Welcome to the JCPC Daily Reflections Blog. Reflections are daily devotionals authored by JCPC pastors, staff and members and provide insight, guidance and comfort to help you make it through each day. If you’d like to receive Reflections each day via email, provide your email address.
The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
While traveling in Asia, my iPad (containing my reading material and many work documents) suddenly died, a condition described as "the black screen of death." Seeking help, I found a computer shop and encountered another problem-I don't speak Chinese and the shop's technician didn't speak English. The solution? He pulled up a software program in which he typed in Chinese, but I could read it in English. The process reversed as I responded in English and he read in Chinese. The software allowed us to communicate clearly, even in different languages.
At times, I feel like I'm unable to communicate and express my heart when I pray to my heavenly Father-and I'm not alone. Many of us struggle sometimes with prayer. But the apostle Paul wrote, The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. -Romans 8:26-27
How amazing is the gift of the Holy Spirit! Better than any computer program, He clearly communicates my thoughts and desires in harmony with the Father's purposes. The work of the Spirit makes prayer work!
Prayer for Today
Father, I thank You for the gift of Your Spirit and the privilege of prayer. Help me to lean on Your Spirit in moments when I don't know how to pray. Amen.
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself as an example of those who believe.
-1 Timothy 4:12
Where in the world is Pastor Brian this week? It's week two of the summer and I'm with our middle school youth at the Great Escape. It's been an incredible week to learn and grow and have way too much food and fun and silly games. We have had a wonderful time in worship all week, and yesterday, the band leading worship joined us for a visit to the Aquarium. Our kids got a backstage pass to getting to know young people who have committed their lives to serving others and spreading God's love.
Each week, the Great Escape hosts hundreds of kids, many of whom are friends of our church kids or new to church and faith in some way. Mid-week, they're encouraged to make a commitment in their home church or group to deeper faith or a profession of faith. As Presbyterians, our process for this step is confirmation. So on that night, we go out after worship for tacos and talk about our process, our questions and curiosities, and how they'll be able to undergo that process soon.
I hope you'll be praying this week for our amazing kids and leaders. This time is holy. It's fun and gross and hard, but it's also holy. It builds memories and community, but especially faith. Ask our young people about the trip and encourage them to keep going. You are their family of faith.
Prayer for Today
Lord, help me give challenge and support to our young people growing in faith and to say yes when and where I'm needed to support their ministry.
Water is found in many places in scripture, including in tears. John 11:32-36 reminds us that Jesus experienced weeping, "When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
When you hear difficult news of a tragedy or loss I am often overcome with emotion and questions. Are there places in your life of hurt or sadness? What are the tearful places? Change? Transition? Gratitude? Loss?
I would invite you to take a moment to identify some of the parts of your life where there are tears. Listen to them and then place them before God.
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." -Romans 8:26
Prayer for Today
Holy Spirit, thank you for praying for us when we can't. Thank you for praying for us deeply and meaningfully. Hear our prayer... In Jesus' name. Amen.