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.

Friday, Sept. 30

Welcome to the final daily prayer guide for this month of September! Today is Friday, Sept. 30.

Morning

As we conclude this month-long exercise, I hope you feel better-equipped to pray in a consistent way, using patterns that should deepen you spiritually for the rest of your life. Pray alone; pray in community; know that as you pray, you are making a real difference for yourself and the world around you.

Regarding that “pray in community” recommendation: If you find yourself isolated in such a way that community prayer seems difficult, please contact me. My email address is cwgriffiniii@gmail.com. I will do whatever I can to help you find such a community.

I’ve simply tried to offer you a beginning pattern and some time to practice it until it feels like your own. I always am curious to know what patterns of prayer people adopt for themselves over time. Let me know as interesting things happen in your prayer life.

Again, here’s our basic prayer pattern for the morning:

Praise and Thanksgiving. Again, some useful psalms to consider as part of your time of praise: 18, 19, 21, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41, 66, 106, 113, 116, 135, 136, 138, 145, 149, 150. Perhaps over several days you can simply work through the list. Once you’re done, you’ll have a good sense of how to spot and pray psalms of praise.

Confession. And remember the Good News: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!

Petitions. Remember global concerns, then move to praying for your nation, and then from there for your community (including work or school), your church, your family and yourself.

Scripture. After selecting a reading, focus on a verse or verses that really seem to speak to you. Pray around those words.

Silence.

Noon

The Lord’s Prayer, and some silent time.

Night

Meditative prayer and reflection on the day. Sometimes people find this a good time to keep a few private notes in a diary or notebook.

May your days and nights be filled with the comforting joy of the Holy Spirit. Be blessed.

Thursday, Sept. 29

Welcome to the daily prayer guide for the month of September! Today is Thursday, Sept. 29.

Morning

Let me take a moment to tell you about two “pilgrim” books that have meant a lot to me, and that tie in well with times of prayer and meditation. The first one is pretty widely known among Christians, John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” It is an allegorical tale reflecting the Christian journey into salvation and beyond. (Watch out for those fiery darts!) One of my great joys when my children were small was reading them “Little Pilgrim’s Progress,” a child-oriented version of the story by Helen L. Taylor.

Some may find this a more difficult read, but I also recommend working through “The Way of a Pilgrim,” a classic Eastern Orthodox story. The unknown author imagines a 19th-century peasant who is determined to fully comprehend and live out the Apostle Paul’s instruction to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Again, here’s our basic prayer pattern for the morning:

Praise and Thanksgiving. Again, some useful psalms to consider as part of your time of praise: 18, 19, 21, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41, 66, 106, 113, 116, 135, 136, 138, 145, 149, 150. Perhaps over several days you can simply work through the list. Once you’re done, you’ll have a good sense of how to spot and pray psalms of praise.

Confession. And remember the Good News: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!

Petitions. Remember global concerns, then move to praying for your nation, and then from there for your community (including work or school), your church, your family and yourself.

Scripture. After selecting a reading, focus on a verse or verses that really seem to speak to you. Pray around those words.

Silence.

Noon

The Lord’s Prayer, and some silent time.

Night

Meditative prayer and reflection on the day. Sometimes people find this a good time to keep a few private notes in a diary or notebook.

May you sleep well and arise with a joyous heart.

Wednesday, Sept. 28

Welcome to the daily prayer guide for the month of September! Today is Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Morning

As you move toward a time when you begin to guide yourself in daily prayer, I want to encourage you to consider devotionals that might help. By some measures, one of the most widely used is Thomas a’ Kempis’ “Imitation of Christ,” which I have found fruitful to read during times of meditative quiet. If you don’t mind reading antiquated English, you can get a translation for nearly nothing, particularly if you have an e-reader. More modern translations are worth the price.

Again, here’s our basic prayer pattern for the morning:

Praise and Thanksgiving. Again, some useful psalms to consider as part of your time of praise: 18, 19, 21, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41, 66, 106, 113, 116, 135, 136, 138, 145, 149, 150. Perhaps over several days you can simply work through the list. Once you’re done, you’ll have a good sense of how to spot and pray psalms of praise.

Confession. And remember the Good News: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!

Petitions. Remember global concerns, then move to praying for your nation, and then from there for your community (including work or school), your church, your family and yourself.

Scripture. After selecting a reading, focus on a verse or verses that really seem to speak to you. Pray around those words.

Silence.

Noon

The Lord’s Prayer, and some silent time.

Night

Meditative prayer and reflection on the day. Sometimes people find this a good time to keep a few private notes in a diary or notebook.

May your dreams be untroubled.

Tuesday, Sept. 27

Welcome to the daily prayer guide for the month of September! Today is Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Morning

This morning as you prepare to pray, I will ask you to consider something specific. What is your community of prayer? I am asking where it is that you go in order to pray in a serious way with a group of people, rather than simply praying alone. Do you pray with others in a very real way in the sanctuary on Sunday? Are you part of a Sunday school or small group that prays in such a way?

If anything about what I’ve just asked concerns you, know that you can contact me via email at cwgriffiniii@gmail.com.

Again, here’s our basic prayer pattern for the morning:

Praise and Thanksgiving. Again, some useful psalms to consider as part of your time of praise: 18, 19, 21, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41, 66, 106, 113, 116, 135, 136, 138, 145, 149, 150. Perhaps over several days you can simply work through the list.

Confession. And remember the Good News: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!

Petitions. Remember global concerns, then move to praying for your nation, and then from there for your community (including work), your church, your family and yourself.

Scripture. After selecting a reading (see yesterday’s guide), focus on a verse or verses that really seem to speak to you. Pray around those words.

Silence.

Noon

The Lord’s Prayer, and some silent time.

Night

Meditative prayer and reflection on the day. Sometimes people find this a good time to keep a few private notes in a diary or notebook.

And may you always have blessed sleep.