A Summer’s Ending Prayer

Blind Faith (No. 31, 2017)
Weekly Devotional for August 3, 2017
A Summer’s Ending Prayer
Local TV news anchors have made unanimous pronouncements: summer
is over! No matter that August – consistently the hottest month of the year
– has just begun.. Disregard the autumnal equinox September 22, the
astronomical end of summer. Public school is back in session, so summer is
over!

Your rhythm of life may or may not be regulated directly by the
schedule of school bells, shopping for school supplies and clothes, adapting
to school study, activity, PTA, bedtime, and such. Families with
kindergarteners through college students sense the functional end of summer
most acutely. Others may note the difference in vacation travel, or
clearance sales, or waning offerings at farmers’ markets as harvests
conclude. But, then, football pre-season camps have begun: summer is over!

This is a good time to pause and reflect over the blessings of
summer. Recall what you have enjoyed about this season – however
impractically it may have been shortened by contemporary school
administrators. Now is an excellent time to give thanks to God for the
unique gifts God has bestowed upon you in recent days. Perhaps you endured
some difficult times this summer. Your summer might have been an
invigorating, joyful delight. Recall your summer and take some extra time to
talk to God about it.
The following is my prayer. I offer it as a prompter for your own
conversation with God. Substitute your own cherished gifts from this summer
for the ones I can list to offer your prayer to God for the season’s
blessings:

God, you have warmed our corner of your marvelous creation with your love
and grace. I thank you for the invigorating days of summer. The longer days
of sunlight remind me that the Bible records your first creative command for
the cosmos as, “Let there be light!” and that Jesus is the Light shining
into the darkness of mankind’s sin. Light gives life, and summer teems with
life. Thank you for all the wonders of life you have created and have given
to us to enjoy.
Thank you for the delicious bounty of summer, the produce of gardens and
farms. Thank you, God, for the amazing flavor of vine ripened tomatoes, the
crisp sweetness of corn on the cob, the nutritional delight of fresh beans
and peas, and a host of other vegetables. And thank you for the juicy joy of
ice cold watermelon, the fragrance and flavor of peaches and other fruits,
and for fruits like apples and pears set on the trees still ripening. You
have given us such pleasurable provisions, a treat for all our senses, as
you sustain us with good food.
Help us to remember, Father, the people who have worked long
hours in the hot sun to tend the crops we are thrilled to consume, along
with all the people who labor to bring the crops to market for our benefit.
Bless the home gardener as well as the commercial farmer with a sense of
sharing with you in the work of caring for creation.
Thank you, God, for summer’s invitation to celebrate life with
family and friends. We learned from Scripture the importance of rest and
re-creation in your example of the Sabbath. I thank you for days spent
beside and in cooling pools, lakes, and oceans of water. Thank you for
opportunities to laugh and play with family and friends on vacations and
days off from work routines. Thanks, too, for the ability to travel to
behold mountain vistas, interesting and educational places, and entertaining
venues.
As we thrill in the variety of your creation, remind us of the
people who struggle with meeting the necessities of daily life. I pray for
those who work multiple jobs without vacations in order to make ends meet. I
pray that they will find a source of Sabbath rest, a respite from their
grinding toil. I pray for the people who work to make my enjoyment so easy.
O God, the delights of summer bear witness to your gracious
gifts in every season of life. Thank you for the rhythm of work and rest, of
productive striving and quiet relaxation. As days of ease turn to new
ventures at school or work, or to planning budgets and projects for the next
season, keep us close to your purposes for us. Help us to see and accept new
ways to serve you and to share your grace with others. Show us the joys that
are unique to each new day. Rekindle in our minds the rich treasures of
contentment we have accumulated this summer, especially those times shared
with brothers and sisters in the faith, family and friends, and new
associates. May our shared experiences open fresh channels for growing
together in faith and thanksgiving for all that you have brought into our
lives.
Now, God, prepare us for each day that lies ahead. Help us to
see your marvelous handiwork in the waning of the summer and the procession
of the seasons. We wait eagerly for the bracing chill of Fall, the splendor
of the colors, and the earth’s time of rest. Fill us with wonder and delight
with your loving and gracious provisions for whatever season we are in. We
are always in your hands, sheltered in your embrace. Reveal new glimpses of
your amazing grace as we commit each day to you in faith.
This is my prayer, in Jesus’ name. Amen

The Bible tells us that when he had created the cosmos, “God looked over all
he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way.” (Genesis 1:31
NLT) Further, we are reminded that everything we enjoy truly is God’s gift
to us: “Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created
all heaven’s lights.” (James 1:17 NLT) Take a quiet moment (you need one in
the sweltering last days of summer!) to think back over God’s good gifts
that you have enjoyed. Pray your own prayer of thanksgiving for those gifts,
and commit yourself to faithful anticipation of God’s gracious gifts in the
coming seasons.

J. Edward Culpepper

Dear Blind Faith Readers:

Blind Faith will retire as a weekly devotional with my 65th
birthday next month. I have enjoyed writing and sharing these promptings to
recognize God’s presence in events of each day, the enduring witness of
scripture, and other testimonies of faith. I have sensed that the time has
come for me to pursue other avenues of service, although the scope of such
opportunities is not fully evident to me yet. I am looking forward to God
guiding me to new endeavors as he has done in the past.

The last weekly posting of Blind Faith will be September 13. I
anticipate that Blind Faith devotionals may appear intermittently “as the
Spirit moves.” Weekly posts will not be the case. I deeply appreciate the
privilege you have given me of visiting via your e-mail In-box or FaceBook
news feed each week. Thank you for your responses, forwards, re-posts, and
faithful reading of Blind Faith. I will continue to pray that God will use
nearly 12 years of these writings spread across cyber-space to encourage and
build faith as he sees fit.

I borrow my concluding words from Peter’s reflections over his
ministry. This is what I have sought to do and pray that God will continue
to do through me:

do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness;
and to your goodness, add knowledge; {6} and to your knowledge, add
self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience,
add service for God; {7} and to your service for God, add kindness for your
brothers and sisters in Christ; and to this kindness, add love. {8} If all
these things are in you and are growing, they will help you to be useful and
productive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.. {12} You know these
things, and you are very strong in the truth, but I will always help you
remember them. {13} I think it is right for me to help you remember .. {15}
I will try my best so that you may be able to remember these things even
after I am gone. (2 Peter 1:5-8, 12-13a, 15 NCV)

God’s blessings,
Ed Culpepper