Re:New Prayer Guide

Week 2: Renewal in the kingdom

 

As we continue to trace the stories of God’s people needing regular seasons of renewal we can’t help but notice how often these renewal episodes connect to a renewal of the place of God.

 

Monday October 31 King David gives ‘till it hurts

Pray that God awaken your heart to a new realization of His immense love for you. Allow it to overwhelm you. Then...how do you respond to that kind of love? With a trick or with a treat?

 

2 Samuel 24:24 “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.”

 

Recalling the Story:

Against the advice of his counselors and provoked by Satan, King David took a census of his people. In response, God’s death angel swept across the land and approached Jerusalem. At the threshing floor of Araunah, God’s mercy stopped the angel of death. Then, when David wanted to build an altar on that site, Araunah said he didn’t need to pay for it, he’d donate it for free. But David refused, understanding that God doesn’t care so much about the altar or the sacrifice as he does that David’s gift be significant, not a “regift.”

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. If good gifts indeed should have significant cost to us, how does that translate into gifts for say, one’s spouse or, one’s God?

  2. Did you ever give an “eye-popping” gift? When’s the last time you gave a gift like that?

 

Pray to be able to embrace the beautiful practice of significant giving to God, regardless of your income bracket. Commit to God that every gift you give to Him might be truly “from” you in a way that costs you.

 

Tuesday, November 1: King Solomon builds the temple

Pray that as you enter these moments of reflection your imagination will be stirred to new heights, recognizing that you are a part of this same long story of God’s people expressing their worship in specific places.

 

2 Chronicles 3:1b “The Temple was built on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the site that David had selected.”

 

Recalling the Story:

Solomon followed David as king and began the actual task of constructing the temple. This was to take the place of the tabernacle that was originally built under Moses’ leadership. Now, hundreds of years after Moses, a physical building was being constructed. It didn’t have places to sit, a balcony, or even a pulpit, because back then what they needed was a place to bring their sacrificial animals.

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. Do you find encouragement in the fact that the various venues of worship we see in scripture (earthen altars, tabernacle, temple, synagogue, houses) all seem acceptable to God?

  2. The transition from tabernacle to temple under Solomon became a huge celebration (including 120 trumpet players!) as the ark of the covenant was carried into the temple and everyone shouted, “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!” What conflicting emotions can you imagine in the hearts of the people that day?

 

Pray for your own emotional health during times of church transitions. Pray to be able to celebrate and shout about God’s goodness even as you may have some sadness in the changes.

 

Wednesday, November 2: King Hezekiah makes a U-turn

Pray with a repentant heart for the times we get sidetracked from worship of the one true invisible God and instead pay homage and give our loyalty to lesser visible things.

2 Kings 18:4 “He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.”

Recalling the Story:

King Hezekiah desired to restore proper worship of Yahweh during his reign. However, Hezekiah had the distinction of being Ahaz’s son, the worst king in the history of the nation of Judah! (2 Kings 16:2-4). As he cleaned-up his father’s messes (child sacrifice, idol worship and foreign gods) he had Nehushtan destroyed. Nehushtan was the bronze snake that Moses had made in the wilderness. It was originally made as an aid to salvation, but by Hezekiah’s day it had become an object that the people worshipped instead of God! Hezekiah destroyed it.

 

Reflect on the Story:

  1. How hard must it have been for 25-year old Hezekiah to reverse his father’s sinful pattern? 

  2. Have you ever seen something become like Nehushtan...at one time it was an aid to salvation, but it eventually became an obstacle to true worship?

 

Pray for such sincerity of worship that no object or thing may ever be between you and God. Search for Him and worship Him alone. 

 

Thursday, November 3: Jehu uses a sledgehammer but not a hammer

Pray for renewal in your own life that goes beyond lamenting and longing. May God lead you to solutions rather than being stuck on just correcting problems.

 

2 Kings 10: 31 “But Jehu did not obey the Law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart.”

 

Recalling the Story: 

The kings up north were a bad lot. They basically made up a whole new religion (new golden calves, new priests, and new places of worship). So, the prophet Elisha anointed a man named Jehu to clean up the mess, which would eventually involve hundreds of dead people. Jehu, however, didn’t seem to be able to move beyond killing people. It was less of a renewal than a killing campaign. He never got to the renewal side of his task.

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. What marks should you expect to see in true renewal, as opposed to just getting rid of “bad guys?”

  2. What steps can be taken to ensure a house renovation project doesn’t get stalled out in the demolition stage (if you see the comparison)? 

 

Pray, that in your intensity for purity of faith, you may not slip over the line into seeing people as an enemy to be eliminated. Pray for forgiveness of any tendency you have to belittle and sideline people who may seem like the enemy to you.

 

Friday, November 4: King Josiah’s renewal

Pray for a tenderness of spirit as you read these histories about God’s people. Pray that the Spirit of God may help you connect these events with our lives. May we be well-remembered by those who write our stories. 

 

2 Kings 23:25 ”Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.”

 

Recalling the Story:

Here they are, 47 years after Hezekiah’s renewal, and Judah needs to be renewed again! This time it was the boy king Josiah (he became king at 8 years old) who rediscovered the book of the law. Hearing it read, he wept in despair, realizing how far they had strayed from God’s intention for them. Huldah, the prophet, gave Josiah a strong message from God. She affirmed that God had seen his tears and would be gracious to him, pushing back the day of reckoning until after his death.     

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. Given the kind of history we’ve seen this week in the kings of Israel, what conclusions do you draw about the need for renewal among God’s people?

  2. Have you ever had a Josiah moment like this, when you’ve heard God’s word and realized how far you’ve strayed from His intention?

 

Pray for The Arbor Church to be responsive to God’s wooing. Pray that we may always respond quickly when we hear God’s word, perhaps even with despair and tears. Pray that we may listen well to women like Huldah, who give us God’s messages.