I ask for the grace to pray and meditate faithfully. I ask for patience, tolerance, compassion, and empathy. I ask to abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, and self-importance. May I make room for transformation in my heart this Advent Season. May my words, thoughts, and actions proclaim justice, kindness, and humility.
30 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in earnest prayer to God on my behalf,
31that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my ministry to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
32so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
33The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.
1) "...love of the Spirit;" "...earnest prayer;" "...acceptable to the saints;" "...by God's will;" "...refreshed in your company;" "...The God of peace;" "...I appeal to you;" "...by the love of the Spirit;" "...to join me in earnest prayer;" "...refreshed in your company;" "...I appeal to you... by the love of the Spirit;" "to join me in earnest prayer;"
2) For what do we earnestly pray? Paul is praying to escape imprisonment, possibly execution and that his ministry be found acceptable. What are my earnest prayers? I would certainly identify with the appeal that my ministry be found acceptable. Its hard in an age when the church is in fact, I hope, atoning for its trespasses, to feel that any of our ministry is acceptable. Not only has the church committed grievous crimes against indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2 people, women, and racial minorities, but in times when technology changes faster than membership is growing, keeping up with what is needed in genuine ministry is difficult. Is doing what we did 10 years ago still suitable? In too many instances the answer is "No," but we have not yet put in the energy to discerning an alternative. And it is all changing at once. So yes. Pray earnestly that our ministry may be acceptable. Not just to the "saints in Jerusalem" but to God and Christ. May our ministry be worthy of the grace that abounds.
3) What is the invitation in all this? To pray earnestly that our ministry be acceptable.
"Holy One, guide us in our ministry."
Breathprayer: "By the love of the Spirit... peace."