17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
– John 17:5-11
On this Maundy Thursday, a day named as such because of the mandate Jesus gave His disciples to “love one another as He has loved us,” we read from a section in John’s Gospel known as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. On the evening before He was to die on the cross for our sin, just as the High Priest would intercede before God on behalf of the people, Jesus was interceding for us as His Church.
Two things stand out in the opening verses of this chapter. The first is the fact that Jesus was praying for the glory He shared with His Father to be restored. From the beginning of time, Jesus, as the second person in the Trinity, was one with the Father, along with the unity they shared with the Holy Spirit. In their Triune nature, they were one with each other and they shared a glory that was theirs from before the world began. Now that He was about to finish His work on earth, by offering His life on the cross, Jesus prayed that the Father would be glorified through His death and that in His death, and subsequent resurrection, the glory that was His with the Father would be restored.
He also prayed for the protection of His people from the evil one and for them to experience the same kind of unity that He and His Father shared. He prayed for our unity in the Church. He prayed for our protection against the one whose sole purpose is to attack what belongs to Christ. In so doing, He prayed that our unity together, rooted in His teachings and work, in His life, death and resurrection, that we would be so united in Him and with each other, that nothing that the evil one might send our way would pull us apart from each other or from Him.
How fitting on this Maundy Thursday, a day in which we remember the mandate given to us, “to love one another as we have been loved by Him,” that Jesus would pray for our unity and our protection, and that our unity in Him would bind us together and, thereby, protect us throughout all of life.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your prayer, for interceding for us, that we might be one as You and the Father are one. Amen.
Lenten Response: Read Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John 17, and then pray that His prayer would be answered and lived out in your life.
Devotion written by the Rev. Daniel Selbo
Jeremiah 20:7–18 (Listen)
7 O LORD, you have deceived me,
and I was deceived;
you are stronger than I,
and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all the day;
everyone mocks me.
8 For whenever I speak, I cry out,
I shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the LORD has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.
9 If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
10 For I hear many whispering.
Terror is on every side!
“Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
say all my close friends,
watching for my fall.
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
then we can overcome him
and take our revenge on him.”
11 But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble;
they will not overcome me.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
will never be forgotten.
12 O LORD of hosts, who tests the righteous,
who sees the heart and the mind,
let me see your vengeance upon them,
for to you have I committed my cause.
13 Sing to the LORD;
praise the LORD!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hand of evildoers.
14 Cursed be the day
on which I was born!
The day when my mother bore me,
let it not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father,
“A son is born to you,”
making him very glad.
16 Let that man be like the cities
that the LORD overthrew without pity;
let him hear a cry in the morning
and an alarm at noon,
17 because he did not kill me in the womb;
so my mother would have been my grave,
and her womb forever great.
18 Why did I come out from the womb
to see toil and sorrow,
and spend my days in shame?
1 Corinthians 10:14–17 (Listen)
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
1 Corinthians 11:27–32 (Listen)
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
John 17 (Listen)
The High Priestly Prayer
17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Psalm 27 (Listen)
The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation
27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the LORD will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
Psalm 147:13–20 (Listen)
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 126 (Listen)
Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord
A Song of Ascents.
126:1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6 He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 102 (Listen)
Do Not Hide Your Face from Me
A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD.
102:1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you!
2 Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!
3 For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
4 My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.
6 I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
7 I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
8 All the day my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
9 For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle tears with my drink,
10 because of your indignation and anger;
for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
11 My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
12 But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
13 You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold her stones dear
and have pity on her dust.
15 Nations will fear the name of the LORD,
and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
16 For the LORD builds up Zion;
he appears in his glory;
17 he regards the prayer of the destitute
and does not despise their prayer.
18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:
19 that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die,
21 that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.
23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “take me not away
in the midst of my days—
you whose years endure
throughout all generations!”
25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you.
Amalie Wilhelmina Sieveking, Renewer of Society, 1859; Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, 1872 (April 1)
About the Commemoration
Two nineteenth-century social reformers may be remembered together on this day.
Amalie (Amelia) Sieveking, an early and vigorous worker for the emancipation of women, was born July 25,1794, in Hamburg, Germany, and was orphaned at an early age. Not long afterward, her brother, who had been her support, also died, and she found a home with relatives. She grew in her love of the Bible and in her desire to help the poor. Vincent de Paul (1576-1660) and the Sisters of Mercy he founded (see September 27) had attracted a good deal of interest among evangelical leaders for their devoted service and their organization. The sisters belonged to a motherhouse but went out to serve in hospitals and prisons, among the poor and the sick, and wherever they were needed. Their service was given in response to a specific human need. At the age of eighteen, Amalie Sieveking tried to create an evangelical sisterhood to work with the poor and needy but could not find support for her idea. With a few associates she began a school for young women and taught the poor on Sunday afternoons. In 1830 a cholera epidemic broke out in Hamburg, and, in the absence of trained nurses and her invitation to other women to join her being rejected, by herself she began caring for the victims of the epidemic. On December 13, 1831, the first cholera patient was admitted to the hospital, and Sieveking entered the hospital with her and remained there until the epidemic was ended.
In this work she encountered the deep poverty of large parts of the population and, as a result, in 1832 organized in Hamburg the Society for the Care of the Poor and the Sick This group of women volunteered their time for the work of social welfare and the organization became a model for similar groups in many cities of northern Germany. Pastor Theodor Fliedner twice attempted to enlist her service at his institutions, once as Mother Superior at Kaiserswerth and again for Bethany in Berlin, but she would not give up her work in Hamburg. Amalie Sieveking died April 1, 1859. She is commemorated on that date by the German Evangelical Calendar of Names (1962).
Frederick Denison Maurice, the son of a Unitarian minister, was born in 1805. He attended Cambridge University but as a nonconformist was excluded from receiving a degree. After several personal crises, he became an Anglican, went to Exeter College, Oxford, and was ordained in 1834. Two years later he became chaplain of Guy’s Hospital in London where he lectured regularly on moral philosophy and wrote the first and best-known of his many books, The Kingdom of Christ (1838). In this book, as in his other writings, he sought to apply the Christian faith to social and political life. His strong belief in the incarnation and the visible church led him to take up the cause of social reform. He and his friends were known as “Christian Socialists” and awakened the Church of England to concern for the material as well as the spiritual welfare of the working classes. In 1854 he founded and served as the first principal of the “Working Man’s College.” To the Church he preached richer fellowship; to the socialists he proclaimed the necessity of Christianity. The Christian Socialist Movement, he declared, “will commit us at once to the conflict we must engage in sooner or later with the unsocial Christians and the unchristian Socialists.” He died at Cambridge April 1, 1872. He is on the calendar in the American Book of Common Prayer.
Excerpts from New Book of Festivals & Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints by Philip H. Pfatteicher, copyright, 2008 by Fortress Press, an imprint of Augsburg Fortress.
From The Kingdom of Christ by Frederick Denison Maurice
Our Lord came among men that he might bring them into a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy, a kingdom grounded upon fellowship with a righteous and perfect Being….
For that men are not to gain a kingdom hereafter, but are put in possession of it now, and that through their chastisements and the oppositions of their evil nature they are to learn its character and enter into its privileges, is surely taught in every verse of St Peter; and that love has been manifested unto men, that they have been brought into fellowship with it, that by that fellowship they may rise to the fruition of it, and that this fellowship is for us as members of a family, so that he who loveth God must love his brother also, is affirmed again and again in express words of St John.
Frederick Denison Maurice, The Kingdom of Christ, vol. 2, ed. A. R. Vidler (London: SCM, 1958), 256-57.
Almighty God, you restored our human nature to heavenly glory through the perfect obedience of our Savior Jesus Christ: Keep alive in your Church, we pray, a passion for justice and truth; that, like your servants Frederick Denison Maurice and Amalie Sieveking, we may work and pray for the triumph of your Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Readings: Psalm 72:11-17 or 145:8-13; Ephesians 3:14-19; John 18:33-37
Hymn of the Day: “Father eternal, Ruler of creation” (H82 573, LBW 413)
Prayers: For all who are working for the renewal and unity of the church; For the gift to see Christ in other people; For all who apply the message of the Bible to national and civic life; For a renewed sense of compassion for the poor and infirm; For those who teach the underprivileged the way of God.
Preface: Baptism (BCP, LBW)
This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.