Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

This Fundamental Priority

Prayer, both ecclesial and personal prayer, thus ranks higher than all action, not in the first place as a source of psychological energy (“refueling,” as they say today), but as the act of worship and glorification that befits love, the act in which one makes the most fundamental attempt to answer with selflessness and thereby shows that one has understood the divine proclamation. It is as tragic as it is ridiculous to see Christians today giving up this fundamental priority—which is witnessed to by the entire [First and Second] Testament, by Jesus’ life as much as by Paul’s and John’s theology—and seeking instead an immediate encounter with Christ in their neighbor, or even in purely worldly work and technological activity. Engaged in such work, they soon lose the capacity to see any distinction between worldly responsibility and Christian mission. Whoever does not come to know the face of God in contemplation will not recognize it in action, even when it reveals itself to him in the face of the oppressed and humiliated.
     —Hans Urs von Balthasar, Love Alone Is Credible, trans. D. C. Schindler (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2004), 109.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
This I declare about Yahweh: 
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; 
he is my God, and I trust him. 
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease. 
He will cover you with his feathers. 
He will shelter you with his wings. 
His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, 
nor the arrow that flies in the day. 
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, 
nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 
Though a thousand fall at your side, 
though ten thousand are dying around you, 
these evils will not touch you. 
Just open your eyes, 
and see how the wicked are punished. 
If you make the Lord your refuge, 
if you make the Most High your shelter, 
no evil will conquer you; 
no plague will come near your home. 
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go. 
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 
You will trample upon lions and cobras; 
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 
Yahweh says, “I will rescue those who love me. 
I will protect those who trust in my name. 
When they call on me, I will answer; 
I will be with them in trouble. 
I will rescue and honor them. 
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.” 
     — Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 91:1–16). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Praying In Jesus' Name

A Good Reminder For My Soul