Did you get what you wanted?
Not just for Christmas, but in response to your heartfelt prayers? Did God answer? Did he cause things to happen the way you felt he should, or thought he had promised?
- Yes – then give him thanks (and ask for more!)
- No – praise him for his greater plan, yet to be revealed
- Don’t know – keep praying: patient, alert, watchful, trusting
Consider: what was written in former days was written for our instruction (Ro 15:4), and the prophecies of the coming Messiah (eg, Unto us a child is born – Is 9:6), which we have just celebrated, were given 700+ years before the event. And all that time people like Simeon and Anna (Lk 2:22ff) had been praying all their lives for his coming. Let that give us confidence for our own praying. God’s promises are rock-solid sure, but they take time to come to fruition. And not only time but prayer: long, devoted, faithful prayer; from the prominent and the hidden, from the likes of you and me, together and alone. Wasn’t Jesus worth all the wait?
So what do you want? What do you long for? What blessings do you feel would be right, which God should confer on the world (or yourself), which he has indeed promised, and for which you feel called to pray? Then pray for them, alone and with others – neither take rest nor give God any rest until he brings those promised blessings into being. And remain alert to the Spirit’s guidance, watchful for God’s answers in unexpected and unimaginable ways, and perhaps through unlikely people.
The WEEKLY prayers for January 2020 are:
Week 1 Beneficent Lord, blessing us all, richly and lavishly, thank you for all we have received, and please may we have more of what you plan for us. Amen.
Week 2 Sovereign Lord, who knows best and always does best, thank you for calling us to faith in you, and please lead us in the best way we can go. Amen.
Week 3 Long-term Lord, unhurried in your great plans, yet attentive to each of our prayers, please give us faith to ask for what you show us to be right. Amen.
Week 4 Eternal Lord, please show us how to pray, and what for, and to persevere, watchfully, able see and welcome your answers, whenever they come. Amen.
Your own prayers
Gates wide and narrow
Our attention is attracted by the showy, the grand, the great – think advertising. But Jesus was humble, and the way to life with him is not obvious. In fact, you’d often miss it if you weren’t looking for it, or there wasn’t someone to show you. “The gate is narrow and the way is hard” (Mt 7:13-14): Jesus doesn’t elaborate, but the witness of the church down the ages is that it’s true enough.
Nor does he explain why the gate should be so narrow – so hard to find and enter. But some insight may be offer by prayer, which seems outwardly such an impractical way to tackle problems: only if all else fails, pray. It’s hard to see how it could help (easily missed?); we’re reluctant to pray openly (narrow?); and it’s hard to keep praying if problems stubbornly persist. But the witness of the saints down the ages is that it leads to God and to life. So it’s worth looking for the little gate, worth pushing it open and squeezing through, and worth following the hard little path to the very throne room of God the Father.
The WEEKLY prayers for February 2020 are:
Wk 1 Lord God, so mighty, yet choosing to come to earth so humble, in the role of a servant, please help us shed our pride and don the garb of humility. Amen.
Wk 2 Lord God, the gates of heaven are big and pearly, but on earth you are approachable through the little gate of self denial. May we not ignore it. Amen.
Wk 3 Lord God, you warn us that the world’s broad easy ways lead downhill: please sharpen our vision to see the narrow path up to you, and take it. Amen.
Wk 4 Lord God, we are so dependent on you, as Creator and Rescuer, yet we have strayed away so perilously. Please help us hear your call and return. Amen.
Your own prayers