When Mary “treasured these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19) it was because she still did not understand the things she had heard and seen. She knew certain facts, but she hungered to understand them.
Day 17 – Will you pray for spiritual insight? For the things that you “know” as spiritual facts to become practical and personal and powerful realities in your life?
Paul knew the challenge. He knew that only the Holy Spirit can open up the inner eye so that a person can understand truth. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19) Strange. Paul was praying for believers. They knew truth at some level, but there we still deep levels of understanding absent from their hearts. Is it possible that the same is true for you? Do you have much, but God wants to give you more? Will you pray for spiritual understanding?
Re: Verse reading – Luke 10:25-37 (day one)
It is a Christian proverb. “Out of the mouth of babes. . .Thou hast prepared praise for Thyself” (Matthew 21, Jesus quoting Psalm 8) It is a principle that guides our celebration of this season and our priorities for the rest of the year. The deep commitment of the Christian faith is to lead children to know God and worship God.
Day 17 – Will you pray for children? Children in our church and community? Children in your family?
“Suffer the little children to come unto me”, said Jesus one day to His disciples who considered it a waste of important time to deal with them on spiritual matters. Nothing is less true. Every moment a parent or grandparent or friend takes with a child to help him/her understand the truth about God is an investment in eternity. How lax we have become, letting our children be schooled by the vision of Santa Claus or Rudolph. Will you pray? Will you pray for the children who come to “Christmas at First”, or Sunday School or worship? Will you look for opportunities to speak of God and His great gift to the young ones in your own family? Will you pray for the FBC search team as they narrow down the search for a Minister to Children and Preschoolers? God bless you for this act of service to the Savior.
RE Verse reading–Luke 7:1-17 (day seven)
It shocks us to think it, but at the time Jesus was born, His family had no place to stay. When labor pains started, the best they could do was to seek shelter in a stable.
Day 16 – Will you pray for the homeless?
Later in the Savior’s life, it will be true again. ”The Son of Man has no where to lay His head.” Never, however, an excuse for an undisciplined, godless life. Just the opposite. Jesus used the absence of things as an opportunity to press into the Father. “Do not worry about what you will eat, or what you will wear.” This is our prayer for every person who faces the challenge of homelessness. NOT that physical need might be minimized, NOR that our responsibility to help be abated, BUT THAT Spiritual life may been seen as the true need of the human soul. Rich or poor. How can people hope for Spiritual life if no one prays? So, will you pray? And will you support efforts to provide food and shelter and spiritual encouragement for those without it? Seems like the right thing for Christians to do at Christmas.
RE Verse reading–Luke 7: 1-17 (Day 6)
It’s one of my favorite moments in scripture. Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) to be a disciple. Levi immediately throws a party. Jesus is the guest of honor and wouldn’t you know, Levi somehow managed to get lots of his “tax collector and sinner” friends there. (Luke 5:27-30) How did he do that? Two keys… Leverage and Influence. Levi used Leverage and Influence to gather his friends, colleagues, and associates in a place where they would be in the presence of the Savior.
Day 15 – Will you pray for “Gospel Leverage and Influence” with your family, friends, and colleagues?
It’s hard work. It demands risk. It requires strategic timing. It is tense for sure. Seasons like the one we are currently in, can easily lend to conversations and experiences that are “eternal” in context. Will you look and listen for moments where you can begin or develop relationships for Gospel Leverage and Influence? It may come at the cost of safety, comfort, and time. (Sounds a lot like the Christmas Story to me). The battle takes place at precisely the point where believers must personally and willingly invest in lost friends (and family) and influence peers who desperately need Christ.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 7:1-17 (day five)
What happens when we pray? When we pray, we are not coming to God in order to change His mind or claim His blessing. When we pray, we are entering into the presence of Almighty God. The result of being in His presence is that we are changed. There is no instance in scripture where a person came face to face with God and was not changed. His majesty, His holiness, His awesome power was overwhelming. When we enter into the presence of God, the focus of our life, the condition of our heart, the compassion of our soul becomes more like Christ. Prayer reorients us to God and His purposes.
Day 14 – Pray for God to cause you to be more like Christ today.
Ask for God to prepare your heart, to sharpen your vision, and to give you the mind of Christ. In the presence of God through prayer, your life will be forever changed.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 7:1-17 (day four)
“For everyone who asks receives.” Is it true? Jesus revealed to us a universe that operates on the power of the request. We often become anxious when we know someone will ask something from us, and we find it unpleasant to say no, precisely because a request carries such power. This is how God designed things.
Day 13 – Will you ask God to act?
Although God is not under any obligation to do so, he has revealed that he, too, will respond to requests. In fact, he will give us whatever we ask when we make our requests conform to his character—that is, when our requests come after thoughtful consideration of what is loving, good, and representative of God’s kingdom. This is what it means to ask for things “in Jesus’s name.”
Re: Verse reading – Luke 7:1-17 (day three)
Throughout scripture we read of the importance of music and singing. Both Isaiah (Is. 6) and John (Rev. 4) describe scenes in Heaven where the seraphim surround the throne and cry out Holy, Holy, Holy without ceasing. Even if that doesn’t turn out to be singing, I’m sure that’s quite a site. 2 Chronicles 5:12 describes the roles of the Levites who were to sing in the temple 24 hours a day. What is then about this season that makes everyone think about music to help celebrate? I could provide you with an answer to that, but instead, I will ask you to pray.
Day 12 – Will you pray for the music of the season?
Sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? That may be true, but when we sing these carols that everyone loves to sing we don’t do it for nostalgia. We sing them because they contain truth and point others this message of Jesus. It is always easy to get a good crowd for a Christmas presentation, but our heart’s desire is not to entertain. Rather, it is to soften hearts to hear the Word. This is why we put such effort and thought into these programs. Will you please pray for your music ministry? Pray that they will still find the joy in singing this message. Pray for the directors, coordinators, accompanists, and helpers who work with every age to teach these great songs. Pray that those in our audiences and congregations will hear these words and understand this good news. But most of all, sing your heart out!
Re: Verse reading – Luke 7:1-17 (day two)
Christmas celebrates the coming of Christ. The invasion of the visible world by the invisible. “We interrupt this broadcast!” For a specific purpose, says the Bible. “I have come that they might have LIFE and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Think about it. Apart from this result (people born into supernatural LIFE rather than just natural life, unlimited LIFE rather than life limited by years) the coming of Christ was a colossal failure! The reason for the season is the healing of the human heart and the gift of eternal life!
So. . .on this 11th day of our prayer journey, will you pray for people to be called to Christ?
Will you pray for them to experience an insatiable hunger for eternal answers? For every Christmas carol to wake within them an awareness of their own emptiness, a determination to “follow the star” until it leads to the Savior? Will you pray for the Spirit to use every Christmas concert, every worship service, every testimony? Take time with this assignment. It is reason for the season.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 7:1-17 (day one)
It is the strategy of our enemy–to divide the people of God. And one of the easiest fault- lines is the “generation gap”. Sometimes it is about worship style. Always it is about relationship and trust.
Day 10. Will you pray for young adults in the FBC family?
(Yesterday we prayed for Senior Adults)
Their participation is vital to the success of our mission. Peter said it. “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders.” (1 Peter 5:5) Stay connected and humble! Don’t break away in frustration or impatience! Malachi predicted the same work of God. “Before the great and terrible day of the Lord, He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children AND the hearts of the children to their fathers. (Malachi 4:6) Will you pray for the remarkable young leaders of FBC? Will you pray for the team that will guide the search for the next Minister to Young Married Adults? Will ask God to bless these young adults (both married and single), their jobs and health and witness?
Re: Verse reading – Luke 5:12-26 (Day seven)
As FBC begins our celebration of the Christmas season (tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent), I hope you will remember the story of Simeon. (Luke 2) An old man. He has waited for years for “the consolation of Israel”. Trusting a promise from God that he would not die before He saw the Christ, Simeon came into the temple just as Mary and Joseph did. Praising God, he spoke a clear prophesy and felt at peace, ready to die. Great story.
Day 9 –Will you pray for the Senior Adults in the FBC family?
Will you thank God for their service and example? Will you choose one and hold him/her before the Father? Ask for health and undiminished strength. Ask God to refute the secular idea that at some point all of us just “fade away”. “Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.” (Deuteronomy 34:7) Take time with this assignment. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man. . .(James 5:16)
RE Verse reading–Luke 5:12-26. I look forward to seeing you in the morning!