I just got a book that was long on my Wish List from Amazon. I used a gift card and I am so happy to get it. I HIGHLY recommend it to all of you. It is Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith. I had found him on the web and have frequently included his biblically based devotional prayers on my site. His website and book are prized inspirations to me. They will be to you, too. The day I post this I see the book is free on Amazon. If you read this post regularly and see it Dec 31, go quickly and get your copy.
Tullian Tchividjian in his introduction says:
Through these daily prayers, Scotty teaches frail, fallen, needy people like me how to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. These are prayers filled with heart and hope. They possess a rare combination of gravity and gladness, depth and delight, doctrine and devotion, precept and passion, truth and love. By God’s grace you will find yourself (as I did) weeping over your sin, celebrating your forgiveness, and exalting in God’s grace. These prayers are intended to make you feel your desperation, cry out for deliverance, and celebrate your pardon.
Though the gospel is personal, it is not private. God’s grace frees us to be quite specific with things going on in our lives, but it also compels us into deeper community with others. This individual and corporate prayer rhythm is most clearly seen in the book of Psalms. Praying the gospel involves engaging with all three offices of Christ: Jesus as prophet, priest, and king. Engaging him as our prophet, we listen to Jesus and we look for him in every part of the Scriptures (Luke 24:27). Engaging him as our priest, we honor Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, the righteousness we have by faith, and our loving Savior and High Priest who meets and greets us at the throne of his grace. Engaging him as our king, we submit to Jesus as the one who is making all things new—including us and the broken world all around us. Praying the gospel involves “redemptive redundancies.” I intentionally always come back to who we are in Christ and who he is in us. Like Luther said, we need the basics of the gospel every day because we forget the gospel every day.
~ Smith, Scotty, Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith
A Prayer about the New Year and the Gospel
by Scotty Smith in his book Everyday Prayers.
Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And ff it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the L4Drd. (Josh. 24:14‑15)
Gracious Father, as I sit here sipping fresh coffee and watching flames dance in the fireplace, it’s early into the first day of a new year. Tons of confetti cover the streets of Manhattan, and gratitude fills my heart.
I’m thankful I’m beginning this year with a little better understanding of the gospel than I had last year and the previous years. I’m already praying that I’ll be able to say the same thing this time next year. For the gospel is not just good news for people getting ready to die — it’s good news for people who are now ready to live.
In the gospel you lavish us with your love, liberate us by your grace, and launch us into your transforming story of redemption. What more could we possibly want or hope for, in life or in death?
Because the gospel is true, I don’t respond to Joshua’s bold charge with a list of New Year’s resolutions — promises of what I’m going to do for you. Rather, I begin this year resolving to abandon myself to everything Jesus has done for us. Jesus is the promise keeper, not us. He’s the one who has promised to make all things new, including me.
Father, that’s why serving you is much more than merely “desirable”; it’s the greatest privilege conceivable and the purest delight imaginable. For Jesus is our Joshua—the one who has saved us, is saving us, and one day will completely save us. Without any embarrassment or fear of cliché, I gladly affirm: Jesus saves! What other savior died for us that we might find life in him? What other god sacrificially serves us that we might gratefully serve him?
Because of the gospel, throwing away my idols feels less like a painful sacrifice and more like a liberating dance. For all my “empty nothings” have ever given me is momentary pleasure and lasting regrets. Remind me of this all year long when I’m tempted to think otherwise.
Father, may this be a year of considering our lives worth nothing to us, if only we may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given us — the task of testifying (by word and deed) to the gospel of your grace (ActS 20:24). In Jesus’ loving name we pray, with great anticipation and much thanksgiving. Amen.