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Prayer Tip: The Man Among the Tombs

July 23, 2023

Daily Scripture

Luke 8:26-33

Jesus and his disciples sailed to the Gerasenes’ land, which is across the lake from Galilee. As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, a certain man met him. The man was from the city and was possessed by demons. For a long time, he had lived among the tombs, naked and homeless. When he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down before him. Then he shouted, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” He said this because Jesus had already commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had taken possession of him, so he would be bound with leg irons and chains and placed under guard. But he would break his restraints, and the demon would force him into the wilderness. Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had entered him. They pleaded with him not to order them to go back into the abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission, and the demons left the man and entered the pigs. The herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.


Daily Reflection & Prayer

In The Inner Voice of Love, A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, Henri Nouwen wrote, “Not being welcome is your greatest fear. It connects with your birth fear, your fear of not being welcome in this life, and your death fear, your fear of not being welcome in the life after this. It is the deep-seated fear that it would have been better if you had not lived.” Most of us can relate to feeling not welcomed at some point in our life. It can be as small as not being invited to a get together to being publicly rejected at an event. Either can be devastating and the feeling of rejection stays with some for a very long time causing them to retreat rather than face that rejection again.

Jesus didn’t limit his association to the elite. He came to the woman who was an outcast at the well, and in today’s Scripture to a man who lived by himself among the tombs. Jesus wasn’t afraid of this person everyone else feared and he healed him. Jesus loves outcasts—perhaps more precisely, nobody is an outcast to Jesus. Nouwen wrote, “Everything Jesus is saying to you can be summarized in the words, ‘Know that you are welcome.’”

This week as I was walking my daughter into VBC there were signs all around reminding everyone that they were invited. I pointed them out to her. I wanted to remind her that church is a place she is always invited to. Jesus wants our church to be a place where everyone is welcomed. If you have been rejected before, this is your place. If you have struggled with friendships before, the friendship you have been longing for is with Jesus, and church is a place you can learn how to build that friendship.

This week’s prayer tip:
1)     Pray about how you can make sure you make church a more welcoming place for others.
2)     BreathPrayer: Breathe in: I am welcomed by God. Breathe out: I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Repeat this 10 times.
3)     Write down a time you have felt very welcomed by someone. What did they do? What did it feel like? How can you recreate this experience for others?


Dear God, We live in a world that is loud and a media that expresses so many conditions for us to be welcomed. You are welcome if you are attractive, young, able bodied, financially well off, with white teeth, perfect hair and skin, the right clothes and have the right connections. The church is Jesus’ house and at his house there are no pre-conditions. Jesus says, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made,” and you are welcome. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Ashly Cooley

Ashly Cooley

This week's prayer tip is by Ashly Cooley. She has been on staff since 2015 and this is the best job she has ever had. She is passionate about serving the Lord, normalizing mental health care, and is a self proclaimed bibliophile. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, extended family and friends as well as dancing badly and snuggling her dog, Bessie.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.