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Daily Devotional • April 26

Sarah Puryear
A Morning Routine
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 4:38-44

38 After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39 Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.

40 As the sun was setting, all those caring for any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 41 Moreover, demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.

42 At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds began looking for him, and when they reached him they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.

I feel for Jesus in this story from the Gospel of Luke. He has spent his day caring for many people and their needs by healing them. Then when he rises early at daybreak to find a solitary place for prayer, he is quickly tracked down even there! I wish that the gospel writers gave us more details from those early morning conversations Jesus had with his Father. Even without those details, however, we see in Jesus’ example that prayer was his first priority of the day, communing and conversing with his Father before launching out in ministry.

Christians have sought to follow Jesus’ example for millennia by making morning prayer an essential pattern of the Christian life. Our Anglican tradition acknowledges this in one of its greatest gifts of us, the service of Morning Prayer, which frames the day ahead in the context of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. 

In his recent books, The Common Rule and Habits of the Household, Justin Whitmer Earley recommends that we cultivate a morning habit of reading Scripture before we turn on a screen — whether, a phone, tablet, laptop, or television. Turning to God’s Word each morning before turning on a screen, he says, helps us to orient ourselves and our day toward the fundamental reality of God’s love. When we begin our morning by turning toward God, we go out to the rest of our day grounded in God’s love and ready to show love to others, rather than seeking love and approval from them.

How does your morning routine set you up for the rest of the day? Does it spiritually nourish you and prepare you to remember God’s presence and goodness, regardless of what the day holds? If not, consider adopting morning practices of prayer that will sustain you for the work that lies ahead each day.

The Rev. Sarah Puryear lives in Nashville with her family and serves as priest associate at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

Episcopal Church of St. Alban the Martyr, Queens, New York
The Diocese of Sialkot – The (united) Church of Pakistan
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