Re:New Prayer Guide

Week 4: Renewal in Jesus

The ultimate “reset” for all of everything is found in the work of Jesus the Messiah. The Creator enters his creation as a creature to re-create among us a new creation. He comes to renew all things.

 

Monday, November 14: Mary learns to sing

Pray that as we begin a new week we will believe, along with Mary, that the Lord will do what he says he will do.

 

Luke 1:44-45 (Elizabeth speaking to Mary) “When I heard your greeting the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

 

Recalling the Story:

Mary, who called herself a “lowly servant girl,” received a visit from the angel Gabriel who told her she was going to be a mom and her son would be called the Son of God! What’s more, he’ll sit on King David’s throne and his kingdom will never end! Pretty big message for a pretty small girl. Thus began the life of Jesus; the Creator slipped into a cradle to renew it all. A pretty big savior in a pretty small baby.

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. How else could the Renewer have come? What better way than to insert himself into the world without pretense or fanfare? To approach us only with empathy, sacrifice and love? What a savior!

  2. Has the story of Jesus’ coming to earth stayed fresh in your heart? So fresh that you sometimes want to break out in song like Mary did?

 

Pray that our “lowly church” might be so overtaken by the magnificence of our calling that we allow no barriers to the sharing of the good news. May no minor disagreements distract us from our major mission. May we approach each other the way he approached us, with empathy, sacrifice and love. What a church!

 

Tuesday, November 15: John the Baptizer challenges

Pray that the Lord give you a sense of astonishment at the significance of our church in Jackson County. Pray for fresh eyes to see the folks at Meijer and Walmart and Target as they might be, as our church becomes a place for them to meet and walk with Jesus and His people.

 

Matt 3: 7-8 “When the crowds came to John for Baptism, he said, ‘You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.’”

 

Recalling the Story: 

From his leather belt to his spirit of confrontation, John the Baptist was like the prophet Elijah. Standing in the water of the Jordan river John called his own people a “brood of snakes” and threatened them with the axe of God’s impending judgement. Luke says that John used these warnings to announce the Good News. Think what he would have said if he had been announcing bad news!

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. What place do you think warnings and straight talk have in alerting people of their need for renewal?

  2. Can you think of the last time someone warned you about your behavior? Was it helpful?

 

Pray that, like John, you can be a person who prepares the way for our Lord Jesus, but here in Jackson County. Pray that The Arbor Church may make crooked places straight and rough places smooth so that people will be able to see God’s salvation.

 

Wednesday, November 16: Jesus enrages by doing good

Pray that God will help you know the difference between church-stuff, that may be important to you, and people-stuff, that’s important to God. Pray to understand when they’re the same and when they’re not.

 

Luke 6:9 “Then Jesus said to his critics, ‘I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?’”

 

Recalling the Story:

The religious-rules-police had appointed themselves to enforce their rules that were sometimes connected with God’s instructions but often went way beyond them. These rules-police were watching Jesus closely. When Jesus saw a man with a deformed hand on the Sabbath, these rules-police suspected Jesus might break their rules in order to do the right thing. Sure enough, right in front of everyone Jesus restored the hand of the man to health. This sent the rules-police into a rage, deepening the chasm between them and Jesus.

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. What do you think Jesus hoped to renew in the hearts of those who were overly focused on secondary matters rather than primary matters?

  2. Any places in your own life where you’ve wondered if some of your expectations might just be your own rules or preferences, not God’s?

 

Pray for the moral strength to always prioritize doing good and saving life, even when it subjects you to criticism.

 

Thursday, November 17: Jesus cooks a hot breakfast

Pray for the Spirit to help us examine and judge ourselves more than we examine and judge others.

 

John 21:13 “Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.”

 

Recalling the Story:

One of the times Jesus appeared after his resurrection was back up north along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The disciples finally recognized him after catching 153 fish and they came ashore to enjoy a breakfast of bread and broiled fish that Jesus had prepared for them. After breakfast Jesus walked and talked with Peter. Peter affirmed his love for Jesus three times then asked Jesus something about the disciple John. Jesus responded, “What is that to you? As for you, follow me.” Those are the last words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John... ”As for you, follow me.”

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. Why is it easier for us to be more concerned about how other people are doing in their Christian lives than concerned about ourselves?

  2. Given that Jesus had just told Peter how he would die in verse 19, how does that color your understanding of what it means to “follow Jesus?”

  3. Does following Jesus seem like a prayer we say once at the altar, or more like something we renew every day?

 

Pray for intentionality in following Jesus today in what you think, say, and do. All day long.

 

Friday, November 18: Jesus gets an extravagant gift

Pray to be able to focus for these moments on what Jesus is doing in The Arbor Church, around The Arbor Church, and through The Arbor Church. Pray for an openness to hear from God – Does he wants you to extraordinarily participate in what is going on here?

 

John 12:3 “Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair.”

 

Recalling the Story:

The end was drawing near for Jesus, he was only days away from his crucifixion. Into this solemn atmosphere came Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus) with twelve ounces of perfume, worth almost a year’s wages. In a tender extravagance she poured it on Jesus and wiped it from his feet with her hair, a servant’s gesture. Judas objected vehemently but Jesus told him to back off because Mary has understood him, preparing his body for burial. What Judas perceived as wasted resources, Jesus accepted as an extravagant gift that overflowed from Mary’s heart of love. 

 

Reflecting on the Story:

  1. Although most of the Christian life is lived in a long steady financial consistency, have you considered that, like Mary, you too should have moments of extravagant generosity?

  2. As we lean into renewal in our own lives and the life of our church, might we expect that some of us will want to make extravagant gifts? 

 

Pray that the Spirit of God might give you the financial resources, like Mary had, to be able to give like Mary did.