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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Spreading Papers before the LORD

   This is a devotion I shared with my staff colleagues on the morning of the first day of school, but I think it can be applied to many contexts.

   There is an interesting story in the book of 1 Kings about what a king does when he receives a threatening letter. After reading the message from his enemy King Sennacherib, King Hezekiah of Judah goes to the temple and spreads the letter out before the LORD.  He begins his prayer like this:

Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim,you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God." (2 Kings 19:15-16)

   I love this image of the king physically spreading out this parchment before the LORD.  Of course, God knows what the message is and does not need to read it.  It was a way for the king to surrender the situation to God and to ask Him to deal with it.
   Spreading out papers before the LORD does not have to be limited to those which are sent to us and cause us distress.  Certainly, an unexpected bill or a note sharing bad news would also be appropriate to spread before the LORD and ask him for help. 
   This summer, I literally did the same thing with the class lists as I was preparing them.  I spread these pages out on my desk and asked God to bless the arrangements and the students in each class.  
    Other papers we might spread out before God are our daily and yearly plans, our communications with parents or our marking rubrics.  It's a good practice we can do as a way of surrendering our work and efforts to God's service.

Prayer based on Psalms 5 & 90
Give ear to our words, O Lord.
You have been God before creation; you have guided the formation of our school a generation ago. We are well aware of our smallness in the grand order of things.
This morning you hear my voice; this morning we lay our requests before you and wait in expectation.
Lead us O Lord in your righteousness; make straight your way before us.  Surround us with your favor as with with shield.
As we have prepared many days for this one, please bless your start to a new school year.  Please calm the anxious hearts of students and parents and staff.  We humbly ask you to establish the work of our hands for us, for without You we can do nothing.
In the name of Jesus, Amen

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