Centering Prayer & Devotional – Aug. 16, 2021

Centering Prayer * St. James' Episcopal Church

The Welcoming Prayer for Healing – Centering Prayer (Please gently become aware of your interior state, and repeat this prayer.)

God, I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment.

God, I know it is for my healing.

God, I welcome all thoughts, and emotions.

God, I let go of my desire for control. God, I let go of my desire for approval.

God, I let go of my desire to change people.

God, I open myself to your love.

God, I open myself to your healing grace.

Now we will slowly breathe in through our nose, and then slowly breathe out through our mouths as we repeat one word, “Amen”, 3 times, while we refocus ourselves in our New Supernatural Reality Jesus: Amen. Amen. Amen.

Confession:

Heavenly Father, you have given us everything we need in Christ. This includes gifts and talents to be used for Your glory. Yet we don’t all have the same giftings. At times, we can make this about ourselves. We confess that we have moments where we compare and become jealous of one another. Please forgive our insecurities in this area. Remind us to enjoy what You have given us. Your grace is sufficient for us, and by Your grace, may we fulfill our own God-given callings on this earth. And may our joy be full in Christ. We pray this humbly in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Bible Reading & Devotional:

DAILY MEDITATION: JUDGES 2:11-19

They followed the other gods . . . and by their worship of these gods provoked the Lord. (Judges 2:12)

Today’s first reading can be unsettling in the way it depicts God as showing righteous anger over his people’s faithlessness. But this same reading also shows him taking pity on those same disloyal, inconstant people—again and again. On balance, the Scriptures show us a God who is all-loving and always willing to forgive. It shows him persistently striving to draw his people—us—into a relationship of love with him. Just look at Israel’s story up to this point.

After God had rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, he brought them to Canaan and helped them win victories over their enemies. His intention had always been to shower his people with loving kindness, to protect them, and to help establish them in the land he had given them. He wanted a relationship, a connection of their hearts to his.

Just as we do today, the Israelites often rejected this bond of love and disobeyed the Lord. And like us, they suffered the consequences of their deeds and lost their closeness with God. But look what happened every time they turned back: God “had regard for their affliction when he heard their cry” (Psalm 106:44). He welcomed them back and blessed them. This should impress upon us how serious human sin is and how complete God’s justice is. But it can also fill us with gratitude: God loves us too much to abandon us to our sin. He even sent his Son, so that everyone who believes in him might experience the connection of hearts that God has always wanted for us.

So how do we experience that connection? By honoring the Lord and giving him first place in our lives. In our prayer and worship. In our relationships. And in the hard times we inevitably face. Israel wavered in that commission, and sometimes we do too. But God is ever faithful. He is always ready to rekindle your relationship with him. If you need to repent for resisting a connection of your heart to his, do so now. Tell him you want to deepen your relationship with him.

“Almighty God, help me to grow in my bond of love with you.”

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

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