[Therefore], brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God…Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink… Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.
Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law…. Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is what fulfills the Law.
from Jennifer Creager, Resurrection Prayer Ministry
I don’t know about you, but there are so many things going on in the world right now that sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode. It seems like nothing is good. Everything is contentious, or frightening, or out of control. The noise, which comes to us in so many ways – commercial media, social media, conversations in settings that used to be fun and now seem like never ending arguments – draw us into a pattern that, Paul tells us, is not what God meant for us.
What do we do? How do we escape the noise and gain perspective on all that is happening right now? Paul had and answer for that. “...be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is – what is good and pleasing and mature.” (Romans 12:2)
One of the best ways we have for renewing our minds is to leave the shouting and tweeting and never-ending news cycle for a while and enter into an enriching, renewing conversation with God in prayer.
Sometimes it’s hard to settle into prayer when the patterns of this world have turned our minds and our spirits into a tangled mess. At those times, one of the most helpful tools we have is the prayer that Jesus gave us. Find a quiet place and take a few minutes to breath. When you feel your body slow down, even if your mind is still racing, begin to pray. Whether this prayer is new to you or these are words that live in your memory, hear them and speak them as if you never have before.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed by 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 evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
(The United Methodist Hymnal #895)
This week, let’s remember to engage with God in focused prayer, so we may find the pattern for our lives that helps us clearly see God’s will and find ourselves renewed.
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