- Today, what would you celebrate today about your missional community?
- Today, what would you confess or lament about your missional community?
- Today, what are you hopes for your missional community?
Scripture: Philippians 4:4-7
Simple Prayer: Our Father in heaven, your name is holy. We want your Kingdom to come and your will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day what we need for this day. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us away from temptation and deliver us from the evil one. For the kingdom is yours, the power is yours, and the glory is yours forever and ever! Amen!
Paul, sitting in prison for his faith, invites the Philippians to not be anxious about anything by practicing the same faith. Evidently, prison wasn’t something he thought should make them anxious.
He invites them to prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Prayer – to be in communion with God. Petition – to ask God to address something. Thanksgiving – to take time to recognize, acknowledge, and express gratitude to God what God has done for us. This practice, prayer and petition with thanksgiving gives direction for reducing anxiety. Paul suggests that this way of praying addresses our anxieties and moves us toward the kind of peace that fears nothing: not even arrest, prison, or death.
Some of you can testify to the power of praying this way. You have experienced the peace he writes about. Let me suggest that when this happens, we’re getting a personal experience of what God’s will being done on earth is like. When we move away from anxiety toward peace, heaven is coming to earth in us.
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray (and by extension, taught us to pray) he taught us to ask for God’s help and intervention to make earth more like heaven. We are included in that. In this prayer, we are inviting God to do what he needs to do in each of us so that the earth becomes more heaven-like.
Think about this: God wants heaven to come into our hearts so that God can work through us to make earth more like heaven. Do you agree?
I remember hearing something like this in a sermon. When heaven comes to earth, people are valued because God values them. When heaven comes to earth children are cared for and protected. They receive lavish love because Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” When heaven comes to earth, needs are met, forgiveness reigns, people love across differences, grace overcomes every divide, money and power are used in ways that bring joy and meet needs, and always, always they are used in ways that honor God. When heaven comes to earth, families are places of refuge and kindness. They are sustained and supported, where the generations meet at a common table, where virtue is understood, appreciated, and celebrated. People get built up. Courage, hope, faith, love, and joy characterize each day, and no one suffers alone, no one cries alone, no one dies alone, and no one ever, ever loses hope.
This devotional doesn’t even begin to address the battles to be fought in prayer that are hinted at in each statement the previous paragraph. But I hope it gives you a glimpse of the Kingdom. And I hope it makes you hungry for God’s Kingdom to come and God’s will to be done more completely in your own life!
If you get a taste of that peace Paul writes about, let it remind you that you can depend on God, not just for yourself, but for all things: for God’s Kingdom will come, his will shall be done. He is at work making all things new!
Reflection and Practice:
- Which is easier: praying in community or praying alone?
- When has Your missional community helped you in the practice of prayer? What were the activities?
- What motivates you to pray?
- Is there anything you need to do in response? When and how will you do it?