The Lord finds those who did not seek Him or ask for Him. He spreads out His hands “to a rebellious people” (Is. 65:2) and calls them to be His people and to dwell in peace upon His holy mountain (Is. 65:9). For wherever Jesus Christ enters in, Satan is cast out. Those who were enslaved and driven mad by the assaults and accusations of the devil, are set free by the Word of Christ. He drowns and destroys the old Adam in us with the waters of Holy Baptism and thereby brings us out of death into life. No longer naked in our shame, living “among the tombs” (Luke 8:27), we are brought into the Lord’s house, fully clothed by Christ. For He has come, in “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4) to fulfill the Law on our behalf and to redeem us from its every accusation. Therefore, having been justified by His grace through faith in His Gospel, “you are no longer a slave, but a son” (Gal. 4:7).
Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Pentecost: O God, You have prepared for those who love You such good things as surpass our understanding. Cast out all sins and evil desires from us, and pour into our hearts Your Holy Spirit to guide us into all blessedness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayers for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that we turn from our evil ways and live. Graciously spare us those punishments which we by our sins have deserved, and grant us always to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for grace and forgiveness:Spare us, O Lord, and mercifully forgive us our sins. Though by our continual transgressions we have merited Your chastisements, be gracious to us. Grant that all these punishments which we have deserved may not come upon us, but that all things may work to our everlasting good; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for those involved in occult practices or afflicted by demons: O God, almighty Father, You told us through Your Son, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever You ask of the Father in My name, He will give it to you." He has commanded and encouraged us to pray in His name, "Ask, and you will receive," and has also said, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver You, and you shall glorify Me." We unworthy sinners, relying on these Your words and command, pray for Your mercy with such faith as we can muster. Graciously free [name] from all evil, and undo the work that Satan has done in [him/her], to the honor of Your name and the strengthening of the faith of believers; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Monday, 14 June 2010—Psalm 71:20–24; antiphon, Psalm 71:3—Psalm 71 was likely written by King David toward the end of his life. Looking back over the events of a long life, he could see that, though he had experienced many troubles and calamities, the Lord would always deliver him, would revive him again. David trusted in the Lord as a rock and a fortress, who cannot be moved or shaken, but provides refuge for His people. In response, the people of God shout for joy and sing praises to Him, and speak of His righteous help all the day long.
Tuesday, 15 June 2010—Psalm 3—This psalm of David has as its background his flight from his rebellious son, Absalom, as recorded in 2 Samuel 15—18, but it is applicable in our day and age and situation, too. The psalm was written to sustain the faith of anyone who faces a hostile conspiracy of foes, whether those foes be physical or spiritual. David counsels us to cry to the Lord when we are beset by trouble (vv. 1–2), then be calm, knowing that the Lord will sustain us (vv. 3–6). We can boldly exhort God to intervene on our behalf (v. 7) and then be certain that His blessing is upon us, and He will bring salvation (v. 8).
Wednesday, 16 June 2010—Isaiah 65:1–9—Chapters 63 and 64 record pleas from Isaiah on behalf of the faithful that God would be merciful to them. The last two chapters of Isaiah, 65 and 66, are the Lord’s reply. First, He repeats the treats of judgement on those who do not seek Him (vv. 1–7). But there are also those who have not forsaken Him. To these, He promises that He will not destroy them, but will give them the inheritance which He had promised to His people. They who are faithful are His chosen ones, and shall reap the benefits of His mercy.
Thursday, 17 June 2010—Galatians 3:23—4:7—St Paul here contrasts the position of a slave and that of an heir. Because of our sin, the Law kept us as slaves. We are slaves to our sinful nature, and cannot share in the inheritance from God. But, God sent forth His Son to redeem us. He did what we are unable to do: He fulfilled the Law for us. Having been set free from bondage to sin and to the Law, we have been made sons of God, heirs of all His blessings. Eternal life with God is the inheritance in all who are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Friday, 18 June 2010—Luke 8:26–39—Jesus travels across the sea of Galilee, to the east side, where a number of Gentiles lived. There he met a man who was tormented by demons, who did terrible things to him. The demons who possessed this man knew who Jesus is: the Son of the Most High God, and the one who would send them to eternal torture in the abyss of hell. Jesus casts them into a herd of pigs, and they destroy the pigs. We see in the demon-possessed man a picture of total helplessness in the face of an ungodly spiritual foe. He could only be rescued by Jesus, the Son of the Most High God. We, too, are helpless in the face of adversity from the devil and his demons, for our fallen nature is unwilling and unable to fight against him. Like the demoniac, we need recuing by Jesus. He has accomplished our rescue by His death on the cross, where He defeated Satan and the powers of darkness.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.