Monthly Archives: November 2023

Quick Prayers


O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. —Daniel 9:19

I ran across this verse in research for a devotional booklet for Lent. It struck me how quick and short these prayers were. Then I got to thinking that these were from Daniel. He was in the midst of a panic for sure as he anticipated being thrown into the lion’s den for his faith in God. He needed help from God, and he needed it quick. God heard his quick prayers and kept him safe in the lion’s den. Not a hair on his head was touched, the Bible says.

When we are in a panic or feeling stressed and desperate, it is OK to just say some quick little prayers to God. He hears them just as much as the longer, more eloquent ones, and he helps us in our greatest times of need.

My dad once said the best prayer for him through the years was “Lord, help me!” and that prayer has gotten me through some tough times along the way. My hope and prayer is that your quick prayers to God will be just as beneficial.

On Thanksgiving Day


A Prayer of Thanks

O God of grace, we come to you this Thanksgiving with deep appreciation for the many gifts you have given to us. You have poured out upon us much more than we could ever ask or imagine, want or need. No one cares for us as much as you do, O Lord, though we are undeserving of your generosity toward us. We have all turned away from you by our sins, yet you have never turned your back on us. Therefore, in all thankfulness and praise, we ask for your blessing on this day. We pray that the food we eat would nourish and sustain us. We request that we would enjoy each other’s company and come to know each other better as we eat together. Be our guest at our tables with us and grant us harmony and peace through your presence. Amen.

—by Mark Zimmermann

Travel Troubles

travel delays

This is typically one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. Everyone is wanting to get home to family by bus, by air, by car, by train—by any way necessary to get there in time for the Thanksgiving feast. Airports and highways can get crowded and stress levels can go through the roof when patience is required for plans to come together.

We have all been there when a flight is delayed, when an accident ties up traffic, when a winter storm slows a bus ride down. The Thanksgiving week is somewhat of a microcosm of our Christian lives in general. We are on a path toward the goal of being home in heaven with God and our loved ones who have gone before, but often that plan is thwarted by detours and U-turns and holdups. We want to move forward in our faith and dwell with God forever, but it takes time. St. James tells us, “Be patient, therefore, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7).

We don’t know exactly when we will get to be at home with the Lord (Mark 13:32), but we know that we will (1 Thessalonians 4;17), and that’s all we need to know at this point. Maybe that thought can help us when we are forced to be patient this week in our travels: we will get to our destination eventually, God willing, and that will make our arrival even sweeter.



I recently made chili from my mother’s recipe for a chili cook-off at work. While my chili did not win the contest, the experience reminded me of several things that can relate to Christian living.

• It‘s good to look back. The recipe I had from my mom was type-written on an index card the year I graduated from college (1992). Just seeing that recipe card brought back memories for me of my mom’s desire that I eat well when I was on my own and my first attempts to make the chili, with often less than successful results. In much the same way, it is good for us to look back at the Scriptures in the Old Testament and remember the instructions God gave us in the 10 Commandments and the covenant he made with his people to stay connected to them.

• Be creative. When I made my chili, I added tomato sauce, which was not required on my mom’s recipe, but which added a unique and interesting taste that made the chili I made my own. Jesus told us be to salt and light in the world. We are to add our own special flavor and brilliance to the message of the Gospel we have to share for consumption by those who receive it.

• Make enough for everyone. I made a double batch of my chili in order that every employee in the building could have enough to eat, and I even had some left over. We need to make sure we have enough energy, strength and words from Scripture to fill and satisfy the hungry souls of all we encounter. Even keeping strength and Scripture in reserve for future witness is a good thing to have on hand for any opportunities that pop up to witness about Jesus to a person craving Christ.

The next time you make chili, consider ways in which you can share the Gospel in similar fashion.

On Veterans Day


A Soldier’s Prayer

Into every battle I go, Lord, be my shield. In each danger

I find myself, God, be my safety. In every enemy

territory, Savior, be my friend. Within each hidden

place, Redeemer, be my refuge. In every operation, be

my guide and deliverer. Through every troubled land,

be my peace, so I can stand. Amen.

—from “Onward, Christian Soldiers: Prayers for Those in Service” by Mark Zimmermann

Untimely Born

conversion of Paul

Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. —1 Corinthians 15:8-9

The phrase “untimely born“ in this Bible reading is translated “abnormally born” or “unusually born” in other Bible versions, so I did a little study of Bible commentaries and discovered what St. Paul intended here. He was not simply saying that he was one of the last apostles, “born late,” if you will. He was saying, because of his background as an enemy of Jesus, he really should have never been born, that is, “born again,” as a follower of Christ. Paul was pointing out how unusual it was that he was even writing to the Corinthians in this way as an apostle of Christ at all.

In many ways, we can relate to what Paul is saying here. We were not eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Christ as the first apostles were. We cannot relate exactly to what the twelve disciples went through. We were born sinful and, therefore, enemies of God and Jesus. Yet we have been reborn through faith in Jesus, as St. Paul was. The risen Jesus has appeared to us through the eyes of faith. We have been knocked off our high horse, as St. Paul was on the road to Damascus, and made to pay attention to the Messiah who saw us dead in our sins and who desired to make us alive with him. We are born anew into a living hope that we never should have even been offered because of our sins.

Celebrate today your untimely birth into the forever family of God in Jesus.

Because You Say So

fishing boat

[Jesus] said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” —Luke 5:4-5

I love the humanity revealed in these verses. You can almost hear the exasperation in Simon Peter’s words. He had worked hard without any success. He had already done what Jesus was telling him to do multiple times. Logically, why would this time be any different? The only difference is that Jesus said to do it this time. In faith, Simon does what Jesus says. And the outcome is different. The catch of fish is so large it filled two boats and those boats were so full they were almost sinking.

How often are we like Simon Peter in a moment like this? Frustrated, tired, seemingly out of options? It is then that we need to listen to Jesus and go through the process again only because he says so. With him as our guide, the outcome will be different, positive, beyond our imagination and understanding. All we need to do is do what he says, putting our trust completely in him.

Let the words, “Because you say so,” roll off our lips every time we can feel Jesus calling us to revisit a stressful situation or reexamine a difficult task or go back to something that has simply flummoxed us. He can help us see through the stress to a solution, look at a difficulty and find a good way out and gain clarity where there once was none.

Listen to and follow through with the word of the Lord. Great things can happen because of him, no matter what has happened before.