October 19 Devotional (2021)

October 19th Commemoration: Henry Martyn

O God of the nations, who didst give to thy faithful servant Henry Martyn a brilliant mind, a loving heart, and a gift for languages, that he might translate the Scriptures and other holy writings for the peoples of India and Persia: Inspire in us, we beseech thee, a love like his, eager to commit both life and talents to thee who gavest them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

October 19, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: 

  • Psalm 37:23-40  
  • 1 Samuel 10:17-27 
  • Hebrews 6:1-20


The mercy of the Lord is everlasting: Come let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, 

* and to the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, 

* and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Opening Prayer

O God, who art faithful and true, who “hast mercy on thousands and ten thousands of them that love You,” the lover of the humble, and the protector of the needy, of whom all things stand in need, for all things are subject to You: look down upon this Your people, who bow down their heads to You, and bless them with spiritual blessing. “Keep them as the apple of an eye,” preserve them in piety and righteousness, and vouchsafe them eternal life in Christ Jesus Your beloved Son, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You and to the Holy Spirit, now and always, and forever and ever. AMEN. 

—Apostolic Constitutions, 4th Century [1]

The Hymn: “Immortal, Invisible” by Walter Smith 

Morning Prayer

Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your Holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [2]

Short Verse

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Morning Reading: Psalm 37:23-40

God will exalt the righteous

Our steps are made firm by the Lord,

when he delights in our way;

though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,

for the Lord holds us by the hand.

I have been young, and now am old,

yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken

or their children begging bread.

They are ever giving liberally and lending,

and their children become a blessing.

Depart from evil, and do good;

so you shall abide forever.

For the Lord loves justice;

he will not forsake his faithful ones.

The righteous shall be kept safe forever,

but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

The righteous shall inherit the land,

and live in it forever.

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,

and their tongues speak justice.

The law of their God is in their hearts;

their steps do not slip.

The wicked watch for the righteous,

and seek to kill them.

The Lord will not abandon them to their power,

or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.

Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way,

and he will exalt you to inherit the land;

you will look on the destruction of the wicked.

I have seen the wicked oppressing,

and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.

Again I passed by, and they were no more;

though I sought them, they could not be found.

Mark the blameless, and behold the upright,

for there is posterity for the peaceable.

But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;

the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;

he is their refuge in the time of trouble.

The Lord helps them and rescues them;

he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,

because they take refuge in him.

Midday Prayer: A Table Grace

Bless, O Lord, thy gifts to our use and us to thy service; for Christ’s sake. Amen. [3]

Midday Intercessions


Short Verse

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Midday Reading: 1 Samuel 10:17-27

Saul proclaimed king

17 Later Samuel called all the people of Israel to meet before the LORD at Mizpah. 18 And he said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, has declared: I brought you from Egypt and rescued you from the Egyptians and from all of the nations that were oppressing you. 19 But though I have rescued you from your misery and distress, you have rejected your God today and have said, ‘No, we want a king instead!’ Now, therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by tribes and clans.”

20 So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel before the LORD, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21 Then he brought each family of the tribe of Benjamin before the LORD, and the family of the Matrites was chosen. And finally Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! 22 So they asked the LORD, “Where is he?”

And the LORD replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” 23 So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.

24 Then Samuel said to all the people, “This is the man the LORD has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is like him!”

And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

25 Then Samuel told the people what the rights and duties of a king were. He wrote them down on a scroll and placed it before the LORD. Then Samuel sent the people home again.

26 When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them.

Midday Lesson

The paradox within Saul’s acclamation

“A positive attitude toward Saul as king continues in the story of his public acclamation (10:17–27). Still, there are features in the story that still reflect the book’s overall discomfort with the monarchy as an institution. First, Samuel assembled the people at Mizpah—the very place where he had shown that a king was unnecessary since God will always protect a repentant and loyal people (10:17; see 1 Sm 7:2–12). Second, Samuel, speaking in the name of God, asserted that the request for a king was another of Israel’s actions rejecting their God, who had proved in the Exodus and in other situations to be a savior beyond compare (10:18–19). Still, by using lots to select the king, Samuel demonstrates the choice of Saul was God’s since God controlled how the lot fell. The people, impressed by Saul’s bearing, acclaim him as their king. Samuel then committed the laws governing the new institution to writing and dismissed the people. There were a few people whom the text characterizes as [‘scoundrels’] (10:27), who did not support the choice of Saul. To do so, however, involved questioning the choice that God had made.” [4]

“While the story presents Saul as God’s choice to be king, it also presents Israel’s choice to have a king as sinful.” [5] Naturally, this tension “builds up suspense in the story. Can this paradox be resolved? Can the monarchy be something that contributes positively to maintaining Israel’s relationship with God? Or is it only a matter of time before the monarchy’s doom becomes apparent? How can Israel reject God as its savior and still expect to survive?” [5]

Eventide Prayer

Save us, O God, and raise us up by Your Christ. Let us stand up, and beg for the mercies of the Lord, and His compassions, for the angel of peace, for what things are good and profitable, for a Christian departure out of this life, an evening and a night of peace, and free from sin; and let us beg that the whole course of our life may be unblamable. Let us dedicate ourselves and one another to the living God through His Christ. AMEN. —Apostolic Constitutions.

Short Verse

“He was pierced because of our rebellions and crushed because of our crimes. He bore the punishment that made us whole; by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

Eventide Reading: Hebrews 6:1-20

The hope of God’s promise

1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Eventide Lesson

Steadfast anchor of the soul

“Christians grow in maturity by building on the basic teachings of the faith and connecting God’s promises with the new way of life that He gives. Those who reject God’s promises should fear the just judgment of God. If we fail to be fruitful in love, mercy, and generosity, we become like thorns and thistles, fit only for His fire. However, we can be confident that God, who has given us the gift of salvation, will grow the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.” [8]

“God’s promise and oath to Abraham is certain. As heirs of Abraham, those who trust in Christ Jesus share in the blessing of life promised to Abraham. They experience unending stability and security through the Son’s gracious access to the Father. If we doubt God’s Word, we act as if God is a liar and miss the blessings that flow from a trusting relationship with Him. As we trust God’s promises, we see that God tells the truth, and we share in the blessings of eternal life.” [9]

Our hope in Christ is a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul (v. 19). “The anchor has been a symbol of faith in the risen Lord and hope for our own resurrection since the days of the early Church.” [10]

Compline Prayer

Lord, keep us safe this night, Secure from all our fears; May angels guard us while we sleep, Till morning light appears.

 -John Leland (1754-1841) [1]


[1] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 54). prayer. 

[2] Anglican Church in North America 2019 Book of Common Prayer: http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

[3] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 835). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 567). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[5] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 & 2 Samuel. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 397). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[6] Ibid. 5

[7] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 54). prayer. 

[8] A., E. E. (2016). Hebrews. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 8444). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[9] Ibid. 8

[10] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Hebrews. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3705). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[11] Kitch, A. E. (2004). Bedtime Prayers. In The Anglican family prayer book (Kindle ed., pp. 214). Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub.

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