August 16 Devotional
Opening Prayer: Late have I loved you, O Beauty, so ancient and so new, late have I loved you! And behold, you were within me and I was outside, and there I sought for you, and in my deformity I rushed headlong into the well-formed things that you have made. You were with me, and I was not with you. - St. Augustine
Scripture: Psalm 90:1-17
Journal: Are you living the life God most wants to live in you? If not, why not? What does it mean to ask God to number our days?
Reflection: How do we go about living the life that we most deeply long to live? How do we live a life of depth and quality with God, which will lead to a life of depth and quality with our families and our friends and our world? It doesn’t just happen, say the saints and the poets, it takes some reflection and intention and desire. “We fool ourselves if we think that such a sacramental way of living is automatic,” Richard Foster once wrote. “This kind of living communion does not just fall on our heads. We must desire it and seek it out. We must order our lives in particular ways.”
Call it Christian practice, call it spiritual disciplines, or call it means of grace, but somehow we have to prayerfully consider how to move in the direction of the life we think God most wants to live in us. The church fathers called that somehow a Rule of Life. St. Benedict’s rule is the most famous example. It involves identifying what we most want our lives to be about - in St. Benedict’s case, prayer - and then figuring out, as best we can, how we will move in the direction of making that life a possibility; creating space and time for that life to be able to happen. The happening of it is ultimately up to God, but making the space and the time is our part. We must listen and pray and plan and order our lives in certain ways, so that at the end of our days we don’t find ourselves wondering how we’ve somehow missed it.
St. Benedict wrote a rule to order his life, and the life of his community, around the practice of prayer; in his heart and soul he knew that everything else must revolve around that. Everything else would involve the things that were necessary to make a life of prayer possible: in order to pray we must eat, and in order to eat we must work, and in order to work we must rest, all in order that we might pray. A holistic approach to life for sure - spiritual, physical, vocational, and relational. His rule became the simple rhythm that his community lived by.
If we are serious about living the life we most deeply long to live, it must be the same for us. It won’t just fall on our heads either. We must begin to live our lives purposefully and intentionally. What is the old adage? “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” We must begin to live by a thoughtful and prayerful rule as well. (Becoming by Jim Branch)
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
L. and E. serve in a Creative Access country. L. is working to make evangelical literature available to the nations so that people can come to Christ. Pray today for new believers. The biggest struggle is for them to read God’s word daily and get connected to a local fellowship. Pray for L. and E. as they have returned to the mission field and left behind their children who are college students. Pray for their adjustment back into their lives there and for good reconnections with their students.
Logan and Melissa Keck are planting Christ the King, JP/Roxbury in Boston. Pray that they would see consistency in attendance and tithing and that they would even see growth as new people are reached in the neighborhood. Pray also for Melissa’s pregnancy that everything will continue to go well for Melissa and the baby (a girl!).
Closing Prayer: I ask you, Lord Jesus, to develop in me, your lover, an immeasurable urge towards you, an affection that is unbounded, longing that is unrestrained, fervor that throws discretion to the winds! The more worthwhile our love for you, all the more pressing does it become. Reason cannot hold it in check, fear does not make it tremble, wise judgment does not temper it. (The Fire of Love by Richard Rolle)