Prayer, Our Tent of Meeting

Psalm 42.2
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
   When can I go and meet with God?

Numbers 7.89
When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the Lord spoke to him.

Reflection: Prayer, Our Tent of Meeting
By John Tillman

In today’s reading from Numbers, we get a description of Moses talking with God in the Tent of Meeting. The Tent of meeting described here is not the first tent of meeting, but the one that replaced it, in the newly finished tabernacle. There in the Holy of Holies, Moses hears the voice of God from between the cherubim above the place of atonement.

Scripture tells us that the conversations of Moses with God were intimate. God spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend. But this communication was not only personal—it was communal.

Moses entering the Tent of Meeting was a communitywide event. When Moses entered, the entire community would come and stand at the entrances to their own tents as Moses spoke with God on their behalf.

The design of the Tabernacle and the Tent of Meeting was a tool for community prayer and connection. Prayer—even individual prayer—is an act of community, because God is a God of community.

At the center of this community are the symbols of the atonement that God has set in motion. It is through the atonement that Moses heard God’s voice. The voice from between the cherubim came from the spot where the blood of the atonement sacrifices were placed by the high priest.

For us, prayer is our tent of meeting, where the deepest thirsts of our souls may be satisfied. When we pray as Jesus taught, we enter into God’s presence through the torn curtain of the Tent of Meeting, and hear his voice because of his atoning sacrifice.

This week, on Thursday, The United States will observe a National Day of Prayer. As you pray this week, be reminded that you are entering the tent of meeting in priestly capacity and carry the ability to bring before God the sins and concerns of your nation.

May we all be empowered to pray beyond a personal conversation and approach God on behalf of our communities and our world.

Like Moses, we approach prayer as an individual, speaking to God through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. But we bring with us all the concerns and cares of our communities and our world. As we pray, the world stands at our backs waiting for us to exit the tent of prayer, and act.

Prayer: The Morning Psalm
Look upon me and answer me, O Lord my God; give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death… — Psalm 13.3

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 7 (Listen – 12:50) 
Psalm 42-43 (Listen – 2:32)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Sewing up the Veil
The scriptures tell us that the veil of the temple was torn in two. Mark and Matthew add the helpful detail that it tore “From top to bottom” implying heavenly agency in its destruction.

Read more about Praying as Priests
Blessing others may go beyond simple kindness as we take on our role as a royal priesthood. Just as the family of Aaron were priests under Aaron, we are priests under Jesus, our high priest.

https://theparkforum.org/843-acres/praying-as-priests/

Praying as Priests

Numbers 6.22-27
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

“‘“The Lord bless you
   and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
   and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
   and give you peace.”’

“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Reflection: Praying as Priests
By John Tillman

Through the Aaronic blessing, God puts his name—his identity—on the Israelites. As followers of God today, a part of our identity is as carriers of the blessings of God that are intended for the world.

One of the primary purposes of humanity, upheld throughout the entirety of scripture, is being a blessing to others.

Adam and Eve’s charge was to cultivate and spread God’s blessings.
Abraham was called to bless all people through his offspring.
Through Moses, God began building a nation intended to share with the world the blessings of God’s wisdom and justice.
Sounding over and over within the societal laws of Israel is a drumbeat of blessing and caring for others, even foreigners, as members of one’s family.
The prophets, time and time again, spoke of spreading God’s blessings and the light of truth to the gentile nations.
Gabriel’s annunciation of Christ’s birth and Mary’s song about it later both put at center stage blessings for all of humanity.

Blessing others is a baked-in quality of the Imago Dei in all people. When we refuse to bless others, we are shoveling dirt over the image of God in us, burying our treasure in the ground and refusing to invest it out of selfishness and fear.

Only in Christ, however, can that Imago Dei be brought fully to life and empowered by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Then, blessing others may go beyond simple kindness as we take on our role as a royal priesthood.

Just as the family of Aaron were priests under Aaron, we are priests under Jesus, our high priest. We are charged, as the Aaronic priests were charged, to pronounce God’s blessing.

If we were to rewrite the Aaronic blessing for Christ’s order of priests, using images and teachings from Jesus, to put his identity on us, it might look something like this:

Like a mother tending to her children,
A shepherd tending sheep,
Or a gardener cultivating a garden,
May our Father bless and protect you.

May our Father’s eyes shine on you
Delighting in you as his child, showing you grace and love.
May our Father’s face be raised to you,
Welcoming you in his presence, bringing you peace.

Through this blessing, God puts his name, his identity, on those who will accept it. May we pronounce this blessing not with words alone, but in how we live and walk through our world.

Prayer: The Morning Psalm
…Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed… — Psalm 126.2-3

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 6 (Listen – 4:04) 
Psalm 40-41 (Listen – 3:57)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about What David Longed For
May we seek to resurrect our awe and wonder at the wonderful gift of his presence and as David says, may we “see your face’’ and “be satisfied.”

Read more about Last Priest Standing
Jesus’ high priestly ministry on our behalf is perpetual, never-ending. If we could grasp the full ramifications of this reality, it would radically impact our daily lives.

Prayer Amidst Evil :: Guided Prayer

Psalm 37.7
Be still before the Lord
   and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
   when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Reflection: Prayer Amidst Evil :: Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

As we celebrate the Easter season, we seek to continue to “throw our hats in the air” in celebration of the victory won by Christ. Yet we still sojourn in a sin-scarred world, filled with loss, sorrow, and pain.

We grieve this week with Christian brothers and sisters across our world. We lift up the burned churches in Louisiana, the burned cathedral of Notre Dame, the bombed churches of Sri Lanka, and the churches of Nigeria whose members are being gunned down in violent attacks. These are our churches, too, for we are one in Christ.

Christ promised we would have trouble in this world, and many people are willing to aid that promise coming true. The world’s powers and governments, in vain, promise us that they can prevent future suffering. But in Christ’s promise we know that until he comes to end this world and begin the next, there will always be a “next time.” Often the perpetrators of “next time” will be the very governments who, in the name of protection, ask for our unwavering support and pressure us to yield to them unrestricted power.

The inevitable next tragedy will come. Whether it is the result of unthinking violence, tragic accident, or premeditated and targeted hatred, we turn to God in prayer, trusting that in past, present, and future sufferings, his grace is sufficient for us.

Prayer Amidst Evil
Lord, we come mourning.
Our eyes flow with tears and our hearts bleed
On behalf of our brothers and sisters.

Be still before the Lord
   and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
   when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Lord, when we suffer…
When our houses of worship are burned
When our sanctuaries flow with bloodshed
When our fellowship is disrupted by violent killers
May we turn to you.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
   do not fret—it leads only to evil…
A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
   though you look for them, they will not be found.
The Lord laughs at the wicked,
   for he knows their day is coming.

We don’t need vengeance, Lord.
Vengeance belongs to you.
We don’t need worldly power, Lord.
Yours is the power we need.
We don’t need violent reprisals, Lord.
Repentance and revival is needed.

Work in us, to bring this to pass.
Pass by us, and call us to follow.

Prayer: The Request for Presence
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 3 (Listen – 6:01) 
Psalm 37 (Listen – 4:21)

This Weekend’s Readings
Numbers 4 (Listen – 6:11) Psalm 38 (Listen – 2:14)
Numbers 5 (Listen – 4:39) Psalm 39 (Listen – 1:49)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Truth Unwanted :: A Guided Prayer
Making Jesus known will lead to suffering and rejection. As the world investigates Jesus in our lives, we can expect the same treatment that Jesus received. May we do so, knowing that he is with us in all our suffering.

Read more about The Prayer From the Cross
Join Christ in his suffering, praying excerpts from this psalm prayed on the cross, ending with excerpts from Psalm 30 from our reading for today.

Names of Jesus—Justice, Doctor, and Bread :: Throwback Thursday

Psalm 36.7-9
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
   People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
   you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
   in your light we see light.

From John:
During Holy Week we looked at a section of this work by Nicetus of Remesiana. We will read the middle part of it today, and the rest on our next Throwback Thursday reading.

Reflection: Names of Jesus—Justice, Bread, and Doctor :: Throwback Thursday
By Nicetas of Remesiana (335-414)

He is called justice because through faith in his name sinners are made just; and redemption, because he paid the price in his blood to buy us back— we who had been so long lost.

He is called bread, because by his gospel he fed the hunger of our ignorance; and a stone, both because on him the serpent left no trace and because he afforded us protection.

He is the doctor who came to visit us and cured our weakness and our wounds; the fount of living water, because by the “bath of regeneration” he cleanses sinners and gives them life. He is peace, because he brought together those who lived apart, and reconciled us to God the Father. He is the Resurrection, because he will raise all bodies from their graves; and the judge because it is he who will judge both the living and the dead. He is the door, because it is by him that those who believe enter the kingdom of heaven.

These many names and titles belong to one Lord. Take courage, therefore, O man of faith, and plant your hope firmly in him. If you would learn of the Father, listen to this Word. If you would be wise, ask him who is Wisdom.

When it is too dark for you to see, seek Christ, for He is the Light. Are you sick? Have recourse to him who is both doctor and health. Would you know by whom the would was made and all things are sustained? Believe in him, for he is the arm and right hand. Are you afraid of this or that? Remember that on all occasions he will stand by your side like an angel.

If you find it hard to meet face to face the high majesty of the Only-begotten, do not lose hope. Remember, he was made man to make it easy for men to approach him. If you are innocent, like a lamb he will join your company. If you are saddened by pagan persecution, take courage. Remember that he himself went like a lamb to the slaughter, and, priest that he is, he will offer you up as a victim to the Father. If you do not know the way of salvation, look for Christ, for he is the road for souls. If it is truth that you want, listen to him, for he is the Truth. Have no fear whatever of death, for Christ is the Life of those who believe.

Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Know this: The Lord himself is God; he himself has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. — Psalm 100.2

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 2 (Listen – 3:47) 
Psalm 36 (Listen – 1:29)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about Names of Jesus—Priest, Lamb, and Vine :: Throwback Thursday
In the Holy Scriptures there are many names and titles which are applied to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

Read more about Remember Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.

Prayer for Enemies

Psalm 35.12-13
They repay me evil for good
   and leave me like one bereaved.
Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
   and humbled myself with fasting.

Reflection: Prayer for Enemies
By John Tillman

How quickly do we celebrate our enemies’ sufferings? Should we, rather, pray for them instead?

In today’s reading from Psalms, David describes a scenario in which he hears of a sickness that has struck his enemies. Instead of leaping for joy, or wishing for prolonged or worsening suffering on them as we might expect, the man after God’s own heart takes to his knees in prayer on behalf of his enemy.

In his commentary on the Psalms, Charles Haddon Spurgeon conjectures that this psalm may have been written during the time in which David was both fleeing from Saul and, simultaneously, continuing to support the king.

David had been a man of sympathy; he had mourned when Saul was in ill health, putting on the weeds of sorrow for him as though he were a near and dear friend. His heart went into mourning for his sick master. He prayed for his enemy and made the sick man’s case his own, pleading and confessing as if his own personal sin had brought on the evil.

Some may think it strange to pray for one who seems irredeemable; one who rejects any criticism and leans on pride. But this is just the kind of person David prays for.

David models for us in this psalm the essence of what Christ teaches about loving one’s enemies as oneself. Jesus is echoing David when he commands his followers to love their enemies and forgive those who do wrong to us.

We need not worry about prayers being wasted, no matter their subject. According to Spurgeon, “Prayer is never lost. If it bless not those for whom intercession is made, it shall bless the intercessors.”

May we redouble our efforts to pray for our communities and our leaders. We may pray for the “worthy,” knowing in our hearts that none truly are worthy, and that even the Pharisees loved those who loved them. But let us make special efforts to pray for the “unworthy.” Let us pray with renewed commitment for our enemies, our villains, our heretics, our corrupt officials, our attackers, and those who scoff at the mention of prayer.

When we do, we are following most closely in the footsteps of Jesus, coming close to the heart of God as David did, and following the emotional journey of God, who while we were sinners demonstrated his love for us through Christ.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I will bear witness that the Lord is righteous; I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High. — Psalm 7.18

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 1 (Listen – 6:21) 
Psalm 35 (Listen – 3:21)

Thank You!
Thank you for reading and a huge thank you to those who donate to our ministry, keeping The Park Forum ad-free and enabling us to continue to produce fresh content. Every year our donors help us produce over 100,000 words of free devotionals. Follow this link to support our readers.

Read more about The Sign of Jonah and The Cross
He was willing to die to save the idol-worshiping sailors in the boat, but when Nineveh repented and wasn’t destroyed, Jonah pouted like a child for the destruction of his enemies.

Read more about Daily Bread for Others :: Worldwide Prayer
We pray for people throughout the world who suffer either from hunger, disease, war, or other calamities, that they may find relief in you, because, wherever you went Jesus, you did good.

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