Mission Devotional - October 17, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Prayer

Opening Prayer: God - you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.

So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy; I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises! If I’m sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. (Psalm 63:1-6, The Message)

Scripture: Psalm 63:3-6

Journal: What is prayer like for you these days? What do you most deeply long for?

Reflection: Some people say they don’t know how to pray. What they want is to be told the correct way: surefire forms of words, reliable prayers and recitations, meditations and exercises. These are good ways to prayer. But they are only means and instruments. They are systems for coming to quiet, methods often meant to slow us down and make it possible for us to hear God’s voice, to, sense His presence. They are not yet prayer itself. They are paths toward prayer, the stepping-stones from our furious activity and movement into His life, His being.

It is there that the Lord teaches us to pray. When we begin to pray, he prays in us; it is His power and grace that help us pray, till we don’t know where we leave off and He begins. We yield. And when that yielding comes, we find that all the prayers made since time began are swept aside and something new occurs. Something happens now for the first time between the Lord and us, something springs from His reality and our response, from His identity and ours in Him. We do not speak. He speaks. We do not ask. He asks. He is the music that fills the universe, and we - with our first fumbling steps - now catch the rhythm of the dance.

There are no words now, for our prayer moves beyond words. And yet there is a to-and-fro about it. He is calling us and we are following. He is surprising us - now here, now there - and we are chasing Him. Time stops, the music of His presence moves us, leads us in ways we had not dreamed of, shows us gleams of an existence we hardly guessed at. We are children now, chasing the kingdom, stepping free of where we were and who we were, into new selves, made in His image and likeness, selves of His making, meant for heaven and for Him.

Now we exist with God. In Him we live and move. That is so always, the reality of our existence even when we do not sense it. But now we know it to be true; in prayer, the truth of it is suddenly made clear. His presence overshadows us, His power is ‘round about us. In prayer, we know, just for a time, that He who hung the stars and moves the planets made us, too - made us for His own reason, called us into being, holds us each instant in existence, and calls us to reality in Him.

How can we know that, except by grace: God in us, making known the mystery beyond speech, a knowing deeper than all ordinary knowing? It is as though our lives were lit up from within and some revelation - not breaking through like miracles, but some entirely natural disclosure meant for each one alone - were being whispered in the depths of the heart. (Clinging by Emilie Griffin)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Global Partner Focus: Africa

Bill Harding is currently a special representative for SIM in North America. God is using Bill's gifts and rich experience in Ethiopia as a conference speaker to challenge and reaffirm the priority of world missions. Pray today for Bill who is headed to Ethiopia in November to speak at the Sidama regional conference, minister at the Muslim Background Believers Training Center in Butajira and teach at the Harding Bible School in Yirgacheffe.

The vision of the FISH is a food distribution ministry which is sponsored by many churches and food banks in the Knoxville city area. CSPC stocks the food pantry once a year, takes calls for food, and also distributes the food once per month. Pray today for each family that receives food from FISH.

Closing Prayer: O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust. I seek You with every fiber of my being. In this dry and weary land with no water in sight, my soul is dry and longs for You. My body aches for You, for Your presence. I have seen You in Your sanctuary and have been awed by Your power and glory. Your steadfast love is better than life itself, so my lips will give You all my praise. I will bless You with every breath of my life; I will lift up my hands in praise to Your name.

My soul overflows with satisfaction, as when I feast on foods rich in marrow and fat; with excitement in my heart and joy on my lips, I offer You praise. Often at night I lie in bed and remember You, meditating on Your greatness till morning smiles through my window. (Psalm 63:1-6, The Voice)