miles and meditation + common prayer

IMG_6299 i have been spending my running time not only working up a silly sweat (come ooooooon, fall!) and ideating (running is the BEST time for the ideas to flow) but in more meaningful spiritual pursuits. setting the tone for the day. not just jamming out to music with a good beat, but filling my ears with worshipful music that uplifts and inspires and encourages and humbles. melodies and lyrics that point me heavenward and help me to fix my gaze on the things above as my feet pound the earth below. and as i run, i pray. i think. i meditate.

this week, i have been pondering the following passage in the first book of corinthians. the pauline epistles never fail to challenge me. make me dig deeper. ideas and precepts and philosophy and practices that resonate and stick with me through the day and sometimes, through the week.

1 Corinthians 9:19-27 (ESV)
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.




and when the world seems especially dark and hazy and murky and ugly and scary, i tend to get back to basics. repeat the truth of God's word over and over and over. i dig into the archives of the faith and look for constants for absolutes and writings that have stood the test of time. the puritan prayers and spurgeon are morning and evening mainstays, but lately, i have been drawn to the book of common prayer. here is a passage that i have been praying over our home - community - church - family - friends - neighborhood - city - state - country - world. praying it over hearts. praying it over humanity.

O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; [especially those for whom our prayers are desired]; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake.
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever.