May 21 Devotional
Opening Prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. - St. Francis of Assisi
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Journal: What does it look like to do ministry the way it is pictured in these verses? Who has invested in you in this way?
Reflection: More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time and the freedom to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or be a part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around the urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social or spiritual progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them. (Gracias! by Henri J.M. Nouwen)
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Bobby and Teresa LaDage are working with Redeemer City to City (the church planting arm of Redeemer Church in NYC) envisioning, equipping, and mentoring church planters and their wives in order to see gospel-centered churches reach the major cities of Eastern and Central Europe. Pray today for the church planters in Krakow after they attended a recent meeting where a vision was cast for more churches and ideas were shared for how the existing churches can unite together in loving their city.
Al Hayat Airtime programming has captured the attention of Muslim men and women around the world since its launch in 2003. Through innovative programming, Al Hayat has become a powerful force against the deceptions of Islam. Pray today for the leaders of this organization.
Closing Prayer: Today, O Lord - let me put right before interest; let me put others before self; let me put things of the Spirit before things of the body; let me put the attainment of noble ends before the enjoyment of present pleasures; let me put principle above reputation; let me put you before all else. Amen. (A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie)