Two Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationSabbath Keeping FastingPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelPersonality Type in CongregationsBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Draw near: Loosening our grip

Lynne Baab • Tuesday January 3 2023

Draw near: Loosening our grip

In her book Prayers in the Night, Rev. Tish Harrison Warren writes about the ways we relinquish control when we sleep. However, she notes that “our bodies and brains are not inactive in sleep. A whole world of activity happens inside our heads. We dream. We fight illness. We form, sort, and strengthen memories from our days.” Then she continues:

“And crucially, all of this happens without our knowledge, consent, or control. Our bodies require us to loosen our grip on self-sufficiency and power if we are to thrive. Both physically and spiritually, then, we must be willing to embrace vulnerability if...

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Draw near: Looking back, looking forward, in prayer

Lynne Baab • Tuesday December 27 2022

Draw near: Looking back, looking forward, in prayer

I used a Jewish Sabbath prayer in my book, Sabbath Keeping: “Days pass and the years vanish, and we walk sightless among miracles.” The prayer speaks to me about a common experience of humans. We simply don’t see the miracles around us.

As the prayer continues, the significance of seeing is stressed:

“Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing; let there be moments when Your Presence, like lightning, illumines the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness, and exclaim...

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Draw near: Praying without words

Lynne Baab • Tuesday December 20 2022

Draw near: Praying without words

Sometimes when we want to pray, the words just won’t come. Wordless prayer can feel inadequate and awkward. Sometimes being with Jesus, without using words, is exactly the right thing to do. Maybe we want to sit quietly with Jesus, or perhaps walk with him, holding his hand, enjoying his nearness. Perhaps we want to listen to God.

I started this blog series called “Draw Near” exactly six months ago. My favorite way to describe prayer is drawing near to God. Or to Jesus. Or to the Holy Spirit. The idea of drawing near comes from Hebrews 4:15-16:

“For we do not have...

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Draw near: Desire

Lynne Baab • Tuesday November 29 2022

Draw near: Desire

“In the modern period and in Europe and America, we’ve tended to think of religions in terms of belief. That means cognitive assent, cognitive understanding. . . . But most human beings don’t live in that kind of modern, somewhat sterile world. We’re always oriented to our desires. Whether they’re simple desires like ‘I’m thirsty or hungry,’ or whether they’re a desire to see a beloved child or lover, our whole life is about desire. A lot of hymns capture this more affective, aesthetic, openhearted way of experiencing our life and our faith. . . . [Desire] is the openness of...

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