You, oh youth worker (pastor, parent, friend), hear these words and tell me….
who are you working for?
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat–for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
Then, I read his prayer in 2 Samuel 7:18-28.
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant—and this decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a human being!“What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord.
“For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant. How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?
You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.“And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘the Lord Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.
“ Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you.Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.
I begin to hear the echo in my soul. Then a reading moving further in…
A prayer from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.
Confirm me, Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and give me grace to be strong inwardly in soul and to cast out from it all unprofitable business of the world and of the flesh, that it may not be led by unstable desires of earthly things. And grant that I may behold all things in this world as they are–transitory and of short abiding, and I myself also to pass away together with them, for nothing under the sun can long abide, but all in vanity and affliction of spirit.
Therefore, O Lord, give me true heavenly wisdom, that I may learn to seek you and to find you, and above al things to love you, and to understand and know all other things as they are, after the direction of your wisdom, and not otherwise. And give me grace, also, to withdraw myself form those who flatter me, and patiently to tolerate those who grieve me so that the way I have begun will bring me to a good and blessed ending.
We will sing your praise, with our strength, with our voice, with our lives…without end.
God’s love reaches out and asks for us to be present–to be available for him to transform us–allowing his spirit to work gently and deeply with in us–sharing with us. That we would be FULL of his Spirit and enabled to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than we could ever ask, or think, or even imagine, in Jesus’ name.
*My daily scripture reading and reflection comes from a book I’ve been using for ten years this January. A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. (Shawchuck & Job) I owe many thanks to a mentor during our senior year of college for recommending this to us and helping us enter into community, solitude, and spiritual formation from a young age.