Friday of the 14th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 7:1-4; 8:1-18; 1 Timothy 5:1-16

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. (Nehemiah 8:6-7)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. True worship can only come from faith in God's promises. Apart from His Name and His work, our worship is empty muttering, and God is not present. It's a lie to talk about God as Father and ourselves as His children apart from His Name and Word. Worship in God's Name, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is a rejection of ourselves, our accomplishments, our reputation, our feelings, our way of getting things done. True worship is a rejection of all we think we have to offer to God.

"Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling," goes the old hymn. Not I, but Christ. We come as beggars before God. We have no right to demand anything from Him. "We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment," writes Luther in the Small Catechism (The Lord's Prayer, Fifth Petition).
Here we see that prayer is an act of worship. We open ourselves to God. Guided by His Spirit and Word, we are pointed toward Him. We then give Him back our love, our adoration, our praise, our loyalty, our lives. As we pray we are with our Father in heaven through Christ, and we are made strong as His children by His Spirit. We can only breathe out as often as we breathe in. Godly worship and prayer are the heartbeat of the Christian life. As we are alive in God's promises, fulfilled and given to us in Christ, we worship and pray. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Now let us worship our Lord and our King, Joyfully raising our voices to sing: Praise to the Father, and praise to the Son, Praise to the Spirit, to God, Three in One. (Oh, What Their Joy, LSB 675:4)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.