I started a new prayer guide a few weeks ago - Rueben Job's When You Pray. I've read some of his work before, he is so eloquent and the way he chooses the passages and structures the commentary is so moving. I've just fallen in love with it.
Even better that it follows the lectionary format for the UMC. I always had a feeling I was missing out on something when I saw the verses in the bulletin but hadn't read them. (But that's my own issue).
Technically I started early because it is really suppose to start in the beginning of the Church year - Advent. But I can always start over come the week of November 28th.
The pattern of this prayer devotional leads you through opening your heart to God and inviting His intervention. Then there are the Bible verses and then sections of commentary or essays to reflect/mediate upon as listen for The Spirit moving you to pray.
This morning (as in many mornings since I started this), I was moved to tears. The passage to mediate on is Isaiah 56:1-8, which is chock full of promises for us Gentiles and general up-to-no-gooders.
The beauty of it was overwhelming. In the passage, The Lord's Servant (Jesus) makes a promise to eunuchs and foreigners. He will give them a legacy, a name that will never die out - His Name. Before, they would not have been able to have any part in the family of God. They would have died out like the grass and blown away.
But not with Our God. For those who choose Him and His ways over the ways of the flesh and the world - He will not only redeem, He will give them joy, peace, promise.
How many in our world can say that? There are so many people, whether it's through physical, sexual, emotional ways try and fill themselves up. A friend just told me at her daughter's high school there are kids smoking pot and taking Zanex on the way to school - on the WAY to school!
There is so much emptiness - people who have done, said and participate in things (or had things done to them) that give them a sense that they don't matter. Their lives have no meaning.
But hear what The Lord says - That is not my Way! If you choose me, choose life over death, I will deliver you! I will do more than that - I will give you a purpose and promise and future not ever before imagined. I will give you hope and peace and joy!
So - if you have nowhere to go, are no one and maybe people have been telling you are nothing, no one, including God will never love you - that is just plain untrue. It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from or what you've done. He will give it to you. Period, end of story. It's right there in Scripture, look for yourself.
Please do - let your heart and mind and body be filled with the promises of Jesus. Let Him stretch forth His Hand to cleanse and heal you, so He can use you for others who are wandering in a foreign land - those like you once were - who were without hope.
God said it, so I believe it and I pray that you will too!