We can hear the majesty of God’s voice no matter the volume,
but we must be willing to listen. During one of the
loudest, most stressful, and chaotic moments of my life (while
in an MRI machine undergoing a medical test on my brain), I
heard the clearest whisper of a prayer and offered it back to God
as a request. The whisper was not audible, but I made no mistake
about whose voice it was. I still wonder if I heard the voice
clearly that day because of my crisis or because nothing else
distracted me. I could not escape the small space or loud noise of
the machine in which I lay. Thankfully, God came through loud
and clear, speaking a prayer I have clung to for a decade.

Psalm 29 opens with God’s thundering, majestic, and powerful
voice. It closes by inviting us to receive the gift of God’s
strength and peace (which may be easier at some times than
others). Amid the noise and crisis in my own life, I cried out,
acknowledging my need for God’s strength and the gift of peace.
God gave me this prayer: “Jesus, give me peace.” I muttered
those words in the form of a breath prayer on the scariest day of
my then just thirty-one years. That prayer became synchronized
with my breath, inhaling the name of Jesus and exhaling my
request for peace in that dark, loud—yet sacred—space.

This psalm invites us as servants to acknowledge God’s
voice. No matter the circumstance or volume, our Lord longs
to bless us with strength and peace. Slow down long enough
to sense the sacred wherever you find yourself. God’s prayer to
me has become one I turn to often. May you breathe it in and
receive the gift of God’s strength and peace in this new year.

Inhale: Jesus, Exhale: Give me peace.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 3:13-17

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Lectionary Week
January 2–8, 2017
Scripture Overview

Many will read the Isaiah text and identify the servant with Jesus, the one God enables to do the work of justice and transformation. The psalm announces the glory of God, a king powerful over the turbulence of nature and whose voice is a transcendent revelation. Matthew’s story of Jesus’ baptism joins the themes of servant and king. The baptism inaugurates Jesus’ ministry in which he proclaims God’s righteousness. Peter’s speech in Acts reminds us that Jesus’ baptism carries with it the promise of baptism in the Spirit.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 42:1-9. In this new year, what promises of God do you want to breathe in?
• Read Psalm 29. When the storms of life rage, how do you listen for God’s promptings?
• Read Acts 10:34-43. To whom do you need to proclaim the promises of Jesus Christ?
• Read Matthew 3:13-17. How does your understanding of your own baptism encourage you to live as an obedient child of God?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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