The First 15

Thursday January 14, 2021

by David Alexander

Opening Prayer

In the busyness of our everyday lives, we often fail to prepare our hearts and minds for reading God’s word and experience God in this time. Take a moment to allow this prayer to lead you into your time with God today. 

As I enter into this time of prayer and reflection, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to re-center my scattered senses upon the presence of God. 

Holy and loving God, in this new season I invite you to shape my soul with your words and inspire my life with your works. Teach me to walk in the way of peace and grace. AMEN. 

*This prayer adapted from Lectio365, a mobile application developed by the 24-7 Prayer Network.

Scripture Reading

Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.


Grace is the great struggle of the Christian life. 

Acknowledging our need of grace, humbling ourselves to receive God’s grace, and submitting ourselves to Christ by sharing grace with those we are convinced do not deserve it.

I will confess that I have done the math knowing that 77 was not meant to be a limit. Instead, Jesus is expressing here the abundance of grace we might receive and must share. 

It is human nature to condemn in others what we excuse in ourselves. It is harder to look at me than it is to look at you. It is easier to criticize than to confess. 

We share this great struggle. We are also all unworthy of receiving so great a gift. 

Perhaps today we should all pause and confess that we have tried to keep count for others rather than celebrating that God doesn’t keep score. 

When you are finished with your time of reflection and before you close in prayer, spend a few moments committing the word of Ephesians 4:32 to memory.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Closing Prayer

Loving God, thank you for your gift of grace made available to me through the work of Jesus Christ. I pray for the power of your grace to be unleashed in my life that it may soften my heart. May the grace received in my life be expressed through my life in everything I do and say this day. AMEN.

The First 15

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