When You Have Fallen in Your Spiritual Journey – A Prayer of Confession & Renewal

Good and gracious Lord,
we praise and thank You
that our moral failings do not take You by surprise.
You told Peter he would deny you three times
before the rooster crowed.
Forgive us for the ways that we have denied You
by loving the approval of others more than Yours.
Grant us renewed boldness
to openly identify ourselves as Your followers.
Make us people of honest confession,
unshakeable assurance, unquestioning obedience,
abiding joy, and full devotion.
For we pray in the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Walking a Difficult Road with Jesus

You have a difficult road before you:

O traveller to heaven, see that you go not without your guide.
You have to pass through the fiery furnace;
enter it not unless, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
you have the Son of God to be your companion.
You have to storm the Jericho of your own corruptions:
attempt not the warfare until, like Joshua,
you have seen the Captain of the Lord’s host,
with His sword drawn in His hand.
You are to meet the Esau of your many temptations:
meet him not until at Jabbok’s brook you have laid hold upon the angel, and prevailed.

In every case, in every condition, you will need Jesus;
but most of all, when the iron gates of death shall open to you.
Keep close to your soul’s Husband,
lean your head upon His bosom,
ask to be refreshed with the spiced wine of His pomegranate,
and you shall be found of Him at the last,
without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
Seeing you have lived with Him, and lived in Him here,
you shall abide with Him forever.

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning & Evening

Reflections to Cultivate Joy for Your Journey

  • Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ. – William Van der Hoven
  • The surest mark of a Christian is not faith, or even love, but joy. – Sam Shoemaker
  • When I think upon my God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap from my pen; and since God has given me a cheerful heart, it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit. – Franz Joseph Haydn
  • Solid joys and lasting treasure none but Zion’s children know.         – John Newton
  • No one can live without delight, and that is why a man deprived of spiritual joy goes over to carnal pleasure.  St. Thomas Aquinas
  • A common but futile strategy for achieving joy is trying to eliminate things that hurt: Get rid of pain by numbing the nerve ends, get rid of insecurity by eliminating risks, get rid of disappointment by depersonalizing your relationships. And then try to lighten the boredom of such a life by trying to buy joy with material things. – Eugene Peterson
  • Winners of souls are first weepers for souls. So our prayer should be: Let me look on the crowd as my Savior did, till my eyes with tears grow dim. Let me view with pity the wandering sheep and love them for love of Him.

Living with Hope – Henri Nouwen

“Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things-the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on-will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God’s promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.”

Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey