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.

Love, Peace, Compassion

 Isaiah 54:9-10 (NRSV)

By John Grimm

God keeps his promises.  The rainbow is still seen in the sky as a guarantee of God’s promise to not destroy life on earth by flooding the entire world.  In the days of Isaiah, that same promise was being realized.  Even though God corrected Israel and Judah, he did not wipe them off the face of the planet. 

We have times that we feel God would be justified in destroying us.  We have wronged ourselves and others, and we are confident that we have overthrown any good God has for us.  God will chastise us, for he loves us.  God the Holy Spirit makes sure we know that we have gone against the will of God.  Since we are still here on earth, we realize that we have not done the unpardonable sin.  It is by correcting us that we find God still loves us!

This world may change.  In fact, how we have lived on this planet has changed.  We do not have the same practices of living that we did hundreds of years ago.  The only constant amidst the changes of life is God.  God has steadfast love for us, no matter the style of the day.  God keeps his covenant of peace with us, even when the others of this world (political party, nations, rivals, etc.), have turned against us.  God has compassion for us through the times we feel abandoned, depressed and ready to give up.

Lord God, we sometimes feel that our situations are too much for even you!  Forgive us for confusing your ability with our ability.  Being reassured of your love, peace and compassion gets us through the changes we see in the world around us.  Because we trust you through Jesus Christ, we can live through even these days.  May our family and friends find that they too can trust you.  In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.