And when [Jesus] had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
It’s Monday, and we continue our devotionals that point to spiritual practices we can develop throughout the week.
The previous two Mondays, we explored the first two General Rules for traditional Methodists, do no harm and do good. Today we’ll look at the third and last rule, “attend upon all the ordinances of God.”
A United Methodist bishop named Rueben P. Job, a former editor of The Upper Room publishing house, boiled this rule down to “stay in love with God.” That’s an excellent starting point for understanding what John Wesley was saying in his 18th-century way. The third rule is about what we do to maintain the relationship with the one who creates, redeems and sustains us.
By “ordinances,” Wesley meant those spiritual activities we do methodically so we position ourselves to meet God, receiving God’s constantly available grace.
Wesley specifically listed what he thought of as ordinances: the public worship of God; the ministry of the Word, either read or expounded; the Supper of the Lord; family and private prayer; searching the Scriptures; and fasting or abstinence.
Our challenge this week is simple. How many of these have we incorporated into our lives? Are there new practices we can add?
I used the Mark passage today in association with this third rule because our relationship with God gives us the power we need to participate in kingdom building. We contend with unseen powers that would do the world harm. We need to tap into what God offers us if we are to carry out the Christian mission.
Lord, as we go to those places where you say you will meet us, may we receive new understanding and new grace. Amen.