taking the words of Jesus seriously

I wrote a prayer for my church members tonight for their emotional health over the next seven days. I hope you, too, find it meaningful.

For the next seven* days…
Let not our hearts sink into anxiety and dread by the unceasing spin cycle of 24 hour news or the bread and circuses of the imperial intrigue.
Instead, let us meditate on the seven days of Creation in Genesis and let us find time to be creative and find time for rest.
Instead, let us meditate on the seven times Jacob bowed to the ground upon meeting his brother Esau whose land and inheritance he’d stolen, and let us be humble.
Instead, let us mediate on the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in Pharaoh’s dream and let us get prepared for whatever might come.
Instead, let us meditate on the seven days of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and let us strive for liberation and work to feed the poor.
Instead, let us meditate on the seven times Jesus’ command us to forgive our neighbors and let us ask for their forgiveness seven times seven in return.
Instead, let us meditate on the seven last words Jesus spoke from the cross and seek to give our lives as a sacrifice for others.
Instead, let us meditate on the seven churches in the book of Revelation and rededicate ourselves to becoming a more faithful and loving community.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, whatever is excellent and worthy of praise, think on these seven things, for the next seven days.
*Seven, in the bible, is a number symbolizing completeness and wholeness. 

About The Author


Ben was born in Lynchburg, VA, grew up in Bethlehem, PA, and graduated from high school in Kannapolis, NC. He was educated at Marion Military Institute (commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant), Campbell University (BA in Religion and Philosophy), Duke Divinity School (Master of Divinity), and Catholic University of America (completed coursework for PhD). Before joining the staff at Meyers Park Baptist Church, Ben served as a First Lieutenant in the North Carolina Army National Guard, Minister of Youth at Samaria Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC, Associate Pastor and then Senior Pastor at Commonwealth Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA, Adjunct Professor of Political Theology and Ethics at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies, and Senior Pastor at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, NC.

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