Daily Prayer: a resource of Forward Movement
 

The Daily Readings for September 18, 2020

We've included both the Morning and Evening Psalms for the Daily Office; they are listed after the other readings. If you'd like to filter for a particular day's readings, you can do it at The Daily Readings Anytime.

Esther 1:1-4, 1:10-19

This happened in the days of Ahasuerus, the same Ahasuerus who ruled over one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. In those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his officials and ministers. The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were present, while he displayed the great wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and pomp of his majesty for many days, one hundred eighty days in all. On the seventh day, when the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who attended him, to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing the royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the officials her beauty; for she was fair to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command conveyed by the eunuchs. At this the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him. Then the king consulted the sages who knew the laws (for this was the king's procedure toward all who were versed in law and custom, and those next to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven officials of Persia and Media, who had access to the king, and sat first in the kingdom): "According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus conveyed by the eunuchs?" Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, "Not only has Queen Vashti done wrong to the king, but also to all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen will be made known to all women, causing them to look with contempt on their husbands, since they will say, 'King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.' This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's behavior will rebel against the king's officials, and there will be no end of contempt and wrath! If it pleases the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be altered, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.

Acts 17:1-15

After Paul and Silas had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, "This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you." Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the marketplaces they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. While they were searching for Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly, they attacked Jason's house. When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, "These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus." The people and the city officials were disturbed when they heard this, and after they had taken bail from Jason and the others, they let them go. That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing. But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea as well, they came there too, to stir up and incite the crowds. Then the believers immediately sent Paul away to the coast, but Silas and Timothy remained behind. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and after receiving instructions to have Silas and Timothy join him as soon as possible, they left him.

John 12:36-43

While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light." After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said, "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them." Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.

Morning Psalms

Psalm 69 Salvum me fac

  Save me, O God, *
for the waters have risen up to my neck.
  I am sinking in deep mire, *
and there is no firm ground for my feet.
  I have come into deep waters, *
and the torrent washes over me.
  I have grown weary with my crying; my throat is inflamed; *
my eyes have failed from looking for my God.
  Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; my lying foes who would destroy me are mighty. *
Must I then give back what I never stole?
  O God, you know my foolishness, *
and my faults are not hidden from you.
  Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, Lord GOD of hosts; *
let not those who seek you be disgraced because of me, O God of Israel.
  Surely, for your sake have I suffered reproach, *
and shame has covered my face.
  I have become a stranger to my own kindred, *
an alien to my mother's children.
10   Zeal for your house has eaten me up; *
the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.
11   I humbled myself with fasting, *
but that was turned to my reproach.
12   I put on sack-cloth also, *
and became a byword among them.
13   Those who sit at the gate murmur against me, *
and the drunkards make songs about me.
14   But as for me, this is my prayer to you, *
at the time you have set, O LORD:
15   In your great mercy, O God, *
answer me with your unfailing help.
16   Save me from the mire; do not let me sink; *
let me be rescued from those who hate me and out of the deep waters.
17   Let not the torrent of waters wash over me, neither let the deep swallow me up; *
do not let the Pit shut its mouth upon me.
18   Answer me, O LORD, for your love is kind; *
in your great compassion, turn to me."
19   Hide not your face from your servant; *
be swift and answer me, for I am in distress.
20   Draw near to me and redeem me; *
because of my enemies deliver me.
21   You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; *
my adversaries are all in your sight."
22   Reproach has broken my heart, and it cannot be healed; *
I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I could find no one.
23   They gave me gall to eat, *
and when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink.
24   Let the table before them be a trap *
and their sacred feasts a snare.
25   Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, *
and give them continual trembling in their loins.
26   Pour out your indignation upon them, *
and let the fierceness of your anger overtake them.
27   Let their camp be desolate, *
and let there be none to dwell in their tents.
28   For they persecute him whom you have stricken *
and add to the pain of those whom you have pierced.
29   Lay to their charge guilt upon guilt, *
and let them not receive your vindication.
30   Let them be wiped out of the book of the living *
and not be written among the righteous.
31   As for me, I am afflicted and in pain; *
your help, O God, will lift me up on high.
32   I will praise the Name of God in song; *
I will proclaim his greatness with thanksgiving.
33   This will please the LORD more than an offering of oxen, *
more than bullocks with horns and hoofs.
34   The afflicted shall see and be glad; *
you who seek God, your heart shall live.
35   For the LORD listens to the needy, *
and his prisoners he does not despise.
36   Let the heavens and the earth praise him, *
the seas and all that moves in them;
37   For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; *
they shall live there and have it in possession.
38   The children of his servants will inherit it, *
and those who love his Name will dwell therein.

Evening Psalms

Psalm 73 Quam bonus Israel!

  Truly, God is good to Israel, *
to those who are pure in heart.
  But as for me, my feet had nearly slipped; *
I had almost tripped and fallen;
  Because I envied the proud *
and saw the prosperity of the wicked:
  For they suffer no pain, *
and their bodies are sleek and sound;
  In the misfortunes of others they have no share; *
they are not afflicted as others are;
  Therefore they wear their pride like a necklace *
and wrap their violence about them like a cloak.
  Their iniquity comes from gross minds, *
and their hearts overflow with wicked thoughts.
  They scoff and speak maliciously; *
out of their haughtiness they plan oppression.
  They set their mouths against the heavens, *
and their evil speech runs through the world.
10   And so the people turn to them *
and find in them no fault.
11   They say, "How should God know? *
is there knowledge in the Most High?"
12   So then, these are the wicked; *
always at ease, they increase their wealth.
13   In vain have I kept my heart clean, *
and washed my hands in innocence.
14   I have been afflicted all day long, *
and punished every morning.
15   Had I gone on speaking this way, *
I should have betrayed the generation of your children.
16   When I tried to understand these things, *
it was too hard for me;
17   Until I entered the sanctuary of God *
and discerned the end of the wicked.
18   Surely, you set them in slippery places; *
you cast them down in ruin.
19   Oh, how suddenly do they come to destruction, *
come to an end, and perish from terror!
20   Like a dream when one awakens, O Lord, *
when you arise you will make their image vanish.
21   When my mind became embittered, *
I was sorely wounded in my heart.
22   I was stupid and had no understanding; *
I was like a brute beast in your presence.
23   Yet I am always with you; *
you hold me by my right hand.
24   You will guide me by your counsel, *
and afterwards receive me with glory.
25   Whom have I in heaven but you? *
and having you I desire nothing upon earth.
26   Though my flesh and my heart should waste away, *
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
27   Truly, those who forsake you will perish; *
you destroy all who are unfaithful.
28   But it is good for me to be near God; *
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge.
29   I will speak of all your works *
in the gates of the city of Zion.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

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