Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"A Pastoral Prayer"- 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

We usually have a reasonable expectation of our pastors. That expectation is that they spend time in prayer. But have you ever wondered what a pastor prays for? Or, when does a pastor pray? How about this one—for whom do pastors pray?

I think these are fairly good questions, but sometimes we need to stop and consider the matter of pastoral prayers and pastoral praying in general. Saint Paul gives us a good example of what, perhaps, a pastor’s prayer should be.

First of all, a pastor’s prayer should be addressed to the true God. We see in our text that Paul does this succinctly and clearly. God the Father and Jesus Christ are mentioned as the objective of his prayer: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” These two are two thirds of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Spirit is mentioned obliquely when Paul mentions spiritual gifts in verse 8 of our reading.

Secondly, acknowledgement of past blessings received should be considered and even mentioned as a foundation for even further prayers and petitions.

Third, Paul anticipated future blessings that would be received from God. Here he mentioned God preserving His people in this life and world to the end.

Finally, Paul gives a statement of doxology or praise to God in reflection of his thankful certainty that the prayer is heard and answered: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Come to think of it, such prayers and praying aren’t limited to pastors and other church workers. Praying is a privilege and responsibility for every Christian. In Psalm 50:15 we read: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." St. Paul also said that we should pray without ceasing (See 1 Thess. 5: 17).

So, we pray: Lord, teach us to pray. Enable us to pray. Hear our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

"Resurrection Days"- Romans 6:1-11

As a pastor, I often had the opportunity and privilege to participate in what I can only describe as “Resurrection Days.” That is, I would stand at the Baptismal font of a church and pour water on the heads of babies, young men or ladies, or adults and intone the words, “I baptize you in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” I had the privilege of doing this for family and friends and even strangers.  These events could be called “Resurrection Days” because new lives began at those moments, filled with Christ Jesus and powered by the Holy Spirit.

This is really what St. Paul wrote about in our lesson. Paul referred to a newness of life—a spiritual awakening. He said:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

This “newness of life” St. Paul mentioned is nothing less that a complete refurbishing of a person’s actions and inclinations so that they can do  things God’s way and for God’s purposes.

Sadly, sometimes this newness of life is later lost or spit out like lukewarm coffee. I had a classmate who, once confirmed, never stepped foot in a church again. I have officiated at baptisms where, later in life, the candidates for baptism never sat down for a Sunday worship service. These sad events remind me that Satan is still actively seeking to destroys souls.

I believe that it was St. Paul’s pastoral heart and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that caused him to write the words of our lesson. It was his desire that his readers should walk with him in that newness of life that clearly reflects God’s image and does His will.

I pray that you and I will always remember our resurrection days—our baptisms—and remember also that we have been buried with Christ to walk in newness of life!

We pray: Lord God Almighty, give us your Holy Spirit that we may always resist and reject Satan’s temptations and walk as those who have been raised from the dead to walk in newness of life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

"We Have an Inheritance"- Ephesians 1:13-14

In Christ we have an inheritance. St. Paul couldn’t have said it more clearly or simply.

Jesus said of Himself to Thomas and the other disciples: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) He didn’t say it any more clearly. It was as Paul wrote “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it….”

So, what does this mean to us? Simply put, it means that we can be confident, hopeful, and perhaps a little proud that we are counted among those who have been redeemed and are saved from damnation through the blood-bought sacrifice of Jesus Himself on Calvary’s cross.

It is as St. Paul wrote so clearly: “In him (that is, in Christ Jesus) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,” to the praise of his glory.

We truly do have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade! This inheritance is yours and mine. Celebrate!

We pray: Lord God Almighty—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—thank you for our forgiveness and our salvation. Keep us strong in this faith throughout our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.