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Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10
Days 11 - 20

Days 21 - 31


From Signposts Daily Devotions
by Renée Miller

Days 1-10

Day 1
And he spent the night in prayer to God. —Luke 6:12b

Under the silence of the stars, hid from the light of the sun and the freneticism of the day, there is the possibility of slipping into the holy place and pouring out the contents of our hearts with honesty and authenticity. Sleep is always a mighty temptation, as it was for the disciples who could not resist it though Jesus asked that they stay awake for but one hour. Something about the solitude of the night makes prayer difficult, but it is that very solitude in blackness that can become the most sacred time for prayer.

It can become the time when the human heart meets heaven without any sham, pretense, or superficiality. The darkness deftly slices through the excuses and defenses that keep the shade over the window of our soul. There in the thick shadows, the shade is lifted and in the hushed beat of nighttime the light of God floods over us. Suddenly, we have no desire to leave the place of prayer. We want only to surrender our soul to the holiness around us. Miraculously, when we awaken to the brightness of day after a long night’s prayer, we feel we have been made whole.

O God, let me crash the night with my prayers until I am enveloped by the light of heaven.

Day 2
All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer. —Acts 1:14a

While prayer is often thought to be an individual activity born of private and internal difficulty, need, or sorrow, we don’t ever really come before God alone. Much of our prayer will be in the silence of our own heart, but even there, the whole human family is present. What flows from our heart when we are in need may be our own private words, yet these words are part of the endless flow of words that are, or have been, cast toward heaven throughout time.

One way to expand private prayer is with community prayer—that is, the prayer of people approaching God together, praying in accord and in agreement. The prayer of community is the prayer of many voices combing to make a single voice. There are always times when we are tempted to turn away from community—especially organized church communities—because they lack the perfection we silently want them to exhibit. However, when we are willing to enter into the imperfect community, we can be awestruck when that community’s prayer carries us into the hall of heaven.

O God, hear the voice of your people when we call to you.

Day 3
Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. —Matthew 7:7

It is one of the most frequently quoted of all passages from the Bible, and the one that we most hope is true, at least the first seven words: "Ask, and it will be given you." What can be more assuring than believing we will receive whatever we ask for? It seems like we have just won the sweepstakes of heaven and can go shopping there with abandon, choosing anything we want from the overstocked shelves. Unfortunately, this reduces prayer to nothing more than a medium of exchange, rather than the sharing of a relationship of the deepest richness.

We are unable to see all the nuances, subtle needs and intricate patterns of our lives that shift like mirrors in a kaleidoscope. But the Holy One who created us in the tenderness of unconditional love not only sees those nuances, needs, and patterns, but is ready to care for them in ways more meaningful and lasting than we could ever imagine on our own. God always has our best interest at heart. And yet, we are told to ask and seek and knock. Why?

Because when we ask, we are expressing our desire to communicate with the Holy One. When we seek, we are showing our desire to find the Holy One. And when we knock, we are letting loose our longing to be in union with the Holy One. Prayer is our way of saying that we are willing to share in that rich relationship with the Holy One. And, always, when we ask it is given to us, when we seek we find, when we knock the door is opened.

O God, in the unseen pockets of my spirit, I am hungry for you. Let me feast on the food of your love.

Day 4
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. —James 4:3

We pray with heartfelt passion. We try to convince ourselves that we are not only heard by heaven, but that heaven is going to answer the desires of our heart. We wait, and wonder why we do not get what we have been wanting. We think our prayers are honest and meant for good, but it seems that they do not soften the ear of heaven. We understand that if we were asking God for a new car or to win the lottery, or for a free ticket to the Caribbean, God might be hesitant to grant our request. But, when we are praying for healing, or employment, or to be spared from unnecessary pain and suffering, surely those requests ought to be answered by God. How can such requests be self-serving?

If we are honest with ourselves, most of our prayers are self-serving. We want something—even a ‘good’ something—and we ask to have it granted to us. But, pure prayer is much more about relating with the Holy One than it is about receiving positive answers for what we are looking to gain. The prayer that always opens the heart of heaven is the prayer that is offered without attachment to result. When we are able to pray without attachment to results, God’s desire becomes our own, and we are surprised at what happens—we are given results that we could never have expected.

O God, give me the soul that longs to be one with you more than it wants the desires of the heart to be filled.

Day 5
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. —James 4:8

Every space and time is filled with the presence of the Holy One. We can make the mistake of thinking that prayer requires heroic effort, a certain lifestyle, a mindset that is clear and unconfused. There are, of course, times when we pray out of some terror that has surrounded us like a hard shell around a nascent and tender seed. We know we are desperate for God’s immediate aid if we are to continue breathing the breath of life.

At times like those, our prayer is often little more than one word: Help. Yet, apart from those times of desperation, we can shy away from developing a regular and steady prayer practice because we think the Holy One has certain criteria that will either be onerous or impossible to meet. Instead, we continue chugging out our days and nights, struggling alone with our trials and temptations, our hurts and questions, our stress and anxiety with only a casual communication with the loving Creator.

This is the surprise: There are no criteria. There are no expectations. We do not have to become perfect before we pray. We do not have to achieve holiness before heaven will stoop to hear our poor and paltry voice. It takes only a glance, an intention, a sliver of desire, a moment of acknowledgement and suddenly the gap that seemed as deep as a sliced crevasse is nothing more than a whisper. God has come near.

O God, let me breathe in your presence, breathe out your presence, breathe in your presence.

Day 6
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray and when the evening was come he was there alone.
—Matthew 14:23

It can simply be too much. Life, that is. Work, people, the media, the noise, the demands, the stress can squeeze out the energy and enthusiasm that should characterize the wonder all around us. We feel life has become like an old, lumpy, overstuffed chair that has long since lost its ability to provide comfort. We search about for an escape, a change, a way to turn the craziness into some semblance of order and peace.

It was the same for him. Jesus had spent hours teaching, listening, touching, healing. He had not had any lunch break, no respite at the local Starbucks, no time to share the concerns of his own heart, no relaxing moments in a quiet place. It was just people and their needs, people and their needs, people and their needs. What was different for him, however, was that he was not afraid to step away from stress into solitude.

While we may be adept at claiming an hour here or there for being 'alone,' we rarely hear and respond to the inner need to be absolutely and completely apart. Such solitude is not escape from something, but entry into Someone. We send the world away in order to create a space where we can pray to the God who waits for us in the sheer silence of our own solitude.

O God, let me flee into you when all around me threatens to capture my time, my heart, my soul.

Day 7
But I call upon God, and the Lord will save me. —Psalm 55:16

We are never left alone to navigate our way through the traffic of life. We are taught from childhood to manage our own affairs, stand up for ourselves, and work to achieve all the things that will make us successful and contributing members of society. We experience throughout life the twisty two-lane highways, the steady and straight freeways, the crowded avenues filled with sirens and honking horns, and always we are left to choose how we will respond. We can choose to continue trying to steer solo, as if we were in ultimate control of our lives. This choice keeps us teetering on the fringes of life, hoping that self-help books, support groups, self-talk, or medication can somehow make it possible for us to travel safely through the byways of a complicated existence.

The other choice is to lift our eyes, our heart, our mind, our soul to heaven. To let the self-help books, self-talk, support groups, medication be the green lights that lead us onward toward something, Someone, greater than our own selves. This choice frees the silent unseen voice that rests below the surface of control, opening it up to the waiting heart of heaven. In one small prayer, one cry toward God, one call upon the One who has loved us into being, we know we are never left alone to navigate our way through the traffic of life.

O God, the choice is always mine to make. You do not force me to pray to you for help, but your heart always waits for my feeble cry.

Day 8
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice. —Psalm 55:17

God is always ready to hear our prayer. There are no rims or borders that can block the ears of God. Even time—that earthly reality through which we order and live our lives—has no jurisdiction over heaven. We know those rims and borders all too well in human life. We ‘do’ our lives by following the hands or digits on the clock.

We often feel like there's more to do than there are hours in a day, and one of the things that we quickly forego is prayer. We reserve our prayer time for when we are in church, or when we are in some crisis, or before we eat our meals. We are sure that God listens to us then, and we feel good about dedicating those times to communicating with heaven.

We might do well to take the Psalmist’s advice, however. Imagine speaking with the Holy One in the evening when the shades of day are drawn and we are preparing to enter the little death of sleep. Imagine praying when our eyes open to see the shades of darkness pulled back to give us a new day of life. Imagine stopping for a few moments in the heat of noontime—the heat of activity—to pray our way into the remainder of the day. We would find our hearts quieted, our spirits surging with gratitude, our souls centered in the breath of God.

O God, you are always ready to hear my prayer. Give me a heart that is always ready to pray.

Day 9
Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you. —I Peter 5:7

We struggle with two problems. First, we live in a culture that encourages us to develop a positive self-image. We spend countless hours and money on therapists and self-help books in order to feel better about ourselves. Yet, we still have the seed of suspicion within us that we are not really worth caring about. We silently wonder if we can draw the attention of the Holy One. “After all,” we tell ourselves, “we’re only one poor soul among so many. Surely, there are other more important people than us, with more important problems, beseeching the ear of heaven.”

Our other problem plagues us precisely because our culture encourages us to have such a strong self-image. This problem stems from the thinking that we are responsible for handling all of our own situations, working through our own issues, settling our own cares. “Surely,” we hear our inner voice saying, “we can use our own mind, our own resources to see ourselves through the difficulties we experience in life. God expects us to take initiative. Again, we’re only one poor soul among so many. Other more important people have more important problems that require God’s intervention.”

Here’s the twist: When we really have a strong self-image, we are able to glimpse the elasticity of heaven’s care—God stretches from heaven toward us, and we stretch back. Neither unworthiness nor self-sufficiency has any power in the life of the one who is unafraid to pray for God’s assistance, and receive God’s care.

O God, let me take off my back-pack of burdens, and be bound up in your care.

Day 10
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by. Psalm 57:1

When the sirens of an impending tornado are sounding all around us, we know to take cover, lest we find ourselves battered and bruised by the vagaries of a force greater than ourselves. We don’t want to stand still in the midst of the storm and find ourselves, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, no longer in Kansas.

When the sirens of impending storms are sounding in our soul, we are tempted either to deny we are in a storm, or face the storm head-on, thinking that we can, by our own effort, our own bluster, subdue it. But sometimes what we need most in the midst of a spiritual storm is to retreat or hide in a safe place until the agitation settles. When we are in the whirlwind of the storm, we need to take refuge under the shadow of God’s wings.

We may think that simply stepping into the storm with bravado is the mature thing to do, but we put our souls at risk. What brings us to a point of stillness is surrender to the Holy One. We don’t need to ‘do’ anything, ‘force’ anything, ‘fight’ for anything. We need only take cover; allow our souls to pray out their brokenness and fear; let go and rest in the hands of heaven. It won’t be long before the raging tempest inside us becomes as still as a baby in peaceful, carefree sleep.

O God, when the darkness is as thick as mud in my soul, let me crawl on my knees into the safety of your embrace.

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