February is Lord’s Prayer month, and all the sermons will be devoted to examining the Prayer and its power. Join us in praying the prayer daily and contemplating its depth for our lives. The following devotional guide will give you food for thought and prepare you for the series.
Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, January 30. Read Luke 11:1-4. 1) Why did Jesus’ disciples come to him with the question in this text? 2) Why do you think Jesus gave them this prayer model?
Tuesday, January 31. Read Romans 8:26-30. 1) What is the human condition when it comes to prayer? 2) How does God help us to overcome the condition? 3) What role does the Holy Spirit play? 4) When have you ever felt in the way described in this text?
Wednesday, February 1. Read Luke 18:9-14. 1) Describe the prayer styles of the two people in this parable? 2) What made one more desirable to God than the other? 3) Why was it so?
Thursday, February 2. Read Luke 18:1-8. 1) What relationship do the judge and the widow have in this text? 2) What is admirable in the widow’s character? 3) What do you think Jesus is trying to teach us in this parable? (Remember that parables have one point to make.)
Friday, February 3. Read Matthew 6:5-8. 1) What does Jesus condemn in this passage? 2) What do you think it is about prayer in this form that is so distasteful to Jesus? 3) How do you think he wants us to pray?
Saturday, February 4. Read Matthew 6:7-15. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Set me free, O God, from the bondage of my sins, and give me the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to me in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Through our savior Jesus we pray, Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer by Love M. Willis, 1859
Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Nor for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength, that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.
Not forever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be,
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.
Not forever by still waters
Would we idly, quiet stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.
Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wanderings be our Guide;
Through endeavor, failure, danger,
Father, be Thou at our side.
Let our path be bright or dreary,
Storm or sunshine be our share;
May our souls in hope unweary
Make Thy work our ceaseless prayer.
Devotional Reading of the Week:
Flat On Our Backs … In Prayer
Can we get any Kingdom work done flat on our backs?
by Jim Clark
Sometimes we need God to thrust us into total helplessness to hear what he values most. One man experienced this lesson lying on his back for six weeks.
In Isaiah 57:15 the Lord says, “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” This scripture applies well to Ben Patterson’s painful health ordeal.
It was the spring of 1980 when it happened. Ben was an active, motivated minister, constantly putting himself to work at the tasks of building up the church. Then he suffered excruciating lower back pain: two herniated discs! The prescription was total bed rest. Yet because his bed was too soft, he was confined to lying on the floor for six weeks instead.
It was extremely humiliating, boring, and frustrating. He couldn’t preach. He couldn’t lead meetings. He couldn’t visit people — or do any of the things he wanted to. All he could do was pray.
Each day he got out the church directory and prayed for every member of his church as he lay there flat on his back. But after awhile, the time spent on his back became sweet. When he recovered, he said to God, “Lord, this has been great, this praying. It’s too bad I don’t have time to do this when I go back to work.”
Then he sensed the Lord saying to him, “Ben, you have the same 24 hours each day when you’re weak as when you’re strong. The difference is that when you’re strong, you think you’re in charge.”
I hope Ben’s story will remind us all that when we stay on our knees, we stop being “lords” and let Jesus be Lord of his church. And when he is Lord, there is power and their is fruit.
As Ben Patterson learned, “The good fruit visible in the church is planted in prayers prayed in weakness and in secret.”
Each time he [God] said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
About the Author: Jim Clark is Executive Director of the Christian Service Center in Abilene, Texas.