The arrival of the school year can stir memories of preparing to jump into the deep end of a pool, lake, or ocean. It is time to take a few deep breaths to calm our nerves as we think, “Will I make new friends at school this year?” It is time to count to three with a few breaths as we pray, “Lord, help me to be a wiser parent, teacher, coworker, or pastor this year.”
I love how our monthly memory work, verse sixteen above, helps us consider our breathing in and out this September. Rather than being a ball of anxiety or worry over just how much work lies before us, we can be challenged by the truth to seek the One who helps us breathe in and out wisely, as a veteran marathon runner knows so well. “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” is an allusion for creation. You are God’s precious creation! How can you and I be mindful of and reassured by the reality that God desires to breathe life into our busy schedules this fall so we do not drown in it all but rather bear witness to how he helps us through it all?
I am confident that your calendar looks insurmountable like mine. I have been mapping out September 2022 through June 2023 the past few weeks. September alone can be daunting – tempting us to take panicked, shortened breaths rather than calming, deep breaths. This is indeed a time to take it to the Lord in prayer!
How marvelous that the first day of September is the day we reflect upon the life and witness of Joshua, son of Nun, the understudy of Moses! I wonder how many times he faced anxiety inducing circumstances only to learn over time that God used these intimidating experiences to teach him to measure his breath and his steps according to God’s provision?
Joshua certainly had incredible moments before and after the start of his leadership when Moses died. But I always have the image of Joshua, our brother in the faith, standing on the edge of the Promised Land, leading the nation of God’s people – a mass of humanity as awkward, worrisome, often wandering, stubbornly debating God’s way with God himself. They are certainly a lot like us: facing a daily struggle to have our breathing, our lifestyle measured by God’s training. He teaches us to pray. So how will you and I incorporate regular prayer into our daily routine, multiple times a day?
When our crazy schedule goes well, may we be mindful of God’s provision and lift up prayers of praise and thanksgiving to him.
When our crazy schedule disappoints us and we are a whirlwind of discouragement, may be mindful of God’s presence and lift up prayers of lament…cries for help. He promises to hear us. He desires to breathe life upon us and our path.
As we breathe in this new season of life, may our September be God-breathed, God’s Word filling our hearts, our homes, our offices, and every other routine place we get accustomed to this fall. May we breathe out the prayers of our hearts deeply, authentically, and many times a day to our Heavenly Father.
I want to practice what I am preaching to you. So we conclude with a prayer as we look to this new month and the new school year before us!
“Lord Jesus Christ, your servant Joshua led the children of Israel through the waters of the Jordan River into a land flowing with milk and honey. As our Joshua, lead us, we pray, through the waters of our Baptism into the promised land of our eternal home, where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” – p. 680 Treasury of Daily Prayer