Advent 2022: Day 4

Psalm 34 – I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.


Basil the Great: He who has despised present things, and has given himself to the word of God and is using his mind for thoughts that are above and are more divine, he would be the one who has a contrite heart and has made it a sacrifice that is not despised by the Lord. For “a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.” … He who has no vanity and is not proud of anything human, he is the one who is contrite in heart and humble of spirit.

Augustine: These are the great mysteries, brothers and sisters. God is above all things; if you lift yourself up, you do not touch him, but if you humble yourself, he comes down to you.


Devotional Prayer based on today’s readings

Almighty and merciful God, I pray for a heart that extols you in all seasons and all times. During times of plenty and times of need. When my circumstances appear hopeless and when my cup overflows. I humbly ask you to let praise and adoration always be upon my lips and in my soul. Let this praise and adoration animate my life – my thoughts, words, deeds, and desires.

Father, in every instance that I have sought you, I have found you. In fact, I have discovered that you never left my side. Never have you left nor abandoned me. More than that, it was only by your strength that I was able to call out for you, to search for you, and to “find” you, though in reality, you found me.

Please fill me with a reverential awe of who you are, of all you have done, and all you have promised to do. With the saints who have come before, let the deepest longing of my heart also be to know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly. Remind me daily that in you I lack nothing. Indeed Lord, I have tasted and know with all my heart that you are good, and your goodness is plentiful.

Let my life reflect yours. Help me to be holy as you are holy. I want to love as you love. Lead me away from temptation and deliver me from evil. I desire to keep you ever before me and to pursue you all my days. I praise you that you are not a distant, faraway deity, but a loving Father who is close to the brokenhearted, and when I cry out, you are there. When I seek, you reveal yourself. When I knock, you answer. When I’m in need, you provide. O gracious God, you are too wonderful for words to express. So please receive this meager effort to adore and thank you. Amen.

Prayer Journal: Week 49

Careful for nothing, prayerful for everything, thankful for anything. (D.L. Moody)

This Week’s Scripture

·         Genesis 45:1-15
·         Psalm 133
·         Romans 11
·         Matthew 15:10-28

Adoration

Romans 11:33, 36
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! …36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.Amen.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord (verse 1)
Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

(Adelaide A. Pollard)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

Confession

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”. (Matthew 15:18-20)

Dear Jesus, give me the mind that was in you. Put in my heart that spirit of meekness and humility that you showed as you served the poor and the outcast and as you poured yourself out for others. Keep me this day from seeking the praise and affirmation of people; keep me from longing to be thought of as somebody in terms of wealth, fame, influence, and all the other empty toys of the world. Make it my whole and single desire to be somebody in your eyes. In Christ I pray.  Amen. (John Wesley)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Thanksgiving

God of tender providence, I praise you for your faithful hand in my life. You sent Joseph ahead of his family to prepare a place for them in Egypt. It cost Joseph many years of pain, suffering, and loneliness, yet he recognized it was your hand guiding and protecting him through it all. He also saw how you were the great Orchestrator who never left him nor forsook him. Similarly, the Lord Jesus went through pain, mockery, alienation, suffering, and death upon the cross for my sake. Yet, he knew it was his purpose and your plan. In and through it he prepared a place for me with you, as Joseph did with his family in Egypt. Indeed, all of my life reveals the fingerprints of your continual care. For your constant love and provision, O Lord, I am grateful. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen. (based on Genesis 45:1-15)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

Supplication (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

·         Spiritual Warfare
·         Growth in Christlikeness
·         Increasing faithfulness in the spiritual disciplines 
·         My health
·         For my ordinary appointments and activities to become divine appointments and activities. 
·         Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

·         My Family 
·         Mercy for those who are poor and hungry  
·         Justice for those who are oppressed and persecuted  
·         Love for those who oppress and persecute others
·         Peace for those in the midst of war, crime, and violence   
·         Other needs

It is true that we may desire much more. But let us use what we have, and God will give us more.
(Adoniram Judson)

Prayer Journal: Week 48

Every Christian needs a half hour of prayer each day, except when he is busy, then he needs an hour. (St. Francis of Sales)

This Week’s Scripture

·         Genesis 37:1-28
·         Psalm 105
·         Romans 10:1-15
·         Matthew 14:22-23

Adoration

Psalm 105:1
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (verse 1)
Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need thy tender care;
in thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, thine we are.

(Dorothy Thrupp)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

Confession

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, truly lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wickedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (The Book of Worship for Church and Home)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Thanksgiving

God of salvation, I thank you with all that I am for reaching down and redeeming me. Indeed, I am grateful for those you placed throughout my life who brought your good news to me. Because you sent them with the gospel, they were able to faithfully proclaim it. Because they faithfully proclaimed it, I was able to hear it. And because I was able to hear it, through your gracious work, I was able to believe in Christ my Savior and Lord. I pray almighty God that you would use me on behalf of others, just as others served you on my behalf. In the name of the risen Christ I pray. Amen. (based on Romans 10:14-15)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

Supplication (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

·         My personal mission field
Ø  Help me to identify those people who make up my personal mission field.
Ø  Enable me to begin sharing the gospel with those who do not yet know you.
Ø  Empower me to disciple those who are young in their faith.
Ø  Allow me to encourage those who are struggling in their faith.
Ø  Please give me perseverance in all areas of ministry.
·         Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
·         Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

·         My family
·         For missionaries throughout the world
·         For those seeking to faithfully minister to loved ones at home
·         For those who share the gospel in the inner city
·         For those who bear witness to Christ in places of power
·         Other needs

Be to the world a sign that while we are Christians do not have all the answers, we do know and care about the questions.  (Billy Graham)

Prayer Journal: Week 47

All the Christian virtues are locked up in the word “prayer.” (Charles Spurgeon)

This Week’s Scripture

  • Genesis 32:22-31
  • Psalm 17:1-15
  • Romans 9:1-5
  • Matthew 14:13-21

Adoration

Psalm 17:6-7

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
    incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
    O Savior of those who seek refuge
    from their adversaries at your right hand.

Amazing Grace (verse 1)

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
was blind but now I see.

(John Newton)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

Confession

You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
    you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
    I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
(Psalm 17:3)

Heavenly Father, for unguarded moments and sins of impulse; for anger and uncharitableness; for impatience and thoughtlessness which have wounded others; Lord have mercy upon me. For resentment under rebuke and the pride which hardens me against the truth; for slackness in self-discipline and complacency in unworthy habits; Lord have mercy upon me. In my waywardness and self –sufficiency; and in my utter need and helplessness; Lord have mercy upon me. Amen. (The Book of Worship for Church and Home)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Thanksgiving

Gracious God, Sovereign Provider of all our needs, I give you thanks for being mindful of even me. You are the God of great compassion. You see our illnesses, suffering, and pain and you heal us. You see our problems and struggles and you lead us. You see how we hunger and thirst and you meet our every need, both physically and spiritually. More than that, O Lord, you teach us to have the same compassion as you. You call us to trust you as we seek to meet the needs of others. I confess that all too often Father, I am a person of little faith. Fill me with your Spirit that I may have eyes to see those you love and have compassion for. And give me that same love and compassion, that upon seeing those in need, I may trust you, even as I seek to heal, lead, and minister to others as you have done. Please let me do this for your glory and the blessing of others. Thank you Lord, for the privilege of serving you. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen. (based on Matthew 14:13-21)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

Supplication (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

  • Give me greater knowledge, depth of insight, and understanding of God’s Word.
  • Remind me daily of who I am in Christ. Let me be defined by who God says I am, not the world around me.
  • Guide me into greater understanding and faithfulness of God’s call in my life.
  • Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
  • Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

  • My family
  • My pastor(s), church staff, and missionaries
  • Those wrestling with anger, anxiety, or the overwhelming desire to please people at all costs
  • Other needs

Christianity demands a level of caring that transcends human inclinations. (Erwin Lutzer)

Prayer Journal: Week 46

As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer. (C.H. Spurgeon)

This Week’s Scripture

·         Genesis 29:15-28
·         Psalm 105:1-11
·         Romans 8:26-39
·         Matthew 13:31-52

Adoration

Psalm 105:1-2
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!

It Is Well with My Soul (verse 1)
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Horatio Spafford)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

Confession

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)

O Lord God of the salvation of thy servants, merciful, gracious, and long-suffering, who… willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live: Forgive now, O Lord, this thy servant; grant him the assurance of repentance, pardon and remission of his sins, and absolve him from all his offences, voluntary and involuntary; reconcile him and unite him to thy holy church through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom be power and glory ascribed unto thee, now and for ever, even unto ages of ages. Amen. (Traditional, Eastern Orthodox)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Thanksgiving

Loving Spirit of God, I thank you that you help me in my weakness. I don’t always know how to pray as I ought. And so, in your overflowing graciousness, you intercede for me with groanings too deep for words. Merciful Father, I praise you for taking the worst about me and the worst things that happen to me and redeeming them for your purposes. You don’t call all things good, but are able to take all things and work them together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purpose. Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for dying for me, being raised from the dead for me, and even now, interceding for me. Truly, there is nothing in all creation that can separate me from your love. In your name I humbly thank you and pray. Amen. (based on Romans 8:26-35)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

Supplication (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

·         Give me greater love for those who are hard to love.
·         Help me to be compassionate and kind to those in need, even when it’s inconvenient.
·         Pour out upon me your courage and boldness to love those who do not know you and to share with them your Gospel, in word and deed.
·         Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
·         Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

·         My family
·         My family and friends who do not have a saving relationship with Christ
·         For those in my other spheres of influence who do not know Christ
·         For evangelists around our city, country, and world who risk much in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who are lost
·         Other needs

There are two things to do about the gospel – believe it and behave it. (Susanna Wesley)

Prayer Journal: Week 45

You shall find this to be God’s usual course: not to give his children the taste of his delights till they begin to sweat in seeking after them. (Richard Baxter)

This Week’s Scripture

  • Genesis 28:10-19
  • Psalm 139:1-24
  • Romans 8:12-25
  • Matthew 13:24-43

Adoration

Romans 8:16-17

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Victory in Jesus (verse 1)

I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory,
how he gave his life on Calvary to save a wretch like me;
I heard about his groaning, of his precious blood’s atoning,
then I repented of my sins and won the victory.
O victory in Jesus, my Savior forever!
He sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood;
he loved me ere I knew him, and all my love is due him;
he plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood

(Eugene Bartlett)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

Confession

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!(Psalm 139:23-24)

Thou whose mercy is without measure, whose goodness never fails, grant us the forgiveness of what is past, and a perfect repentance of all our sins; that for the time to come we may with a pure spirit do thy will, O God, walking humbly with thee and charitably with all men. In Christ we pray. Amen. (The Book of WorshipforChurch and Home)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Thanksgiving

Heirs with Christ – Sons and daughters of God – Adopted into the family of God through the work of the Lord Jesus – Led by his Spirit – The reality that as we suffer with Christ we will also be glorified with him. Gracious God, this is too much to comprehend. The joy that wells up in our hearts as we consider all of this, for even a second, is beyond measure. Thank you for your goodness in not turning away from us, but bringing us to yourself, that we might not only know you but also be your children, redeemed by your love. Help us, therefore, by the power of your Spirit, to not lead lives of fear and sinfulness. Instead, enable us to live lives marked by ever-increasing righteousness, so that the world will see us and give you glory in heaven. In your most holy name we pray. Amen. (based on Romans 8:12-17)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

Supplication (Petition – prayers for yourself)

  • Help me to mature in my faith and to increasingly please God by my thoughts, words, and deeds.
  • Particular struggles in various relationships
  • My activities for this day
  • Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

  • My Family
  • My local church 
  • My denomination
  • Para-church ministries, particularly Christian education and discipleship  
  • Evangelistic ministries 
  • Other needs

Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God. (John Stott)

Prayer Journal: Week 44

When we become too glib in prayer, we are most surely talking to ourselves. (A.W. Tozer)

This Week’s Scripture
·         Genesis 25:19-34
·         Psalm 25
·         Romans 8:1-11
·         Matthew 13:1-23

Adoration

Psalm 25:1-2
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
    let me not be put to shame;
    let not my enemies exult over me.

Blessed Assurance (verse 1)
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

(Fanny J. Crosby)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

Confession

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! 
(Psalm 25:7)

Righteous God, save me from myself, from the artifices and deceits of sin, from the treachery of my perverse nature, from denying thy charge against my offenses, from a life of continual rebellion against thee, from wrong principles, views, and ends; for I know that all my thoughts, affections, desires and pursuits are alienated from thee. For Christ’s sake I pray. Amen. (The Valley of Vision)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Thanksgiving

Life-giving Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, I praise you for your gospel. When I reflect on the Psalm and prayer of confession I just prayed, I can only rejoice that there is now no condemnation for me, for I am in Christ Jesus. I have been set free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life. By sending your very own Son to walk in perfect righteousness for my sake and to take upon himself my sinful nature, I have been redeemed by his life and death and restored into a right standing with you. Remind me daily, dearest God, that this was not of my doing but due to your grace alone. In the name of my Great Redeemer I pray. Amen. (based on Romans 8:1-4)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

Supplication (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

·         Help me to grow in wisdom and become who you created and redeemed me to be.
·         Renew my mind and enable me to cultivate a godly perspective and attitude regarding the various spheres and circumstances of my life.
·         Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
·         Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

·         My family, immediate and extended
·         Those struggling with sin, illness, or difficulties in their workplace
·         Other needs

Christ as God is the fatherland where we are going. Christ as man is the way by which we go. (St. Augustine)