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Daily Devotionals

Day 21 – Issue 12

todayMay 1, 2015 4

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Be Still Know

Matthew 16:24 NLT

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ’If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

Over the next five Be Still & Know meditations I want to encourage you to reflect on your personal prayer life. I know from experience that prayer can be a great struggle.

When we were in the heat of struggles with childlessness, Katey and I often did not have the resource to pray for ourselves. The pain was too raw; even talking about it caused us an inner anguish. We were so grateful for those who offered to carry the prayer for us. However, it was inappropriate not to pray at all, and we found the traditional symbolic way of the Christian Church of identifying with the sacrificial cross of Christ a great encouragement.

Together we learned how powerful a symbol can be in directing our thoughts and affections away from ourselves and towards the God we worship. Under pressure, each one of us runs the risk of becoming gloomily self-absorbed with our own very real issues. Every time we do so, we quickly lose any sense of perspective and our focus is located on our circumstances. Our eyes no longer scan the horizon seeking to fix their gaze on Jesus.

The power of signing the cross is that we were immediately reminded of how and from what we had been rescued by Christ. Jesus’ call to all disciples to take up their cross daily could be etched on our bodies as we meditated upon this call to self-denial. It often was sufficient to provoke us out of self-absorption.

The early Christian apologist Tertullian in the third century recommended signing the cross, and Augustine also commends it. Certainly the early Reformers kept this practice alive in their faith walk. It is a very simple way you might try to engage with God when words fail, reflecting upon the significance of the cross as the fount of life, while also reminding yourself of the challenge to take up Christ’s cross daily.

QUESTION: Have there been times when prayer has been a struggle?

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, help me to pray when I have no words left. 

Written by: Matt Weet

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