Friday April 24 2015

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A Season of Transition, a Season of Prayer — Please join us each day at 11:30 a.m. in offering a personal but collective prayer for our congregation. Today’s focus for prayer is: Let us not judge – Let us praise. Let us not hate – Let us love. Let us not complain – Let us see blessings. Let us not be selfish – Let us be selfless.

Scripture: Luke 5:12-16
Key Verse: 16 “But he would withdraw to desolate places to pray.”

Reflection: The miracles Jesus performed were amazing.  They capture our attention.  No wonder the crowds flocked to him!  Everyone who was sick wanted to be healed.  But, tucked away in today’s scripture passage is a verse that is easily overlooked:  Jesus withdrew from the crowds to pray.  This withdrawal of Jesus to a desolate place is a recurring theme in the gospels.  Prayer is where he connected and re-connected with God.  In prayer, Jesus reminded himself that the all-surpassing power belonged to God. Jesus was not super-human.  He got tired, hungry, and sleepy.  He felt pain and heartache.  He laughed and he cried – just like us.  One thing he didn’t do was claim that his power to heal, teach or preach belonged to him.  All that he did was rooted in his connection with God.  So, he withdrew.  He prayed.

This is an important reminder for us.  How often do we do ministry in our own strength as if it all depended on us?  How often do people burn-out serving the Lord?  Burn-out and compassion fatigue lead to cynicism and sarcasm. Doing God’s work in our own strength will eventually lead to disillusionment and lost hope.  I recently read this quote:  “When fatigue moves in; faith moves out.”

As we serve the Lord, we need to retreat to a desolate place to pray, someplace where we can find silence and solitude to connect with and hear God on a regular basis.  When we do, God will empower us for God’s ministry.

Prayer: Loving God, in the midst of our busy lives remind us to spend time with you in prayer so that we might be in your hands more effective instruments of love, justice, acceptance and forgiveness.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Author: Deborah Conner

[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].

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