Devotionals & Prayer

November 07
Participate in the Power

by Jordan Cunningham

​“And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4)

 The events in Acts 2 signify a moment that would forever change the life of Jesus’ followers and their mission on this earth. The promised Holy Spirit had been given, and a supernatural filling had occurred. In a moment, the supernatural interrupted the natural, and they began speaking in other languages to the amazement of all who witnessed.

This filling was the presence of God making its home in the believers. But it wasn’t just God’s presence that made a home in them — it was also His power. And it’s this power that Jesus referred to as He prepared to ascend to Heaven and tasked them with spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

This was no simple mission. In fact, it was impossible, naturally speaking. Facing intense persecution, God’s Word and God’s love were the only two weapons they were given. But in spite of all the odds, the Gospel spread, and followers of Christ were multiplied.

Thousands of years later, we’re still witnessing this multiplication through Young Life.  But we’re not invited to just witness it; we’re invited to participate in it. As believers in Christ, we’ve been given the gift of the Holy Spirit — not as an accessory or add-on, but as the operating system for our lives. 

Remind yourself of this fact.  You’re not alone. God’s presence is with you, and so is His power.

How are you using the power you have been given through the Holy Spirit?

Jordan Cunningham is the area director of Young Life in Mansfield.  He is married to Ashley and they have three kids, Ian (7), Ava (6), and Kai (3). 


October 16
Follow Me

​by Allison Turner

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”  And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18

I often share this story at the first club of the semester, extending the same invitation to kids that Jesus extended to his disciples. Come, follow, see, and be part of more than you could have imagined. 

The invitation to “follow me” almost seems like a command more than a request. Either way, it is an offer the disciples cannot refuse. I wonder what the next twenty four hours looked like after saying yes to Jesus. I imagine things that were once ordinary, were suddenly electric with purpose. The mundane, now significant.

As I prepared for our first Young Life club of the semester this year, Jesus’ invitation to Simon and Andrew struck me in a new way. I know that this personal invitation has also been extended to me. I said “yes” to being a part of Young Life for this reason - to follow and become a “fisher of men.” But too often the start of fall doesn't look like me excitedly “dropping my net” to follow the Messiah. The season carries anxious thoughts, hurried schedules and a heavy weight. 

Often I translate Jesus’ words “Follow me” into – “Do more, be better.” I wonder what Jesus is really inviting me into when he “Follow me.” Am I willing to go there? For me it isn't always to the next football game, or the next table at the cafeteria. He is inviting me to stillness and a quieting of my soul. Sometimes it is easier for me to chase another relationship or go to another event, than to sit and follow Jesus to the depths of my own heart and fears. 

I have a friend who says that when we are healthy ministers, we just get out of the way and we let Jesus do the work. If I skew Jesus’ invitation to follow him into a command to do more and be better, Jesus’ second offer becomes impossible. I cannot become a fisher of men when I am not healthy myself. Jesus is inviting me into an inner peace, stillness and adventure. But it is an adventure where I am following behind him, not trying to run faster ahead. 

This week, Jesus is pressing me to ask Him, “What are you inviting me into? Where are you leading me? Am I following?” I want to be faithful and obedient to that calling. 

How do you view Jesus’ invitation to come and follow Him? Is it a command to do more or to actually follow? What is Jesus inviting you into today? 

Allison Turner is the area director in Wylie. She has a brother named Brent and a dog named Brother. She is an expert at reading lips and loves pulling weeds.


September 25
Desperate Prayers

by Julie Clapp

Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’ (Luke 18:1-3; read Luke 18:1-8 here.)

Three years ago, I became a sponsor for a child in Tanzania. I donate monthly to provide for Neema, and we exchange letters. That’s it. I’ve never met her in person. I’ve never visited her school or shared a meal with her. I’ve never invited her to WyldLife club, and we’ve never gone to camp together.

But I pray for her. When my sponsorship began, the organization sent me Neema’s picture and an outline of monthly prayers. Pray that she would know Jesus as her Savior… have food to eat… be protected from illness… develop a love of Scripture.

As I prayed for Neema recently, I realized I pray for her with a sense of desperation, knowing there is nothing else I can do for. I can’t make her a home-cooked meal. I can’t help her with her homework. I can’t tell her stories about Jesus. The only thing I can do for Neema is pray.

In some ways, I get to be like the widow who goes before the judge. She couldn’t do anything to help herself, but she could go before the one who could help her. And she persisted until the judge finally said, “This woman is driving me crazy! I have to help!” 

Scripture clearly states why Jesus tells this story. He wanted his followers to know “that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.” Then Jesus tells his disciples that if this man who cares nothing about God or people is willing to respond to this widow’s pleas, is God not much more willing to answer the prayers of the children He loves?

I pray like the widow for Neema because there’s nothing else I can do, but how often do I pray like that for people and situations closer to home? Too often, I act first and pray second. When it’s someone or something right there in front of me, I want to jump in and help. I may pray, but those prayers lack the widow’s desperation. If I can do something, I don’t need really need God.

In his book, Draw the Circle, Mark Batterson asks, “How desperate are you for the blessing, the breakthrough, the miracle?” As I continue to pray for an 11-year-old girl in Tanzania, I want to learn to pray like the widow in all circumstances.

How will you pray with desperation today?

Julie Clapp​ has been on Young Life staff for almost 17 years, working for the region and now as the national WyldLife director. She serves as a WyldLife leader in Lake Highlands and thinks junior high kids are awesome. Julie loves USC football and Rocky Road ice cream from Baskin Robbins.​​​​



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