Category Archives: Prayer
When they [the Magi] saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matt. 2:10-11 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, whether magicians or kings, astrologers or otherwise: and whether there were three, seven, or twelve of them, it makes zero difference. The Magi were wise men, and they show us the way of true wisdom, because they lead us to the incarnation of Wisdom itself—to you Lord Jesus.
It would take an eternity of eternities to begin to show you the worship you deserve for becoming wisdom from God for us—that is, “our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). Because of you, we are alive, forgiven, and free. Because of you we are welcome, wanted, and enjoyed by the three-times holy God of eternity.
Though the Magi came to you, you are the real seeker in the story. Promises of your coming and an irrepressible calling; a providential star and a Spirit-generated joy—how we praise you for drawing men and women to yourself from every period of history, every family of humanity, and every segment of society. Come Herod or high water, those you’ve come to save will come to you, Lord Jesus.
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we declare our awe of you and our love for you, Lord …
He [God] has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors. Luke 1:51-55 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, I awoke today with a deep ache in my heart—an ache that makes Mary’s prayer timely and encouraging. I am grateful beyond measure that you are a God who remembers to be merciful. With the gift of Jesus, you remembered all the promises you made to Abraham and to his descendants, which includes me. I’m humbled and overwhelmed.
You promised Abraham you’d take him to a land of your choosing to make of him a nation for great blessing. Israel became the “national womb” for the Messiah—through whom you are redeeming a family from every race, tribe, tongue and people group (Gen. 12-17). No one can fulfill these promises but you.
Like Mary, Abraham could not have begun to imagine how all of this would play out. But the promises you made to Abraham, and the prayer the Spirit prayed through Mary, all find their fulfillment in your Son, Jesus. I praise you for your memory and your mercy, Father. Both of these answer to the deep ache in my heart today.
Father, thank you …
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Gal. 4:4-7 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, though the immediate circumstances surrounding your birthing experience were less than ideal, everything happened just as you, our Father, and the Holy Spirit planned. “Doing all things well” didn’t just start happening after your resurrection.
“When the time had fully come” you came, not a day early and not a day late. As humbling as it was to be born under the ceiling of a stable, being born under the weight of the law was an incomparably greater burden. Yet that’s exactly why you came into the world—to fulfill every demand of the law for us—by your life of perfect obedience and to exhaust it’s judgment against us—by your death for us upon the cross. You are our substitute to trust long before you are our model to follow. Hallelujah so many times over!
Because you lived and died in our place, we’re no longer slaves, but daughters and sons of the living and loving God—with the full rights thereof. …
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. Isa. 61:1-3 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, I am so thankful you came to fulfill everything mentioned in these hope-saturated words from Isaiah; and I’m in awe, once again, as I reflect on your humble entrance into our world. The contrast between your birthing and calling is staggering.
Though Mary nursed you, she depended on you for her next breath and her eternal salvation. Though vulnerable and needing her comfort as a newborn, it was you who came to comfort all who mourn. O, holy and profound mystery—a newborn child has come to make all things new.
Even as a babe, the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was on you—for you are the Sovereign Lord—the King of Kings and Lord of Lords—the one by whom all …
See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Isa. 65:17-19 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, I love meditating through the Servant Songs of Isaiah during Advent, because they remind me that the birth of Jesus wasn’t a “merry little” event. Christmas represents the fulfillment of promises of immeasurable, irrepressible, indescribable proportions and delight. I praise you that every Christmas is colossal—irrespective of the economy or our discretionary spending.
With the first coming of Jesus, you inaugurated your plan to create a new heaven and new earth, from the stuff of this very broken world—a New Creation world in which you will find great delight. Though it will take the second Advent of Jesus, your kingdom has come, and it will come in fullness. I praise you for your generosity, tenacity, and felicity in doing all that you do, mighty and merciful Father.
And you’ve promised to redeem a people from every race, tribe, tongue, and people group to populate that eternal world of peace and joy—a people in whom you find great delight and over whom you will rejoice forever. …
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isa. 9:7 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, your righteousness is our surety and your sovereignty is our sanity. Hallelujah, many times over. How could we have possibly imagined that your humble Advent entrance through a stable would lead to the stable-ization of the universe, and that your cradle would eventually rock our peace-less world?
Truly, there’s only one government and one peace sufficient to meet the needs of our sinful hearts and broken world. You are already installed as “the ruler of kings on earth” (Rev. 1:5) and of everything else. King David’s throne has become a throne of grace, from which you are actively ruling the world with your truth and grace. Joy to the world, indeed!
Indeed, you are zealously working all things together after the counsel of your will. You—the Lamb of God, the Lord of Lords, and the Lamp of the New Jerusalem—are working in all things, for your glory and for our good. No one and nothing can derail, deter, or distract you from bringing to completion your good work of redemption and restoration.
You don’t promise to do all things easy, but you always doing all things well. Forgive me when I get impatient with your timing, don’t enjoy …
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. Luke 1:46-50 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, I woke up today extremely thankful for the gift of music—especially the songs of Advent, and it’s a “no-brainer” why. Every Advent hymn, carol, and chorus—from your Word, in my hymnal, or on my iPod—fuels my hope and liberates my longings.
I praise you for igniting my heart to sing your praise. I praise you for giving me a reason to sing, Lord Jesus. I praise you for songwriters who capture what I feel, and give me the vehicle for expressing what I long to say to you.
Mary’s story is quite different from mine, and yet I join her Advent refrain today. I can sing her song. I’m compelled to sing her song, for you’ve been mindful of my humble, broken, sinful state, too. I have nothing to boast in but you, Lord Jesus. You came to me when I wasn’t seeking you, and you’re being formed in me as surely as you entered the world through Mary’s womb.
I’m a blessed man because you’ve done great things for me, and you continue to do so. Holy is …
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This was the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:14-16 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, through there’s no Mary or manger, shepherds or angels in John’s account of your birth, but there is most definitely you. You’re are the only “star” on the horizon in this nativity scene, and how you shine.
We praise you for becoming flesh and “tabernacling” among us, in the fullness of time. Though equal to, yet distinct from the Father, you didn’t consider your glory something to be tightly grasped, or held onto selfishly. Rather, you emptied yourself by becoming a man—but not just any ordinary man, but a servant-man, the Servant of the Lord, the second Adam—our Savior.
In your thirty-three years of incarnate life, you accomplished everything necessary for the redemption of your beloved Bride, and the restoration of the world you love. We magnify and adore, worship and love you, Lord Jesus. What a wonderful, merciful Savior you are. You are so mighty to save and quick to redeem.
We should sing, “Joy to the World” year round, for you are presently ruling the …
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom. 8:28-32 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus—Immanuel, God with us and God so very much for us, I cannot read this favorite Scripture without thinking about Advent, and why you have come, and why you are coming again. The hopes and hurts, fears and tears of all my years are met right here in this passage. You are all we need, and way beyond all we can imagine.
Lord Jesus, O, the peace I have that comes from knowing you are presently at work in all things for your glory and for our good—in the obvious and when I’m oblivious; in my laughter and in my losses; in the things I “get” and in the things which vex me; when I’m “feeling the love” and …
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times . . . He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace. Micah 5:2, 4-5 (NIV) The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall lack nothing. Psalm 23:1 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, Micah’s prophecy of your coming simply adds to the long list of reasons we love and adore you. Today, I’m especially moved to worship you for being the Shepherd-Savior that you are. Having laid down your life as the Lamb of God, you’ve risen and are now the Standing Shepherd—relentlessly caring, vigilantly protecting, and faithfully providing for us. You never sleep or slumber, because you are always interceding for us. “Good Shepherd” seems like a profoundly understated title for you, Lord Jesus.
Because of your great love for us, we lack nothing that we need. I don’t get all our wants, but I do have everything we need for life and godliness. I praise you that it’s green pastures and quiet waters to which you are leading us—all for the restoring of our often tired and weary, broken and rebellious souls.