Saturday, March 25, 2017

hurry

Opening Prayer: Slow me down, O Lord, so that I don’t miss what you are doing within and around me.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 131:1-3

Journal: What impact do hurry and busyness have on your life?  Why?

Reflection: “When we are noisy and when we are hurried, we are incapable of intimacy—deep, personal, complex relationships. … Like children lost in the woods, the more lost we feel, the faster we run.” ~Eugene Peterson

“It is a commonplace of the spiritual masters that the deepest part of the soul likes to go slow, since it seeks to savor rather than to accomplish; it wants to rest in and contemplate the good rather than to hurry off to another place.” ~Robert Barron

"Our busyness—whether of body or of mind—is often a distraction, a way of avoiding others, avoiding intimacy, avoiding ourselves. We keep busy to push back our fears, our loneliness, our self-doubt, our questions about purposes and ends. We want to know we matter, we want to know our lives are worthwhile. And when we’re not sure, we work that much harder, we worry that much more. In the face of our uncertainty, we keep busy.  …What is it, then, that restores us to a better version of ourselves, that returns us to our firm sense of goodness—both our own and the world’s? Perhaps it’s a question of grace: a reflected sunset flares in the windows of a skyscraper, a sheet of newspaper takes flight down an empty street, and suddenly we find ourselves in a world made luminous with wonder. … And so it is: the world itself can call us out of our preoccupations, our worries, our lists and agendas. In such moments our attention is arrested, quite literally stopped, and the world seems to say to us: “Don’t just do something, stand there.”  ~Philip Simmons

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Lord God, help me to not get running so fast that I forget to pay attention to what you are doing right in front of my eyes.  Do not let hurry and busyness rule my life, but let me be guided by your voice and your Spirit and your affection.  Amen.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

beloved

Opening Prayer: Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from old.  Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your unfailing love remember me, for you are good, O Lord. (Psalm 25:6-7)

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:3

Journal: What is the truest thing about you today?  How does God’s love define you?

Reflection:

                beloved

the older i get
the more i realize
what a mess
i am

but i am not
just any mess
i am
a beloved mess

thanks be to god

Prayer

Closing Prayer: How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.  Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart. (Psalm 36:7-10)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

god is our center

Opening Prayer: Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will.  All that I am and all that I possess You have given to me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will.  Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.  ~St. Ignatius of Loyola

Scripture: Psalm 24:1-2

Journal: How does it help you today to know that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof?  What confidence does it give you in God’s sovereignty and control?  Where in your life do you need that confidence right now?

Reflection: So Kyrie Irving believes that the earth is flat.  Interesting.  He's entitled to his opinion, right?  From where I stand—right here, right now—I could buy into that theory.  I mean, from my own little vantage point in this great big world, that's the way it appears to be.  The problem is that time after time I have found that my own little vantage point is not a reliable place to begin.  The larger picture is the one that shows the truth.  The spaceships and satellites that have orbited our planet tell us the real story that our limited vision cannot see.  Oh sure, I can deny all of the evidence to the contrary and live in my own perception of the "truth," but that doesn't change the fact that the truth will still be the truth whether I acknowledge it or not.
     I'm sure Copernicus had the same conversations when he helped us to see that the earth is, in fact, not the center of the universe, the sun is.  There is just something within us that refuses to believe that that's true.  Our default, both then and now, is to believe that we are the center of the universe, that everything revolves around us.  And, unfortunately, I tend to live my life that way.
     That's where the Psalms can be so helpful.  They remind me that this life is not about me.  I am not the center of the universe, God is.  And when I begin to truly believe that, and to live as if it were true, it changes everything.  The truth is that my life is not my own; I was made for bigger purposes.  My tiny little story isn't the main story.  I am participant in a story much bigger and much more amazing than I could dare hope or dream.  I was made by God, for God.  My life revolves around him, not he around me.  When I begin to recognize that truth I am able to begin to see things as they really are, and to engage in the life God made me for.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Dear God, Be at the center of everything in my life because without you I am off balance and spinning out of control.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

center

Opening Prayer: Lord God, Creator of all things, please remind me again today that I am not the center of the universe, you are.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 29:1-2

Journal: What does it look like in your life today to make God the point (the center) rather than yourself?

Reflection: The Psalms were not prayed by people trying to understand themselves.  They are not the record of people searching for the meaning of life.  They were prayed by people who understood that God had everything to do with them.  God, not their feelings, was the center.  God, not their souls, was the issue.  God, not the meaning of life, was critical. (Answering God by Eugene Peterson)

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Forgive me, O God, when I allow—and even arrange—my life to revolve around me rather than you.  Center my life on you, and you alone.  Amen.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

disrupted

Opening Prayer: O voice of God, speak into my heart and soul and life this day.  Break and strike and shake and twist and strip me bare, that I might be more and more the person and the lover you desire me to be.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 29:1-11

Journal: Which word from the Psalm best describes what God’s voice is doing in your life these days?  Why?  How is the voice of God disrupting you these days?

Reflection:
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic. 
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightening. 
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. 
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
and strips them bare
And in his temple all cry, "Glory!"
~Psalm 29:4-5, 7-9

There are no two ways about it;
God's voice is disruptive. 
A perfect thing to remember
during the season of Lent,
a season that is quite disruptive itself. 
I don't know about you,
but even though I hate to admit it,
I need to be disrupted. 
I have a tendency to fall asleep in my life
and not even know it. 
I need to be shaken out of my slumber. 
I need to be disrupted
from my sense of ease and comfort
with the dysfunctional patterns and habits
I have fallen into
that I somehow have begun to see as normal. 
I need to be shaken and twisted. 
My soul needs to be stripped bare,
so that I can see things
the way they truly are. 
God wants so much more for me
than the life I am currently living,
so once a year Lent rolls around. 
It is my invitation
to allow the voice of God
to thunder in my life. 
To invite him to break my cedars,
whatever that may look like. 
To even ask him to be break and to strike
whatever needs to be broken and struck,
so that I might live the life
that God wants to live
in and through me.
And all in the temple
will cry, "Glory!"

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Speak, O Lord, for your servant is listening.

Friday, March 17, 2017

formed

Opening Prayer:
O God
help me
to believe
the truth about myself
no matter
how beautiful it is!
(Seasons of Your Heart by Macrina Wiederkehr)

Scripture: Jeremiah 1:4-5

Journal:  Do you truly believe that God has a grand design for you?  Do you believe he made you with divine intention and purpose?  What did he make you for?

Reflection: O God, what was in your mind when you formed me and dreamt me into being, before the foundations of the earth?  What was your divine intention for me and for my life?  What were your grand plans for me?  What mission did you have for me that only I could accomplish?  How did you mold and make and form me to be a unique expression of your love, care, and creativity?  And was there a smile on your face and joy in your heart as you breathed me into being?
     For what, O God, have I been consecrated and appointed?  To whom did you intend to send me, and what words did you specifically put in my mouth to deliver?  O Lord, forgive me when I fall short of your grand design.  Forgive me when I think too little of myself—and too little of you—to think that you could possibly have made me for some grand purpose when you formed me.  Forgive me when I let fear or inadequacy stop me from fulfilling the mission for which I was sent.  And forgive me when I allow the busyness and chaos of everyday life to distort or distract me from that mission.
     Lord God, I belong to you.  I am the work of your strong and loving hands.  You made me to be a unique and beautiful expression of yourself in the world.  Give me the strength and the courage to be that.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Lord God, I belong to you.  I am the work of your strong and loving hands.  You made me to be a unique and beautiful expression of yourself in the world.  Give me the strength and the courage to be that.  Amen.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

wheat and chaff

Opening Prayer: Holy God, you promised the renewing presence of your Holy Spirit , and today I ask you to fill me again.  Renew my life, deepen in me a humble repentance for my sins, and empower me to pursue a holy life.  May your beauty in my life be obvious to all.  Amen. (Seeking God's Face by Philip Reinders)

Scripture: Luke 3:15-18

Journal: Where do you see wheat in your life?  Where do you see chaff?  What does God want to do in you this day/season?

Reflection:

     wheat and chaff 

some would say it's simple
an either-or proposition
but i think there might be
far more to it than that
there might also be
an element of both-and

all i have to do
is look within me
to realize that i am
but a sad combination
of wheat and chaff
grain and weed
fruit and thorn
beauty and blemish
good and bad

i am an enigma
an assorted jumble
of that which is worthy
of being gathered and harvested
and that which is worthy only
of being tossed into the fire

and unfortunately
i have grown
far too comfortable
with this dichotomy
far too accommodating
to this enemy of my soul
somehow i have made room
for it to exist unchallenged
and even accepted

but life with God
requires more of me
than resignation
the wheat and chaff
must not coexist


at some point
there has be a separation
of the two
and then a destruction
of that which is contrary
to the life that God
wants to live
in and through me

so maybe i should pray
that your winnowing fork
would fall on me
as terrible as that sounds
as much as it terrifies me
to pray such a thing


for only then will
my inner conflict
be resolved
only then will that
which is of you within me
and that which is not of you
be separated and culminated

O Lord God
master thresher
take away the chaff in me
until only wheat remains
for until then
i can only be
a sad combination
of wheat and chaff

Prayer

Closing Prayer: O Lord God, master thresher, take away the chaff in me, until only wheat remains.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

seen

Opening Prayer: O Lord Jesus, I look at you, and my eyes are fixed on your eyes.  Your eyes penetrate the eternal mystery of the divine and see the glory of God.  They are also the eyes that saw Simon, Andrew, Nathanael, and Levi, the eyes that saw the woman with the hemorrhage, the widow of Nain, the blind, the lame, the lepers, and the hungry crowd, the eyes that saw the sad, rich ruler, the fearful disciples on the lake, and the sorrowful women at the tomb.  Your eyes, O Lord, see in one glance the inexhaustible love of God and the seemingly endless agony of all people who have lost faith in that love and are like sheep without a shepherd.
     As I look into your eyes, they frighten me because they pierce like flames of fire my innermost being, but they console me as well, because these flames are purifying and healing.  Your eyes are so severe yet so loving, so unmasking yet so protecting, so penetrating yet so caressing, so profound yet so intimate, so distant yet so inviting.
     I gradually realize that I want to be seen by you, to dwell under your caring gaze, and to grow strong and gentle in your sight.  Lord, let me see what you see—the love of God and the suffering of people—so that my eyes may become more and more like yours, eyes that can heal wounded hearts. (The Road to Daybreak by Henri Nouwen)

Scripture: John 1:47-51

Journal: What does Jesus see in you this day?  What is your deepest inner reality today?  How do you feel about that?

Reflection: When Jesus sees Nathanael, he really sees him.  In fact, he sees right into him; nothing is hidden.  And when he looks deeply into the heart and soul of this man, what does he bring attention to?  He brings attention to what is true and what is beautiful.  He sees a man being exactly who and what God truly intended him to be; nothing false.  No hiding, no masking, no posturing, no proving.  How beautiful is that?
     And you can tell by Nathanael's response that he has truly been seen.  "How do you know me?" he replies.  He didn't disagree with Jesus, because Jesus had spoken to his deepest parts.  Jesus had recognized what was most deeply true and spoken into that.  Not to say that Nathanael was perfect, obviously he wasn't, but what Jesus saw, and chose to call attention to, was the fact that deep within Nathanael was a longing (and an attempt) to live truly.  To be the best, God-breathed version of himself.
     I love this story because I live with the desire to be seen as well.  Not just the screwed up, messy, insecure, neurotic parts of myself—my worst self that is—but the good and true and beautiful parts of myself.  I long for those parts to be seen and acknowledged and called forth and called to life, so that I am drawn to live more and more out of my best, God-intended self each minute of each day.  I love that this seems to be Jesus' desire for me as well.
     And not only is it his desire for me, but it is his desire for how I go about seeing and relating to others.  In essence, it is what true ministry is all about: really seeing people, really knowing people, and really loving people.  People are dying to be seen, known, and loved.  And if we follow Jesus' example here, that is just what we will do.  We will go about our days and our lives with our eyes wide open; looking beyond the surface of things and of people and seeing into their depths.  And once we do, we will try to draw out and call out and call forth that which is most true and most beautiful about them.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: O Jesus, give me eyes like yours this day: eyes that see the way you see, eyes that look into the depths of whomever is before me at the moment and see what is good and beautiful and true about them, and then call it forth into being.  Amen. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

delight

Opening Prayer: Thanks you, O God, that you delight in me and invite me to delight in you.  How different my life would be if I actually did that each day.  Help me, O Lord, to believe that it is true and to experience the reality of your delight today, that I may, in turn, pass that along to everyone that crosses my path.  Amen.

Scripture: Isaiah 62:1-5

Journal: Do you truly believe you are delighted in by God?  Why, or why not?  What helps you to believe, and live as if, you are delighted in by God?

Reflection: "No longer will they call you Deserted, but you will be called Hephzibah (My Delight is in Her), for the Lord will take delight in you.  As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”
     O Lord, do you really delight in me?  Could it possibly be true?  I have lived as Deserted, Unlovable, and Not Enough for far too long.  Those names are planted so deeply within me that I can't seem to uproot them.  But you can.  For you bestow a new name on me. You call me by a different name.  In fact, you call me Hephzibah; My Delight is in Her.  For you take great delight in me and long for me to know your delight, to be your delight, and to live out of your joy and delight each day.  That is what will make me the best version of myself; the me you intended me to be.
     But all too often I live out of my shame rather than out of your delight.  Shame not being "I have done something wrong," but "I am something wrong."  My shame tells me that I am unlovable, that I can never be anyone or anything of real value, that I stink.  And unfortunately I listen to my shame.  In fact, often I believe my shame more than I believe you.  And I live out of my shame instead of living out of your delight.  When I live out of my shame it really gets ugly, for I become the worst possible version of myself.  And thus, my interactions with others become needy and insecure and clingy and defensive, which has a terrible impact on my relationships.  The worst in me calls out the worst in those around me.  It is a death spiral of dysfunction.  But when I am able to live in (from a place of) your delight, I am free.  Free from needing people so much that I can actually begin to love them.  Then your delight in me brings out your delight in them.  And they, like me, become the best version of themselves.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: O Lord, my God, help me to know the depths of your delight this day; that I may become an expression of that delight in the world.  Amen.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

seek first

Opening Prayer: O my God, teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me.  Let me seek you in my desire, and desire you in my seeking.  Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you. ~St. Anselm of Canterbury

Scripture: Matthew 6:31-33

Journal: What are you seeking first in your life right now?  What is the fruit of that?  What would it look like to seek God first?

Reflection: I don't know about you, but it is so easy for me to get derailed from "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness."  It takes so very little for "all these things" to creep in and begin to take control of my heart in a way that it determines the mood and direction of my life.  No wonder I worry.  I'm pretty sure the answer to this dilemma is prayer, whatever that may look like.  I must learn how to make prayer the default mode of my soul, rather than activity, effort, and anxiety.  For God is continually calling me—calling us—to seek him first.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: O Lord, my God, may I (may we) seek you first this day!  Amen.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

logs and specks

Opening prayer: O God, heal me and make me whole, cleanse me and make me new inside, free me from all forms of comparison, and from trying to manage others’ perceptions of me.  Make me all yours.  Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-6

Journal:  What are your logs these days?  How do they keep you from seeing clearly?

Reflection:
Jesus: Do you want to know why you tend to see the speck rather than the log?
Me:  I'm not sure, but I'll bet you are going to tell me anyway.
Jesus:  I certainly am.  I love you too much not to.
Me: I was afraid you were going to say that.
Jesus:  The reason you see the speck rather than the log is because of your fear and
insecurity.  You have such an overwhelming need to be right, because somehow you think that being right proves to the world that you are worth loving.  You need to have your opinion valued and respected because you're worth and value are so tied to it.  When you begin to let go of that neediness, then I can begin to do a transforming work in your soul.  It is all a part of the process of growth and change.  Seeing the log rather than the speck is the beginning of that process.  That's because seeing the log in your own eye produces humility, and humility produces compassion.  And compassion is the best indicator that you have been truly and deeply marked by my love, which allows you, in turn, to truly love others.
Me:  Thank you for loving me that much!

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to see the log rather than the speck.  Amen.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

new wine

Opening Prayer: Grow your new life in me this day, O Lord, that I might be filled to overflowing with all the fullness of God.  Amen.

Scripture: Mark 2:18-22

Journal: What is your current spiritual practice?  How well does it fit what God is doing in your soul?  Where are you trying to put new wine in old wineskins?

Reflection: All too often I find that the new life God is trying to grow within me simply will not fit into the same old containers I try to put it in.  The life of the Spirit is dynamic, not static, and our practice should be the same.  Oh that is not to say that old practices aren't useful in the life of the Spirit, because they definitely are.  In fact, some of the best ancient practices have not been practiced for so long that they have a lot of new life to them.
     What Jesus seems to be saying here is that our practice should always be determined by the life and movement of the Spirit, not vice versa.  The practices of the faith (or the spiritual disciplines, or means of grace, or whatever you want to call them) are intended to make space for the Spirit to move, not to constrict or control it.  Therefore, it seems that our spiritual practice must be constantly adapted to what God is doing in our souls and in our community.  Holding on to old, lifeless, duty-filled, performance-based forms of spiritual practice (as in Mark 2:18-22) does not give the room that the new, vibrant, growing, expansive, spacious work of the Spirit requires for the current season.  And when we hold on to ritual, simply for the sake of ritual, it is like putting new wine in old wineskins.  When we are hell-bent on always having to do the same old things the same old ways, the soul actually begins to shrivel and die.  It becomes more about what we do than about what He does.  Not that these practices and rituals are always bad, there will probably be a season in the future where they will serve us well once again--or should I say where they will serve God well as he does his work within us.  Therefore, we must constantly examine our souls and our practice to try and make the best possible space within us for the Spirit of God to do his work.
     What is the state of your soul these days?  What is God's Spirit doing within you?  What is the state of your current practice?  Is it producing good fruit?  Is it making good space for the growth that is going on within you?  If not, what will make good space for the movement of God's Spirit in your heart and life?  And how will you make those things a part of your normal rhythm and practice?
     I also wonder if this parable might not contain a vocational truth as well.  I wonder if there are times when the beautiful things that God is doing and growing within us (the new wine) do not adequately match the vocation (old wineskins) we currently find ourselves in.  A new season of our soul has arrived, and God is doing a new and beautiful thing.  But this old container is not sufficient to give room to the expansive work that God desires to do.  A new container is required; one that is big enough to hold, and give room to, all that God longs to do in and through us.  Unfortunately, letting go of the old and comfortable in favor of the new and unknown takes a whole lot of faith and even more courage.  Fear keeps us trying to pour our new wine into an old skins, but it simply will not fit.
     At the very least this parable calls us to continual awareness and reflection.  Awareness of what the Spirit of God us up to, both within us and around us.  And a reflection on our current spiritual practice (or vocation) and how (or if) that practice is giving us the space our soul needs for the growth and expansive nature of this new wine.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Forgive me, O God, when I try to put the new, full, vibrant life you are growing within me into the same old wineskins.  It simply won’t fit.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

have mercy

Opening Prayer: Have mercy on us, O Lord, according to your unfailing love; that we might have mercy on those in our lives and in our world.  Amen.

Scripture: Mark 3:1-6

Journal: Where does accusation live within you?  What effect does it have on your heart and soul?  What would it look like to have mercy instead?

Reflection: Looking for a reason to accuse is not a healthy place from which to live life.  In fact, the spirit it produces within us is toxic.  Yet it is so easy to get drawn into that particular way of seeing, or of being, especially in this day and age.  Jesus, however, proposes another way.  Instead of looking for a reason to accuse, he wants us to look for an opportunity to show mercy.  After all, it was Jesus who said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7)  I wonder where that leaves those who criticize and accuse.
     My guess is that if I was somehow able to use the energy I normally expend on accusation and criticism in a much more positive way—on showing grace and mercy—then the world would be a much better place.  It would certainly be much more kind.

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Forgive me, O Lord, when my stubborn and insecure heart causes me to seek ways to accuse and criticize rather than to show mercy and grace.  For when I seek to harm rather than to love, to attack rather than to engage, to tear down rather than to build up, I have ceased to be merciful.  And thus, I have ceased to be like you.  Amen.

Monday, March 6, 2017

given, again

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the Bread of Life.  Help us this day to feed on you, that we may have something to offer those who come across our paths.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 10:10-17

Journal: Where, or to whom, is God calling you to give yourself?  Where and how is he saying “you give them something to eat?”  Will you?

Reflection:

Jesus: "You give them something to eat."
Me: "Again?"
(He smiles tenderly)
Jesus: "Yes again.  Have I not been faithful to feed you?  Have I not continually provided food for your soul; more than enough to sustain you?  Don't you yet realize how this works?  The food I give you is not just for you alone, it is to be given.  That is part of the dance of life, faith, and ministry: taken, blessed, broken, and given.  The food I give you is ultimately to be given away.  Once you have done that, it will return to you and take on life in you and offer you the nourishment you desperately need as well.  Somewhere along the line--most likely in the breaking--it will be multiplied, so that you have much more at the end than you did at the beginning.  That is the way of the Kingdom.  So always know that even though this continual giving of bread can be tiring at times, it is also how life flows in and through you.  So, you give them something to eat.  Yes, once again."

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Thank you Lord Jesus, that you were taken, blessed, broken, and given for us.  May we do the same for you.  Amen.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

show me your ways

Opening Prayer: Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:4-5, NIV)

Scripture: Psalm 25:4-5

Journal: What is God showing you these days?  How is he leading and guiding you?  How are you growing in your ongoing conversation with him?

Reflection: But what is critical is that we speak to the God who speaks to us, and to everything that he speaks to us, and in our speaking (which gathers up our listening and answering) mature in the great art of conversation with God that is prayer.  The Psalms—all of which listen in order to answer—train us in the conversation. (Answering God by Eugene Peterson)

Prayer

Closing Prayer:  Show me how you work, God; School me in your ways. Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth. You are my Savior, aren’t you? (Psalm 25:4-5, The Message)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

planted or blown

Opening Prayer: O Lord, may I be like a tree planted by the stream, rather than like chaff that is blown by the wind.  May I meditate on you and your law in a way that gives my life the rootedness and the durability you want me to have, even in the midst of the storms.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 1:1-6

Journal:  Which one best describes your life right now: planted by the stream or blown about by the winds?  How might prayer and meditation affect that?  How has God’s word spoken into your life lately?

Reflection: Two things are prominent in Psalm 1: an action and an image.  Torah-meditation is the action; a transplanted tree is the image.
     Torah (law) is God’s words that hit the target of the human condition.  The noun torah comes from the verb, yarah, that means to throw something, a javelin, say, so that it hits its mark.  The word that hits its mark is torah.  In living speech, words are javelins hurled from one mind into another.  The javelin word goes out of one person and pierces another.  Not all words are javelins; some are only tin cans, carrying information from one place to another.  But God’s word has this aimed, intentional, personal nature.  When we are spoken to this way, piercingly and penetratingly, we are not the same.  These words get inside us and work their meaning in us.
     As we prepare to pray, to answer the words God addresses to us, we learn that all of God’s words have this characteristic: they are torah and we are target. (Answering God by Eugene Peterson)

Prayer

Closing Prayer: O God, may your word pierce the target of my heart this day.  May it start a work in me that gives my life both rootedness and fruitfulness.  Amen.