Tag Archives: The Lord’s Prayer

Daily Office App

Three Reasons You Should Download a Daily Office App

What is essential reading for you every day? I don’t think I’m alone sensing an increase in “noise” when I read. If I go online for a few minutes to check social media or scan for wild fire containment progress, my eyes quickly absorb what I usually associate with my ears – a lot of noise. Communication is necessary; noise isn’t. Trying to parse the difference between the two, however, can be challenging. I love to read, but reading “hot takes” in real time leaves me scattered, fractured, tired. Some commentary on life or current events or ministry is helpful; but I quickly find myself tiring of secondary sources. If that sounds familiar, it might be time to download a Daily Office app.

There are thousands of devotional books, if not millions, and a lot of American Protestants aren’t familiar with the Daily Office. It is not, as it sounds, a daily random episode of a workplace comedy. It is not a workspace rental company. It is not an office supply source.

The Daily Office is a set of Scripture readings and prayers. You can find Christians around the world reading these same texts and prayers on the same day that you are. Centuries ago, Christians often prayed the hours of the day; about 500 years ago, the Book of Common Prayer was developed within Anglicanism. Daily worship was condensed into morning and evening prayers. It may sound strange to remember that in some traditions, people used to go to church daily; it may sound strange to remember that in some Christian traditions, people still go to church every day (at least, pandemic allowing). But the Daily Office isn’t limited to usage in a Vespers service in an aging stone church in the rolling hills of rural England. Anyone with a Book of Common Prayer can read the Daily Office. Except now the internet exists; anyone with a Daily Office app can read the Daily Office.

So why should you? Here are three reasons that spring to mind, though there are many.

1. Cutting Out or Reducing Dependence on Devotional Commentary

Please don’t read this as a suggestion that spiritual formation writings are useless. I’ve learned and grown so much from the wisdom of others, some from my own lifetime, some from decades or centuries before me. But a fatigue has taken hold in the midst of so much noise. I find myself yearning not for secondary sources, but for the wellspring of life itself.

We are, as C.S. Lewis suggested with different intent in mind, too easily pleased sometimes. Half a Scripture verse and four paragraphs of reflection on it are insufficient sustenance for your daily pilgrimage. Some devotional books offer great value – especially those that primarily parse the Scripture to which they refer or those with uncommon wisdom and insight.

But devotional books aren’t the Bread of Life. In John 1, we see the author distinguishing between John the Baptist, who was not himself the light but bore witness to the light, and Jesus, who is the light itself – the light that is life to all humanity. Sometimes we’re more comfortable with proximity to John the Baptist, as it were, than we are with proximity to Jesus.

But in times of heightened noise, one of the best things we can do is to dip into Scripture itself. Because I’m not hungry for Devotional Collection Aimed at North American Women Pushing Forty Who Are Likely to Have Shopped at Target in the Past 12 Months. I’m starving for Jesus. Give me Jesus. There are millions of commentators and bloggers and gurus and influencers. Some of them are great, fulfilling a need or even a vocation.

But right now the world is groaning. “Where else would we go? You have the words of life.” When you’re sick of talking heads or you’re in triage mode, you just want Jesus.

So why not just open a physical Bible or Bible app? Why a Daily Office app, specifically?

2. Scripture Variety and Scope

The Daily Office already includes excerpts from the Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms. You don’t have to decide where to begin. Maybe that sounds lazy; if you’re a leader in your congregation or you’re tired or you’re a tired leader, not having to decide where to begin might sound quite appealing.

Daily Office apps remove another hurdle because you don’t have to navigate the sections of a physical Book of Common Prayer or look up references in a physical Bible. Rather, the excerpt is right there in front of you, ready to go.

(There’s much to be said for reading physical books or noting in physical margins, including research on retention or mental mapping; but jotting down a few notes on the daily reading helps retention as well.)

Sometimes identifiable themes thread through the passages from the Old and New Testaments. Sometimes they seem more randomly paired. The Daily Office helps to correct the tendency to swerve more heavily into one section of Scripture more than another, by putting a “balanced diet” onto our plate for us. It’s like a grab-bag fresh produce subscription box showing up at your door, in contrast to entering the fresh vegetable section of a store and veering toward your automatic weekly go-to of baby carrots and salad mix. The Daily Office makes sure that sometimes you try rutabagas or jicama, so to speak, prying your fingers off of your familiar household stand-by’s.

There are combinations of scriptural texts that simply wouldn’t occur to me if I didn’t discover them presented to me side by side. There is rich, fresh sustenance in these creative combinations.

3. Guided Prayer with Global Christians

Whether you thumb through a Book of Common Prayer or download a Daily Office app, you’ll find an odd sense of community in progressing through a shared liturgy, even if you’re sitting by yourself at a park.

The closest thing the Daily Office has to commentary comes in the form of the written prayers, many of which are quite old. At times, I’ve found myself unable to stitch words together in much of a prayer. Then, I’ve read the Daily Office and found what I didn’t know I needed or wanted to say, said for me. At other times, I’ve shared a collect from that day on social media, only to have acquaintances comment on why they love that particular prayer – a reminder of the worshiping community spread across the globe.

There is also keen solace in skimming over the prayer prompts for the day. When I feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of need or tragedy in the world, the Daily Office calmly settles the uproar into a neat line. Groups of people are remembered on particular days: pray for those affected by natural disaster; pray for those who work in the justice system; pray for the sick and dying; pray for those who work in health care. And just like that, I join millions of other Christians who find a path marked out neatly to guide our intercessions.

If you find yourself weary of the fractious noise, hungry for something simple and quiet, maybe you would find new sustenance in the Daily Office. There are a variety of apps; sometimes I read the morning selection; sometimes I read the morning and evening selections; sometimes I read the night selection; sometimes I don’t open the app for several days.

But there are few better resources when you need to turn down the commentary, let yourself be exposed to a variety of Scripture, and receive the words and prayer prompts of others to help give voice to the intercession you may not have the words for.

Do you already read the Daily Office? When did you begin the habit? What have you gleaned from that experience?

Featured image courtesy Kentaro Toma via Unsplash.

Andrew C. Thompson ~ A Pattern for Prayer (Holiday Archives)

Note from the Editor: This originally appeared on Wesleyan Accent in March 2015. Happy Labor Day!

What is the difference between praying and living a life of prayer?

Practically everyone prays now and then — even atheists, when they end up in foxholes. Offering an occasional prayer is much different than living a life of prayer, though. Biblical teaching suggests that a fully formed faith will express itself in a prayerful life. “Rejoice always,” the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians, “pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” [1]

The practice of prayer was important in early Methodist spirituality and was encouraged by John Wesley. Wesley refers to faithful discipleship as “the Way of Prayer.” [2] About Paul’s counsel in 1 Thessalonians, Wesley says: “God’s command to ‘pray without ceasing’ is founded on the necessity we have of His grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air.” [3]

So prayer is not only important; it is vital to all life!

It’s one thing to affirm the need for prayer, but it’s quite another to know what that looks like in practical life. We all follow routines and patterns in our lives — but few of us truly set those routines by our commitment to spiritual disciplines. We don’t live in a world very conducive to that sort of life, and it’s not clear that the church does a good job of teaching it.

So here I’d like to offer a pattern for prayer that can help any Christian begin to build a rhythm of prayer into daily life. For anyone who is only used to offering a brief grace before meals or a prayer at bedtime, this pattern offers a fuller approach to the life of prayer. On the other hand, this pattern is also basic enough that it can be incorporated into practically any one’s daily life. First take a look at the pattern itself, and then read on for an explanation about how to use it in your day-to-day life.

The Pattern of Daily Prayer

9:00 a.m.                                                                                                                                                        Pray for Self

New every morning is your love, great God of light,

and all day long you are working for good in the world.

Stir up in us a desire to serve you,

to live peacefully with our neighbors,

and to devote each day to your Son,

our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

12:00 noon                                                                                                                                                    Pray for Family

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever.


3:00 p.m.                                                                                                                                                      Pray for Church

We give you thanks for this day, O Father in Heaven,

for our work and our rest, for our food and our fellowship.

Sanctify us through the grace of your Son,

our Lord Jesus Christ.

And direct us by your Holy Spirit,

to walk in the ways that lead to life,

to avoid all outward and inward sin,

and to glorify your name in all that we say and do. Amen.

Pattern of Daily Prayer: The How and Why

This pattern of daily prayer will allow you to punctuate your day with prayer to God. By pausing for just five minutes at three times each day, we can build a holy rhythm into our lives that draws us closer to God. As the Scripture says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you … Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” [4] John Wesley echoes this teaching where he tells us, “God hardly gives His Spirit even to those whom He has established in grace, if they do not pray for it on all occasions, not only once, but many times.” [5] It is no exaggeration to say that prayer is the beating heart of Christian discipleship.

The framework for this prayer pattern is Trinitarian. Jesus’ high priestly prayer to God the Father in John 17 includes prayer for himself, prayer for his disciples, and prayer for the whole church. So our own pattern here includes prayer for ourselves, prayer for our families (whether that be our own kin or our faith community), and prayer for the church universal.

We begin at 9 AM with a morning prayer that includes both adoration and petition. It exalts the love and providence of God, and it asks God to be at work in our lives throughout the day.[6] After we say this prayer, we offer up a prayer from our own hearts that includes our personal thanksgivings and humble requests.

Our midday prayer comes at 12 noon and begins with saying the Lord’s Prayer. This is the prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples, and it is the most precious prayer that we know. After we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we offer up a prayer from our hearts for our families. It is appropriate
to think of this prayer either as a prayer for our own blood kin or as a prayer for the church family to which we belong. Most days it will probably include both.

Our evening prayer follows at 3 PM and consists of a prayer to the Holy Trinity. This is a prayer that both gives thanks to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and also seeks the grace of God for our sanctification. After we offer up this prayer, we lift up a prayer from our hearts for the wider church — which will focus on those intercessions that we know are needed for that day.

Even when we add each written prayer to the personal prayer which will follow at 9 AM, 12 noon, and 3 PM, the daily rhythm will not take more than 5 minutes at each period. That means just 15 minutes in prayer — something which even the busiest among us can incorporate into our lives. The best practice would be to print out the prayer pattern and keep it somewhere that you will notice it throughout your day. Even after you learn the three written prayers by heart, you can use the printed copy as a visible reminder to pause and live up your heart in prayer to the God of love.



[1] 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NRSV.

[2] John Wesley, “The Means of Grace,” ¶III.1, in volume 1 of Sermons on Several Occasions (London: W. Strahan, 1746), 233

[3] Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, Q.38.5 (Peterborough, UK: Epworth Press, 1952), 101.

[4] James 4:7-8a,10; NRSV.

[5] Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, Q.38.5, 100.

[6] This prayer is adapted from the “Prayer of Thanksgiving” in the Order for Morning Praise and Prayer,United Methodist Hymnal (Nashville: UMPH, 1989), 877.

Jim Lo ~ What the Lord’s Prayer Teaches Me about Prayer

My eyes slowly force themselves open.

From between the warm cozy sheets
I peek at the digital clock.
The illuminated numbers
tell me that it is around 5:00 am.

I stretch under the sheets…

I want to ignore the time on the clock;
flashing at me to announce
that I should be waking up.

But routine causes me
to throw the covers off my body.

The cold air hits me
and quickly wakens me up.

My mind and my body
are now in tune with each other.

The cold has a way of doing that.

I am now ready
to lift up a prayer to God.

The words come easily.

They were memorized many years ago.

Our Father who art in Heaven…
may Your name be hallowed
in my duties today…
as Your name is hallowed in heaven.

Thy kingdom come…
may You truly reign in my life
on earth as You rule heaven.

Thy will be done…
in my work…. teaching… advising…
as your will is done perfectly in heaven

Give me daily bread…
for my physical strength…
for all my needs this day.

Forgive me my sins….
including my actions and intent…
and forgive others
as you have forgiven me.

Lead me not into temptation…
do not let sin overwhelm me,
but give me victory this day.

Delivery me from the evil one…
protect me from physical
and even spiritual harm

For thine is the Kingdom…
I recognize Your sovereign control
of my life.

For thine is the power….
I recognize Your ability
to do these things.

For thine is the glory…
I give You credit for every answer.

In Jesus Name, amen.

Notice the following Truths:

The first petition,
“Give us this day our daily bread,
is a prayer for our present need.

The second petition,
“Forgive us our debts”
is a prayer for our past sin.

And the third petition,
“lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil”
is a prayer for our future welfare
and goodness.

In other words, the three petitions
take the past, the present and the future
and informs us
that we are to lay them
at the foot of the cross.

But also notice the following:

According to William Barclay,
when we pray the first petition
we are to think of God the Father
who is Creator and sustainer
of all life.

When we pray the second petition,
the prayer of forgiveness,
we are to think of God the Son,
the Savior and Redeemer.

And when we pray the third petition,
we are to think of God
the Holy Spirit, our Guide,
and Helper and Protector.

Saying the Lord’s Prayer
has become part of my routine of late.

I pray it as soon as I wake up.

You and I cannot fail
to see that the Lord’s Prayer
begins by giving God His own
and His proper place.

The first three petitions
of the prayer are for the hallowing
of God name,
the coming of God’s Kingdom,
and the doing of God’s will.

A great fault of prayer
is that it can become self-centered
and self-seeking.

We can be so busy thinking
of what we want
that we never think of what God wants.

We can be so concerned
about our own desires
that we never think of God’s will.

We can be so busy talking to God
that we never give God
the chance to talk to us.

This is why the Lord Prayer
begins the way it does.

Jesus taught us that we can address God
as “Father”,
telling us that we have a unique
relationship with Him.

Catch the Truth being presented,
The Father is first…
then come the children.

The foundation of prayer
is understanding this reality…
I am not first,
you are not first…..
God is first.

The Lord’s prayer therefore begins
by putting, not us,
but God the Father
at the center of the picture.

The circumference can only be right
when the center is right.

All other things can only
take their proper place
when God is given His proper place.

“Our Father”- is to be hallowed

To be hallowed means
to remove something
from the category of the common
and placing it in the category
of the holy.

God is holy-love…
not our santa claus…
not our servant…
not subservient to us.

There are three implications
that are to be attached to this
term hallowed…
as it relates to us
and our relation to God-
and devotion.

Being hallowed, first of all,
speaks of distinction:

This is the meaning implied
in Jesus’ statement
that the Temple sanctifies the gold
of the Temple
and the altar sanctifies
the gift on the altar.

In other words,
the gold used in the construction
of the temple was distinct
from all other gold in that
it was set apart for God.

Likewise the animals
sacrificed upon the altar
were distinct from other animals
in that they were set apart for God.

In other words, God is distinct…
there is no other like Him…
He is truly Lord of lord
and King of kings.

Our part?

When we say the Lord’s Prayer
we should be saying
we recognize
that God is distinct!

Being hallowed secondly,
speaks of dedication:

Mark Copeland explains it this way,

The Bible tells us that
the “people of God
are sanctified by the blood of Christ,
by the Word of God
and by the Holy Spirit.”

Through the blood, the Word and the Spirit,
people are called upon
and enabled to dedicate their lives,
no longer to the service of sin,
but to the service of God.

Our part…when we pray the Lord’s prayer
we should be saying
we are willing
to dedicate ourselves to God.

And being hallowed also speaks of devotion:

This is the meaning implied
in the words of the apostle Peter
when he encouraged believers
to sanctify God in their hearts (1 Peter 3:15)

Our hearts are to be so
completely devoted to God
that we are willing
to do His bidding
willingly and joyfully.

By doing this
we are hallowing His Name.

For God’s name to be hallowed
is to acknowledge God
in His holiness as being distinct
from all others and therefore ,
to be revered.

It is to acknowledge God
as worthy of our dedication and devotion
and, therefore to be adored.

Or simply put…

to hallow God’s Name
is to revere and adore Him
and such reverence and adoration
are the substance of true worship.

Reflecting on the phrase “Our Father”
reminded me of the following
realities of God:

God is person
not the idols like what I saw in Cambodia
not like the idols spoken of in the Psalms.

God is personal
in other words, He knows me and He ministers to me as an individual with individual needs.

God is to be praised

The Hebrews had long been concerned
with the proper approach to God.

The rites of purification
which they prescribed on certain
occasions were intended to prepare them
for drawing near to God.

Therefore to praise God is
in a special sense to be conscious
of His holiness….
recognizing that He is righteous,
absolutely good, and
totally pure.

God is parent and as parent He is
paternal in the sense
that we are all His children.

But He is also Pateir,
the Greek word for Father…
That in God we can be adopted…

Giving us full rights as His children…

Giving us full resources

Giving us full regard
in that He regards…favors us as being
fully loved,
and included into His family.

As parent God is present-

Phillip Keller,
“A layman looks at the Lord’s Prayer” –
“…prior to the time of Jesus,
God was regarded as someone
remote and august in His demeanor.
He sat in the high and holy place,
a stern judge behind the hard,
harsh bar of the law.
Only with fear and foreboding
did any man dare to
address himself to such
a powerful potentate.”

He provides,
He protects –
God is powerful.

And quickly connected with the phrase,
“Our Father” is the phrase,
“Thy Kingdom”.

We are not here on earth to
establish my kingdom…
but God’s Kingdom.

The Kingdom has a ruler

The King is to be respected-
to be held in esteem and honor:
to show regard or consideration for
to relate or have reference to.

The Kingdom has rules

The Kingdom “now”
is invisible
it is inward
it is loving
it is graceful

The kingdom has rebellers

“Thy will be done”
A matter of submission
A matter of seeking
A matter of stretching


How To Live While We’re Waiting

Forty years ago, we could not have imagined paying $3 for a cup of coffee. Now, a daily Starbucks habit would cost you the price of a house over 30 years. And people pay it. Starbucks is nearly 43 years old. There are about 23,000 of them, but there are 1000 less of them this year. Starbucks is shrinking. Here’s a fun fact: Australians don’t like Starbucks. There were 84 stores in that country at one time. All of them have closed. And one day, that will happen in the states. Starbucks will go the way of Blockbuster and the A&P. I’m amazed at the regularity with which things come and go, things we assume are a bedrock part of our culture, that we used to think were worth waiting for. And I’m amazed at the amount of effort that goes into building things that eventually die.

Friends of mine were the developers of the Kroger shopping center in Evans. Every once in a while I remind Bill that I live five minutes from the store he built. The last time I reminded him of that, his wife, Phyllis said, “It s still there?” She then went on to say that most of the stores they built in the 70s and 80s are gone now. Can you imagine what that must feel like, to drive past something you poured heart and soul into, only to see it become irrelevant in your own lifetime?

One day, all the Starbucks stores will be gone. And all the Target stores and a lot of other things we thought would last forever.

And while all those things are dying, people will be hearing about Jesus. And one day, every person will have heard. Then, the end will come. Should that fact change how we live? Jesus says yes. In Matthew, chapters 24 and 25, he shows us three things we can all be doing while the world around us is changing: Wait. Watch. And work.*


Jesus and his followers were walking away from the temple when he said, “One day, none of this will exist.” That blew their minds! How could the temple not exist? That’s where the presence of God was. That’s how they defined who they were. That’s what made them different from all the people who lived around them. This was the world as they knew it. How could the temple not be?

So they asked him,

Tell us, then, when will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? (24:3)

And Jesus said, “There will be so many things that look like its all coming to an end. There will be people who swear they have an inside track on the day the world comes to an end! Wars will break out! There will be huge natural disasters! Starbucks will die! And you will be tempted to believe you’re seeing the end coming, but those things you think are signs, aren’t. And those people you think have all the answers, don’t. That stuff they are predicting is child’s play. When it really happens, it will be intense and unmistakable.”

Then he said this:

Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. (24:9-14)

Here’s what I hear in what Jesus says here:

  1. Those who follow him will suffer. They will be misunderstood, which is a difficult kind of suffering.
  2. There will be a whole other group of people who simply lose interest, which is also a kind of suffering.
  3. And while that’s happening, the gospel will be proclaimed to all nations. The end will not come until that happens.

So what do we do until then? Jesus tells us “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” So one thing we have to do is endure. Hang in. Persevere. In other words, wait. He’s not talking here about a passive waiting, like in a waiting room, but the active kind that gets us ready. He’s talking about spiritual preparation. And in chapter 25, he tells a story to show us what that looks like. Its the story of the ten bridesmaids, who went to meet the bridegroom. (This was a cultural thing in Jesus’ day.) They had lamps and they were to meet him at the place of the big wedding party, but they had to wait. When the announcement came that he was finally on his way, half the bridesmaids realized they didn’t have enough oil in their lamps to last them. Five of them were prepared (they’d brought extra oil), but five of them were left feeling embarrassed while their lamps went out. So they ran off to get some more oil, but while they were gone, the bridegroom showed up and went with the five prepared bridesmaids to the party. And the door was locked and the other five were left outside. They banged on the door to be let in, but the bridegroom said, “Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.”

And Jesus ends that story by saying, “So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.”

I remember a conversation with my Japanese supervisor when Steve and I lived in Japan many years ago. One day, I asked him what he believed about God, and his response was, “Japanese get religious when we die.”

According to Jesus, “when we die” is probably not the time to get started.

In this story, Jesus teaches us the difference between waiting ready and just waiting. Henri Nouwen says, “If we wait with the conviction that a seed has been planted and that something has already begun, it changes the way we wait. Active waiting implies being fully present to the moment with the conviction that something is happening where we are and that we want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, believing that this moment is the moment.

You see this in how Jesus and Paul both talk about the end of time in the Bible. They talk about it as if it is going to happen at any moment, not because it was about to happen but because that mindset worked for them. It kept them awake to the spiritual realities at work all around them.

Nouwen says, “To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our own imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. It is living with the conviction that God molds us in love, holds us in tenderness and moves us away from the sources of our fear.”

Jesus teaches us to wait and to watch.


However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows….So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Matthew 24:36, 42-44

Listen to what Jesus says here: No one knows. Stay awake. You don’t know when it is going to happen. Be ready. Stay awake. He is coming at an hour you don’t expect.

This message is equal parts, “stay awake”and “you don’t know when.” When he talks about staying awake, I think he’s talking about that kind of waiting that actively looks for where God is at work so we can join Jesus in his mission.

Jesus tells another story in Matthew 25:14-30. It is about a master who about to go on a trip. He calls his servants together and divides up his property among them. He gives one five talents (that was a first-century unit of money), and another one two talents and another one talent. The five-talent servant goes off and works hard and doubles his investment. The two-talent servant does the same. He works hard and doubles his investment. But the one-talent servant took his bit and buried it.

When the master came back and asked for an accounting, the five-talent guy was able to give him ten talents. The master was thrilled with this and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Because you have been faithful with a little, I will make you faithful with more.” Same thing with the two-talent servant. He was able to hand back four talents and the master said, “Well done.”

But the one-talent guy had no gain to show from what he’d been given. He even told the master he wasn’t particularly motivated because he thought the guy was mean. Wrong answer. Because he’d been unfaithful, the master took his one talent and gave it to the guy who had ten.

Kevin Myers takes this parable and makes a leadership application from it. He talked about the difference between the five-talent servant and the two-talent servant. He says five-talent leaders seem to live above the law of gravity. Things seem to come to them effortlessly. Most of us are not that guy. Most of us live under the law of gravity.  In other words, Myers says, some people lead in leaps, but most people lead in layers.

Watching, then, becomes a matter of understanding where God is at work so you can join him, so you don’t end up burying what you’ve been given. Watching is about looking for where the glory is breaking through. We practice this in our community by sharing our glory sightings, so we’re exercising that habit of spiritual watching.

Jesus teaches us to wait (which is not a passive thing, but an active time of preparation). He teaches us to watch for where the glory is breaking through. And because he is so merciful, he also gives us permission to get out there and work.


But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

Matthew 25:31-34

What does it look like to inherit the Kingdom?

James is the guy in the Bible who talks about how something as small as a rudder can determine the direction of a whole boat. The rudder he’s talking about is the tongue, but I think the principle transfers.

For instance, our building has a loading dock in the back —in fact, a couple of them. When we first talked about this place as an option for a permanent location, I noticed that those who had that vision would often say things like, “That loading dock is who we are. We want this place to feel more like a working space than a sanctuary.” So that loading dock, which probably takes up about twenty square feet, has become a kind of rudder for us. It is affecting our direction. It’s driving us to serve Jesus radically, which I think Jesus would support.

Listen to what he said about how we’ll be judged at the end of time:

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we (do any of these things?)’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:35-40

This is a radical thought. The people of Jesus’ day thought the end would look like some kind of political overthrow. But it ends up looking more like a normal person giving time and attention to someone in need. It looks like you, being particularly kind to someone who needs a sign of hope. It looks like middle schoolers painting someone’s house in Georgia. Or men framing doors for a woman who lost her home to a storm in North Carolina. Or teenagers washing the feet of homeless people at SafeHouse in Atlanta. Accepting someone where they are, giving them a free haircut on a Saturday in a warehouse in Evans, Georgia.

It looks a lot like the yard sale one of our members held the last two Saturdays. They put a bunch of things out on a table, none of which seemed to be worth much, and then they waited. And people came and things sold and at the end of two days, they’d raised $1700 for missions.

This is how it happens. One conversation at a time, one meal at a time, one prayer at a time, one bag of food at a time, one nail at a time, one kind word at a time in the name of Jesus. That’s how the Kingdom comes.

And Jesus says, “This is how the gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed through the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Pray earnestly with me the prayer of Jesus as we wait, watch and work for the Kingdom to come:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

*I want to thank David Platt for introducing me to those three words in his study on Matthew.