Members of the Northeastern Iowa Synod can be seen stuffing a gray, dog-eared paperback into their purses and pants pockets. The pocket-sized Daily Texts "is the world's most popular devotional book," says Cheryl Kleven Doely, an assistant to the synod bishop.
Originally produced in 1722 by a community of Bohemian and Moravian refugees, the synod now has published and distributed its version of the classic text, which is comprised of brief Bible verses and a prayer for each day of the year. These are organized around weekly themes. "It helps you establish a daily prayer and meditation routine that's personal and meaningful," Doely says.
The project began with two synod members who wanted to encourage Bible study and prayer. Their gift helped fund Daily Texts 1997, which includes introductory material produced by the synod.
The book suggests a prayer form--TRIP--described by Martin Luther:
Thanksgiving--What does this verse call to mind that I am thankful for?
Repentance--What does move me to regret and confess?
Intercession--For what and whom should I pray?
Purpose--What purpose for my day does this verse suggest?
Daily Texts is one prong of the synod's efforts to nurture the spiritual lives of parishioners and ministry staff. The synod sponsors numerous workshops and retreats each year that introduce ways of prayer and meditation using the Daily Texts; show ways to listen for God's will; and help couples and singles renew their relationship with each other and God.
Pastors also meet in colleague groups to help each other discern God's hand in what's happening in their lives. Mentoring among pastors and others also is encouraged. "Mentors help you take time to listen to God," says synod Bishop Steven Ullestad. Stopping to do such listening is becoming a regular part of synod meetings, he added, saying, "We hope this atmosphere [of listening to the Spirit] permeates every part of the synod."
To order the 1998 edition of Daily Texts, phone the synod at (319) 352-1414. Cost: $3.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers