We pray to God for many things. We pray for others, for health, about out daily lives. The list is too long to list. Sometimes our prayers are answered but it is not the answer we wanted. The answer can make us question how our beliefs. That can be scary. Don’t worry. Those answers will cause us to grow in the knowledge of God and his ways.
As we move into the New Year keep in mind that spirit of Christmas and spread joy, peace, kindness, love and hope.
Isaiah has a clear picture of what we wait for during Advent. We wait for Jesus who can show us how to live. His life is our path. Follow it.
Isaiah 61: 1-3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
Psalm 23: 3b
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
This little snippet of the Psalm packs a powerful punch. God want to help us make right choices. If only we would spend time in prayer and listen to God. We don’t take the time and we wander off in the wrong direction. God wants us to behave in such a way that others will say “I want to be like you are. You are an example that I want to follow.” This is what brings people to God. Not the sermons or lectures about God but our behavior. Our actions are the things that influence others.
God, you will show us the right paths if we listen. Help us to be the example of your path in the world. AMEN
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
God’s desires for us have always been there. Here they are in David’s words.We are so blind that we don’t see the truth. We don’t see how to live a life of love. Finally he sent us an example whose life we are to emulate. Do we get it yet?
Lord, open the eyes of our hearts. AMEN
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
The Lord does give us counsel. However, we do have to listen and then act. His counsel is immaterial if we chose not to act on it. Have you ever woken in the night with someone on your mind? Someone random? I have and I finally got the idea to pray for that person. I had no idea why. As far as I knew there was no problem. Later on I would find that the person needed prayer. I am not always that good at listening but I know that I must pay attention and hear when God speaks. It is not always easy. “Be still and know that I am God.”
Intimate God, you know us well. We don’t always pay attention or follow through. Help us to be still and listen. AMEN
The road that Christ followed is not an easy one. The disciples thought they could when asking him to sit at his right and left hand. They later found it was not easy. To choose this path is scary and difficult but it is the right one.
All knowing God, you sent your son to show us what to do. Help us to tread that difficult path. AMEN
The Bible contains the word of God it is NOT the word of God. ——-unknown
How important is the Bible for us? Very important. It is our guide book on our spiritual journey. It tells the stories of those who have gone before. It lays out the path for us in the person of Jesus Christ….but in itself is not the journey.
Amazing God, you have given us much wisdom in the Bible. Help us to read and digest it’s meaning and …most importantly… apply it to our lives. AMEN
Do we really understand grace? Do we get that this gift is greater than any we have ever received or ever will. The fact that grace is a free gift of God does not remove us from responsibility. It is not a get out of jail free card. Grace carries with it the fact that God loves us so much that we are given this gift before we respond…..and respond we must. Living out the message of Christ and follow his word is our response.
Generous God, you are willing to give us the gift of grace without any promise on our part. Help us to respond with hearts full of love and willingness to be your hands and feet. AMEN