Tired? Weary? Let this prayer renew your soul

Bill and Kristi Gaultiere are opposite personalities. Bill is a Type A thinker and Kristi is a relational feeler. They blend their styles and stories their book Journey of the Soul to guide you through the stuck places in your spiritual life and into greater intimacy with God, emotional health, and loving relationships. It’s a grace to welcome Bill and Kristi to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Bill and Kristi Gaultiere 

S

ome years ago I (Bill) did a triathlon with a one-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride, and 10K run. I was very slow on the swim, so when I got to the bike ride I was at the back of the pack.

I pounded on the pedals and soared down the highway at twenty miles an hour, passing lots of bikers. That was fun!

But then my chain fell off. I had to pull over to the side of the road, turn my bike upside down, get my fingers all greasy, and mess with the chain to get it back onto the chainring. Meanwhile, streams of bikers were passing by me.

I got back on my bike and pounded on the pedals and passed people again.

But then my chain fell off again! I had to do the same routine: turn my bike upside down, get greasy, and put the chain back on. Of course, bikers were flying by me again.

As before, I got back on my bike and pounded on the pedals. Now I was passing the same bikers for the third time.

One guy looked over at me, just inches from my face, and exclaimed, Man, youre strong . . . but stupid!

I was unwise not to prepare my bike, so even though I finished the triathlon, I lost time and enjoyment.

In our spiritual journey were prone to be strong but stupid, having zeal without knowledge (Prov. 19:2). We can start strong this way, but before long we tire out or breakdown and have to pull over to the side of the road.

Too often Ive made this mistake. I push myself to work hard and do good rather than enjoying the Spirit of Jesus and relying on His power. Moral muscle seems wise when it generates right actions but it falters in the end (Col. 2:23).

The wisdom we need for life is expressed in the motto Dont try — train with Jesus” (see 1 Tim. 4:7).

Levi Voskamp

Training with Jesus is the opposite of being strong but stupid. It means asking the Lord to coach you in using a variety of spiritual disciplines to become a different kind of person.

Instead of focusing on loving actions we focus on the source of our actions in our heart and soul. We rely on God’s grace to develop the inner character and habits that empower us to do loving actions whenever needed. 

Real life change happens at the soul level. It addresses our whole person to foster increasing intimacy with God and Christlikeness.

For Jesus’ disciples a pivotal moment in their journey of the soul came by watching Jesus pray. They heard Him call God Papa.” They saw that His praying life gave Him unfailing compassion, brilliant wisdom, and power to heal.

So they asked Him, Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

This was not a polite petition, but an urgent cry of the heart: Lord, teach us to pray! They longed for the life they saw in Him.

That’s when the Messiah and Master shares what we call the Lord’s Prayer. He isnt giving us a formal prayer — it’s his personal prayer.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, The Lords Prayer is the Psalms in miniature.”

Jesus spent His whole life praying the treasury of David, and then He distilled the essence of all 150 of its prayers into five categories of petitions for living as His disciple in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus gave great sermons on prayer, but His model prayer is not primarily for intellectual learning — its for emotional and relational bonding.

That’s why when Martin Luther’s barber asked for help in prayer the great reformer didn’t give him a lecture. Instead he wrote him a forty-page handwritten prayer letter to help him suckle at the Lords Prayer like a child.”

To empathize with his barber, Luther admitted that at times he also became cool and joyless in prayer.” He found that the best remedy was to use Jesus’ prayer “as a pocket lighter to kindle a flame in the heart.”

Let’s pick up Jesus’ Pocket Lighter to warm our hearts with love for God:

Our Father in the heavens, always near and ready to help,
May your name be precious to us and bring us delight always.
May your Kingdom of the Heavens come to rule over us so your good, pleasing, and perfect will is accomplished in us.
Please provide for us the food and care that we need today.
Please forgive our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Please hold us by the hand so we don’t fall down in trials and are kept safe from all evil.
In everything help us to live in your kingdom, by your power, and for your glory. Amen. (Matthew 6:9–13; paraphrased by author)

I encourage you to take a few minutes to go back through Jesus’ prayer one line at a time. Each line is a petition to warm your heart for God.

Pause to slowly breathe in deep, filling your lungs with air . . . As you exhale, release feelings of hurry or stress . . .

Then repeat that petition slowly, personalizing the words for yourself and anyone you’re concerned for . . .

Praying the Lord’s Prayer in this way, can help you feel and trust God’s loving presence and guidance on your journey.

 

Bill and Kristi Gaultiere are Doctors of Psychology and Spiritual Directors. As co-founders of Soul Shepherding they help pastors and all kinds of people to thrive with Jesus in life and leadership. 

Their new book Journey of the Soul, along with the companion Leader Guide and Soul Talk Cards, guides you through the stuck places in your spiritual life and into greater intimacy with God. They draw on over 70,000 hours of experience providing therapy and spiritual direction to help you get unstuck and identify the next steps you need to take to grow emotionally and spiritually — no matter where you are or how long you’ve been following Jesus.

Preorder Journey of the Soul by February 15, 2021 and you’ll receive a digital copy of the Leader Guide FREE on February 16, 2021! Click here for pre-order info. This guide is perfect for leading a small group through a curriculum based on the topics discussed in the book.

With Scripture, self-assessments, and soul care practices to support your progress along the way, Journey of the Soul is an insightful and inspiring book — and will be a treasured companion on your journey with Jesus. 

[ Our humble thanks to Revell for their partnership in today’s devotion ]