Psalm 23:2-3a | Renewal 4

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (Psalm‬ ‭23:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

What does “refreshment” look like to you? Sound like? Smell like? Taste like? Feel like? What is that picture for you? 

Sometimes God makes our lives more centered and serene so that we can experience soul refreshment. I believe that at all times, God is interested in leading us to become more centered and serene so that we can have a calm in the midst of the storms that inevitably come in life. To have what Paul memorably and poetically called, “the peace that passes all understanding.” 

Because this experiment I’m conducting with these Monday-Friday posts on a weekly verse/theme is about bringing spiritual exercise and practice together with devotional thoughts and teaching, today is specifically a training day. 

So, two Christian Formation training elements to focus on today: 

1. Breath Prayer. We’ve referenced this several times, but I believe it to be incredibly powerful relative to how simple it is. Think about it–we could make each verse or weekly theme our breath prayer for the week and we’d have Psalm 23 memorized in six weeks. Now, we could memorize it much more quickly than that if we wanted to, but at the rate of one verse per week, we will have worked it into our soul by that time, not just into our mind. Also, taking this as a breath prayer for the day allows us to meditate on God’s Word throughout the whole day, letting its deep truth settle in, helping us hear something we had yet to hear. So, take this selection as a breath prayer–specifically today, but also consider taking it as a breath prayer over the next several days. 

2. Renewing rest. Sabbath. Renewal. Refreshment. We can find plenty of rationalizations for neglecting renewing rest, the sort that God created the Sabbath for. But at the end of the day, the truth is that we are finite human beings and we need it. We need it for our bodies, and for our souls. So, if renewing rest involves “strategic ceasing,” what might you cease from doing in order to take a break from compulsiveness? When and how can you detach from some things in order to strengthen your attachment to God? Begin considering these questions today so that you may practice it over the coming weekend. 

Prayer: God, as I learn about practices and disciplines that make for a well-formed Christian life, motivate me to try them out. Help me put them into practice. Amen. 

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