Mission Devotional - November 21, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Opening Prayer: Satisfy us in the morning, O Lord, with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Amen. (Psalm 90:14)

Scripture: Psalm 90:17

Journal: How do you allow the beauty of the Lord to rest upon you? What does that mean? How does this happen in prayer?

Reflection: There are two great mystical traditions in the life of prayer, sometimes labeled apophatic and kataphatic. Apophemi is the Greek "no;" kataphemi is "yes." Apophatic prayer is nay saying, the via negativa. It shuts its eyes so as not to be distracted or diverted from the pure being of God. Kataphatic prayer is yea saying, the via affirmativa. It opens its eyes, letting lihts and colors, icons and incense draw us into their, and our, source in God.

There is certainly a place for apophatic prayer: our imaginations are rampant with neurotic lust and escapist longings that get projected against a cosmic widescreen we ignorantly name God. Marvel and miracle, sensation and sentiment, doomsday fear and infantile eroticism are thrown together and made into what we supposed to be a god. Prayers are constantly being addressed out of and to such fantasies. Such prayers need fasting, and plenty of it, to purge them of their fantasies.

But kataphatic prayer is surely normative: the Psalms train us in it, the incarnation confirms it, and the sacraments perpetuate it. The rubric for apophatic prayer is, "fold your hands, bow, your head, shut your eyes, and we'll pray." But the psalmists are kataphatic to a man, to a woman - they take us to the theater where we see "mountains skip like rams" (Ps. 114:4) and hear "trees clap their hands" (Isa. 55:12); they show us how to pray with our eyes open, wide open. (Answering God by Eugene Peterson)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Phil has been serving in Eurasia for over 10 years. His focus has been the Tatar people, a largely Muslim people group. Phil has worked with others in launching a local organization that provides language instruction with the goal of helping to equip believers to bring the light of the gospel to the least-reached in their own language. Pray today for two men who often visit with Phil that they will understand what the gospel means to them as Phil shares stories from the Bible.

The Development Associates International (DAI) is an international fellowship of leader developers, passionate about helping Christian leaders grow and have a transformative impact on their local communities. They focus on developing a leader's spiritual growth and effectiveness at managing people, money, and organizations - using Biblical servant leadership as the core principle. Pray today for Jane Overstreet, the President and CEO of DAI.

Closing Prayer: Let your beauty, O Lord, rest upon us, now and forevermore.