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Mission Devotional - October 6, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

Opening Prayer: O God, train us to pray with others who have prayed, and are praying: put our knees on the level with other bent knees; lift our hands in concert with other lifted hands; join our voices in lament and praise with other voices who weep and laugh. Thank you that the primary use of prayer is not for expressing ourselves, but in becoming ourselves, and we cannot do that alone. Amen. - Eugene H. Peterson

Scripture: Psalm 1:1-6

Journal: Which image in this Psalm best describes your life these days? What words capture you? Why? How can you be more like a tree planted by the streams? What role does prayer play in that?

Reflection: Prayers are tools, but with this clarification: prayers are not tools for doing or getting, but for being and becoming. In our largely externalized culture, we are urgently presented with tools that enable us to do things (a machine, for instance, to clean the carpet), and to get things (a computer, for instance, to get information). We are also well trained in their use. We are not so readily offered tools that enable our being and becoming human

…At the center of the whole enterprise of being human, prayers are the primary technology. Prayers are tools that God uses to work his will in our bodies and souls. Prayers are tools that we use to collaborate in his work with us. (Answering God by Eugene H. Peterson)

The Psalms are acts of obedience, answering the God who has addressed us. God's word precedes these words: these prayers don't seek God, they respond to the God who seeks us. These responses are often ones of surprise, for, who expects God to come looking for us? And they are sometimes awkward, for in our religious striving we are usually looking for something quite other than the God who has come looking for us. God comes and speaks - his word catches us in sin, finds us in despair, invades us by grace. The Psalms are our answers. We don't always like what God speaks to us, and we don't always understand it. Left to ourselves, we will pray to some god who speaks what we like hearing, or to the part of God that we manage to understand. But what is critical is that we speak to the God who speaks to us, and to everything that he speaks to us, and in our speaking (which gathers up our listening and answering) mature in the great conversation with God that is prayer. The Psalms - all of which listen in order to answer - train us in the conversation. (Answering God by Eugene H. 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.

Cedar Springs has planted a church in the Bearden area of Knoxville. New Life Gathering is led by CSPC Associate Pastor Scott Jackson. They meet on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at 6800 Baum Drive. Pray today for Scott and other church leaders as they seek to serve those in Knoxville who might not be drawn to a traditional church setting. Their mission statement is "We exist to build a family of passionate followers of Jesus who make a difference through loving, serving, and creating new opportunities for people from all walks of life to belong in the kingdom of God."

Closing Prayer: Lord God, help us this day to mediate on your word and plant ourselves by your streams, that we might be the people that you made us to be. Amen.