Week 1 // October 4th-10th

Two things have our world severely afflicted right now, and they seem to go hand it hand:

1. In the USA the Corona virus pandemic roughly began in March of this year.

This has had a devastating  effect  on a large portion of our population. Many have gotten sick, and some have died as a direct result of the virus. People have lost businesses, and others are even now still being lost. Some have been depleted of their life savings. Depression is on the rise, and as a result, there have been shortages of antidepressant drugs in the market place.  Upticks in suicide, alcohol use, and domestic abuse all correlate with our current quarantine. People have been unable to properly celebrate and mourn birth and death. It has been a trying year for most.

2. With the upcoming election there are many serious issues that are on the hearts and minds of those in our country. 

The debate rages on regarding appropriate government intervention/authority for times such as now. Many politicians in power are accused, and some have been exposed, of being involved with chid sex trafficking. Pedophilia has been affirmed by actual legislation is states like California.  Race tensions, abortion, health care, and economic policy have caused a great divide in the people of our country. The accountability of law informant is a source of  intense heartache and disagreement. There have been severe riots, random acts of violence, and a large increase in the murdering of police officers . Some call for the defunding of police departments, while others call for greater law and order. This divide is deeply rooted.

As a result of all of this, people are glued to media. They are consuming it, meditating upon it, posting memes in response to it, and  mocking those who stand in opposition to them. As Christians we ought to have an understanding of what is going on in our world, but at the same time, we are called to meditate upon something far greater than that which the media would call before our minds. We are called to meditate upon, and apply the Word of God in our lives. Our hope, peace, and salvation are not found in the election of men, but in the Word of He who created man. Read this selection from Psalm 119 below and meditate upon it as you walk through the four stations of this prayer trail. 

Psalm 119:97–107

[97] Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
[98] Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
[99] I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
[100] I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
[101] I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
[102] I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
[103] How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
[104] Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

[105] Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
[106] I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
[107] I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O LORD, according to your word! (ESV)

Station One

Re-read verse 97 from scripture selection above. Then, ask yourself these questions: Do I truly love the law (the word, ie. the Bible) of God? How do I meditate on God's word through my day?

Take some time to pray now, and consider these prayer suggestions while you do:

1. Ask for forgiveness in ways you may have fallen short, and confess those with specificity to God.
2. Pray that God would bring conviction to turn your attention from the wisdom of the world to the wisdom found only in His word.
3. Pray that God would help you understand more what it means to love his word. 

Station Two

Now focus in on verses 98,99, & 100. Then, ask yourself these  two questions. Have I considered that God's word can provide me with wisdom beyond my years? Do I turn to it first during times of affliction?

Take some time to pray now, and consider these prayer suggestions while you do:

1. Spend time thanking God for His wisdom in your life, be specific about how His Word has helped , shaped, and guided you.
2. Spend some time thanking God for loving you enough to give you direction with your best interest in mind.
3. Ask God for wisdom as you seek to grow from understanding His Word more fully. 

Station Three

Examine the next four verse now: 101, 102, 103, & 104. Now think about these questions: Do I trust God enough to choose His wisdom over my own? Are there people in my life to help keep me walking in the truth?

Take some time to pray now, and consider these prayer suggestions while you do:

1. Pray that God would protect your mind and heart from evil.
2. Ask God to strengthen His church to stand up for truth over lies and not cower from in the face of societal pressure.
3. Request that God would strengthen you through the church to keep you from evil and in His truth. 

Station Four

Let's zero in on the last three verses: 105, 106, & 107. Meditate inwardly on these questions: Where am I looking for hope in my life during these times of affliction? Am I being guided by God's word, or my by emotions and fears?

Take some time to pray now, and consider these prayer suggestions while you do:

1. Ask God to strengthen yourself and His church that we would find our Hope in Him and not in any political.
2. Pray that you and the church would not be led by a spirit of fear, but by a spirit of power, love, and self-control (2 Tim 1:7).
3. Speak to God about your fears and anxieties (be specific), then cast them on by confessing your trust in Him and release control to him (1 Peter 5:7).