Mission Devotional - January 28, 2017

Opening Prayer: Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of you. You only know what I need. You know me better than I know myself. O Father, give to your child what he himself knows not how to ask. Teach me to pray. Pray yourself in me. - Archbishop Francois Fenelon

Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Journal: What is your experience and practice of prayer like these days? How can it be deeper and richer? What does God desire for you in your prayer life? How, where, and when will you pray this week?

Reflection: I have a sneaking suspicion that prayer is much larger than most of us realize. Just look at these verses in 1 Timothy for example. In them Paul uses not one, but four different words to describe the practice of prayer, each with its own image, emphasis, and definition. And that seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many different forms of prayer described in scripture, so many different ways to connect with God and to open ourselves so that he can, in turn, connect with us. Which makes prayer not just some dry, dutiful ritual, but a wonderfully intimate and unique adventure. And for that I am eternally grateful. The key is to just do it. Henri Nouwen once said that "The only way to learn how to pray is to pray. And the only way to pray well is to pray much." So in order to pray, we must simply begin. And as we become more familiar with the ways of prayer we will become more familiar with the One to whom we pray. Then prayer will flow much more naturally due to the intimacy of our relationship with him.

Maybe that's why, in The Message, Eugene Peterson translates these verses: "The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live." Let's do that!

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Josh and Jenny M. are working with the RAK Church Plant in the United Arab Emirates. The RAK Evangelical Church has now been formally constituted as a church with about 40 members. Construction continues for the church building and dedication of the building is planned for May 12, 2017. Pray that this new building will continue to draw unbelievers to hear the gospel. To find out more, go to the Reclamation Stories blog and watch a video.

Cedar Springs adopted Lonsdale Elementary in 2003. Lonsdale, with more than 400 students PreK through 5th grade, only serves the Lonsdale area. Over the years, the racial make-up of the school, whose students are 100% free lunch qualified, has changed to primarily Hispanic and African-American children. Pray today for all of the children that attend Lonsdale Elementary and their teachers.

Closing Prayer: Look upon us, O Lord, and let all the darkness of our souls vanish before the beams of thy brightness. Fill us with holy love, and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom. All our desire is known unto thee, therefore perfect what thou hast begun, and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer. We seek thy face, turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory. Then shall our longing be satisfied, and our peace shall be perfect. - St. Augustine