Fellowship at the Ranch

Pastor Ed Jones

I like February. It’s a time when I revel in resolutions kept or, more likely, mourn those that didn’t last long. It is the shortest month, yet it brings the promise of glorious spring. The Roman month Februarius was named after the Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa held on the 15th (full moon) in the old lunar Roman calendar.

Purification, an interesting word that means the removal of contaminants from something, the process of extracting something from a substance, or making something spiritually or ceremonially clean through an offering. It’s this last definition that makes our second month so intriguing to me. What offering can I make that would bring me to a place of spiritual cleanliness? For the Christian, that offering is usually in the form of a prayer. But what prayer?

When perplexed, I usually go to the Psalms for comfort and guidance. In Psalm 119:33-48, I found the prayer I was searching for. “Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts. Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your ways.

Lord, today I make a new start, a new beginning. As Esther spent an entire year to prepare for the marriage of her King, I declare this day, that I will prepare for your coming. It is time for me to examine my own heart and to rid myself of all that would defile my wedding garment.”

After such a meditation and prayer, I feel lighter and less burdened. My firm resolutions hastily made may have died an agonizing death, but renewed and buoyed by prayer I now look forward to spring with anticipation and joy.

Prayer causes me to get outside of myself and interact with my God. It frees me from the burden of attempting to do things on my own. It literally “lightens the load” by seeking assistance from One who promised, “Lo, and I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. For information, visit Fellowship’s website: www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com.