Home > Reading > Daily Reading – November 25, 2023

Ezra 9 (Listen)

Ezra Prays About Intermarriage

9:1 After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, saying:

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. 12 Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? 15 O LORD, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, for none can stand before you because of this.”

Revelation 17:1–14 (Listen)

The Great Prostitute and the Beast

17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

When I saw her, I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

Matthew 14:22–36 (Listen)

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.


Morning Psalms

Psalm 56 (Listen)

In God I Trust

To the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

56:1   Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
    all day long an attacker oppresses me;
  my enemies trample on me all day long,
    for many attack me proudly.
  When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.
  In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can flesh do to me?
  All day long they injure my cause;
    all their thoughts are against me for evil.
  They stir up strife, they lurk;
    they watch my steps,
    as they have waited for my life.
  For their crime will they escape?
    In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
  You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?
  Then my enemies will turn back
    in the day when I call.
    This I know, that God is for me.
10   In God, whose word I praise,
    in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11   in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?
12   I must perform my vows to you, O God;
    I will render thank offerings to you.
13   For you have delivered my soul from death,
    yes, my feet from falling,
  that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.

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!
  Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
    let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
  Let them praise his name with dancing,
    making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
  For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
    he adorns the humble with salvation.
  Let the godly exult in glory;
    let them sing for joy on their beds.
  Let the high praises of God be in their throats
    and two-edged swords in their hands,
  to execute vengeance on the nations
    and punishments on the peoples,
  to bind their kings with chains
    and their nobles with fetters of iron,
  to execute on them the judgment written!
    This is honor for all his godly ones.
  Praise the LORD!


Evening Psalms

Psalm 100 (Listen)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

A Psalm for giving thanks.

100:1   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
    Serve the LORD with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!
  Know that the LORD, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
  Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!
  For the LORD is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 63 (Listen)

My Soul Thirsts for You

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

63:1   O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
  my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
  So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
  Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
  So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.
  My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
  when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
  for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
  My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
  But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10   they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
11   But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

“Isaac Watts, Hymnwriter, 1748”, “James Otis Sargent Hannington, Priest and Monk, 1935”

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 several challenging years 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.

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