The First 15

Thursday September 16, 2021

by Jan Davis

Today is Thursday, September 16 and this week we are exploring how restoration changes lives.

Opening Prayer

As I enter this time of prayer, I calm my mind and quiet my heart. I breathe deeply and slowly, and rest in God’s presence. I focus and center myself upon the presence of God.

Pause and Pray

I am here today to receive a word from you, Father God. Speak to my heart and mind in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Come Holy Spirit, show me the path You have for me. Amen.

Scripture Reading

Today I rejoice alongside God’s ancient people with the words of Psalm 25.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

Pause and Pray

Some of the most familiar teachings of Jesus are found in his Sermon on the Mount located in the New Testament gospel of Matthew chapters five, six and seven. Utilizing common first century Middle Eastern comparisons, Jesus warns his followers about being on the right path and avoiding the wrong path. Jesus uses familiar images of gates to cross and roads to walk. The following passage is very familiar to me, but perhaps God wants me to hear the words in a fresh way. What is God saying to my mind, heart and soul today through the words of holy Scripture? I open my mind and listen for the voice of Jesus speaking to me.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14


I cannot read the words of Jesus without pondering my life’s current trajectory, the particular size of the gate I have entered and the path I traverse. I wonder if I am on the right path. I want to be sure I am walking God’s intended path for me. Am I on the path of righteousness? The path of holiness? I acknowledge that sometimes I have veered off God’s path to follow the crowd. I have been tempted to step aside from the narrow road in order to make my way easier, more comfortable or more acceptable.

When I consider the path my life has taken, I see where the hand of God guided my footsteps. I also see places where I have chosen my own way and selected my own turns. Jesus is my good shepherd who desires to lead me beside still waters that will restore my soul, yet I have not always obediently followed Him. When I consider my current path, I need to examine if I am exactly where God wants me to be. Do I need to make a U-turn or a slight readjustment in direction?

Ask: Lord, I want to be following the path You have set for me. Show me exactly where I have taken a misstep on my journey and restore my path.

Pause and Pray

God of Guidance, I confess that it is often easier to enter the wide gate and travel the broad road following other people. However, I know you lead me to live a different life, a life of righteousness, abundance and peace. I want to travel the exact road You have set for me, a desert highway that leads to holiness. Help me slow down and be more aware of the path I currently walk. I read the words of Jesus again, listening to how Jesus is speaking in my particular circumstances.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

Ask: What image, word or phrase stands out to me when I slowly read this passage? What is God trying to say to me through these words of scripture?

Pause and Pray

Jesus does not want me to miss out. He wants me to find the small gate and the narrow road. Jesus’ love for me is so great, He sacrificed everything for me. He went to the cross and died for me so that my sins can be forgiven and I can have new life, life that is eternal in the heavens and life that is abundant in the here and now. Jesus wants me to find this life and offers me precious guidance so that I cannot take an erroneous turn and enter through a wrong gate.

I imagine walking the narrow road of a follower of Jesus. When does this narrow road become most difficult for me to stay within the boundaries set for me? When do I find myself stepping outside of the line? When do the confines of the narrow road feel most confining? What is it I most struggle with that prevents me from walking the way God has for me? Do I attempt to stay on the straight and narrow using my own feeble abilities, or do I rely on the power of God? How do I rely on the help of other believers? When do I turn to the word of God and find guidance in scripture? As the Psalmist says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. How do I intentionally rely on God’s word in the Bible to light my path?

Pause and Pray

Holy Lord God, blessed Jesus my Savior, I want to walk the straight and narrow path that leads to life. I invite you, Jesus, to take my hand, lead me and guide me along the right path, prevent my steps from veering even slightly from the good road you have laid for me. Lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Closing Prayer

As I leave this time of prayer and go throughout my day, I go with a new awareness of the path I travel and the steps I take. Guide me Jesus and show me how to lovingly guide others so that they might find the path of life you provide. Amen.

The First 15

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