Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Blessed Assurance"1 (Lyrics)
1 Timothy 2:1 – So, then, this is my very first command: God's people should make petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings on behalf of all people. (NTE)
1 Peter 3:12a – For the Lord is watching his children, listening to their prayers. (TLB)
A beefy guy with a buzz cut has a half-smoked cigarette behind his ear. Sitting next to him is a kid with a nose ring and eye makeup, wearing a black hat that says, "On my way to hell!" Those of various faiths board, in turbans and hijabs. Two elderly sisters sit side by side, with missing front teeth, checking their lottery tickets in silence. The late morning bus offers up the individuals God has selected to people my prayers today.
Consider all the things for which we can be thankful. Waiting for the bus to come on a cold winter day gives us opportunity for patience, which, they say, always hitches a ride with understanding. Having a warm coat, hat, and gloves also reminds us to be grateful. Then, there's the joy that a bus service even exists, let alone that it goes anywhere near our destinations. Most of all, since we share the ride with some of the neediest people in town, we have been given this time together to pray for them. If we had a car, we'd be missing out on this blessing that provides us with yet another opportunity to learn and grow spiritually.
Someone once said that our real purpose in life is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and those around us. Spiritual fitness comes when we see encounters with others as being sent from God to keep our souls as fit as our bodies. Trials and troubles are actually bright, shiny, spiritual exercise equipment, transforming our frail faith into channels useful to God — all for free!
Back to the bus where a tired young mother gets on with a baby in a stroller. An old man across the aisle makes a paper airplane out of his transfer and gives it to the baby, who promptly eats it while its distracted mother is not looking. Yet another opportunity for prayer.
James 5:16 – Pray for one another, so that you will be healed. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect. (GNT)
Romans 12:12 – As regards hope, rejoicing: as regards tribulation, enduring: as regards prayer, persevering. (Darby)
Prayer: Dear God, who always answers prayer, who puts us in just the right place to see the needs of those with whom You have allowed us to ride today, we thank You that Your love extends to all Your children, at all times and in all situations. Thank You for constantly providing the circumstances for us to grow and change spiritually as we accept what You have given us today as from a loving Father's hand. Thank You for honouring us by allowing us to do Your will today. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.