Genesis 12:1–7 (Listen)
The Call of Abram
12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
Hebrews 11:1–12 (Listen)
11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
John 6:35–42 (Listen)
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
John 6:48–51 (Listen)
48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Psalm 48 (Listen)
Zion, the City of Our God
A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
48:1 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
3 Within her citadels God
has made himself known as a fortress.
4 For behold, the kings assembled;
they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic; they took to flight.
6 Trembling took hold of them there,
anguish as of a woman in labor.
7 By the east wind you shattered
the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God will establish forever. Selah
9 We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
10 As your name, O God,
so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments!
12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
number her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
go through her citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will guide us forever.
Psalm 149 (Listen)
Sing to the Lord a New Song
149:1 Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly!
2 Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
3 Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.
5 Let the godly exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their beds.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
7 to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishments on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with chains
and their nobles with fetters of iron,
9 to execute on them the judgment written!
This is honor for all his godly ones.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 9 (Listen)
I Will Recount Your Wonderful Deeds
To the choirmaster: according to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.
9:1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.
5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.
7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.
9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13 Be gracious to me, O LORD!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.
15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah
17 The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
19 Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
20 Put them in fear, O LORD!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah
Psalm 29 (Listen)
Ascribe to the Lord Glory
A Psalm of David.
29:1 Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!
Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe, Pastor, 1872 (January 2)
About the Commemoration
Wilhelm Löhe (Loehe), the epitome of a faithful pastor, was a remarkable advocate of confessional, liturgical, devotional, mission-minded Lutheranism. He was born at Fürth, Bavaria, February 21, 1808. His father died in 1816, and the boy seems to have led a lonely childhood. He attended C. L. Roth’s Gymnasium in Nuremberg and in 1826 entered Erlangen University to study theology. There he came under the influence of Christian Krafft, a Reformed professor and preacher, who encouraged him to read deeply in dogmatic theology; and there he also discovered the Lutheran Confessions. Following his work at Erlangen, Löhe went to Berlin for further study. He was ordained July 25,1831, in Ansbach. From 1831 to 1837 Löhe served as vicar and administrator (Pfarrerweser) in a number of places, and in 1837 he became pastor in Neuendettelsau, an insignificant village in Bavaria. His efforts to obtain a city parish failed, and he remained for the rest of his ministry in Neuendettelsau, raising the village to international prominence and giving it lasting fame. Although Löhe was born and reared in the city, he seems to have adapted well to rural life, and, although he never left Germany, he was able from this little parish to influence church life on five continents. In his company, it was observed, “one was impressed as though he was always praying, and even when he spoke of small, outward things, it was as the breath of the Spirit of the kingdom of God.”
Löhe was an ideal parish pastor, who got on well with all classes of people and who in the parish was able to make practical application of his studies, particularly those of the Confessions and of the liturgy. He developed an understanding of the Holy Communion as the center of the life of the congregation from which flowed liturgical renewal and social service. He combined a high view of the ministry, which he viewed as not dependent on the congregation’s call but as transmitted from Christ himself through ordination, with an emphasis on the importance of the role of the laity in worship and in missionary activity at home and abroad.
Löhe’s missionary interest is seen in his pastoral concern, beginning in 1841, for Lutherans who emigrated to North America. He solicited funds through periodicals, and he sent books and other necessary commodities to Lutheran communities. He was instrumental in sending “emergency pastors” to North America to serve the settlers and to convert the native peoples. Löhe’s emissaries assisted in the founding of the Synod of Ohio (although he withdrew support in 1845 because of the synod’s differences over theology and the use of English.) With congregations established by C. F. W. Walther, Löhe’s pastors formed the Missouri Synod at Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1846. Löhe wrote the spiritual and secular regulations for a series of German colonies that w’ere being established in Michigan—Frankenmuth, Frankenlust, Frankentrost, Frankenhilf. In 1853 Löhe’s pastors moved into Iowa and in the following year, joined by others from Neuendettelsau, established the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa and Other States. Moreover, his Neuendettelsau Foreign Mission Society sent pastors not only to North America but also to Brazil, the Ukraine, Australia, and New Guinea.
Löhe’s interest was not only in missions. In 1849 he founded the deaconess motherhouse in Neudettelsau, which became the center of social and educational service in schools, hospitals, and allied agencies. He also struggled with the territorial church in Bavaria to give it a clear confessional basis. His relations with the church were strained for several years between 1848 and 1852, but at length the conflict was resolved. He died January 2, 1872, at the age of sixty-three. The chapel at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, is dedicated to his memory.
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.
See also: Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe
From a statement by Wilhelm Löhe
What do I want? I want to serve. Whom do I want to serve? The Lord in the person of his poor suffering children. And what is my reward? I serve neither for reward nor thanks, but out of gratitude and love; my reward is that I am permitted to serve. And if I perish in doing so? If I perish, I perish, said Esther, who, after all, did not know him who for love of me perished and who will not let me perish. And if I grow old in his service? Then my heart shall flourish like the palm tree, and the Lord will satisfy me with grace and mercy. Therefore, without anxiety I walk in peace.
Wilhelm Löhe, quoted in Minister’s Prayer Book, ed. John W. Doberstein (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 218; rev. PHP.
Everlasting, gracious heavenly Father, you have given to your church the holy ministry of Word and Sacrament: Grant that the pastors of your church, following the example of Wilhelm Löhe, may fearlessly proclaim your word against every error, false doctrine, and abuse; and may so minister your divine mysteries in all their purity and fullness, that your people may be strengthened to serve those in need wherever they may be, for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
PHP, adapted from a prayer by Löhe
Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 46; 1 Corinthians 3:11-23; Mark 10:35-45
Hymn of the Day: “Lord, whose love through humble service” (LBW 423, LSB 848, ELW 712, H82 610); “O Son of God, in co-eternal might” (CSB 529), by Löhe, trans. Harriet Reynolds Krauth Spaeth with a tune by her husband, Adolph Spaeth; “Wide open stand the gates” (LSB 639), by Löhe
Prayers: For truth; For doctrinal purity and clarity; For missionary concern at home and abroad; For a deeper understanding of the Holy Communion; For parish pastors.
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.