Mission Devotional - November 19, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Opening Prayer: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (Psalm 23:1-3, ESV)

Scripture: Psalm 23:2-3

Journal: What place do silence and solitude occupy in your life? What role do they play? How might God be making you lie down in green pastures or leading you beside quiet waters? How is he restoring your soul these days? Are you resistant to the practices of rest and renewal? Why?

Reflection: While teaching, lecturing, and writing about the importance of solitude, inner freedom, and peace of mind, I kept stumbling over my own compulsions and illusions. What was driving me from one book to another, one place to another, one project to another? …What was turning my vocation to be a witness to God's love into a tiring job? These questions kept intruding themselves into my few unfilled moments and challenging me to face my restless self. Maybe I spoke more about God than with him. Maybe my writing about prayer kept me from a prayerful life. Maybe I was more concerned about the praise of men and women than the love of God. Maybe I was slowly becoming a prisoner of people's expectations instead of a man liberated by divine promises. …I had succeeded in surrounding myself with so many classes to prepare, lectures to give, articles to finish, people to meet, phone calls to make, and letters to answer, that I had come quite close to believing that I was indispensable. …While complaining about too many demands, I felt uneasy when none were made. While speaking about the burden of letter writing, an empty mailbox made me sad. While fretting about tiring lecture tours, I felt disappointed when there were no invitations. While speaking nostalgically about an empty desk, I feared the day on which that would come true. In short: while desiring to be alone, I was frightened of being left alone. The more I became aware of these paradoxes, the more I started to see how much I had indeed fallen in love with my own compulsions and illusions, and how much I needed to step back and wonder, "Is there a quiet stream underneath the fluctuating affirmations and rejections of my little world?" (The Genesee Diary by Henri Nouwen)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Sybil Baloyi lives in Mozambique and runs a preschool for orphaned and vulnerable children. Pray today for new neighborhood groups started by the youth after last summer's Word of Life Youth Camp that had an attendance of over 130 youth from Hlauleka and different places.

The Cedar Springs Adoption Ministry is a group of individuals and families who have a heart for adoption and foster care and for providing support for other individuals and families starting or going through the adoption/foster care process. Pray today for couples who seeking to adopt as they wait and prepare their hearts to receive a child into their family.

Closing Prayer: God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. (Psalm 23:1-3, The Message)