A prayer for Sabbath
‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11, NIV)
‘Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you… Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.’ (Deuteronomy 5:12, 15, NIV)
‘There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.’ (Hebrews 4:9-11, NIV)
God has built into the rhythm of our week a day called Sabbath, a day for intentional rest, reflection and worship. Sabbath is good for our bodies and our souls.
- It reminds us of Eden: we rest because God rested, to enjoy what He had made
- It reminds us of Egypt: we rest to remember how God liberates us from slavery
- It reminds us of Eternity: we rest to look forward to the eternal rest we will enjoy with God
Reflect on the following questions to help you enjoy Sabbath today:
- What good gifts can I enjoy today, which will remind me of the love and generosity of God and fuel my worship? For example, creation, food, the company of friends, solitude, the arts.
- What are the things that have the potential to enslave me – deadlines, work, pressure to perform, technology, social media, and so on – and how can I actively lay those aside today?
- What am I most looking forward to about the New Creation? What glimpses and foretastes of that can I enjoy today?
God of rest,
Today I make the active choice
To enter into your rest,
And to join with you
In delighting in this good world you have made,
And dreaming of the perfect world you will remake.
I choose to tune out,
Of demands and deadlines,
Of performance pressures,
Of flickering screens,
Of that which robs my soul of joy,
And the ways in which the world
Seeks to define and shape my identity.
I choose to tune in,
To your affirmation and love,
To the celebration of freedom,
To worship and your word,
To the enjoyment of that which fills my soul with joy,
And reminds me of my identity in Christ,
As a deeply loved child of God.
Today is a day for rest, celebration and reminding yourself and others of the goodness of God. Why not reach out to a friend in the church or your Connect Group and share with them one of the following:
- A testimony of something good God has done in your life, to encourage them.
- A scripture or prayer that will speak to them and help them focus on God as they practice Sabbath today.
- An encouragement. Something you love about them, value about then, and want to celebrate and give thanks for.
- A gift or act of kindness. Something to bless them and help them enjoy God and His creation.
You may also enjoy this talk by Joel Wade on Peace in Work and Rest