The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 (NIV)
Heavenly Father, the promise of your presence with us, and the gift of rest for us, is timely and precious. Like the children of Israel traveling from Egypt to the Promised Land, we too are on a journey, between Jesus’ resurrection and the return. Thank you for being for us in Christ, and with us in every season and every step of life.
On the cusp of Advent, some of us are walking through seasons of pain, loss, and failure—with fresh heart wounds, soul shame, or empty chairs at our tables. Father, hold us tightly in the grip of your grace. Thank you for not cringing at our questions or despising our tears. How long does it take to grieve well? Grant us grace for the whole process.
Some of us are walking through different types of transitions, and simultaneously, we feel vulnerable, fearful, and excited. Keep us from looking back, idolizing the past. Free us from looking around, envying other people and other situations. Keep us from looking within, for navel-gazing introspection never bodes well. Keep us looking up, into your Fatherly affection and sovereignty.
Some of us are walking in challenging relationships, and we need wisdom, strength and hope. Help us love others as Jesus loves us; not as a means of fixing anyone or feeding our approval idols, minimizing our pain or gaining some personal advantage.
Lastly, help us walk more closely with our friends—treasuring the moments, sharing our weaknesses, and growing in grace. A recent loss, and a “near miss,” have underscored the importance of people over possessions, and presence over productivity.
Father, thank you for the awesome rest we already enjoy in the gospel, and for the consummate rest we’ll enjoy forever. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ bold and beautiful name.