January 11 Devotional
Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.
Opening Prayer: Lord, give me the ability to persist through tedium, to survive without the oxygen of recognition, praise, and stroking, and to do some good things every day which are seen only by You. (Sacred Space: the Prayer Book 2010 by Jesuit Communication Centre)
Scripture Reading for the Day: Mark 1:1-8
Reading for Reflection: For quite some time I have been living with the suspicion that God has a preference for the small, the hidden, the quiet, and the lowly. I see it clearly all over the pages of Scripture, but maybe nowhere more clearly than in the Christmas narrative. To imagine that God, the Creator of all that is, chose to enter into that creation in the way that he did is simply astounding. To come into this world as a tiny, helpless baby; born to a couple of poor teenagers, who could afford nothing more than a lowly stable for a room, is beyond my imagination. It is almost as if God wanted to slip into our world without being noticed at all; except by those that were watching and waiting, by those paying extra careful attention.
So during this season, would it not be wise of us to try and take notice of the small, the hidden, the quiet, and the ordinary? Would it not be wise to ask ourselves, “If God chose to become smaller (in some amazingly mysterious way that we cannot fully comprehend), then how might he be asking us to become smaller as well?” And who knows, if we keep asking ourselves that very question, and if we are really fortunate, then maybe, just maybe, someday we might actually become small enough for Christ to arrive; both among us and within us.
Reflection and Listening: silent and written
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
J. and E. work among unreached people groups in two restricted access countries of Southeast Asia catalyzing Church Planting Movements. Pray today for new workers to join Mekong Ministries to reach unreached people groups. The Black Hmong and Dong are the two groups they urgently need workers for.
KDEC or Kasr El Dobara Church is the largest evangelical church in the middle east. Started in 1948, it has grown to a membership of 8,000 members. Pray today for the ministry leaders of this church.
Closing Prayer: Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live
in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in
by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells.
And the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.
(The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions ed. by Arthur Bennett)