Rest? Really?

by Eric Ryan, Pastor of Leadership Development
It almost feels laughable that the first devo in this series was about resting and “not wasting” the quiet time at home! I don’t know about you, but my mind feels like it hasn’t stopped thinking or processing for a month straight!

It seems we are now in a weird limbo, where things are not fully back to normal in the city, but expectations of productivity and accomplishment are very close to normal. In other words, we don’t have all the same resources and spaces available to us but are expected to “perform” at the same level. Everything we ever did before has to be rethought and replanned, while still getting done. Every day, we still need to reach point B from point A, but we’re no longer allowed to travel in a straight line.

If you’re like me, you’ve grown to be very tired. Why is everything so hard? Why does everything feel broken? I find myself mumbling under my breath, “I’m so tired..”

First of all, it’s ok to be tired right now. That doesn’t make you weak; it makes you normal. You’re not alone in your fatigue or confusion. You’re not alone in your anxiety or fear. You’re not alone in your anger or even your apathy. We are in extra trying times!

Today I want to encourage you with what has encouraged me this week. All I am, as a pastor, is a sheep, trying to help the other sheep keep their eyes on the Great Shepherd. I can only share what I have been experiencing in hopes that it helps you.

Last week I read a short book called Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney. I know I probably shouldn’t say this as a pastor, but it was extremely helpful. I have prayed passages before, but this book explained it with such clarity and conviction, I may never return to old habits! He also builds a strong argument for the fact that people struggle to pray because we are tired of saying the “same old things about the same old things” not because we are “lesser Christians” or don’t believe in prayer. This week, praying has been flat out fun. Try it.

What really got me hooked was what happened in my first couple of attempts of his method. I ran across Psalm 86:4: “Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.” What a perfect prayer for this season! It holds both a request that I need most days and a charge/reminder to lift our soul to God, all in one simple sentence. Honestly, when was the last time you asked God to gladden your soul?

Today I was prompted to pray, “Blessed are your people, who walk in the light of your face.” As Christians in a world surrounded by chaos, and filled with questions can remember that we do all things under the light of God’s glorious face. We don’t walk alone! I am telling you, praying the Bible has been a much-needed help in times of trouble. Please try that book and method. You may find you begin to grow in Christ in a way you didn’t think was possible right now.

We are praying for you all! I look forward to seeing all who can make it this weekend. It will be good to worship together again!
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Sallie Powell - July 2nd, 2020 at 7:27pm

"Flat out fun" prayer! Love it!! So, so true. Thanks, Eric!