PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 17

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 17

JESUS PROVIDES A WAY OF ESCAPE

“Not only is Jesus praying for us, but he is constantly providing us ways to escape our temptations. He wants us to succeed because he loves us that much, and he wants good things for us.” - Pastor Kent Munsey

When we experience temptation, Jesus not only prays and intercedes for us; he also knows what it feels like to be tempted. He empathizes with us, and he even demonstrated during his time on earth what it looks like to walk through temptation without falling subject to sin and the enemy.

Jesus doesn’t stand in judgment of us when we are tempted.  He knows what it is like and has experienced the same kinds of temptation.  Because of this, he is in our corner, cheering us on, whispering, “You can do it! Take courage!” to our heart.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).

After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness where he fasted and prayed. The devil came to him in his weakened state to tempt him. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus modeled for us how to resist temptation. He used the Word of God to combat the enemy. He fought temptation with the power and the truth of his heavenly Father. 

Because Jesus experienced temptation and resisted it, we can look to him for help when we are tempted.  We can follow his example and use the Word of God as a defense when we are tempted.  When we are struggling, meditating on verses about that issue can strengthen us.

We are not alone in our temptation; others have experienced the same difficulty.  And yet, no matter what it is, Paul encouraged us that it can be overcome.  God will provide a way out if we look for it.  A friend or leader may be able to help you identify that escape if you aren’t able to see it.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION

How are you being tempted right now, and how do you think Jesus would respond?

What has God already told you or promised you that you can use to combat the enemy?

 

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray that God would strengthen you to resist temptation and walk through the escape door when He opens it.
  • Ask God to increase your trust in him to believe him to give you the desires of your heart, and to be willing to wait on him and his timing.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to bring the Word of God to your mind when you are tempted so that you can stand firm in your obedience.

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 16

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 16

JESUS IS PRAYING FOR YOU (OUR ADVOCATE)

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).

Have you ever needed an Advocate, someone who speaks on your behalf for your benefit? Maybe a friend, family member, or coworker has spoken for you in your defense. Maybe someone opened a door of opportunity for you by speaking up for you?  Or maybe you have felt helpless, discredited, or alone, wishing someone would speak for you and plead your case. As Jesus prayed in John 17, he assumed his rightful role as our Advocate. He is in your corner!

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.  I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.  Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!” (John 17:20-24)

The last evening before he was arrested and crucified, Jesus prayed for us. When we are at a loss for what to pray, we can borrow the prayers of Jesus, our Advocate. Jesus is already praying his perfect will for us: to know him increasingly, and for the world to know him through us.

 

In John 16, Jesus also names his Spirit as the Advocate, sometimes translated “Comforter.” In Romans 8:26-27, the Apostle Paul explained that the Holy Spirit is praying for us when we don’t know what to pray, all while working all things for God’s good, glorious purpose in and through us.

The truth that Jesus and his Holy Spirit speak for us is amazing, comforting news! Every word that Jesus speaks will be fulfilled, from “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) to “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20). While we may still be watching them unfold, his prayers for you are coming to fruition. His will will be accomplished. His word is trustworthy and true. His prayers for us and on our behalf are nothing less. 

You are not alone, and the most powerful being in the universe speaks for you, opening doors and creating the pathways.  He is defending you and in your corner when you mess up.  When your enemy accuses, Jesus always defends you.

QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION

  1. Explore the role of an Advocate. Why do you think Jesus would assume this role?
  2. If Jesus is Our Advocate, promising to pray for us, what is the benefit of praying with Jesus? Does the idea of praying with Jesus change your perspective on your prayers?
  3. As followers of Jesus, we are invited to become like him as an Advocate, speaking up for others with diminished or disregarded voices. How does following Jesus’ role as an Advocate shape your prayer life? Your relationships? Your role in your community?

 

PRAYER POINTS

  • Thank Jesus for his role as Our Advocate, forever speaking up for us and for our benefit
  • Pray for those without a voice to speak for themselves
  • Pray with Jesus for his will in your heart and your life, that he would be made known more and more

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 15

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 15

DECLARATION

The frontiers of the kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution. -- J. Oswald Sanders

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”

Matthew 6:13, NKJV

Today we come to the end of our journey through The Lord’s Prayer. This prayer that starts with worship of the name of God, ends with understanding the vastness of his power and majesty and beauty. To recognize the greatness of God and his kingdom opens up our prayers and gives us the boldness to make some wild declarations. The kingdom, power, and glory belong to him, yet Jesus has given us access to that power.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16:19

God is building his kingdom on the earth (yes, here and now) and has invited us to take part of the process. He has called and purposed you for his kingdom work, equipping you with everything needed to affect change in your world. Instead of asking timid or small prayers, we need to get into the Word, see what he has already promised, and fully go for it! As children of the King and ambassadors of the kingdom, we been given permission to pray big audacious prayers.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

John 5:14-15, NIV

Romans 14 tells us the kingdom of God isn’t about what we have to eat and drink, but it’s about God putting things right in us and in the world. The kingdom of God is healing and wholeness; it’s focused on finding those who are lost and helping those in need; it’s about freedom from bondage, whether it’s mental, physical or social. The kingdom of God is about pointing people to the abundant life Christ came to give us.

With secure confidence we can declare things to be set right in our lives, our church, our local community and across the earth. Declare God’s Word over your family, health, finances, business, school, even your ideas and creativity! Declare his Word over our nation and our world.

Become bold in your declarations! It might help to write out or type up a list. Include verses that relate to the promises you’re declaring. Watch God show up in your life.

PRAYER POINTS/DECLARATIONS

  • Salvation for the lost
  • Walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit
  • Health/healing for yourself and others
  • Success in your sphere of influence/wherever God has placed you
  • Godly leaders to have major influence

Questions for Contemplation

  1. In what way do you believe you’re able to contribute to building God’s kingdom?
  2. What areas of your life have you already seen God at work in a big way? Which areas do you need to be speaking over?
  3. What WILD declarations will you claim over this Lent season?

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 14

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 14

MY LIFE AND MY NEEDS

“Our prayers must mean something to us if they are to mean anything to God.” ― Steve Brown

Do you ask God for what you need for your life?  When Jesus taught us the Lord’s Prayer, he showed us that we can ask for his help in three areas: his provision for our physical needs, for his forgiveness for our mistakes, and for his help to avoid temptations.

“Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:11-13, NIV).

We can come right out and ask when we need financial provision, emotional support, relationships, or opportunities.  Jesus was so direct and clear when he taught us how we can approach God.  

“Here’s what I’m saying:

            Ask and you’ll get;

            Seek and you’ll find;

            Knock and the door will open.

Don’t bargain with God.  Be direct.  Ask for what you need.  This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in” (Luke 11: 9-13, MSG).

This active approach of asking, seeking, and knocking is done with confidence.  A confidence built on who we are in Christ.

Ask!  We can’t lazily sit back with a “God knows what I need so I don’t need to ask” attitude.  He is intimately woven into every part of our lives, and he desires that we know this.  We ask God to meet our needs so that we will not be anxious about our needs being met (Luke 12:22).

Seek!  Seek the Kingdom of God first.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).  This is our opportunity to give God the microphone and allow Him to lead us.  Because God is a provider and rewards those who seek him, He desires to meet our needs.  However, God can meet your needs in ways you least expect.  It’s a wonderful trade off; you seek God’s way of life and living, and in turn, you find how thoughtful He is to meet your needs.

Knock!  What if you were locked out of your own house but someone was at home?  How would you knock?  I would knock loudly and confidently.  The person inside would have no doubt that I have the right to be inside and need the door opened!  On the contrary, what if you had to knock on an unfamiliar door of a friend you visited for the first time?  I may think to myself, “Is this the right address? The right door?”  I might knock with hesitancy and uncertainty, more like a light, suggestive tap.  How are you knocking at Heaven's door?  Jesus expresses we can knock with “shameless audacity” (Luke 11:8).  When it comes to our needs, we can ask God boldly and confidently, knowing he is ready and able to meet them.  He is also ready to give us the things we really need for a Kingdom life; righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

Questions for contemplation

  • If God is in control and He knows my needs, why ask?
  • How do I approach God with my needs?
  • What can God provide that no other person or thing can?

PRAYER POINTS

  • Ask God for what you need for this day
  • Receive righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
  • Know God is ready and able to meet your daily needs

 

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 13

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 13

INTERCESSION

“There is no chasm in society that cannot be firmly and permanently bridged by intercession; there is no feud or dislike that cannot be healed by the same exercise of love.” – Charles H. Brent

This week we’ve been thinking about WILD prayer (Worship, Intercession, Life, and Declaration).  WILD prayer is an acrostic quick-guide for using the Lord’s Prayer as a framework for our prayer times.  

Intercession is prayers for others.  When we pray for our family, friends, co-workers, and even those that oppose us, we are praying intercessory prayers.  Intercession is intervening on behalf of someone else.  Jesus taught us to pray for others:

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

When we pray that God’s kingdom will come, we are praying that heaven’s rule and reign would come to earth. We are praying for God’s purposes in people’s lives to be accomplished. The Bible reveals that God purposes to restore the whole world to himself and heal brokenness.

Jesus is the greatest intercessor of all time, not only in his actions, but also in his prayers. In Luke 22:32, Jesus told Peter: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”  Jesus even prayed for those that crucified Him.  In Luke 23:24 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

When Jesus was crucified, He didn’t just die for us, He died as us. He literally took our place. When Jesus prayed, He did the same thing. His love for us made him do more than pray for us, he prayed as us. Praying like Jesus is putting yourself in the position of another, and praying for God’s kingdom to come, and that His will is done in their life.

As we pray for people, we are entrusting them into God’s plan.  This trust involves believing that God’s plan is the best and that he is sovereign. This doesn’t zero out our responsibility to pray, because our loving Father listens to our requests and we can influence his plans. (See God’s conversation with Moses in Numbers 14 for an example of how we can influence God’s plans through prayer.)  As we pray and give those people back to God, he replaces anxiety with peace.

QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION

Who do you think you should pray for?

What can you pray for on behalf of someone else?

What is the difference between prayers to build God’s Kingdom versus prayers to build our kingdom here on earth?

PRAYER TIPS

  • Pray for God to move miraculously in the lives of your loved ones as if it were your own personal need.
  • As you pray for other people, start with those closest to you and work your way outward.
  • Start writing a list of people as God prompts you to pray for them and revisit the list during your prayer times.
  • Pray God’s Kingdom come into the lives of the people on your list.

Additional Scriptures

Philippians 4:6-7

1 Peter 5:7

Romans 8:26-39

Matthew 5:44

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 12

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 12

WORSHIP

"Stress and worry is a residual of relying on yourself and being your own god, in control of everything. Worship allows us to rely on God's power to steer us through life." - Bishop TD Jakes

When you pray, say, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Matthew 6:9

Father.  How does that name make you feel?  If you had a good dad, then maybe it makes you think of safety, authority, strength, provision, respect, or love.  If you didn’t, then maybe it makes you feel anxious.  God may want to renew your ideas of what a good father looks like. 

Jesus began the Lord’s prayer teaching us to approach God as our Father in heaven.  He is not just any father but our heavenly Father.  So no matter what your earthly father was/is like, this relationship is different. This Father birthed the entire universe, is infinitely powerful and cannot be manipulated or controlled.  And yet, he loves us immeasurably and sacrificially gives his very best to us as a good Father.  The name Father defines the legal nature of this relationship.  We have rights as his children to access him instantly and inherit from him.  (Read Matthew 7:7-11 for more about God’s father heart toward us.)

In the same breath, Jesus taught us to say “hallowed be your name.” This is a nudge to remember the gravity of who we are speaking to--our God is holy, righteous, and mighty. We hold in one hand the intimacy of our relationship as children of God, and in the other hand, the holiness and majesty of our God. This juxtaposition positions us into a place of intimacy and worship before our holy God who loves us, who provides for us, and who wants to do good things in us and through us.

The Psalmist encouraged us to “enter into his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). Worship is an invitation into God’s presence.  Standing in the presence of God, we remember who he is and what he has done for us.  In comparison to his strength and his faithfulness, our problems seem so much smaller.  As a result, we will feel his peace over the stresses in our lives when we see our lives from his perspective (Isaiah 26:3).

Jesus calls us to begin our prayer time remembering God is our good Father, and worshipping him, remembering all that he has done.  Our heart of gratitude overflows with love for him.  This puts our minds into the right perspective to connect with God. 

QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION: 

Is worship a part of your everyday life? How would you describe your posture towards God right now?

What challenging circumstances are you facing in your life? How do you think that a posture of worship might affect those adverse situations?

PRAYER POINTS

  •  Ask God to help you worship him in spirit and in truth.
  •  Remember the stories of when God came through for you. 
  • If you are struggling to remember, a good place to start is with what Jesus endured on the cross to take our consequences for the times when our miss became a mess.
  • Put on a worship song and love him because of his goodness

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE

John 4:23-24

Psalms 100

 

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 11

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 11

WILD PRAYER

“The darkest hour often just before the dawn, so we should always be people of hope and prayer, not gloom and defeatism. God the Holy Spirit can turn the situation around in five minutes.” - Os Guinness

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This, then, is how you should pray:” (Matthew 6:8-9)

Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6.  Jesus was and will be forever intimately connected in relationship with his Father.  Jesus gave us a glimpse of the deep love and unity that he has with his Father, and when we pray like he did, we enter into deep connection with God.  The Lord’s Prayer gives us an insiders view of what Jesus’ private prayer times were like.

This isn’t the kind of prayer that is meant for a showy, mystical, religious spectacle to impress people, it is a conversation between a child and a loving Father.

Jesus gave us a framework to build our prayer time around.  Scholars agree that the Lord’s Prayer is not meant to be a recited prayer, rather a guide for how to structure our prayers.  Pastor John Morgan gives us an easy-to-remember acrostic for praying the Lord’s Prayer’s structure—WILD prayer.  WILD prayer is a bold adventure into the unknown, full of the excitement of connecting with the Holy Spirit who is not tame or predictable.

The Lord’s prayer has four major themes:

Worship – loving God

“‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name”

Intercession – prayers for others

“your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.”

Life – prayers for ourselves

“Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.”

Declaration – faith-filled statements

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13)

This week we will go through each of the four themes of the Lord’s prayer as we learn to pray like Jesus.  As we reach for God, our world changes.

QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION:

How would your prayer time change if you structured it around WILD prayer?

How do you feel about the discipline of a prayer structure?

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 10

PRAYING LIKE JESUS DAY 10

You Will Be Changed -Part 2

“We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

 1 John 3:2

Prayer is more powerful than simple conversation.  Prayer doesn’t just change circumstances; it changes us.  Luke wrote about a transformational experience that Jesus had when he prayed.

“Jesus…took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” (Luke 9:28-29, NIV).

Matthew gave us a few more details. “His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light” (Matthew 17:2). 

This moment on the mountain became known as The Transfiguration.  The word transfiguration isn’t often used today.  The New Testament was written in ancient Greek, and the original Greek word translated as transfiguration is metemorphothe.  The more familiar English word metamorphosis is from the same Greek root word.  It means to remodel, or to change into another form. 

As he prayed, Jesus changed fundamentally, and his friends saw it and knew it.  It was not just an inner change, but a change that affected his relationships, his body, his facial expression, even his clothing.  He was transformed, his divinity overtaking his humanity.

A larva transforms into a butterfly, the same creature remade into something far more elevated and beautiful.  Jesus transformed from humble carpenter into a light-filled, gloriously divine Savior, so attractive that the ancient heroes Moses and Elijah came back from the dead to pay homage. 

We experience the same fundamental transformation when we pray.  When we encounter a Living God, his divine power transforms us from the inside out.  As our heart changes, our outward person begins to reveal that change.  Just like Jesus’ disciples could see this visible manifestation of an inward change, the people in our world will begin to see who God is reshaping us to become.

As we reach for Jesus in prayer, we become like him.

QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION:

Do you see the change in you from who you used to be?

Is there anything that you sense God changing in you as you pray today?

PRAYER POINTS

Pray that as we seek God in prayer, that we would also seek for Him to change our hearts and minds and draw us closer to Him. That God would change us from the inside out.

Pray from the scripture in 1 John, that He would appear you in your time with Him. And as He reveals Himself to you that Jesus would change you to be like Him. 

Additional resources:

Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard