Dec 7 – This week we will be praying into the theme of ‘the Spiritual Disciplines’ – the prayers have been written by Natalie Headley.
Prayer Before Jesus did anything important, He went and prayed, we see this in Mark 1:35-39. Prayer involves both listening to God as well as talking to God. Prayer is something we learn. Learning always involves trying things, experimenting, and seeing what works. We can pray with confidence, imagination, and faith about small things and big things.
In Matthew 6:9-13, and in Luke 11:2-4, we read of Jesus teaching His disciples how they should pray. This Scripture is known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ and some know it as the ‘Our Father Prayer;’ it was the example Jesus used when asked how we should pray. Remember though – it is a teaching tool and not a magical prayer that can influence God differently from any other prayer from our hearts.
Abba Father, we bow our hearts before You and give You honour and praise. Abba, strengthen our prayer lives. Help us to pray more. Nudge us to pray when we are doing mindless tasks. Help us to truly know who we are in Christ – to understand that You always hear us – to know Your Word so we can pray it – to write down our own prayer needs and the needs of others – and to know that You really do know us when we are in Christ.
Lord Jesus, You are the great I AM – we worship and praise You for who You are and all that You have done. Please soften our hearts so that we can pray honestly and openly to Abba Father in Your name. Your will, Abba, is sovereign – let Your will be done. You created us, You love us – bless us, Abba, as we look to You to fulfil all our needs; forgive us when we do not walk in step with Your Spirit. Please guide our steps every day, and protect us from all manner of evil and harm.
As we practise the spiritual disciplines, we will mature spiritually; thus, we will be aided in overcoming sin and Satan’s attack. Bless Telford Elim, Father and all who are part of our church in person or joining us online. We pray that our church will be a house of prayer to all nations. In the mighty name of Jesus. Amen
Dec 8 – Fasting “More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us” ~Richard Foster.
Fasting was something that Jesus expected His disciples to do. It continued as an accompaniment to prayer in the early church. Jesus warns against fasting to demonstrate your own holiness, or taking pride in it – we see this in Matthew 6:16-18.
The main purpose of fasting is to focus the mind and will on God as our provider. It can be partial, normal, or complete. It will usually involve not eating, but there are also other kinds of fast. There is something intangible and hard to define about the power of fasting. People fast for different reasons; however, as we fast, and whatever we fast from, fasting can deepen our prayer life.
Abba Father, we thank You for the gift of Fasting. We put our trust in You. How priceless is Your unfailing love revealed in Christ. You, Abba, have fearfully and wonderfully created us. You have ordained all our days and written them in Your book before we were born. All Your thoughts towards us are precious.
We praise You because we are Your handiwork, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, ones You have prepared in advance for us to do. We come before You today to humble ourselves before You, submitting to Your will for our lives – teach us how to fast. Because of you, Abba Father, surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.
Let us be devoted to living out your will on earth, to be more concerned with storing up treasures in Heaven than on earth. Lead us, Lord, in the way we should go as we seek to apply the discipline of fasting to our lives. Direct our steps and fulfil your plans for our lives as we step out fasting – as Your Spirit guides us. In Jesus name. Amen
Dec 9 – Service especially hidden service, is the discipline that most helps us to grow in humility. In Romans 12:9-16, Paul does not just reverse the pecking order – he abolishes it. The Lord Jesus came to serve, and we are to follow His example in actively doing things for each other, with a servant heart that does not expect recognition.
In 1 Peter 4:10-11, Peter says for us to use the gifts we have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace. Let us meditate on the words Jesus told His disciples, in Mark 10:42-45, “for even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Abba Father, allow us to serve others with a joyful heart, always giving, never expecting to receive in return. Allow us the joy to give of ourselves, to give of our talents, and of our possessions; to give of our time and our energy, of our heart and soul. Help us to understand the needs of others, never criticising nor condemning.
Lord Jesus, You have been so gracious to us, always loving and forgiving – enable us to serve others as You served, with gentleness, compassion, and tenderness; never diminishing the worth of another. Choosing to extend love, mercy and grace to the broken hearted, like You have repeatedly shown to us.
Lord, thank You for letting us work with You to share Your truth and joy with the world. Help us not to take for granted the gift it is to share Your gospel to the nations, our neighbours and our loved ones. Help us never to stop serving You and others with the gifts and grace You have blessed us with. Help us have eyes to see the needs around us, and to respond to those needs under the guidance of Your Spirit in joy and hope.
Thank you so much, Abba, for Your love and care over us in Christ. Abba, You sent your Son to serve; to give His life for us – let Your Spirit of service awaken and stir our hearts. Let us not look for position nor gain – instead show us how to let others go before us. In Jesus name. Amen
Dec 10 – Worship We join with creation in worship. We worship because of who God is, because of what God does, and because of who we are in Christ. Worship includes thanks and praise.
In John 4:23-24, Jesus gives two fundamental aspects of true worship, telling us true worshipers worship in Spirit and truth. To worship according to truth means to rightly know and therefore elevate the God of the Bible through word and action. In addition to worshiping in truth, we worship in Spirit. This means we have an inner attitude of submitting to God as we are filled with His Spirit.
Therefore, we must purposefully pursue times of focused worship to Him. Setting aside times of purposeful worship of our great God – this indicates a pursuit of worship both internally in our heart and externally in our schedule. While worship also can and should happen throughout our day-to-day activities, purposeful worship should not be neglected. We can neglect worship through not engaging in acts of worship, or by engaging the action of worship with an inner attitude that is far from God.
Allow this principle in Matthew 15:8-9 to serve as a reminder that true worship is a pursuit of both an internal and external submission to God. So let us:
- Get to know God more intimately through studying the Bible
- Lift God’s name through kneeling and praying, or as we move through our day
- Get to know God through music: singing, listening, or playing instruments
- Meditation focused on knowing and honouring God through His word and His creation around us.
Abba Father, we give You praise, and worship Your Holy name. We give You the glory and honour, for You are our God. Lord Jesus, You alone are our Creator, our Lord, and our Saviour, and You, along with the Father and Spirit are deserving of our worship. There is no other God.
Lord, we worship You in the beauty of Your holiness and bow down before You in reverent praise, for You alone, Our Triune God, are worthy to receive all honour, glory, praise, blessing and worship. Your power and majesty are seen throughout all the world, the works of Your hands displayed in the heavens above, in the earth beneath and in the waters under the earth. You sit enthroned, our eternal King, and Your footstool is the foundation of the earth, which You have made.
We are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, and You are our God. We worship You. Lord Jesus, You picked us up out of the miry clay and clothed us in Your own robe of righteousness. You cleansed us of our sins and will wipe away every tear from our eyes. You give strength to the weak, help to the persecuted, food to the spiritually hungry, and comfort to those that are suffering.
Father, we bless You for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life; but above all – we worship and thank You for sending Your Son to be our propitiation, our Saviour who washed away our sins with His own blood. Words cannot express the wonder of Your love and grace in Christ, and we worship You forever and ever and ever. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Dec 11 – Generosity Jesus, in Luke 6:27-36, commends generosity in several ways –in relationships, in lending, in giving – all flowing from God’s generosity. We also see that being generous is a prerequisite to being Christ’s true disciple – we should be generous not only to people we love but also to our enemies.
In Acts 4:32-35, we see the act of generosity working out in community and in the action of individuals. Everyone was in one heart and mind, and shared everything they had. Through our generosity Christ’s grace will be powerfully at work in our lives. It says in Acts 20:35, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
All-Powerful Abba Father, it can be easy for us to say that we will trust in You to provide. Often our spirit is willing to be generous, but our flesh clings to the material needs of this world. Abba, teach us how to be generous, teach us how to serve You, through Christ, as You deserve.
So, we humbly come before Your generous throne, seeking the courage to lay down our own prosperity and comfort for the sake of others. Help us to live as men, women, young adults, young people and children of the Gospel. Holy Spirit, enable us not to be swayed by the luxuries of the world, but animated and made generous of heart as we read Your word and walk in step with You. As we do this, we will become renewed in our minds by the washing of Your word. Do this that we may become truly generous in spirit, soul and body.
Abba Father, my God, through Your Son, Jesus, You showed us what it means to walk in faith. With this belief in Christ comes generosity, which is planted like a seed in all who are Christians.
Lord, teach us to give generously to You, Your church, and those You direct us to give to in need – as we trust in Your word which says You will supply bread to the hungry and seed to the sower. Help us to believe in Your promise of Your coming kingdom and its extraordinary riches of grace and love.
Help us to walk with conviction and with total devotion to You, through Christ, doing nothing out of compulsion but letting generosity flow forth naturally and supernaturally from the new heart You have given us through the blood of the Lamb. In His name, and for His glory. Amen
Dec 12 – Meeting Together – Fellowship From Hebrews 10:19-25, we get a direct instruction to continue to meet together – so that we can encourage each other and build each other up. In John 18:20-21, we hear Jesus reinforcing that His normal place of teaching was in the synagogues and temple – the places that God’s people gather together. In Acts 2:44-46, we also see the fellowship of the believers – they were all together and had everything in common. I believe God is teaching us that we are stronger together when we come together in Christ’s name, and in the Spirit’s fullness.
Abba, our Everlasting Father, we give You thanks, praise and worship today, we bless Your name. You alone are good and Your steadfast love endures forever. Your faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Help us never to give up meeting together – even more so online during these unprecedented times.
When we meet together – fill our minds and our mouths with praise to You through Christ with the Spirit’s help. Guard our thoughts and our hearts that we may glorify You in every aspect of our lives together as Telford Elim – whether in person or online.
Lord Jesus, Yours is the name above all other names, the King above all other kings. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honour, and power and strength, be unto You, our God, Saviour, Lord and Shepherd. Enable Telford Elim to gather many, whether in large services or through our small group ministry, so they meet with You as we meet together. Amen
Dec 13 – Celebration comes to us because all the spiritual disciplines are functioning and creating worshipful lives. The desired goal of the spiritual disciplines is to produce in us a deep godly character formation. The fruit of the Spirit is the “holy habits” of a truly formed life in Christ.
In greater and deeper measure our life is being penetrated throughout by these fruit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” This deep-rooted character formation brings balance to our lives. Anger, bitterness, resentment, hostility, deceit - these things simply do not have the same control over us that they once did. We feel the impact of this in all our relationships: with our children, spouse, co-workers, neighbours, with our friends. Even with our enemies.
When the substance of our lives is formed, conformed and transformed into Christ-likeness, then celebration becomes possible. No longer do we undermine or sabotage the good work of God. We can simply and joyfully celebrate the goodness of God in us, and in those around us. Celebration gives strength to life and is the path to joy (Nehemiah 8:10, ‘for the joy of the Lord is your strength’).
It is a discipline because it takes a positive decision to choose to celebrate the good things in life, and not to be apathetic or ungrateful. Will we walk and leap and praise our way through life? (Acts 3:1-10).
Abba Father, thank You for seeking and saving us by Your grace in Christ. Thank You for loving us when we were hard to love, and even now some of us still are. Help us to see others as You see them. Break our hearts for what breaks yours. Please use us to point others to Your hope found only in and through Jesus Christ.
Abba, there are so many sad and troublesome things to face in this world today; things which so often cause our hearts to become weighed down with difficulties and doubts — so we pray that Your joy will fill our hearts and strengthen our spirits, souls and bodies; and that times of joyful celebration would replace those seasons of weeping and hardship.
We pray that, in Christ, we may be clothed in Your strength and goodness, wisdom and grace – that we may be enabled to laugh in the midst of the storms and not to fear the future; to know that our times are in Your hands, and You have promised to draw near to each one of us by Your Spirit and be with us in every circumstance of life that we may encounter.
Abba, we pray that Your Spirit’s joy will flow through us to others who are facing difficulties, hardships and grief — and that together, we may maintain an ever deepening trust in Christ as we look to Him for everything. We ask this and pray in Your name, Lord Jesus, for everyone in or part of Telford Elim, and every church represented by those who pray with us. Amen