Today is Wednesday, Dec. 21, the twenty-fifth day in the Advent season.
Praise and Thanksgiving.
Let’s begin our prayers today with Psalm 109. It is another psalm closely associated with the Messiah, and along with other truths it predicts Jesus Christ’s betrayer.
Let’s also pray this together:
“Savior God, your presence among us was no easy task for you. You experienced the worst humanity has to offer, yet you demonstrated the best possibilities in your sacrificial life and death. Praise be to the one who gave so much so that we might gain eternal life! May we learn to live in similarly sacrificial ways. Amen.”
What other words of thanks and praise might we lift up?
Confession. When we pray regularly, we have little difficulty identifying sin. Let’s dig to the roots of sin in our lives, uprooting it and freeing ourselves for the joyous Christmas celebration to come.
Petitions. Again, as we move close to the Christmas season, let’s pray in particular for those needing to know the truth that God has intervened in this world through Jesus Christ. There also are so many who are sick right now. A hospital visit yesterday astonished me. I witnessed full rooms in the emergency department, with additional beds lined up in the halls outside those rooms, each holding a suffering soul. Pray for the sick; pray for the medical professionals who tend to them.
Scripture: Matthew 1:1-17. At first glance, this looks like a boring old genealogy, but there’s much going on here. Do you recognize the brokenness in Jesus’ lineage? Look for deception, prostitution, adultery and murder in the stories behind some of these people. Trust me, there’s a whole sermon here. Christ arrived in the midst of a mess to make salvation possible, and we pray he returns in the midst of our mess to set creation fully and completely right.
Let’s continue to pray this prayer together daily:
“Lord, we are in a season of expectation. We remember the Israelites’ past desire for a savior to arrive, and we mirror what they felt as we long now for the return of Jesus Christ. Come Lord Jesus, come! We pray this with some trepidation, knowing we never feel completely ready for such a day, and that loved ones around us may not be ready. And yet we continue to pray, Come Lord Jesus, come! We trust that your grace at your return will so overwhelm sin and death that all will be set right. As we pray for your full arrival, teach us how to make ourselves ready, living as watchful people. Amen.”
At a minimum, let’s spend some significant time in a quiet, reflective state before retiring for the night. Embrace the day’s spiritual victories and release the failures.
Sleep well, knowing the story of the Christ child to come begins the story of our salvation.