The Jewish people who adhere to the rituals for their faith have a rhythm to their spiritual life. They repeat the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) at least three times a day, affirming that God is sovereign over all of life. When they pray, they face east toward Jerusalem physically acknowledging the role that the land has in their ongoing identity. They always pray at sunrise, midday, and sunset, thus regulating their lives around predictable daily events. Jewish liturgical life is built around Sabbath (the seven-day cycle) and around seasonal events. Simple rituals, redemptively constructed around natural life-rhythms can create an ethos (characteristic spirit) of a person or ministry and these rhythms can have profound consequences!
The other day I woke up and prayed:
“Holy Spirit, direct me toward your opportunities today
to whomever will be in front of me.”
Opportunity #1: I arrived at the Post Office to mail a package. Kerrie, whom I have known for over 12 years is behind the counter to help me. She is wincing in pain and I ask if she’s okay. She had a severe migraine. I touched her hand, (I have never touched her before) and asked, “Can I pray for you?” Instantly she responded by saying, “Dale, I would love that!”
Opportunity #2: I next go to work out and the receptionist is on crutches. I inquired about what happened and she explained that she tore some tendons in her knee. I asked if she would mind if I prayed for her. Without hesitation she said, yes.
Opportunity #3: As I am working out a guy that I have known in the community for years comes up to me while I’m on the exercise bike and says, “Dale, you know what I like about you? You talk about real issues!” Mike and I have argued about politics, materialism, Christianity, Islam, evolution, and the hypocrisy in the American church. It’s so fun to interact with him. My dialogue with Mike is ongoing!
Opportunity #4: I am a client of a Vietnamese gal who treats a skin condition I have. She told me about her uncle that lives in Vietnam who is extremely ill with a life-threatening bacterial infection. I asked her permission to pray for him and she was so grateful that I would! I folded my hands in prayer, closed my eyes, and prayed out loud for him. I am probably the only person she has heard who has prayed aloud in the name of Jesus Christ.
I love Acts 17:17
“So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.”
One of the rhythms of Paul’s life was the practice of going to the synagogue and talking with the Jews first and then the Greeks. His spiritual rhythm of reasoning with “those who happened to be there” is one for us to emulate! God’s call on our lives is not to withdraw from others, but to live missionally in the context of ordinary life. Christ calls us to live out our discipleship in the context of where people live. After all, the Good News of the Kingdom of God is a social force!