let thy gifts to us be blessed.”  When with family, including when we are at a restaurant, the prayer might vary—especially if a grandchild is leading!—but we always begin by remembering who and whose we are.

The first thing I do when I finish my meal is to pray, “Oh give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”

The first thing I do when I am struggling with something—especially the many and various troubles that have come both from within and from without with my personal situation the past three years—is to pray. When it is a really tough matter, I lie on my bed and talk out loud to the Lord. He has taught me to ask, to seek, and to knock. I remind Him what He taught me and that I intend to knock down the door. He also has taught me that He hears and answers every prayer I make in His name, and I remind Him of that promise. He also taught some important parables about prayer—like the persistent widow before the unjust judge, and the friend who comes at night for bread, and the father who would not trick his child—and I love to remind Him about those, too. I know that He loves for me to remind Him of all of His promises to me because I prove to myself that I believe Him, that I love and trust Him with my life and for my eternal life through the work of Jesus Christ, because if I did not believe in Him, if I did not think He only has my best interests in mind, if I did not trust that He has the ability and the desire to answer my prayers, then I would not bother praying to Him. In fact, I would not bother being a Christian. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit informs my spirit that His Word is true, and through this gift of faith I find the Lord faithful to me, that He has been faithful to His every promise to me every single day of my life, and so it is my joy to love Him, and my joy to seek Him, and my joy to glorify Him with my life.

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The first thing I do when I don’t know what to pray is to say one or both of these: “Dear Lord Jesus, show me your good and gracious will, then help me to follow it,” and this, which is Psalm 25:5: “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.”

The first thing I do when I drive by a farmer who is working in a field, or a lineman on a utility pole, or anyone who is working to serve the community, is to pray, “Lord, bless them in their work and keep them safe.”

The first thing I do when I see a car broken down and sitting on the road’s shoulder is to pray that the owner is safe and getting the needed help.

The first thing I do when I get into my car is to pray for safe travel and, if whatever I am heading to do requires it, to add a prayer regarding that.

The first thing I do when I ponder any family member on the road—as when Julie is heading home from work—is to pray for safe travel, and then also pray for all who are on the road.

The first thing I do when I hear the arriving car of a family member is to say a prayer of thanks for safe arrival. Because of the prayer formation of my life, prayers of thanks come automatically when I recognize a good thing—as when I gaze over my growing garden, or make it home safely from a run, or enjoy a sweet moment with my grandchildren.  I know that every good thing I have, including my very life, is from the Lord, and therefore I want Him to know how grateful I am.

The first thing I do when I hear sirens is to pray, “Lord, help all those who are in need, and those who are serving them.”

The first thing I do when a friend asks me to pray for her or him is to stop everything and pray that very moment. I often type out the prayer and message it to them so they know what I am praying.

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Finally, the first thing I do as the final thing I do for the day is to pray, to thank the Lord for the gifts of the day, to sorrow over my failings of the day, to recall that my Lord Jesus has borne my sin and taken it away, and to seek His strength that I might correct my sins of commission and omission, and then to commend myself and my family into His hands for a good night’s rest.

And every prayer gets an Amen, for Amen means “it shall be so.”  In Christ, everything “shall be so” to the glory of God the Father, for the good of all who call upon His Holy Name.

Amen!

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