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Mission Devotional - September 12, 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Spiritual Practice

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to live in such a way that we will recognize you when you come and walk along with us. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 24:13-35

Journal: What things help you be more aware and attentive to the presence and movement of God in your life? How often do you practice those things? How can you intentionally make them a part of your spiritual practice in a way that helps you to better recognize God’s presence in your life?

Reflection: As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. (Luke 24:15-16)

Never underestimate the value of spiritual practice in life with God. We are not told exactly what kept the disciples from being able to recognize Jesus. Maybe it was the chaos of the last few days, maybe it was all that was swimming around in their hearts and minds at the moment, or maybe it was something bigger than that. Who knows? But we are told what helped them to finally realize who it was that stood before them - the breaking of the bread. Spiritual Practice.

Spiritual practice is the thing that keeps us rooted and attentive and aware. It keeps us awake and alert and open to God, and whatever he might be up to at any given moment. It is not an end in itself, but is a necessary means to a beautiful end--union with the God who made us uniquely and loves us dearly. Spiritual practice is not meant to manipulate, control, or manufacture. It is merely something that makes space within us and among us, so that when Jesus finally does come up and walk along with us, we will actually be able to recognize him.

Yet somehow, given the demands of this life, it is something that is easily pushed aside. And when it is, it makes us less and less able to notice the One who walks among us. That is probably why John Wesley once wrote: "O Begin! Fix some part of every day for the private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not: what is tedious at first will afterward be pleasant. Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way: else you will be a trifler all your days."

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Global Partner Focus: Europe

After years of leading Young Life Spain and Young Life Western Europe Jim and Barbara McNamee are now developing new areas as part of the regional staff. They are working to start new ministries in the five countries of Western Europe, including Luxembourg, Andorra, and Italy. Their primary focus at this time is starting a new YL area in the Basque Country of Spain. Pray today for Jim and Barbara who are traveling in Europe this month and next.

Wears Valley Ranch offers a Christian home, education, and counseling to children from families in crisis. Their vision is to see each child inspired to follow Christ, healed from the past, and equipped to reach their full potential. Pray today for the staff of WVR as they model Christ’s love and salvation to the residents and for young adults to become mentors.

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to arrange our lives in such a way that we constantly make space to hear your voice and see your hand. Otherwise, we might walk through this life unaware of the beautiful things you are doing within and among us. Give us the grace not to miss you. Amen.