Prayers for Wisdom and Discernment
Scripture Passage for Daily Reflection
Acts 2:5-47 (NIV 2011, via biblegateway.com)
Thoughts for the Week"Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, 'What does this mean?'" (Acts 2:12)
I didn't have specific passages of scripture in mind when I put the schedule of prayers and themes for each week together. When I chose Acts 1 last week, I didn't do so with every week in mind. I simply chose it because the story of the disciples waiting together in Jerusalem, worshipping, praying and anticipating the Holy Spirit, had grabbed my imagination regarding how we should prepare for the beginning of a new work.
As I put together the prayers for this week I still didn't have a specific passage in mind. So I picked up the Bible and began reading where last week's section left off.
Not everyone knows the whole story, but it was a late night reading through the whole book of Acts that stands out as a catalyst in moving forward with what would later be named Intentional People as well as preparing to eventually launch out in new church planting work. I won't go into all the details, but as I sat at work late that night reading, it seemed that over and again, the Spirit was affirming my calling and convicting me that the time was approaching for us to be set aside for the work that God had prepared for us.
So I shouldn't have been surprised when the story immediately following last week's stood out as pertinent for our prayers regarding wisdom and discernment.
The Jews and people living in Jerusalem were amazed by what they saw happening in the midst of the believers - and they wanted to understand its significance. Peter, a character known for impetuous and rash behavior, stood up and clearly and convincingly spoke about the elephant in the room. This man who had recently disguised his identity in order to avoid arrest and execution, courageously described humanity's plight and God's solution.
And then the believers, an increasingly large community of folks in the city of Jerusalem, committed to meeting together daily. They listened to the apostles' teaching, broke bread and shared everything they had with one another.
In each of these stories we find glimpses of wisdom and discernment. The people of Jerusalem (some likely with poor motives...don't judge them too harshly, our own motives are seldom pure), were amazed at what they saw and wanted help understanding the significance. Peter, recognized that the time had come for clear, bold, dangerous speaking. The believers saw that to follow this radically disorienting and reorienting Way of Jesus would require more than occasional worship, it would require a whole community of people coming together around a common mission.
As we enter this week, I wonder, who are we most like here? The people of Jerusalem? Peter? The believers? The skeptics and mockers? I hope and pray that your own process of discerning this and other questions will always lead to deeper understanding of and connection to the God of Wisdom.
Prayer for Sunday, May 1
God in God's Wisdom
God of Wisdom, in you all things find meaning; we acknowledge you as the source of order, reason, discernment and knowledge. Where there is confusion, we look to you for clarity; where there is doubt, we cling to your confidence; where there is fear, we depend on your courage; where there is indecision, we trust in your decisiveness. We confess before you and one another, that all true wisdom is your wisdom and any valid discernment we obtain is a gift from your throne room. Thank you, God, that you do not withold your wisdom, but freely pour it out upon those who seek it. We, Lord God, desire to be the people who consistently seek your wisdom. You alone are worthy of praise, O God of Wisdom.
Throughout this week our prayers are focused on wisdom and discernment. What areas of your life seem beyond your ability to understand or reconcile? Jot down some specific examples and take a moment to turn these over to the God of Wisdom each day this week.