PRAYER OF CONSECRATION
Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
Jesus, I belong to you.
I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.
Jesus, we belong to you.
Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
I recently celebrated my first decade of walking with Jesus. Ten years ago I sat on the beach as a junior in high school, reading the words I just read from Isaiah for the first time. Despite my deeply rooted church upbringing—regularly attending youth group, Bible study, and volunteering on Sundays—God’s voice, presence, and promises all felt like distant realities. The way I heard people talk about God, their up-close experience of him as a genuine friend, seemed like false advertising. And as they often do, shame and embarrassment kept me from admitting how I really felt.
Adhering to the rules of a God who seemed to only be concerned with my behavior became increasingly unappealing. I began to question why I was following all of his rules in the first place, especially when doing the “right thing” began to cost me my social status. I slowly but surely began to master a double life, still showing up at church, but doing whatever was needed to maintain a sense of belonging among my peers. Eventually, my choices caught up to me, and through a series of events, I found myself sitting on the beach at a youth retreat asking the question: How on earth did I get here?
After a few attempts to read passages in my Bible, and failing to understand them, the floodgates opened. Streams of honesty and messy, unfiltered desperation began to pour forth: Where are you, God? Why haven’t you spoken to me like I know you speak to other people? I want to want you, but I don’t. And I want to thirst for you, but I don’t. If you want me like everyone else has said that you do, then now’s your chance to show up.
My words were met with silence. And then, a slight breeze, which picked up into a wind strong enough to begin turning the pages of my Bible. Eventually, they stopped turning. On the page: Isaiah 55, subtitled “Invitation to the Thirsty.” I began to read: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
The first time I sensed God speaking to me, the first time I encountered him, was when I came with my real self. Not the version of me who showed up how she thought she should, with the attitude she thought she should have, and the answers that she thought she should give. But with the authentic, desperate, unfiltered, exposed, questioning, angry, doubtful, insecure self.
I now have a sense that my honesty is what God was longing for the whole time. I have a friend who says “The only version of you God is interested in healing is the real one.” Honesty paves the way for transformation.
I love the invitational language of this passage. “Come.” God is clearly the initiator, but the invitation list is exclusive: it is an invitation to the thirsty, to the ones with no money, the ones who are desperate.
I think most of us spend a good bit of our time and effort trying not to come across as needy. But God is not interested in the self-sufficient versions of ourselves that pretend they have it all figured out. Neediness is essential for life in the kingdom. I’m not talking about emotionalism, but honestly admitting our need for God before him.
Tim Keller put it like this: “With Jesus, all you need is nothing. But most of us don’t have that.”
How does one come with nothing? Ironically, coming with nothing actually costs something. It requires that we give up our titles, our ambitions, and our reputations. We lay aside our answers, our preferences, our experience, and our qualifications. And these are not given up in an earning sense but as a response. Love transforms us so that it becomes our joy, not our obligation, to give them up. We are not earning love, but responding to it.
So today, offering nothing but yourself, simply say “Jesus, I need you. I have nothing.” And you’ll find that it is everything.
Slowing down my soul, I pause to consider God’s invitation to me: “Come.”
Thank you, Lord, that all I need to come to you is nothing. Holy Spirit, help me to lay down my titles, my achievements, and anything else that might get in the way at the feet of Jesus. It’s not about what I bring to the table or what I have to offer. It’s about your power being made perfect in my weakness. You love to fill the space that my need creates for you. Jesus, everything that I have is yours. Everything that I am is yours. And as I say these words to you, I hear you saying them back to me. “Everything that I have is yours. Everything that I am is yours.” Resting empty-handed in your presence, I know that if I have you, I have all that I need. Amen.
Inviting the Holy Spirit to guide you, ask yourself these questions:
- How am I approaching God? Am I bringing anything that I need to let go of? Am I needy? What might coming with nothing cost me?
- “The only you Jesus is interested in healing is the real one.” What does the real me look like? Might there be anything I haven’t been upfront with God (or even myself) about? Have shame or embarrassment kept me from being honest about who I really am or where I’m really at? Are there any doubts, fears, or disappointments I could bring before God today?
- Take some time to recall a time when you had a significant encounter with the love of God, maybe it was for the first time. Tell the story. Write it down or say it out loud. What do you notice as you remember?
For the Awakening,
Anna Grace Legband