Day 2: Get Up

1 Samuel 1:9-10 (NIV) – Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up… In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.

“Verse 9 contains the turning point of Hannah’s story, but it is a subtle turning point. In fact, a casual reader is liable to miss it altogether: ‘Hannah got up.’ This is not merely a superfluous detail, as if the author were saying Hannah finished her meal and got up to walk into the living room. No, the Hebrew word for ‘got up’ indicates decisive action…Hannah stood up resolved and made a choice…What had just changed? What had Hannah resolved to do?” [Thomas, Heath and J.D. Greer. Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel.]

“In v. 9 and 10 – she stood up and began to pray. She is still in deep anguish and weeping bitterly but now it is no longer internal only. She is praying to the Lord. As she prayed, Hannah came to understand that she was before God – in his presence and there was no one besides him that mattered. Before the Lord, in his presence, she poured out her soul. The storm that was inside her heart no longer remained inside. The bitterness, anguish, and grief were finally poured out – before the Lord.” [Adapted from Brenda’s message.]

Prayer: Lord, you invite us to come to you. Before you, in your presence, I pour out my soul. You are all that I need for my current situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let’s worship to “Draw Me Close” by Michael W. Smith (click here).

-AS

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Day 1: Blessed

Let us read aloud the following together,

Matthew 5:3-10 (NIV)
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

1 Samuel 2:8 (NIV)
8 He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
    and has them inherit a throne of honor.
“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
    on them he has set the world.”

Prayer: Jesus, I am poor in spirit. I realize my need for you. Those who come to you in this way, you do not reject. You raise the poor and lift the needy. You seat them with princes and have them inherit a throne of honor. Thank you for inviting us into this blessing. You have given us the kingdom of heaven. May we live in all the blessings of the kingdom of heaven today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let’s worship to “Mercies (New Every Morning)” by Matt Redman (click here).

-AS

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Day Five – Positioned in Righteousness

James 5:16-20 NIV
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

“Whenever I read this passage from James 5, I have great difficulty thinking I am anything like Elijah. But Scripture tells us how to position our lives to be like Elijah – that is like a righteous person. We are directed to confess our sin, and to pray for each other for healing. Today, let us bring our lives before the Lord, seeking the Lord’s forgiveness and healing.” [adapted from P. Nate’s message]

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we confess the ways we have wandered away, and we ask for your healing in areas of need. Teach us to pray as your righteous people today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord with “Do It Again“ by Elevation Worship (click here).

– LB

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Day Four – Positioned in Love

Daniel 9: 21a, 22-23a NIV
21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision… 22instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed [greatly loved (ESV)].

“In verse 23, we come to the title of the message, ‘Greatly Loved’. You get a sense from Gabriel here that the answer was already being brought as Daniel prayed. Daniel had no idea, but the Lord was already preparing things in the works. When our lives are positioned by God’s Word, positioned to turn to the Lord, positioned for God’s people, and positioned as God’s servants, the Lord brings us into what he is already preparing. You get a sense that God was sending his answer the moment Daniel turned to the Lord! We are the greatly loved people of God, and we hear that again and again!“ [adapted from P. Nate’s message]

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that we are the greatly loved people of God. May your great love pour into our lives, as we turn to you again. May you send your word quickly to us as we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord with “Living Hope“ by Phil Wickham (click here).

– LB

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Day Three – Positioned in His Name

Daniel 9:17-19 NIV
17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

“We see that Daniel does not seek a specific solution. Daniel is out of answers, but he knows that the Lord is the only One who can act on behalf of his people. Note the relational language throughout this passage – ‘our God’, ‘your servant’, ‘your desolate sanctuary’, ‘your Name’, ‘your people’, etc. Daniel positions himself as the Lord’s servant within the people of God who carry God’s Name. This anticipates the full reality of how the Lord would dwell with his people – ultimately fulfilled through the name above all names, Jesus Christ, who builds his Temple through the church, by the Holy Spirit who dwells in and among us.” [adapted from P. Nate’s message]

Prayer: Lord, we present our lives before you today for the sake of your Name. Let your mercy pour through your church, your dwelling place. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord with “Psalm 23 (Surely Goodness)“ by Shane & Shane (click here).

– LB

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Day Two – Positioned in Heart

Daniel 9:1-3 NIV
In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

“I imagine that Daniel treasured in his heart the prophecy of Jeremiah about these seventy years, that the end of exile was soon to come about. Yet, instead of rejoicing, Daniel turns toward mourning, sackcloth and ashes. Instead of celebration, Daniel is downcast. Why is this? He realizes that the hearts of the people have not changed even in exile. This broke Daniel’s heart. He realized that history would be repeated unless there was a transformation, a revival among the people. Unless the Lord himself acted. Note that Daniel ‘turned to the Lord God’. This is both physically and in heart. We see that Daniel’s prayer is all about how he is positioned.” [adapted from P. Nate’s message]

Prayer: Lord, we turn our lives, our hearts, and our minds to you in prayer, that you would position our lives to share your mercy and love with those around us today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord with “Your Love So High“ by Hillsong (click here).

– LB

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Day One – Between God and His Children

Let’s read aloud the following together

Jeremiah 31:31-34 NIV
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus who became the Word in the flesh so that we could know you. Thank you for the new covenant we have in Christ Jesus – for forgiving all our sins, washing over us with your Spirit, and raising us to life with Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord with “Raised to Life“ by Elevation Worship (click here).

– LB

 

 

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Day Five: Prayer for renewal

Psalm 51:18-19 (NIV)
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

David’s prayer and experience serve as the hope and model for prayer for the whole community of God’s people. As in other psalms, Psalm 51 moves from the individual lament, confession, plea, and renewal to the corporate one.

“As the psalmist seeks through confession and contrition to stimulate the restoration of right relationship with God, so the… community sought through the words of this psalm to confess their sin and to lay the groundwork for the restoration… through which they had known continued forgiveness, renewal, and communion with their covenant God, Yahweh.” (Gerald Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p. 689)

In the same way, may this psalm teach us how to pray for our own lives, churches, and cities to experience renewal through confession and repentance.

Prayer: We pray for spiritual renewal in our churches so that many in our cities will experience salvation and fellowship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “How Great is Our God” by Chris Tomlin (click here).

-MR

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Day Four: Praise

Psalm 51:13-17 (NIV)
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

“Only God can open our lips to sing to him. But he delights to do it. ‘0 Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.’ Ransomed prisoners shout for joy and sing. With the lightening of our burden, our spirits soar again and our lips are unsealed. Suddenly we become aware of the church around us, and we pray with new boldness for the brethren.” (John White, Daring to Draw Near: People in Prayer)

“These sacrifices, in context, are no substitute for or alternative to a right relationship; they are rather a public verification of a newly restored relationship.”  (Walter Brueggemann, Psalms, New Cambridge Bible Commentary, p. 238)

Prayer: Father, thank you for restoring and empowering your people to live in a continual relationship with you. We shout for joy and sing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman (click here).

-MR

 

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Day Three: Renewal

Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV)
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

“The deepest renewal is spiritual, and it has a moral base. Since God is holy and since He has given us a conscience, we cannot be renewed apart from dealing with our moral failure before Him. Try as we may, we cannot remove sin by rationalization or denial. At some point our intellectual and psychological defense mechanisms will be broken. In that moment of truth when we face our own despair, God promises to come to us. But how will we know what to do? How can we experience His cleansing and renewing power? Psalm 51 becomes a key to new life. This great psalm opens the door to a radical change for each person who is willing to pray this prayer from the heart.” (Donald Williams, Psalms 1-72, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol 13)

Prayer: Father, we humbly ask you to create in us a pure heart. May all our defense mechanisms be broken down as we pray this prayer from the heart. Would you restore the joy of salvation to us today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “One and Only Jesus” by Vertical Worship (click here).

-MR

 

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