Daily Prayer :: Wind

First steps on the journey of faith and community

January 18 — The Way of Jesus/Water: Making ripples

Today’s Bible reading

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. —1 Corinthians 3:6-13

More thoughts for meditation

The fluidity of the water stage might remind you of the myth of a “compartmentalized” life. There really is no such thing, is there? The “spiritual” and the mundane flow into each other regularly. “Me-time” gets interrupted by others, and God is there, too. It is like when Jesus healed and ate on the Sabbath. The Pharisees did not like that he was mixing categories, and the pharisee in me sometimes gets stuck on arbitrary boundaries, too. Jesus answers us: “Those categories were just tools to help you in the beginning. They were made for you, not you for them! I am Lord of all the categories, and life is one whole cloth. Follow me, and I will teach you how to be sustained and serving, healed and healing.”

Try this prayer practice (adapted from Ruth Haley Barton)

  • Picture a place that brings you comfort and a sense of safety.
  • Imagine God sitting in that place with you.
  • Just be with God for a few minutes.
  • Allow God to bring others to your heart and mind—any person or situation that is of concern to you, someone who has asked for your prayers, or a situation that is causing you stress or requires wisdom.
  • Imagine God asking you, “Is it OK for us to invite this person to join us (or for us to look at this situation together)?”
  • If you can say “Yes,” welcome that person into the space where you and God are communing and be with that person, group or situation in God’s presence.
  • Listen for the prayer (desire, groaning?) that the Holy Spirit is already praying for that person or situation.
  • Ask God, “How can I join you in that prayer?”
  • See if there is anything God is inviting you to offer to that person or situation.
  • Do not force or push anything.
  • If nothing comes, continue to rest in God relative to that situation.
  • If wisdom or a next step does come, determine that you will respond faithfully as God makes the way clear.

ripples

Suggestions for action

Go to a body of water: the ocean, one of our rivers, a pool, a puddle, a bathtub, a bucket, a bowl.

Take a rock (a pebble, a ball, something that will sink to the depths) and invest it with some kind of meaning—something that needs to get into the water, to be healed, to feel enveloped, to be stirred up or to be stirring things up. Ceremoniously take your rock, say or shout its meaning (like “Shame!,” or “Compassion!” or “Fear!” or “Action!”) and throw it into the body of water. Make ripples that visualize your own impact. Stay with it until the ripples have died down. Wait for yourself to be quiet, too.

Today is Amy Carmichael day! Visit this missionary ancestor and influential author at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body

January 17 — The Way of Jesus/Water: Floating and walking in grace

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt

Read Matthew 14:22-36

Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”               

More thoughts for meditation

Every day of our lives, even if we are given long ones, we have Peter’s request to ask of the Lord: “If it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” When it is the Lord and when we are listening, the answer is, “Come.” 

There are two sides to swimming in an ocean of grace: floating and walking

  • Floating: Soaking in God’s love and truth—God holding you, surrounding you.
  • Walking: Facing doubt—”IF it’s really you” requires action, getting out on the water with Jesus.

He was not that old when this happened, or a very experienced disciple, but Peter had another opportunity to respond to the mysterious command of Jesus. After his resurrection Jesus showed himself to the disciples as they were fishing. He was on the shore directing them to cast their nets into a miraculous catch of fish. It says, “The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water” (John 21).  

In his later years, when Peter wrote the letter that is now included in the New Testament, he demonstrated what a life of following Jesus along his way achieved. He told his listeners:

“With minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming” (1 Peter 1:13).  

He knew that the Lord’s coming might be soon, even though he had been waiting quite a while. Even though the waiting might be accompanied with difficulties, he assured his listeners that,

“The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:10-11).

Suggestions for action

Where do you want to end up? It will probably begin with where you are going today.

In what condition are you starting? Are you soaking?

In what direction are you headed? Are you walking?

Spend some good time journaling your prayers. God is with you. God will guide you.

We have a sister site devoted to our conviction that we are part of the transnational, transcultural and transhistorical body of Christ. Luke Hebrews 11 list, we have spiritual ancestors who have paved the way for us. We deliberately look for people from all kinds of thinking and backgrounds to enrich our appreciation of great faith.  Today is Anthony of Egypt day! Visit the man who made being a monk famous at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

January 16 — The Way of Jesus/Water: A well springing up

Leading the lame to the well

Today’s Bible reading

Read John 5:1-15

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

More thoughts for meditation

The way of Jesus moves toward water. We are destined to swim in an ocean of grace, now and forever.

That eternity begins like a drip, drip, drip. We get baptized in it and take on our spiritual identity. We swim in the pool and become a thirst quencher, a water giver and a port builder. We eventually become one with the waterfully at home, fully deployed. Jesus says, “The water I give you will become a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Our destination is an ocean of grace. But we start in a spiritual desert. Incrementally, we understand who we are and what we should do as living water changes our environment bit by bit. We adapt to the increasing drips that become pools, that become waterways that become an ocean.

The story of the crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda represents our process too. He had very little idea of what getting into the water might mean. He had a very small concept of “water.” But Jesus met him in his condition and lifted him up into His “pool.” Jesus really stirred things up.

So it is a very good question for the disabled man: “Do you want to be well?” It is a challenge to be well! Jesus has water beyond what we can imagineour imaginations are often a bit invalid. We can stay dry and act like we are afraid of water or unable to get to any, or we can learn to swim like the great spiritual whales we are meant to be, singing for joy in the depths.

As soon as the man is healed by Jesus, his new, upturned life begins to turn others upside down. Do you want to be well and do you want to be a well? It is a challenge to be a well! If you are down the road on the way of Jesus, the choices do not necessarily get easier. If you are young, now is the time to collect every drop of grace and let it nourish your capacity to share your cup of cold water.

Suggestions for action

Have you been waiting a long time? Does it seem like you should have been in stirred-up water before now and stirred up more than you are? If anything, today’s reading tells us that Jesus is likely to show up in his own time, and it really does not matter how long we have been waiting, since we are talking about water that is eternal.

Maybe you are waiting on something you don’t understand and it is really right in front of you! What is pooled up in you already? What have you been given to give? Do you dare to write down what your heart wants Jesus to activate? Do you want to be well and to be a well?

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