Isaiah 45:18–25 (Listen)
18 For thus says the LORD,
who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
19 I did not speak in secret,
in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I the LORD speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
20 “Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
21 Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the LORD?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.
22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
24 “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed
all who were incensed against him.
25 In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”
Ephesians 6:1–9 (Listen)
Children and Parents
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Bondservants and Masters
5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
Mark 4:35–41 (Listen)
Jesus Calms a Storm
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Psalm 88 (Listen)
I Cry Out Day and Night Before You
A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
88:1 O LORD, God of my salvation,
I cry out day and night before you.
2 Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!
3 For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
5 like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
6 You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah
8 You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
9 my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O LORD;
I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness.
Psalm 148 (Listen)
Praise the Name of the Lord
148:1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 6 (Listen)
O Lord, Deliver My Life
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
6:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD—how long?
4 Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.
Psalm 20 (Listen)
Trust in the Name of the Lord Our God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
20:1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
3 May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
4 May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
9 O LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.
Vincent, Deacon of Saragossa, Martyr, 304 (January 22)
About the Commemoration
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Continues
Vincent, the most celebrated of Spanish martyrs, is for the Church in Spain what Stephen was for Jerusalem and Lawrence was for Rome. He was deacon of the Church in Saragossa and was executed in the persecution under Diocletian at Valencia in 304. Further trustworthy details are lacking. He is said to have regularly preached and taught on behalf of his bishop Valerius, who suffered from a severe stammer. The governor sent them both to prison for their firm adherence to the Christian faith, and while Valerius was exiled, Vincent was sentenced to torture and death. Prudentius wrote a hymn in his praise telling of a martyr who underwent imprisonment, semi-starvation, being clamped in stocks, racked, grilled (like Lawrence). Such imaginative pictures of his stoic endurance of torture spread his fame rapidly and far, as St. Augustine testifies. Several churches in England were dedicated to his honor in the Middle Ages. Vincent is on the General Roman Calendar, the calendar in the Book of Common Prayer, and in the Methodist For All the Saints. He was on Löhe’s calendar (1868) and the 1962 German Calendar of Names.
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 a sermon by St. Augustine
“He has granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well.” [Phil. 1:29]
Vincent received both these gifts and preserved them both. For how could he have them if he had not received them? And he showed his faith in what he said, his endurance in what he suffered.
No one ought to rely on one’s own feelings when speaking out, nor be confident in personal strength when undergoing temptation. For whenever we speak as wisely as we should, our wisdom must come from God, and whenever we endure evils courageously, our patience must come from him.
Remember how Christ our Lord in the Gospel exhorted his disciples. He is the king of martyrs equipping his troops with spiritual armament, telling them of battles ahead, offering them support, and promising them their reward. He said to his disciples, “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
There is no need to wonder then, dearly beloved, that Vincent conquered in him who conquered the world. He said, “In the world you will face persecution, but to face persecution is not to be overcome, and to be attacked is not to be conquered. Against Christ’s army the world arrays a twofold battle line. It offers temptation to lead us astray; it strikes terror into us to break our spirit. Do not cling to your own pleasures, and do not fear the cruelty of others; then the world is conquered. At both of these approaches Christ rushes to our aid, and the Christian is not conquered. If you were to consider in Vincent’s martyrdom only human endurance, then his act is unbelievable from the outset. But recognize that power is from God, and then Vincent ceases to be a source of wonder.
Such savagery was being vented upon the martyr’s body while such serenity issued from his lips; such harsh cruelties were being inflicted on his limbs while such assurance rang out in his words, that we should think that, by some miracle, as Vincent suffered, one person was speaking while another was being tortured. And this was in fact true; another person was speaking. Christ in the Gospel promised this to those who were to be his witnesses, to those whom he was preparing for contests of this kind. For he said, “Do not worry about what you are to say; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” [Matt. 10:19-20] Thus it was Vincent’s body that suffered, but the Spirit who spoke. And at his voice, impiety was not only vanquished but human frailty was given consolation.
Augustine, Sermon 276, 1-2, trans. PHP, based on A Short Breviary by the monks of St. John’s Abbey and the International Committee on English in the Liturgy.
Eternal God, you gave your deacon Vincent the courage to endure torture and death for the gospel: Fill us with your Spirit to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith, and strengthen us in your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
PHP, RS + LFF
Readings: Psalm 31:1-5 or 116:10-17; Revelation 7:13-17; Luke 12:4-12
Hymn of the Day: “Lord Christ, when first you came to earth” (H82 598, LBW 421, ELW 727)
Prayers: For the Church in Spain, its bishops, clergy, and people; For all deacons and deaconesses; For freedom from fear; For a will to embrace our calling to serve the world; For the unity of the church; For Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed Churches.
Preface: A Saint (3)
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.