“All the great soul-winners have been men of much and mighty prayer, and all great revivals have been preceded and carried out by persevering, prevailing knee-work in the closet.”
–Samuel Logan Brengle
- 1-Minute Devotional thought:
(Luke 10:38-42 ESV)  Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Christian, your Lord Jesus knows exactly how long your “To Do” list is. He knows your sleepless nights, where you lie awake wondering how you will get everything accomplished that needs to be done. And, He knows that the last thing you need to hear right now is just one more things that “you really need to do.”
But, this same Jesus also tells you, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
So, are you ready for the “Mary and Martha” story? You know, the story which all of us “get things done” kind of people feel like is unfairly pointing at us in judgement, telling us to stop being so “Type A” and driven. “Relax! Take it easy! What’s all the fuss?” they say, all the while eating the food you cooked or enjoying the fantastic vacation you put together.
Well, hang on for moment. I know you don’t have five minutes to read a “1-minute devotional,” so I can’t go into all the details of the story. But, what Jesus was saying to Martha is, essentially, what He told Satan in the wilderness: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word which proceeds from the mouth of the Father.”
Jesus isn’t telling Martha or the Devil, “Physical bread isn’t necessary for survival.” Jesus gave thousands of people bread on several occasions. Rather, he tells Martha (and us) that for the fullest joy and the best good for our souls, we’ve got to be jealous to go after “the best portion” — listening to the Word of Christ.
This isn’t a message designed to promote indolence and irresponsibility within our life. Jesus simply desires for us to “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” and trust that “all these things [the material stuff we need to survive] will be added to you.”
So, put “the best portion” into your soul first. Sit at Christ’s feet early and often throughout the day, listening to the Word of Christ. Specifically, this means communing with God in Bible reading and prayer. God will take care of the remaining hours of your day, giving you energy and resources for accomplishing your tasks. But, feed yourself on Him first! Eat of Him — the best portion.
- As citizens of the City of Man: Pray for all the folks in your community who are homeless and destitute. There is not always an easy explanation for how such poverty-amidst-plenty happens to people, nor are there easy solutions. So for this brief moment, simply pray to God for these people. Good action and initiative to help can come forth from a robust prayer life … so begin with prayer. Pray for their immediate needs, and pray for their long-term situation to be worked out in such a way that they can turn things around.
- Pray for your local Pro-life ministries. Pray that the Lord gives them fresh courage this week to rescue the unborn through direct interaction with the mothers who are looking for answers.
- Pray for the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) ministry taking place on the campus of Furman University — led by Tim and Udouj:
Tim is a native of Memphis, Tenn., and a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Reformed Theological Seminary. He is married to Rosie, originally from Pennsylvania, and they have three children, Ellie (6/03) and Sam (6/05), and Jillian (6/08).
- Using the new 2013 “watchlist” produced by Open Doors, we pray for the persecuted Christians of a different country each week.
Teachers/parents, consider this a great way to introduce geography into the weekly lessons. Show students where the nation is, then pray for Christians in that place.
This week we pray for the Christians of Iran, which ranks No. 8 on the watchlist:
Fearful of the increasing numbers of Christians, particularly in house churches, the authorities closely monitor Christian activities, particularly churches that reach out to Muslims. Evangelism, Bible training and publishing Scriptures in Farsi are illegal. Detentions of Christians are common. Several persecuted Christians were forced to leave their homes or flee the country. Muslim-background believers face most pressure – any Muslim who leaves Islam faces the death penalty. In September 2012 Pastor Nadarkhani was released after three years in prison on charges of apostasy.
Pray: For Pastor Nadharkani and his family as he adjusts to life after prison. For justice for Christian prisoners and lawyers who try to defend them. Many disillusioned Iranian Muslims are becoming curious about Christianity. Pray that they will find hope in Jesus.
- Prayer for the nation – focusing this week on the state of Connecticut. Lord, where Puritans once settled a land and produced bold pulpits which proclaimed the need for belief in the Sovereign and merciful God of the Bible, may strong and vibrant churches once again spring forth throughout this state.
- In 2013, we will pray together by name for Christians in 50 nations, Christians in all 50 states and all the presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the emerging new Reformed body, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbytreians. You are encouraged to add specific pastors, lay leaders, congregations, missionaries, new church developments and other ministries to the list by posting a comment to the blog. (Please do not publicly post the names of missionaries serving in contexts where exposing their identity would cause them harm or bring harm to those they serve in Christ’s name.) Let us kneel before the Father and ask His will be done.
- Prayers for the PCUSA: Pray for the presbyteries of the Synod of the Rocky Mountains: Denver, Glacier, Plains and Peaks, Pueblo, Utah, Western Colorado, Wyoming and Yellowstone.
Prayers for Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC): the East Presbytery (Ron Meyer, stated clerk).
- Prayers for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA): the churches of the Southwest Florida Presbytery.
- Prayers for ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.
- Prayers for The Fellowship of Presbyterians.