A Month of Evening Prayers
Every August in Shelby, the American Legion version of the “boys of summer” brings their national tournament to Shelby High School’s Keeter Stadium for the American Legion World Series. This week the next National Champion will have made their way to being crowned the best of the eight teams representing the regions from around our nation. The baseball heritage of Cleveland County gave me a bit of inspiration for putting together this devotional guide which I hope will encourage our “evening prayers” during August, and beyond!
Daily – “Look to the COACH for the Sign!”
“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.”
Proverbs 29:18, The Message
In baseball, the third base coach gives the players signs for what to do next. They know which sign is the right sign for them when they see the “indicator,” after which comes their instruction. Jesus is God’s indicator for the church, and, when we see him, what comes next is God’s instruction for our “at-bat.” Father, help me this day to stay focused on Jesus to show me my next steps at home, at work, at school, and for service in the life of Poplar Springs Baptist Church. We pray today with, and for, the Pastor Search Committee as they “look to the coach for their sign!” as well: Ava Bryson, Clyde Buckner, John Harmon, Tara Hayes, Clay Putnam, and Leslie Queen.
Sunday– “Here’s the PITCH”
“David said it all: I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side. I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.” Acts 2:22-28, The Message (from Peter’s sermon on Pentecost)
Father, because the struggles I experienced today continue to weigh on my heart and mind as night approaches, please help me to “pitch” my tent in the land of hope where the assurance of your presence leads me on. Amen.
Monday– “It’s a HIT”
“I took another walk around the neighborhood and realized that on this earth as it is— The race is not always to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor satisfaction to the wise, Nor riches to the smart, Nor grace to the learned. Sooner or later bad luck hits us all”. Eccl. 9:11, The Message
Father, it did seem like the “bad luck” showed up this week and I have felt its “hit” on my life. That’s the nature of human life, I know. Jesus said it: “In this world you will know trouble….” Help me tonight to find rest in you by hitting back with faith that the rest of Jesus’ words are true, “…but take heart for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Amen.
Tuesday– “What a CATCH!”
“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” Psalm 23:1-3, The Message
Father, this week has seen a rush of activity on the calendar, but more, a rush of ideas and concerns running through my brain. Thank you for helping me to “catch” my breath in this moment and realize that you understand the thoughts and decisions I am dealing with and that your Spirit will send me in the right direction. Amen.
Wednesday – “That one is gone…a home RUN”
“God’s name is a place of protection— ‘faithful’ people can run there and are safe.” Prov. 18:10, The Message
Father, this week I had to face uncertainties that continue to trouble me. Hear me describe them to you now. Help me to know your direction through them. I am “running” into your presence now, and always so that I can know the “safety” of your loving care for me and for my loved ones. Amen.
Thursday – “No runs, no hits, but Oh the ERRORS!”
“When the ‘Spirit’ comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin…” Jn. 16:8-9, The Message
Father, I thank you for the Spirit’s conviction upon my heart this week. It has not felt good to be reminded of the “errors” I have made – errors in judgment, in behavior, in actions, in the use of my words. Even so, in response to your conviction in my heart, I come now to confess my sin knowing that you are faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness as I do. Amen.
Friday – “That gets them into SCORING position.”
“Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, The Message
Father, there have been some folks to hurt me this week and it would be easy to keep “score” of their wrongs. But, please make your love real in and through me so that forgiveness leads the way in my relationships and I follow your lead in sharing your love through the life and ministry of my church.
Saturday – “He leads the league in WALKS!”
“Those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired. They walk and don’t lag behind.” Isaiah 40:31, The Message
Father, sometimes my heart is anxious because I want things resolved with the timing I desire. I’m sorry for thinking I could get back around to home plate without touching first, second and third bases around the diamond. Please still my soul so that I can patiently wait on your power to work in my life as I “walk” to first base – help me to be faithful with the last thing you told me to be and do.
In the Love of Jesus,