We pray. We study the Bible. We make friends. We tell our stories. We give ourselves away in service and generosity.
A PERSONAL PRAYER
How long, O Lord, before you answer my prayer? I have prayed it. More than once. Over and over again. Sometimes, I just wear out praying it, and I give up on it altogether. But the issue still remains and plagues me, and I am not sure what else to do with it. It seems impossible to ignore it and move on, so I just begin to pray it again. Are you answering my prayer with a “no?” Are you answering my prayer by sending me strength and courage? (If so, I could use a little more.) Maybe you are answering my prayer with “not right now.” Or maybe your answer is those annoying words I have said to my own children: “we’ll see.” Along with Zachariah in the temple, I ask the question, “How will I know?” How do I know what your answer to my prayer is? I know, I know…lots of questions.
But God, at the very least, I want to know that my prayer has been heard. So, Lord God, I beg of you to answer my prayer with your very presence. In my heart of hearts, I know that is what I really need.
I pray, humbly, in the name/character of Jesus Christ, Amen.
KEY VERSE FOR THE WEEK
Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Luke 1:13
Read the full text here.
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION
Are there prayers you have given up praying? Prayers you continue to pray, but haven’t heard an answer? Prayers that took a long time before you did hear an answer? Where do you see God’s purposes at work in that area of your life?
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
It has been another tough week in the world. Yet again, a senseless attack of innocent people. Geopolitical tensions continue to rise. You watch the news, so I don’t need to do all the details. And I see personal lives with challenges, too. I have emails from people regarding struggling marriages and wayward children and financial difficulties. It is hard to respond to people with a simple jolly “Merry Christmas… Fa la la la la, la la la la.” No, we have a way deeper message than simply “don’t worry; be happy.”
The Advent season, the time right BEFORE Christmas, is in full swing. During this season, we hold in tension two things. On the one hand, Christmas is already really upon us. We hear Christmas music and sing Christmas songs and decorate our homes with Christmas lights and manger scenes. But on the other hand, the season of Advent is about our longing for a savior, our waiting and expecting, our hoping and our praying, our desperate need for God to come and save us. Isaiah says “Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and come down here.” That is what we need—in this world—in our lives. We need someone to save us.
And, the Scripture says, God will. That is reason to celebrate.
PRAYER CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK
Sunday, December 6
God, I know that faith is a journey. Sometimes I feel really close to you, and sometimes I feel lost in the world. I pray that you would hold me in your hands and give me strength to persevere.Help me to feel your presence wherever I go. Amen.
Monday, December 7
God, I want to follow Jesus and become more like Christ. Please help me to take time to show your love to others. Please help me to forgive when I don’t feel like forgiving. Please help me to reflect you in my words and actions. Amen.
Tuesday, December 8 | Personal Prayer Day
God has placed many spiritual leaders in our lives to help us grow in our faith. Pray for the people who have helped you on your faith journey by name today. Give thanks to God for them. Pray for God to bless them as they have blessed you.
Wednesday, December 9
God, it is easy to get caught up in the ways of the world, and I find myself overwhelmed with my To-Do list. Please send your Holy Spirit to guide me and to give me the peace I need to stay focused on your Kingdom work. Amen.
Thursday, December 10 | Personal Prayer Day
There are people all around us who do not know God well or at all. God wants us to introduce them to His love. Pray for the people in your life who need to find God and feel His love. Pray for them by name, and ask God to give them opportunities to come to know Him. Amen.
Friday, December 11
God, as the week comes to an end, I reflect back on all of the things I have done well and those I have not done so well. Please help me to see more ways to follow you and help me to use all that I have for your good purpose. Please prepare my mind and my heart to hear your message in church on Sunday, and please give me the courage to act on the things that you place on my heart. Amen.
Saturday, December 12
God, we lift up to you our Friends at Home. We pray that you would care for them and bless them. We ask that you would hold them in your hands and keep them close to you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.