I wrote this journal entry more than ten years ago. While “Favored, Blessed, Pierced: A Fresh Look at Mary of Nazareth” has given me new insights, this post demonstrates how to take a passage of scripture and pray it back to the Lord. I encourage you to do that with other sections of Mary’s story. Which portion will you begin with today?
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!“
Lord, I want to be the kind of woman that these words can be said of. Mary was given the special favor/grace of being the mother of Christ. What have you favored me with? Wife, mother, deacon, mentor, MK, missionary, pastor’s wife. Thank you, Lord, for all the privileges these roles bring. I know I am not worthy of these favors but I thank you for the honor.
“The Lord is with you.”
You are always with us, Lord, but Mary needed you to be with her in a unique, intimate way; to be aware of your presence constantly. Lord, it seems like an awareness of your presence is necessary in order to carry out unique duties. Lord, I want to live aware of you at all times. Like Mary, I too need to know you are with me in order to face each day.
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
Of course she was. We don’t see angels every day and to be singled out must mean something hard, right? “What is he going to ask me to do?” She may have wondered. Or “Uh oh, what have I done now!” Lord, forgive me for the times I automatically assume you only want hard stuff for me.
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.”
There’s that favor again. Lord, you knew she needed reassurance and explanations for the weird things that were going to happen to her. Thank you, Lord. That comforts me, because I need reassurance too. I need you to repeat things until I get it.
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Wow! How awesome it must have been to hear that the long-awaited Messiah was going to come soon. How humbled she must have been and blessed and honored to realize she would be the carrier of this precious gift. Lord, you have given me some assignments that have blessed and honored me. Thank you, Lord. And I must again thank you for the gift of Jesus. He was not only a blessing to Mary, he came for ME. I am so glad his kingdom will never end and that I can be a part of that.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
Mary had one question which the angel answered with, “nothing is impossible with God.” Lord, I don’t think I’d only have one question. I’m full of questions. But maybe if I had truly seen a genuine angel, I might forget all my questions. Maybe if I truly understood that nothing is impossible with God, I’d shut up. Help me to truly believe that, Lord.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Mary accepted the answer readily and was willing to be the Lord’s servant. Lord, I too want to be your servant. I want faith like Mary’s that accepts your assignments without question. Is there some unique task you are asking me to do for which I must rely on your presence and supernatural power? Help me to remember that nothing is impossible with you.
REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
Choose about ten verses of Mary’s story (or a related passage) and pray it back to the Lord in your own words.
Psalm 119:97, 103, 111