With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Making the sign of the cross, I say,
O God, I am restless until I find my rest in you. I cease from my work today, and I praise you for all your work. This day of rest is set apart by the name of the Father, and the of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I invite my Lord,
Jesus, you are the resurrection. You are life. There is death and decay all around me. Fill me with abundant life in excess. (John 11:25-26)
I submit myself to examination before God.
1st BE SILENT: I am in the presence of the living God. Be silent. (silence for reflection)
2nd EXAMINE: Am I willing to commit myself wholly to God? Am I willing to break every sin I am aware of? Will I give up everything that contradicts what God wants for me?
3rd PRAY: Lord, I release the tight fist of my grip. I yield to your way. Let the breath of your Spirit move me where you will, even if I don’t want to go. Lord, my hands are empty. What do you want for me? What is your will? Whatever you want, I will obey.
Word: John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
Pruning can be painful. When we think of being "pruned" by God, it’s easy to think of minor cuttings, small challenges that do us good, but perhaps harder to think of the severe changes that might drastically affect our lives in too painful a way.
To the gardener, however, pruning a plant looks like cutting off living branches—taking significant lengths off of a perfectly healthy branch to encourage new growth. This is true of what Jesus is saying, too: being pruned oftentimes feels very painful, as if some large part of you that was once deeply connected to life has been severed. It can feel as though one’s wounds have been left raw to face the elements. It can feel like God has deliberately disconnected Himself, and one’s protests are met only with silence.
We can take heart from Christ’s words: God prunes every branch that bears fruit, so that it will be even more fruitful. Every saint who has been "fruitful" has dealt with the emotional loss of having been pruned. The Gardener is lovingly ruthless. He severs parts of our connection to the vine—even connections that do not appear in need of pruning—so that we can bear more. Because He abides in us and we in Him, we can be certain that even the most painful pruning experiences are for the sake of His great love.
Prayer for Rest
- For physical, mental, and emotional health.
- For times of joy, delight, and leisure.
- For a Sabbath day free from work, tasks, and stress.
- For a holy time of worship.
O Creator of heaven and earth, you have made for us a day of rest. You give me times of work and times to cease from that work. Grant me good rest today that I may serve you with vigor tomorrow. Free me from obsessive overwork. I trust you enough to believe that you provide for me even when I sleep. I find my rest in you. In Christ’s name, Amen.