3 Minute Read

Teach Us to Pray (Joshua 2:1-7)


 (3 minute read)

As Israel enters the homeland that God has long promised them, Joshua sends scouts to get the lay of the land. Sneaking through Jericho, they are given hospitality and protection by the prostitute Rahab. Among enemies they find a friend.

Rahab had heard and believed the stories of God’s faithfulness and power, and her act of trust saves her. Her faith overcomes all barriers that should have divided her from these spies of a completely different nation and religion. Her nationality, occupation, and her past don’t matter. Only her faith determines her fate. For this simple faith, the author of Hebrews ranks her among the important figures of the Old Testament.

Rahab became a significant character for Christians centuries later for a number of reasons. First, she is an ancestor of Jesus himself, reminding us that God was never just the God of one nation. He gathers all nations—ultimately in Christ—to worship him. Also, Rahab’s story embodies God’s salvation and grace. In Jesus’ own day, his message of the Kingdom was most faithfully received by people of the margins like Rahab—prostitutes, foreigners, the lame, the outcasts. The crimson cord that Rahab hangs from her window echoes the blood of the lamb on the doorposts at Passover and foreshadows the blood of Jesus that secures our salvation. We cling to this cord, marking our homes and lives with it. Under this cord God gathers people from all nations into his household.

Spend time in prayer simply reading Joshua and reflecting on the character of Rahab. Imagine having a conversation with her. Who is she? What does she value and live for? Why is she found so remarkable? How can you relate to her? How does she challenge you? How do you see God’s grace at work in her? Pray that the same faith that lived in her might grow in you.


About the Author

Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC. 

Teach Us to Pray (The Exodus)

(3 minute read)

The story of the Exodus was central to ancient Israel’s identity and prayer. We may not think of storytelling as belonging in prayer, but the Passover is woven throughout the Psalms, the prayerbook and hymnal of Israel (78, 105, 106, 135, and 136 just to name a few). Story is the source and center of the Christian spiritual life. By praying the story of Scripture, we allow our personal stories to encounter and be shaped by God’s action in all of history. It is not by accident that the Psalms are introduced by a call to “meditate on the Law day and night.” When we do this, returning constantly to root ourselves in God’s story, we become "like trees planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:2–3). This is the full meaning of remembrance—not just mental recollection but the active response of the whole person (and community) to what God has done. This is why God commanded Israel to keep the Passover. Remembrance makes us who we are.

For Israel, the Passover was a festival of remembrance, bringing the past into the present by reenacting the events when God protected and delivered his people out of slavery in Egypt. So when Jesus and his disciples are sharing the Passover meal together before his death, and he tells them, “do this in remembrance of me,” his emphasis is not on “this"—as if he is introducing some new practice—but on “me." Jesus is taking this ancient, familiar Passover tradition and re-centering it on himself. A new Exodus is taking place—a new deliverance led by a new Moses. This is why the table of Communion is the culmination of the Christian spiritual life. At the table we remember—just as Israel did with the Passover—our deliverance from darkness and death and slavery to sin. 

Pray Psalm 77 in remembrance of our most important story, re-centering the Exodus around Christ who delivers us through the waters of baptism.

Questions or discussion? Click here to comment.

Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: Deeper Dive Podcast (Ten Commandments)

About the Author

Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC

Who Is My Neighbor? (Junior Cineas)

(3 minute read)

We had the privilege of Junior Cineas, our Missionary from Haiti, being with us this last week in Bloomington/Normal.  Junior and I had a great conversation about ‘Who Is My Neighbor’ and what follows are Junior’s reflections on this topic.

Who is my “Neighbor” is an important topic this days. However the church around the world is still missing it. Sometimes the church gets it mixed up with only people living next to one another. Your neighbor goes beyond just the person who lives next to you. The Bible puts a great emphasis on how you should treat “your Neighbor”-- “love your neighbor as yourself”(Lev. 19:9-19). In the Old Testament, God gives his people the responsibility toward their neighbors:  “If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it to him by sunset, because his cloak is the only covering he has for his body.  What else will he sleep in?  When he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”  (Exodus 22:26-27)   

Jesus teaches us that our neighbor goes even beyond those people who live next to you or those you might know….or even like or who don’t like you!  The Great Commandment says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and  mind and the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.”   (Matthew 22:37-39)  The church will be judged for that…...Matthew 25…….did we meet the needs of our neighbors?  The hungry, the sick, those in prison…...all are our neighbors.  This goes way beyond the love we have for those who love us back.  Jesus makes it clear that we are to love those who hate us.

Jesus is our neighbor…..each time we help one of those people in need, we’re helping Jesus.  Visiting someone in the hospital is visiting Jesus himself…...that person is your neighbor.  Every person who is in need is our neighbor.  How are we to know what people need if we never go to them to determine what they need?  Jesus relocated himself in order to be our neighbor…...relocated from Heaven to earth…...so that we would know that Jesus understood us.  Everyone around us is our neighbor….we don’t need to know where the person is from or what their experience has been:  we just need to see their need.  Because of our love for God and our neighbor, everyone is our neighbor.

Do people think they need to go far away in order to find their ‘neighbor’?  Junior came to the United States:  and found his neighbors.  Some of us have gone to Haiti:  and found our neighbors.  Do we feel pity for others far away, but not for the people we see around us all the time?  So, maybe we need to look at others as Jesus sees them.  We can’t meet all the needs, but we can do whatever it is that Jesus tells us.  Could those needs be next door to you?  Across town?  At the hospital?  In the prison?  At the homeless shelter?  A foreigner?  A widow?  An orphan?  

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”  (Matthew 25:37-40)


Questions or discussion? Click here to comment.

Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: A Light to My Path (Exodus)

About the Authors

Junior Cineas is a pastor in Haiti. Debbie Reese is the Co-Directing Pastor at Calvary UMC.