Expect Christ: Day 9

Today is Monday, Dec. 5, the ninth day in the Advent season.

Morning

Praise and Thanksgiving. Let’s begin by prayerfully reading Psalm 72. It speaks of a king, but much of it applies to Christ the King.

Let’s also praise God, simply acknowledging who God is:

“King of all Creation, we bow down before you. May the day come soon when all you have created acknowledges in one voice your supremacy. Let us hear even from those aspects of your creation destined for remaking or destruction. You are glorious and holy. May your glory shine brightly in our lives this day. Amen.”

Confession. Where have we sinned? Where have we failed to trust in God’s plan for forgiveness?

Petitions. Ask for God’s intervention, be our concerns global, national or local, in our schools, churches and communities, or in our families and homes. And certainly, let’s ask that our individual needs be fulfilled, especially where there is spiritual poverty in our hearts.

Scripture. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. What in your life is not yet dedicated to God?

Silence.

Noon

Let’s continue to pray this prayer together daily:

“Lord, we have entered 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.”

Night

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.

If it has been a while since you tried the meditation techniques offered earlier, might this be a good night to try again?

And as you sleep, may your dreams inspire you to a deeper life with God.

Expect Christ: Day 8

Welcome to the second Sunday of Advent. Again, you are encouraged to treat Sunday as a true Sabbath, attending worship, where we have many opportunities to pray, and disconnecting from the patterns of the week as much as possible. Ideally, the prayer patterns established over six days of the week lead you to a Sabbath of constant spiritual communion with God.

Here’s the text I plan to preach this second Sunday of Advent.


Philippians 4:4-9 (Common English Bible)

Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.

From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you.


Here are some questions I would suggest as you dwell on these words:

Does the idea of constant gladness or rejoicing seem feasible to you?

Few of us are physically violent, but does that mean we are always gentle?

Am I praying in times of turmoil in a way where I find peace?

Have a blessed Sabbath day, one that truly changes the rest of your week.

Expect Christ: Day 7

Today is Saturday, Dec. 3, the seventh day in the Advent season.

Morning

Praise and Thanksgiving. Let’s begin by prayerfully reading Psalm 24.

Let’s also praise God, simply acknowledging who God is:

“Dear Lord, we lower our eyes and bow our heads in your presence, knowing full well that you are the Creator and we are merely the created. And yet, you lift up our heads and let us know we are loved. You turn our eyes to the cross so we can see the easy path to salvation you have cleared for us. Fill us with your grace so that we may worship and praise you properly through the day. Thank you for the gifts you have given us, gifts of eternal value! Amen.”

Confession. Let’s bring before God how we have strayed from his will, knowing our Lord will forgive us. Let’s be bold enough to name our sins, even if they seem small, so we squash them before they grow. Let’s open our hands and receive his forgiving grace.

Petitions. Ask for God’s intervention, be our concerns global, national or local, in our schools, churches and communities, or in our families and homes. And certainly, let’s ask that our individual needs be fulfilled, especially where there is spiritual poverty in our hearts.

Scripture. John 1:19-28. What is your role in the coming of Christ’s kingdom?

Silence.

Noon

Let’s continue to pray this prayer together daily:

“Lord, we have entered 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.”

Night

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.

If it has been a while since you tried the meditation techniques offered earlier, might this be a good night to try again?

And as you sleep, may visions of future service in Christ’s name inspire you.

Expect Christ: Day 6

Today is Friday, Dec. 2, the sixth day in the Advent season.

Morning

Praise and Thanksgiving. Today, we begin by prayerfully reading Psalm 16.

Let’s also praise God, simply acknowledging who God is:

“Father! Son! Holy Spirit! Creator! Redeemer! Sustainer! These words describe you, yet as powerful as they are, no single word describes you in full, Lord of Our Lives. We go left or right, and you are there. We go forward or backward, and you are there. We look in or out, and you are there. This is a good and joyous truth because we realize holiness is offered to us everywhere, through the incredible sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. We bless you now, as a prelude to eternal blessings. Amen.”

Confession. We easily identify where we have violated God’s will, assuming we take time to stop and consider our actions. As we find those moments, let’s surrender them to God, knowing he will cleanse us while also exhorting us, “Go and sin no more.

Petitions. We usually are encouraged to focus our prayers outward, but let’s take time today to pray very intentionally for our own needs, knowing that changes in our lives will benefit those around us greatly.

Scripture. Acts 13:32-46. When did we last hunger for the word so greatly that we clamored for it, asking for more?

Silence.

Noon

Let’s continue to pray this prayer together daily:

“Lord, we have entered 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.”

Night

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.

If it has been a while since you tried the meditation techniques offered earlier, might this be a good night to try again?

And as you sleep, may resurrection promises guide your dreams.

Expect Christ: Day 5

Today is Thursday, Dec. 1, the fifth day in the Advent season.

Morning

Praise and Thanksgiving. Today, we begin by prayerfully reading Psalm 91.

Let’s also pray a prayer of praise together, one leading us to praise God throughout the day:

“Glorious God, touch our hearts this day so we may better comprehend your power and might. Fill us with your revelatory grace so we may pour out your truth on others, and may you then be further glorified. Where we have words to bless you, may we speak them; where we have songs, may we sing them; where we are speechless, may the Spirit squeeze from us groans that go beyond words. Amen.”

Confession. It’s seldom difficult for us to identify where we have violated God’s will, if only we will take time to stop and consider our actions. As we find those moments, let’s surrender them to God, knowing he will cleanse us while also exhorting us, “Go and sin no more.

Petitions. Let’s focus again today on the spiritually and physically needy around us, naming individuals in our hearts or out loud. How might God use us to fulfill any prayers we lift up today?

Scripture. Isaiah 4:2-6. Would we welcome searing changes in our lives if they would result in holiness and joy?

Silence.

Noon

Let’s continue to pray this prayer together daily:

“Lord, we have entered 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.”

Night

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. If you’re following the meditation practices outlined earlier, this can be an excellent time to listen for guidance, particularly if something is vexing you, such as a direction you need to go in life.

And as you sleep, may visions of the New Jerusalem astonish you.

Expect Christ: Day 4

Today is Wednesday, November 30, the fourth day in the Advent season.

Morning

Praise and Thanksgiving. We continue to pray through psalms that are associated with the coming of the Messiah. Today, we look to Psalm 40, in particular verses 6 through 10.

Let’s also pray a prayer of praise together:

“God over all, your vastness astonishes us, as does your willingness to lean down and hear our prayers. Thank you for The Word, and the desire of our savior to come among us despite our sinfulness. To you be all glory and honor and praise. Amen.”

Confession. Where have we acted in our own interests, rather than according to God’s will? Lord, as we see our sins and repent, forgive us. And remind us of the Good News: In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

Petitions. Let’s focus today on the spiritually and physically needy around us, naming individuals in our hearts or out loud. How might God use us to fulfill any prayers we lift up today?

Scripture. Matthew 24:23-35. Where do false prophets and false christs appear among us now?

Silence.

Noon

The following is offered as our repeated noontime prayer throughout Advent. You also may want to use the Lord’s Prayer during this time, either the common memorized version used so often in worship, or the CEB translation of Matthew 6:9-13.

“Lord, we have entered 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.”

Night

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. If you’re following the meditation practices outlined earlier, this can be an excellent time to listen for guidance, particularly if something is vexing you, such as a direction you need to go in life.

And as you sleep, may the distant sound of angelic trumpets seem to draw nearer.

Expect Christ: Day 3

Today is Tuesday, November 29, the third day in the Advent season. Welcome to the daily prayer guide for Advent!

Morning

Praise and Thanksgiving. We continue to pray through psalms that are associated with the coming of the Messiah. Today, we look to Psalm 69 for guidance. Let’s also clearly declare to whom we lift our prayers:

“Lord God Almighty, we have no right to come before you, sinful beings that we are. And yet, in your infinite love, you have granted us this right, and in gratitude we praise your name, returning to our original purpose as we do so. Grow us in our ability to do what we were made to do; may worship be a part of our everyday lives. Amen.”

Confession. Where have we acted in our own interests, rather than according to God’s will? Lord, as we see our sins and repent, forgive us. And remind us of the Good News: In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

Petitions. Let’s begin with global concerns, then move to praying for our nations, and then from there for our communities (including work or school), our churches, our families and ourselves. As much as possible, let’s keep our prayers focused on people.

Scripture. Genesis 9:1-17. Do we arise every morning and consider the serious nature of what it means to live in a covenant with God? What immediate benefits do we lose if we fail to live in a covenant offered to us by our creator—in particular, the covenant now offered through the cross?

Silence.

Noon

The following is offered as our repeated noontime prayer throughout Advent. You also may want to use the Lord’s Prayer during this time, either the common memorized version used so often in worship, or the CEB translation of Matthew 6:9-13.

“Lord, we have entered 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.”

Night

During our September series on prayer, I emphasized evening meditation in some form. I again offer you links to two articles designed to help you get started, “Life and Breath” and “Under Water.”

At a minimum, I hope you will spend some significant time in a quiet, reflective state before retiring for the night. Embrace the day’s spiritual victories and release the failures.

And as you sleep, may visions of the rainbow of divine light surrounding God’s throne illuminate your dreams.

Expect Christ: Day 2

Today is Monday, November 28, the second day in the Advent season. Welcome to the daily prayer guide for Advent!

Morning

Praise and Thanksgiving. We will be praying through psalms that are associated with the coming of the Messiah. Don’t be surprised if we repeat some of them for a few days, or go back to them later in our Advent prayers. Today, let’s take time to consider Psalm 22, which Jesus quoted on the cross. Let’s also clearly declare to whom we lift our prayers:

“Great God over all, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, we rejoice in the loving relationship you offer us. Life is meaningless without you! May we be constantly mindful of the gift of eternal life you give us, and may our lives serve as the thank-you note, inadequate as such thanks may be. Amen.”

Confession. Where have we acted in our own interests, rather than according to God’s will? Lord, as we see our sins and repent, forgive us. And remind us of the Good News: In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

Petitions. Let’s begin with global concerns, then move to praying for our nations, and then from there for our communities (including work or school), our churches, our families and ourselves. As much as possible, let’s keep our prayers focused on people.

Scripture. Mark 1:1-8. Long before Jesus appeared among us—even before creation—God determined a messiah would be needed. This divine preparation can be seen centuries before Christ arrives, and a herald prophet named John the Baptist immediately preceded the coming of our savior.

Silence.

Noon

The following is offered as our repeated noontime prayer throughout Advent. You also may want to use the Lord’s Prayer during this time, either the common memorized version used so often in worship, or the CEB translation of Matthew 6:9-13.

“Lord, we have entered 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.”

Night

During our September series on prayer, I emphasized evening meditation in some form. I again offer you links to two articles designed to help you get started, “Life and Breath” and “Under Water.”

At a minimum, I hope you will spend some significant time in a quiet, reflective state before retiring for the night. Embrace the day’s spiritual victories and release the failures.

And as you sleep, may visions of a world conformed to Christ be in your dreams.

Expect Christ: Day 1

Welcome to the Christian season of Advent! Advent always begins on a Sunday, and those of you who went through the daily September series on establishing a pattern to prayer will remember that Sundays were different from the rest of the week. Rather than the morning/noon/evening pattern of the other days of the week, we instead are encouraged to treat Sunday as a true Sabbath, attending worship, where we have many opportunities to pray, and disconnecting from the patterns of the week as much as possible. Ideally, the patterns established over six days of the week lead you to a Sabbath of constant spiritual communion with God.

Here’s the text I plan to preach this first Sunday of Advent. During this series, I will be using the Common English Bible translation, which should be accessible for most people. No translation is perfect for every person and circumstance, but some of my respected seminary professors were involved in the CEB’s development, and I trust it.


1 Peter 1:13-21

Therefore, once you have your minds ready for action and you are thinking clearly, place your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Don’t be conformed to your former desires, those that shaped you when you were ignorant. But, as obedient children, you must be holy in every aspect of your lives, just as the one who called you is holy. It is written, You will be holy, because I am holy. Since you call upon a Father who judges all people according to their actions without favoritism, you should conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your dwelling in a strange land. Live in this way, knowing that you were not liberated by perishable things like silver or gold from the empty lifestyle you inherited from your ancestors. Instead, you were liberated by the precious blood of Christ, like that of a flawless, spotless lamb. Christ was chosen before the creation of the world, but was only revealed at the end of time. This was done for you, who through Christ are faithful to the God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory. So now, your faith and hope should rest in God.


Here are some questions I would suggest as you dwell on these words:

Spiritually, is my mind ready for action and my thinking clear? What might I do to achieve this state?

Do I feel I live in a strange land, or does it seem familiar and even comfortable? What does your answer tell you about your relationship with Christ?

During this season of Advent, how would it feel to deepen my faith and increase my hope?

Have a blessed Sabbath day, one leading you into a holy and joy-filled week.

Thanksgiving and Advent Prayers

By Chuck Griffin

I pray you all have a happy and joyous Thanksgiving tomorrow! This Sunday is an important day, too, marking the first Sunday of Advent, that season of expectation and preparation as we move toward the Christmas season.

During Advent, I am going to provide a daily prayer guide, written along the lines of what was offered throughout September. There will be morning, noon and evening prayers, daily Scripture readings (mostly from the Revised Common Lectionary), and other resources.

Blessings on all of you as we give thanks and move into a time where we celebrate hope, peace, joy and love.

Here’s a prayer I’ve written for use on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends:

Dear Lord, we come to you in this blessed gathering bound by love. As we pause to give thanks, we first consider the great gift you offer us, the gift of eternal life! Thank you for Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Sin and death are defeated, and the abundant grace we are offered in their place is almost beyond comprehension. We also give thanks for the blessings we have now in this temporary world: shelter, plenty of food, and possessions and security that go far beyond our request for our daily bread. As we count our rich blessings this day, help us to consider how you may call us to be a blessing on your behalf in the lives of others. We pray all of this in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.