Week 1: Prelude to Praying with Jesus ........................................1
Week 2: Praying an Affirmation of Love .....................................7
Week 3: Led by the Spirit in Prayer ..........................................13
Week 4: Human Reasoning and Prayer ....................................19
Week 5: Intimately Known in Prayer ........................................25
Week 6: Prayer and God’s Good Planning ................................31
Week 7: Prayer and Rejection ..................................................37
Week 8: Prayer Authority ..........................................................43
Week 9: Praying in a Solitary Place .........................................49
Week 10: The Testimony of Prayer’s Power ...............................55
Week 11: Praying for Helpers ...................................................61
Week 12: Praying for Enemies .................................................67
Week 13: The Secret of the Prayer Closet .................................73
Week 14: Words in Prayer ........................................................79
Week 15: Our Model Prayer ....................................................85
Week 16: Prayer and Fasting ....................................................91
Week 17: The Rewards of Prayer ..............................................97
Week 18: Belief and Prayer ....................................................103
Week 19: Prayer and Trust .....................................................109
Week 20: Prayer As Worship ..................................................115
Week 21: Praying in Spirit and in Truth ................................121
Week 22: Prayer and Opportunity ..........................................128
Week 23: Voicing Our Desires ...............................................134
Week 24: The Multiplying Power of Thanksgiving .................140
Week 25: Talking to God Symbolically ...................................147
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Week 26: The Alternatives to Prayer .......................................154
Week 27: The Satisfying Nature of Prayer ..............................161
Week 28: Self-Examination and Prayer ..................................166
Week 29: Touching Jesus in Prayer ........................................171
Week 30: Prayers of Joy ..........................................................177
Week 31: Carrying Our Cross via Prayer ................................183
Week 32: The Transfiguring Power of Prayer ..........................189
Week 33: Prayer Failures .......................................................195
Week 34: Prayer Hospitality ...................................................201
Week 35: Persistence in Prayer ...............................................206
Week 36: Prayer and Humility ...............................................212
Week 37: Prayers of Blessing ..................................................218
Week 38: Delayed Answers to Prayer ......................................223
Week 39: Prayer As a Witness ................................................229
Week 40: Prayer and Anger ....................................................235
Week 41: Lending Creation Our Voice in Prayer ....................241
Week 42: God’s House of Prayer .............................................247
Week 43: Jesus with Us in Prayer ...........................................253
Week 44: Praying in the Name of Jesus ..................................259
Week 45: Praying with the Power of the Holy Spirit ...............265
Week 46: Travailing in Prayer ................................................271
Week 47: Prayers of Unity .....................................................277
Week 48: Gethsemane Praying ..............................................283
Week 49: Praying against Temptation ....................................288
Week 50: Praying When We Feel Abandoned by God .............294
Week 51: Recognizing the Divine through Prayer ...................300
Week 52: Declaring Love through Prayer ...............................306
Scripture Reference Index .....................................................311
Subjects Index .......................................................................318
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One of the themes that runs through the Bible like a golden thread
is that of prayer. “Call upon me in the day of trouble,” God tells us
through the psalmist (Psalm 50:15). “Call to me and I will answer
you,” God says through Jeremiah (33:3). “Jesus,” Luke relates, “told
his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray
and not to give up” (Luke 18:1). “In everything,” says Paul, “by pray-
er and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”
Guideposts has been committed to putting those biblical teach-
ings into practice by praying for and with its readers and by helping
people everywhere to find richer, deeper and more disciplined prayer
lives. The book you are holding in your hands has been specially de-
signed and written to help you find more fulfillment in your faith
Daily Talks with God is designed to be used over the course of
a year. The weeks are numbered so that you can begin your year
whenever you like. Each week features “Praying with Jesus” (a lesson
by Karen Barber, author of Surprised by Prayer), which explores the
riches of Jesus’ teaching on prayer with
• a Scripture reading;
• Key Verses for reflection;
• an invitation to enter the Bible story and discover its deeper
• a practical, simple suggestion for putting the Scriptures to
work in your own prayer.
Each weekly theme is opened up for daily prayer with
• an additional Scripture;
• a brief Prayer Starter to help you begin your prayer; and
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• a Prayer Closer to help you sum up your reflections and bring
your prayer time to a close.
Whether you have five minutes or a whole hour, it is our prayer
that Daily Talks with God will help make your own daily prayer time
even sweeter, a true conversation with the One Who loves you more
than you can ever know.
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D A I LY T A L K S
w i t h
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 1
Prelude to Praying with Jesus
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:1–8
KEY VERSES: “After me will come one more powerful than
I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down
and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you
with the Holy Spirit.” —mark 1:7–8
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
Before we embark on our journey learning to pray with Jesus, we need
to start at the very beginning, in those strange and anxious moments
of Mark 1 before Jesus steps into our world to revolutionize prayer.
We all once lived in our own personal “Before Christ” worlds where
we didn’t pray with regularity because we rarely felt the need to pray
or we weren’t really sure how to go about it. Perhaps we did quite well
for many years, running on our own personal steam of determination
and willpower, relying on our talents, and depending on our network
of family and friends. And then out of nowhere came an unexpected
detour into the wilderness—a life situation we couldn’t remedy, like a
job loss, a serious diagnosis, a personal habit that threatened to ruin
us, a marriage difficulty, the death of a loved one or a loved one in
trouble. Suddenly we found ourselves emotionally drained and spirit-
ually empty and very much in need of power beyond our own.
In this Scripture passage we come face to face with a fiery, pas-
sionate man named John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness
along the lonely banks of the Jordan River. His words aren’t always
pretty or easy to hear, but he speaks with a power and authority that
we secretly wish we had. He proclaims uncomfortable truths about
the not-so-healthy ways we’ve been living. This makes us squirm,
but it also feels refreshing and freeing. Then John cries again, “Repent!
Confess your sins! Be baptized!” And somehow we find the courage
to wade into the water, our hearts pounding.
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As we wait our turn, our desperate need to change overcomes
a thousand misgivings. We hold our breath and go underwater. We
come up and gasp for air and wipe the water out of our eyes. As
we fight our way back to the shore against the weight of the water, we
wonder, “Will it work?”
We shiver on the riverbank, wringing out our robes, disappointed
to find our old familiar emptiness is still there. It crosses our mind
that maybe we didn’t get the ritual right. Maybe we didn’t stay under
the water long enough. Or maybe we didn’t confess everything we
should have. John reads the deep worry lines on our forehead and
booms out, “I baptize you with water but the one who’s coming after
me—the one whose shoes I’m not worthy to untie—he will baptize
you with the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit! We now have a way to express that indelible
quality of power that John displays, the ability to look life straight in
the eye without flinching. We want his kind of confidence, his kind
of power. But John says there’s another One Who will have the au-
thority and power to do it. Who is He and where is He?
John’s strange and glorious proclamation about repenting is not
only a prelude to the ministry of Christ but also defines our own
personal preludes to prayer. Before we begin to pray we first must
experience hunger and need, that empty, helpless feeling down in-
side our stomach that tells us we can’t possibly manage our lives on
our own. Without knowing it, life’s complexities prepare us to meet
Christ in prayer every time something goes haywire, every time we
feel discouraged, every time we are about to give up, every time we’re
sorry for our thoughtless words, every time we feel totally unworthy
of anything good.
Prayer acknowledges that there is an unseen spiritual side to life
that we are ill-equipped to navigate on our own without help. We
need Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit to learn how to pray.
We hesitantly voice our need and as we do, we take our first step in
our transforming prayer journey with “the one who comes after me
who will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”
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PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
This week, linger on the banks of the Jordan River by asking God to
help you become aware of the ways in which your life difficulties,
personal mistakes and shortcomings have turned you into a spiritual
seeker. Ask Jesus to show you how to use these negative parts of your
life as preludes to prayer. Then find a personal way to symbolically
offer them as unlikely tools into the outstretched hands of Christ so
you can start on your way in your prayer journey, on which you may
be filled with the unmistakable power of the Holy Spirit.
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Week 1: Holy Spirit
Sunday: Receive the Holy Spirit
Scripture: And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the
Holy Spirit.” —john 20:22
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I come to You today as Your disciple,
ready to receive from You. Breathe on me, Lord. Fill me not just in
adequate measure, but until I’m overflowing with Your Holy Spirit.
Prayer Closer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your life within me by
Your Holy Spirit. Please continue to flow into me, through me and
out to those around me with Your love.
Monday: Power of the Holy Spirit
Scripture: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you
trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the
Holy Spirit. —romans 15:13
Prayer Starter: It’s so easy to be discouraged by the pain and heart-
ache in this world, Lord. Come, Holy Spirit, and give me hope so that
I can bring hope to those around me who are discouraged too.
Prayer Closer: Thank You, God, for helping me see You at work in
my life and in my loved ones’ lives. At the end of each day, help me to
be grateful and hopeful about what You are doing.
Tuesday: Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Scripture: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
—2 corinthians 13:14
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I receive Your grace today; God, I re-
ceive Your love; Holy Spirit, thank You that I can walk in fellowship
with You today and every day.
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Prayer Closer: I don’t even want to imagine what my day would
have looked like without You, Lord. Thank You for walking with me
through _________________________________ today. Be with
__________________________ and let him/her feel Your presence
as he/she _________________________.
Wednesday: Taught by the Holy Spirit
Scripture: “Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what
you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you
should say.” —luke 12:11–12
Prayer Starter: Lord, how often I’ve walked away from conversa-
tions knowing I missed an opportunity to speak life-giving words to
acquaintances and friends. Give me Your words today, Holy Spirit.
Say what You want to say through me.
Prayer Closer: You teach me so much more than just what to say,
Lord. Through the Holy Spirit, thank You for giving me kindness and
gentleness and wisdom when I need it.
Thursday: Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit
Scripture: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drink-
ing, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit....
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, those who walked the earth with You
thought You were going to conquer their enemies and set up Your
kingdom here. I’m so grateful that Your kingdom has come to my
heart and lives within me by Your Holy Spirit.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I’m not the most spiritually discerning child of
Yours, but even I can see that ______________________________
needs Your kingdom to come to him/her. Fill _________________
______________ today with Your righteousness, peace and joy.
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Friday: Temple of the Holy Spirit
Scripture: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy
Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
—1 corinthians 6:19
Prayer Starter: Father, I do know, but I forget sometimes that my
heart and body are the building You live in. Help me to keep it clean
and strong and fit forYou to fill and use asYou desire forYour kingdom.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I left the door to Your temple open today and
some dust and dirt got in through my selfishness. The foundation got
a little shaky, too, because I neglected to pray and strengthen myself
in Your Word. I love You, Lord. Help me to protect Your temple in a
way that’s honoring to You.
Saturday: Pray in the Holy Spirit
Scripture: But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your
most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit keep yourselves in God’s
love…. —jude 1:20–21
Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, my prayers feel so dry and ineffective
without You. Please come and fill me up; give me words; allow me to
pray what is on Your heart today to cause Your kingdom to come on
earth as it is in heaven.
Prayer Closer: Lord, thank You for the prayers prayed all over the
world today that You have heard and will lovingly answer in Your per-
fect time and Your perfect way.
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 2
Praying an Affirmation of Love
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 3:13–17
KEY VERSE:And a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom
I love; with him I am well pleased.” —matthew 3:17
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
After hearing the preaching of John the Baptist we are longing to
meet the One Who can help us learn to pray with power. But we
have so many unanswered questions and misgivings. How can we,
weak and wayward as we are, ever be worthy of whispering even the
smallest, tiniest prayer to the kind of mighty savior John proclaims?
Suddenly the crowd parts on the riverbank and there stands a
traveler in dusty clothes. Someone whispers that the man’s name is
Jesus of Nazareth.
“I’ve come from Galilee to be baptized,” Jesus says.
John’s jaw drops, and he falls to his knees on the river rocks and
stares at the strap of Jesus’ sandal. “No, I can’t possibly do that!” he
says. “I’m so unworthy. I’m the one who needs to be baptized by you!”
Jesus extends his hand and pulls John to his feet, saying, “Let it
be so for now. I want to fulfill all righteousness.”
John nods his head like a man in a trance, and the only sound in
the hushed crowd is the slosh of water as the two men step out into
the river. Jesus leans back onto the strong arm of John. The Nazarene
disappears for a moment, and then he reappears, drenched.
Although the sky is cloudless, its cobalt-blue depths seem to di-
vide to allow a light more focused than a sunbeam to descend toward
the water. The light moves with the grace and sureness of a bird
with outstretched wings riding an unseen current down toward the
riverbank. The wide-eyed child next to us asks, “Mommy, why did
that pretty dove fly down onto that man and where did it go?” Before
the woman can issue a “shush,” an unmistakable voice peals across
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the river valley. “This is my Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well
Our astonished eyes are glued to Jesus, radiant as He walks out
of the water, following this supernatural affirmation. Oh, how we
long for the same sort of affirmation! Suddenly we freeze, realizing
that Jesus will pass right by us as He climbs the rocks onto the shore.
We begin to panic, afraid to let our eyes meet His lest He see how
unworthy we are and turn away from us in disgust. But before we can
bury our gaze on the rocks, His eyes find ours and beam with a warm,
loving acceptance. As He passes by, we are overwhelmed, thinking,
How can this be? Could He really accept me as I am?
It is the gospel truth to declare that Jesus loves each of us in the
same definitive-voice-from-heaven way that the Father loves Him.
Jesus spells this out in no uncertain terms in John 15:9 when he be-
stows this personal affirmation on us: “As the Father has loved me, so
have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”
By putting these two verses together—Matthew 3:17—“This is
my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”—and John 15:9—
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you”—Jesus creates
for us the empowerment we need for prayer. If our prelude to pray-
er is our unworthiness, our entry point into prayer must be God’s
love and acceptance. Love spectacularly changes the entire atmos-
phere of prayer. If we revisit the unworthiness we first felt in the
presence of Jesus, we understand that although we aren’t deserving
of the affection of Jesus, we need not fear. We can pray not because
we love Him, but rather because He first loved us. (I John 4:19) And
perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18)
The love of Jesus not only makes prayer possible but makes it
safe, healing and life-giving as well. There is not a single state of
life, mind or spirit in which we can enter prayer that can override
this love. We can enter prayer battered by wounds, scars, anguish,
oppression, bitterness and utter disappointment. We can crawl into
prayer with embarrassment and sorrow after having fallen into temp-
tation and wandering off our own way for years on end. We can even
peek into the doorway of prayer feeling we have done something so
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horrible that it’s totally unforgiveable. But this fact remains immov-
able forever: We are enabled to pray in all personal circumstances
simply because Jesus loves us.
PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
A friend of mine who was suffering from depression told me that
she could believe on a factual level that God loved her because it
says in the Bible that God loves the whole world. But she grasped
this in a very general, far-off way, seeing herself more like a face in
the crowd rather than as an individual worthy of love. As you pray
this week, use Matthew 3:17 to ask Jesus to help you understand
down in the depths of your soul how these words of loving accept-
ance specifically apply to you. Do you dare to believe that God
calls you His own child? Can you allow yourself to know that He
loves you? Will you be open to the possibility that He is pleased
with you? Pray today to receive His affirmation of love.
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Week 2: Love
Sunday: Abounding in Love
Scripture: You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all
who call to you. —psalm 86:5
Prayer Starter: Father, I call to You, knowing that You love our time
together even more than I do. Help me be content to talk less and
listen more, to rest in Your presence and soak up Your inexhaustible
Prayer Closer: Father, my friend _____________________ desper-
ately needs to understand Your amazing love for him/her. Remind me
of that every day and show me how to reveal that love through my
words and actions.
Monday: Unfailing Love
Scripture: Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfail-
ing love. —psalm 6:4
Prayer Starter: God, thank You for the security of life lived in You.
Your love is a fortress that protects me from the pain of unkind words,
of rejection, of my own selfish mistakes. Help me to hide in Your un-
failing love as I walk through the hustle and bustle of life today. Help
me be a safe and steady hiding place for others.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I pray for all those who are doubting You today
and just aren’t sure You really care. I pray that You would reveal Your-
self to them with a sweet demonstration of Your faithful love that
cannot be denied.
Tuesday: Redeeming Love
Scripture: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a
curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
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Prayer Starter: Jesus, it is unthinkable that You, the perfect Lamb
of God, became a curse to redeem undeserving mankind, undeserv-
ing me. Thank You for taking my life, for changing it from what it was
and keeping it from becoming what it would have been without You.
I love You, Lord.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I lift all those who follow after You and yet still
seem powerless to overcome temptations. Strengthen them with Your
Word and give them power to break the chains of sin and darkness
in their lives.
Wednesday: Covenant Love
Scripture: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the
faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of
those who love him and keep his commandments.
Prayer Starter: Sometimes, Lord, I’m guilty of following You out
of a sense of obligation, of following the rules to avoid punishment.
Help me to understand what it means to walk in covenant love like
You do, Lord. Help me choose to obey You because I love You and
want to please You, not just to get it right.
Prayer Closer: Father, so many people are desperately looking for
love, and so many are looking in all the wrong places. I pray that even
in those places they would find You, the One for Whom their hearts
Thursday: Abiding Love
Scripture: If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love,
just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
—john 15:10 (nkjv)
Prayer Starter: What is it, Lord, about our human hearts that are
prone to wander as the old hymn says? In the busyness of my day
today, bind my heart to You, Jesus.
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Prayer Closer: When I think of someone who abides in You, Lord,
I think of ___________________. Bless him/her with a sense of Your
nearness today, Lord. Let the peace and humility that flows from
him/her draw others to You.
Friday: Enduring Love
Scripture: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures
forever. —1 chronicles 16:34
Prayer Starter: Forever is a long time, Lord, yet that’s how long Your
love endures. Be with those of us who fear doing something that will
cause You to withdraw Your love. Help us rest in the fact that Your
love will never end.
Prayer Closer: I have to confess, Lord, that I’m so not like You. For-
give me, Lord, for being so quick to withdraw my love or to put up
walls when others hurt or disappoint me. I want to be like You, Lord.
I want others to know my love is unconditional, not based on their
Saturday: Sacrificial Love
Scripture: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and
sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. —1 john 4:10
Prayer Starter: Jesus, I owed a debt for my sins, but You paid it on
the Cross with Your life. Help me to realize that the few times I give
up my time or money or possessions for others isn’t a sacrifice at all
compared to what You gave up for me. Let me give of myself to others
today without holding back.
Prayer Closer: Lord, looking back on this week and all the as-
pects of Your love, how could I ever doubt that You truly are love?
Thank You for showing so clearly in Your Word the reality of Who
You are. Let all who know You freely give the love we so freely receive
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 3
Led by the Spirit in Prayer
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 4:1–2; Luke 4:1–2
KEY VERSE: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the
Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert. . . . —luke 4:1
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
The day begins pleasantly enough as we follow Jesus on a caravan route
down the eastern side of the Jordan Valley, where there are shade trees
to cool us and pools of water to quench our thirst.
Then things change rapidly as Jesus veers off the well-traveled
roadway onto a faint path that looks more like a ram’s trail than a
footpath. Soon, even the indistinct animal pathway vanishes as the
landscape abruptly changes to the rocky terrain of the wilderness. We
think we might be heading into the bleak Valley of Shittim, but it’s
hard to get our bearings where our only landmarks are flat plateaus
of rock that look like tall stacks of unleavened bread. The only way to
tell the time of day is by looking at the direction of the inky shadows
cast by the ankle-size rocks littering the ground.
Why on earth is Jesus traveling to this godforsaken place im-
mediately after being proclaimed God’s beloved Son with such sky-
splitting drama? If a voice had blessed us by thundering down from
heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well
pleased” (Matthew 3:17), we would have lingered as long as possible,
feeling empowered and energized and basking in the joy and wonder
of it all. And yet Jesus has left behind every adoring eyewitness on the
banks of the Jordan; Jesus has turned His back on a huge opportunity,
and we’re eager to learn what greater power could have set Him off on
this strange excursion to nowhere.
At last Jesus stops. He surveys the vacant horizon in all directions,
seeing only the razor edge of flat rocks meeting dry blue sky. Then He
sits down and adjusts His head scarf over His sweaty forehead and
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closes His eyes to pray. The unrelenting sun lowers and then sets,
yet Jesus makes no move to end His prayers. He takes no notice of
His empty stomach or His thirst. Morning and evening, day after day,
Jesus remains there praying—for forty days and nights.
During the long empty hours we have time to wonder why Jesus
would need even a single hour of prayer before launching out on His
mission. After all, Jesus has already spent thirty years of His life in ob-
scurity preparing for His ministry. Does He really need another forty
days to pray over His calling? We know very little about what Jesus
did during those years. The only real glimpse we’ve had of Him is as a
twelve-year-old boy journeying to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.
It’s reported that young Jesus showed such amazing understanding of
God and the Scriptures that He astounded the rabbis teaching in the
temple courts. (See Luke 2:46–49.)
We can guess that as He grew into adulthood Jesus spent many a
day observing the best and the worst of what religious leaders do.And as
a carpenter Jesus had the daily opportunity to meditate, pray and think
for hours on end while His hands were busy cutting and honing boards.
And we might even go so far as to suppose that Jesus knew without a
shadow of a doubt Who He was and why He had been sent into the
world, based on the way He confidently opens the scroll in the syna-
gogue in Nazareth and reads Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is
on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the
poor.” (Isaiah 61:1–2; See also Luke 4:18–19.)
We squirm realizing that we find spending a mere thirty minutes
in prayerful preparation quite daunting. We compare this to the thirty
years that Jesus has spent, and we imagine that Jesus is the most
“prayed up” person Who ever lived. Yet Jesus withdraws into the de-
sert because He still needs more prayer!
Jesus prays audibly, and we overhear him say, “Thank You, Holy
Spirit, for leading me out here into the wilderness to pray.” We are
perplexed. Apparently Jesus didn’t decide to come out for this mara-
thon prayer session; Jesus was led out here to pray by the Holy Spirit!
From Jesus’ astonishing example we learn our first formal prayer
lesson—the importance of following calls to pray under the leadership
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of God’s Holy Spirit. How often have we entered and left prayer led
only by our needs, fears and problems? Of course, God cares about
the things we need, like food and safety, but if we pray only about
these temporary things, we could be missing what is truly needful.
Jesus didn’t rely on human reason, which would have assured
Him that thirty years of prayer was more than enough. Jesus was not
only full of the Holy Spirit, but He was also led by the Holy Spirit.
He obeyed the Spirit’s call. To pray with Jesus today we must simply
decide that when and where the Spirit leads us to pray, we will follow.
PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
Meditate on the ways you can use the leadership of the Holy Spirit
in prayer. Identify how you might have been attempting to be your
own leader. Then examine something you’ve been praying about for a
long time and ask Jesus for the leadership of the Holy Spirit on how,
when, where and what to pray about it today.
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Week 3: You Lead Me
Sunday: Lead Me to You
Scripture: In your unfailing love you will lead the people you
have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy
dwelling. —exodus 15:13
Prayer Starter: Lord God, I thank You so much that I am among
those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb to enjoy a relationship
with You. Lead me to the place of Your holy presence today and
Prayer Closer: Jesus, my friend _____________________ is really
struggling. He/she needs Your strength and needs to be reminded of
Your commitment to lead and guide through this difficult situation.
Please show Yourself to him/her in new, unmistakable ways.
Monday: Lead Me in Righteousness
Scripture: I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along
straight paths. —proverbs 4:11
Prayer Starter: Father, life can be so overwhelming and confusing.
It’s hard to know what to do about so many things. Today, for every
situation and every decision, I choose to trust and rest in Your prom-
ise to guide and give me wisdom.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I pray that You would be with all who are para-
lyzed by fear and confusion and don’t know which way to go. Lead
them along straight paths and give them peace.
Tuesday: Lead Me to Love
Scripture: “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into
the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” —hosea 2:14
Prayer Starter: Lord, lead me out of the busyness and noise of daily
life to listen to Your loving voice. Increase my longing for You. I come
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to You to hear the words of love that You speak in the quietness of my
Prayer Closer: God, my friend ______________________ is so
busy and distracted he/she can’t hear You calling him/her to Yourself.
In Your kindness, Lord, speak just a little louder than the things that
compete for his/her attention, so he/she can respond to Your tender,
Wednesday: Lead Me to Purity
Scripture: Lead us not into temptation. —luke 11:4
Prayer Starter: God, Your heart is so big for each of us to be strong
in You, to make right choices, to resist sin and its temptations.
Strengthen all who are tempted to find satisfaction today in ways
that are destructive to themselves and those they love. Help them to
find their satisfaction in You.
Prayer Closer: I thank You, God, that You aren’t a Father Who tests
His children to see how we measure up to some unattainable stan-
dard. Thank You for Your commitment to help Your children walk in
righteousness and purity. We can’t do it without You, Father.
Thursday: Lead Me to Your Comfort
Scripture: “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shep-
herd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe
away every tear from their eyes.” —revelation 7:17
Prayer Starter: So often, Lord, we take our heartaches and tears to
others who can offer only temporary comfort. But someday, all who
are Yours will stand before Your throne and You’ll wipe away every tear
from every eye for all eternity. Lord, I’m so looking forward to that day.
Prayer Closer: Lord, give me words to comfort someone who is
hurting today. But more importantly, remind me to share the hope I
have of eternal comfort in Your presence.
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Friday: Lead Me to Your Light
Scripture: I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along
unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light
before them and make the rough places smooth. —isaiah 42:16
Prayer Starter: Oh, God, the future seems so uncertain for so many
people in so many areas of life. I thank You, Father, that we can be
certain there is no uncertainty in You. Today, I choose to trust You
with my present and my future.
Prayer Closer: Father, even family and friends Who know You are
finding themselves afraid of the unknowns they are facing. Fill them
with faith, God, that You will light their way in the darkness.
Saturday: Lead Me in Weakness
Scripture: From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart
grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. —psalm 61:2
Prayer Starter: As I call to You, God—reminding myself that You
are my rock, my strength, my stability—my heart no longer feels
faint. Thank You for turning my fear into confidence.
Prayer Closer: Strengthen those who have called out to You today,
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 4
Human Reasoning and Prayer
SCRIPTURE: Luke 4:1–13
KEY VERSE: He (Jesus) ate nothing during those days, and at the
end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the
Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” —luke 4:2–3
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
We’ve been with Jesus for forty days and forty nights out here in
the desert, observing him fast and pray, and we’re sure He must be
starving. We rub our tired, gritty eyes, and when we open them we
are startled to see a figure standing over Jesus. We can’t fathom how
this stranger could have arrived without our seeing him approach
because we can see for miles in every direction in this uninhabited
At first we mistake the stranger for a Roman warrior because of
his haughty, intimidating stance. His arms are bare and flexed, show-
ing off his bulging muscles. His face looks like chiseled stone, and
the shadow he casts is immense. The stranger picks up a boulder the
size of a man’s head with one hand and easily tosses it down to Jesus
as if it were a wad of wool left over from sheep shearing.
“If you are the Son of God,” the stranger says, “tell this stone to
become bread.” (Luke 4:3) The questioning inflection of the word If
makes our hearts freeze. Could this be the devil himself?
We’re confused because the stranger’s point makes sense. We
stare at the rock lying in front of Jesus, trying hard not to imagine
the rough dry exterior as the crisp crust on bread. Over the last week
we’ve been worried about Jesus’ physical well-being; you can’t begin a
ministry if you’re run down from starvation. But Jesus answers firmly,
“Man does not live by bread alone.” (Luke 4:4)
Although we haven’t moved a muscle, we find ourselves on a
mountaintop overlooking a magnificent city that stretches beyond
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the horizon. We see marble palaces and streets that are bustling with
merchants’ carts filled with exotic goods. Legions of soldiers thun-
der by in chariots as their bronze armor gleams in the sunlight. The
stranger says, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it
has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you
worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:6–7)
The beautiful city is mesmerizing, and it certainly doesn’t look
evil. In fact, it looks like the kind of life we’ve always wanted. We’ve
learned that if we want success, status and money, we’ll need to work
with “the powers that be.” We wouldn’t exactly call it “worshipping”
those powers; it’s simply doing what it takes to get ahead. Jesus, how-
ever, uses a very different set of eyes than ours and answers, “It is
written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” (Luke 4:8)
In a twinkling of an eye, we’re standing with Jesus and the stran-
ger on the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem. Our stomach
feels a bit queasy because of the height. The stranger says, “If you
are the son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot
against a stone.’” (Luke 4:9–11)
The idea of jumping off the parapet so angels will catch Him
seems a little extreme, but it might not be a bad idea to perform
some sort of definitive sign that will impress the religious leaders.
Starting Jesus’ ministry here in the temple would be the obvious
choice because this is the center of worship for all the faithful. And
besides, there’s actually a Scripture that seems to back up the idea.
But Jesus disregards all this and rebukes the stranger by saying, “It
says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luke 4:12) As
soon as Jesus says this, the stranger disappears.
This Scripture passage offers us a rare glimpse into the thinking
process of Jesus as He prayed through His mission in the desert.
The stranger’s suggestions, on the other hand, give us a chilling
glimpse into the devil’s intimate knowledge of how our minds work.
The devil knows all the palate-pleasing combinations of independ-
ence, self-reliance, human reasoning, logic and rationalization our
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minds can cook up. Interestingly enough, the devil himself was
thrown out of heaven for declaring his independence from God.
(See Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12–15) Perhaps it isn’t the devil who is
so good at thinking like us; maybe we are very good at thinking like
Every time we pray, a battle goes on in our minds between two
ways of thinking—human logic and spiritual discernment. Isaiah
tells us, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my
ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:9) During each step of our journey with Jesus we’ll learn
how essential prayer is in renewing our minds and strengthening
our ability to see the spiritual world more clearly.
PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
Consider a personal prayer request that’s very important to you to-
day and meditate on whether you are using human logic or allowing
God to grant you deeper spiritual knowledge and discernment as you
pray. Are you holding too tightly to a specific way you think things
will work out? Or are you allowing yourself to lose hope because
there doesn’t seem to be a logical solution? Acknowledge your de-
pendence on God and ask for His wisdom in prayer as you continue
to seek His help.
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Week 4: Wisdom
Sunday: Ask for Wisdom
Scripture: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives
generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Prayer Starter: Father God, I have ________________ on my mind
and in my heart today, but I don’t know how to pray for him/her. You
know his/her deepest need and I ask that You would give me the right
words to pray.
Prayer Closer: It is so satisfying to know, Lord, that my prayers
don’t have to be scattered and random, but that You give them direc-
tion and purpose. Thank You for giving me prayers to pray today, and
for answering each one.
Monday: Spirit of Wisdom
Scripture: I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that
you may know him better. —ephesians 1:17
Prayer Starter: Lord, receiving a revelation from You is exciting;
having wisdom to know what to do and say in every situation would
be wonderful, but to know You better, that is my ultimate goal. How
wonderful to know that is Your desire as well, Father.
Prayer Closer: Mighty God, please showYourself to all who are seeking
to know You better today. Please be real, be powerful, be all we need.
Tuesday: Treasure of Wisdom
Scripture: He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of
salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to
this treasure. —isaiah 33:6
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Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, give me this treasure of fearing You
today. Help me live to do what You love and not to do the things You
hate, which only hurt myself and others.
Prayer Closer: Lord, be ___________________________’s sure
foundation as he/she walks in uncertainty today.
Wednesday: Wisdom from Heaven
Scripture: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit,
impartial and sincere. —james 3:17
Prayer Starter: Father, I know that the conflicts and unforgiveness
that are dividing our family hurt Your heart. Help us all seek wisdom
that comes from heaven. Help us be willing to do whatever it takes to
restore the love and unity to our family.
Prayer Closer: Lord, the main source of this conflict in our fam-
ily seems to be _______________________________. I pray that
You will bring healing to his/her heart. Help him/her see the dam-
age being done and strengthen him/her to lead the way to unity
Thursday: Beginning of Wisdom
Scripture: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowl-
edge of the Holy One is understanding. —proverbs 9:10
Prayer Starter: Lord, I pray today for those who have lost their way
and are struggling through life without You. Teach them to fear You,
God. Make them hungry to know You. Answer quickly when they call
to You, Lord.
Prayer Closer: Father, getting to know You seems like an unattain-
able goal. Yet I believe that You long to be known by all people. Would
You please teach me something new about Yourself today?
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Friday: Wisdom Within
Scripture: Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught
me wisdom in that secret place. —psalm 51:6
Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, please come. Show me the truth about
the things I hold inside. Purify my heart with Your Word and Your
Prayer Closer: Lord, I asked You to show me my heart today, but
then I realized that I never sat still and listened long enough for You
to do that. Speak to me now, Lord, as I wait on You. Set me free with
Saturday: Wisdom Is God’s
Scripture: “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and under-
standing are his.” —job 12:13
Prayer Starter: Lord, I often run to others for advice and wisdom.
Why do I do that, Lord, when You are the source of all wisdom and
understanding? Help me always come to You first and then others if
that’s how You lead.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I need wisdom for what to do about
________________________. My attempts to fix that situation
haven’t worked. Show me the key to unlocking this problem, Lord,
and give me the courage to use it.
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 5
Intimately Known in Prayer
SCRIPTURE: John 1:44–51
KEY VERSE: “You believe because I told you I saw you under the
fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” —john 1:50
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
We’re sitting under a fig tree in Galilee with a man named
Nathaniel. Sitting idly in the shade is certainly not typical behavior
in this ancient agrarian area, where every minute of daylight means
food on the table. There are fields that need plowing, planting and
harvesting several times a year for the wheat and barley crops made
possible by the mild climate. There is manure to haul from the pas-
ture to dig around the roots of the fig and olive trees to increase the
fruit harvest. There are repairs to be made in the tile roof before the
next rainy season, and the plowshare needs sharpening.
Yet Nathaniel sits under the fig tree with a far-off look in his
eye. Everyone likes Nathaniel because he’s a genuinely good per-
son. He’s very intelligent, and it shows in his bumper crop of figs
and barley. Everyone says that Nathaniel is set for life on his well-
kept plot of land. That’s why every father in the village would love
to see his daughter married to a man of such impeccable charac-
ter—he’s religious, dutiful, courteous, kind, and his word is as good
as the gold in the temple treasury.
Nathaniel seems to be lost in thought. He sighs, and there’s
something in his sigh that sounds as if he’s feeling restless and un-
fulfilled. It’s hard to find anyone around here who’s interested in the
kinds of challenging issues Nathaniel likes to discuss, such as what
Isaiah meant when he said, “This is the one I esteem: he who is hum-
ble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2) Is
Nathaniel too much of an idealist and a dreamer for anyone to really
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At last, Nathaniel reluctantly leaves the shade of the fig tree and
heads toward the plowshare he left in the nearby field. As he in-
spects the plowshare, someone hurries up to greet him; it’s his friend
Philip. Philip is usually a very practical person who thinks things out
in detail. But today he acts very much out of character by grabbing
Nathaniel by the tunic and blurting out, “We have found the One
Moses talked about! He is Jesus of Nazareth.”
At first Nathaniel thinks it’s a joke, and a bad one at that. He
shakes his head and says, “Philip, you’ve got to be kidding. No great
teacher has ever come out of that little place in the middle of nowhere.”
Philip doesn’t give up. “No, I’m not kidding. Jesus is real. He’s
the kind of person you’d really like to talk to. At least come and see
Nathaniel pretends to humor Philip as they take off down the
dusty pathway toward the village. Finally they come upon a small
crowd of people encircling this fellow Jesus. The minute Nathaniel
steps into the presence of Jesus, their eyes lock and Jesus stops in
the middle of the story he’s telling. Then Jesus says, “Here is a true
Israelite in whom there is nothing false.”
Nathaniel is confused. He glances at Philip to see if this is a
setup. Has Philip told Jesus something about him? But Philip’s face
shows utter astonishment. Confused, Nathaniel stammers, “How do
you know me?”
Jesus answers, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree
before Philip called you.”
Sweat breaks out on the back of Nathaniel’s neck because he
is absolutely sure that not a soul saw him under the fig tree earlier.
Surely there is only One Who knows men’s inner thoughts.
In utter astonishment, Nathaniel declares to this ordinary-looking
man standing in front of him, “You are the Son of God and the King
Jesus smiles and says, “You believe because I told you I saw you
under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” (John 1:50)
Jesus doesn’t have to heal the blind or walk on water for Nathaniel
to believe. Without a shadow of a doubt, he declares on the spot that
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Jesus is the Son of God. And what proved this to Nathaniel with such
split-second certainty? Jesus knew him—personally, intimately—
before they’d even met. Jesus knew his past. He knew his heart. He
knew his strengths and weaknesses—everything, right away, before
Nathaniel said a single word.
This incident sets Christian prayer above all other religious
experiences because during prayer we are meeting the One Who
knows our hearts and filters what He sees through the eyes of love.
Jesus didn’t display His intimate knowledge of Nathaniel by ex-
posing his secret sins. On the contrary, Jesus spoke a loving and
compelling word to Nathaniel by commending the most beautiful
quality of his heart.
And there’s more! Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, you shall see
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the
Son of Man.” (John 1:51) Jesus tells us that this intimate relationship
is a two-way street. As deeply as Jesus knows us, so we in turn can
begin to know Him. Eventually we will be privileged to see Jesus in
His glory with angels ascending and descending on Him! And in the
meantime, we can enjoy the intimacy of the heavenly feeling of being
known thoroughly right here on earth.
PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
Think about how wonderful it is that prayer is based on a very intim-
ate, personal relationship with God. Choose one thing about you that
no one else knows about and talk with God about it. Then accept
God’s gracious ability to see past it because He has known about it
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Week 5: Prayer
Sunday: Seeking Prayer
Scripture: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans
to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to
you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Prayer Starter: Father, I confess that my seeking You cannot be
described as seeking You with all my heart. Would You increase my
desire for You? Father, please help me long for You above so many
other longings in my heart.
Prayer Closer: Lord, the more I think about seeking You with all my
heart, the more I realize that I’m not really sure what that looks like.
Does that mean spending more time in prayer? Or reading the Bible?
Or reading books about You? Show me how to seek You with my whole
Monday: Pray with Favor
Scripture: But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor; in your
great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.
Prayer Starter: God, Your love is the foundation for my every prayer
because I’m so sure of Your love for me and all people; I know You
Prayer Closer: Lord, I’ve been praying for ____________________
for so long, I’m sometimes tempted to stop and give up hope that You
will answer. But I choose today to pray for him/her again, believing
that You hear my prayers.
Tuesday: Pray in Secret
Scripture: But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and
pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is
done in secret, will reward you. —matthew 6:6
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Prayer Starter: Father in heaven, show me my heart and my mo-
tives. Do I pray to be heard by others and seen as a spiritual giant?
Please remove any trace of that in me, Lord, and let my prayers come
straight from Your heart to mine.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I lift before You praying Christians everywhere.
Help them to pray the right prayers for the right reasons and let those
prayers bear much fruit for Your kingdom.
Wednesday: The Spirit Prays for You
Scripture: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do
not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for
us through wordless groans. —romans 8:26
Prayer Starter: Lord, it’s reassuring to know that when we can’t
find the right words, groans are prayers too. My heart is groaning for
__________________________ today, Lord. Answer that prayer that
is too deep for words.
Prayer Closer: I heard some good news today, God, that makes me
know You moved on ________________________’s behalf. Thank
You so much.
Thursday: Pray for Your Enemies
Scripture: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do
good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who
mistreat you.” —luke 6:27–28
Prayer Starter: Father, I don’t think I have a long list of enemies or peo-
ple who hate me, but I do know that _____________________ doesn’t
care for me that much. I ask Your blessing and favor on him/her today,
God. I even ask that, with Your help, we could become good friends.
Prayer Closer: I just want to sit with You, Jesus, and think about
what it must feel like to be truly hated and have enemies who want
to kill me. I’m sure I can’t even imagine it. I can’t imagine, either,
that You chose to leave heaven and came to earth knowing that is
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what awaited You. I’ll never understand love like that, Jesus. All I can
do is thank You.
Friday: Pray for the Sick
Scripture: Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the
church to pray over them and anoint him with oil in the name of the
Lord. —james 5:14
Prayer Starter: Father, my prayer list suddenly seems full of people
with serious health issues. I pray for each one today, Lord. You know
who they are. Please let Your healing love and power flow over them
to meet every emotional, physical and spiritual need.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I pray today especially for children who are
facing life-threatening illnesses. Draw them to Yourself, Father, to
receive comfort, healing and saving faith in You.
Saturday: Pray for Nations
Scripture: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble
themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal
their land.” —2 chronicles 7:14
Prayer Starter: Oh, God, forgive our nation for our failure to live
up to the best that is in us and cling to Your Word. Heal our land.
Prayer Closer: I pray, Lord, that You would bless men and women
of faith who are in positions of leadership in our nation. Give them
wisdom, resources and favor.
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 6
Prayer and God’s Good Planning
SCRIPTURE: John 2:1–11
KEY VERSE: His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he
tells you.” —john 2:5
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
We’re in Cana at a wedding feast, and everyone in the village has been
celebrating with the bride’s family for several days now. The master of
the feast makes his way over to shake our hands and asks if we’d like
more raisin cakes. We decline but tell him we could use a little more
wine. His face flushes and he hastily says that he’ll have a servant at-
tend to us. Thirty minutes pass and the servant never appears. We think
this odd until we overhear another guest, Mary, the mother of Jesus, tell
her son, “They have no more wine.” Our eyes travel to the young groom,
dressed for the wedding like a king in a colorful silken sash. Because
the bride and groom’s families are of modest means, there’s a garland of
flowers around his head instead of a more costly metal crown, but his
face is anointed with oil and shining with happiness. How will he feel
when he finds out about this?
Adding to the trouble is the fact that wine isn’t something we can
whip up at a moment’s notice like another batch of raisin cakes. Mak-
ing wine is an arduous process that takes time, persistence, patience
and planning. Even if the servants started right now, there wouldn’t
be more wine until the bride and groom were welcoming their first
child into the world! This is mortifying, a total social embarrassment.
Soon the whole community will know that the hosts haven’t planned
well enough for the wedding feast.
We step a little closer to Mary and Jesus, hoping Jesus will be able to
do something to remedy the situation. Jesus replies, “Dear woman, why
do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” (John 2:4)
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Jesus believes that God has a very precisely planned timetable
for His ministry. He is apparently determined to follow God’s plan
Based on Jesus’ reply, we’re surprised to see Mary pulling the
servants aside and whispering, “Do whatever Jesus tells you.” We im-
agine that her mother’s intuition is telling her that Jesus has some-
thing in mind, even though she’s not sure what it is.
Suddenly Jesus instructs the servants to fill the six huge stone
jars to the brim with water. Although this seems to have no connec-
tion to the problem at hand, the servants obey. Bucket after bucket,
footstep after footstep, to the well and back, they slowly fill up the
jars. When they’re done, Jesus tells them to draw some water out of
the jars and take it to the master of the feast. They silently draw the
water from the jar without questioning. When the master of the feast
tastes the water he proclaims it to be much finer wine than what was
originally served to the guests.
Very few guests at the wedding know that Jesus has performed
the miracle of compressing the yearlong, step-by-step process of
winemaking into the time it takes to carry a dipper of water from one
end of a courtyard to the other! Because the servants obey Jesus’ in-
structions, the wedding feast goes on with uninterrupted merriment
Without availing ourselves of the grace of prayer, we all are des-
tined to be the embarrassed hosts who fail to adequately plan ahead.
Fortunately, prayer gives us the opportunity to become the servants who
do what Jesus says, believing that whatever He has planned is good and
that it will work if only we take the step we’re told to take today.
One of the great gifts of human intellect is our ability to plan
ahead. When we offer this ability to God through prayer, God is able
to empower us to accomplish things we couldn’t possibly achieve on
our own. However, God usually unfolds His biggest and most glori-
ous plans one simple step at a time over a long period, something
like the winemaking process. More often than not, we don’t receive
further instructions until we take the step in front of us, as with the
servants when they obediently filled the stone jars with water. There’s
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an old saying, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” But in faith, we can
change that saying into a formula for success that will take us to new
heights: “Failure to pray for the next step in God’s plan is planning to
fail in advancing God’s kingdom.”
PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
Consider something significant that you’ve been planning for quite
some time. If you find an embarrassing failure to plan ahead, admit
your lack of planning to God. Just as Jesus accelerated the wine-
making process, ask Him to apply His restoring power to speed up
the process of getting back on the right track.
On the other hand, you may feel discouraged because working
toward your goal is a long, tedious process. Pray for supernatural per-
sistence to await the seasons like winemakers.
And finally, if you find that you’ve planned well but have left
prayer and God’s direction out of the process, ask God to show you
the next small step in His direction that you need to take today. Then
take that next step, using the simple, unquestioning faith with which
the servants obeyed Jesus.
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Week 6: Faith
Sunday: Faith with Joy
Scripture: And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for
us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy
set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at
the right hand of the throne of God. —hebrews 12:1–2
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I’ll admit my eyes are too often fixed on
the struggles of life or on what I’m afraid will happen, rather than on
You. Remind me daily of the joy that is to come with You in heaven,
and help me endure each cross you call me to carry until then.
Prayer Closer: God, this verse reminds me that You started my re-
lationship with You and, in spite of how often I know I fall short, You
will perfect it. I so look forward to that day, Father!
Monday: Healing Faith
Scripture: Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said,
“your faith has healed you.”And the woman was healed from that moment.
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, I can imagine that the moment You turn
and look at me would be even more wonderful and life-changing than
being healed. Let me always seek Your gaze, Lord.
Prayer Closer: I don’t understand, Jesus. Some people seem to have
faith for healing and are healed, but others seem to have faith and
aren’t healed. Help us all trust You and Your goodness, God, even
when we don’t understand.
Tuesday: Lack of Faith
Scripture: He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of
faith. —matthew 13:58
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Prayer Starter: It is such a sobering thought, Lord Jesus, that our
lack of faith can tie Your powerful hands. Please God, wake up our
faith and help believers everywhere believe and expect You to do
mighty things for Your kingdom’s sake.
Prayer Closer: Father, I rejoice with ___________________ today
for the miracles You’ve done.
Wednesday: Saving Faith
Scripture: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and
this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no
one can boast. —ephesians 2:8–9
Prayer Starter: Forgive me, Lord, if I’ve ever thought I could earn
my salvation, after You’ve paid with Your life to give it by faith as a gift.
I receive it gratefully, Lord.
Prayer Closer: Lord, only You know the believers who are working
to earn their salvation. I pray You will deliver all Your children from
the exhaustion of trying to earn favor with You.
Thursday: Full of Faith
Scripture: And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and
signs among the people. —acts 6:8 (nkjv)
Prayer Starter: Dear God, sometimes I don’t feel full of faith or
power. In spite of how I feel, Lord, I pray that by Your Holy Spirit, You
would do great signs and wonders through me.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I pray You will fill believers with Your faith and
power so that unbelievers will see and believe.
Friday: Faith by Hearing
Scripture: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and
the message is heard through the word about Christ. —romans 10:17
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Prayer Starter: Father, I pray today for all missionaries who have
committed their lives to taking Your Word to the world. Give each one
the exact life-giving words he/she needs the moment he/she needs it.
Prayer Closer: Lord, my friends ____________________________
have sacrificed so much to serve You in _______________________.
Please provide everything they need, physically and spiritually, to
continue serving where You’ve called.
Saturday: Shield of Faith
Scripture: In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with
which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Prayer Starter: Thank You, God, for reminding me with this
Scripture that when my faith is weak, I am vulnerable spiritually.
Please, Lord, keep my faith strong and help me to deflect the de-
structive lies of the enemy of my soul that I believe all too easily.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I pray for Your protection over __________
today. He/she is so downcast and believing the thoughts sent from
the enemy that he/she is a failure. Give me words to help strengthen
his/her faith to extinguish those lies.
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 7
Prayer and Rejection
SCRIPTURE: Luke 4:14–30
KEY VERSE: “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is
accepted in his hometown….” —luke 4:24
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
Jesus’ ministry has been gathering steam, and He’s becoming well
known around the region as an amazing teacher Who can work mir-
acles. Word has gotten back to Nazareth, and all of the townsfolk are
pleased they’re finally getting their due.
But the barley harvest passes and so does the grape harvest, and
we start to hear villagers complaining that Jesus ought to come back to
town and do a few miracles and healings here too. At last the day comes
when Jesus finally visits His boyhood synagogue. We have a hard time
finding a seat because the place is so packed with people. We’ve heard
plenty of speculation about the remarkable things Jesus might do here in
Nazareth. After all, these are His friends, neighbors and kin. If Jesus is
doing such great things for strangers, surely He’ll do much more for us!
The rabbi hands Jesus the scroll of Isaiah to read.
Jesus finds Isaiah 61 and reads, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord
is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to
the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim
freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor….” (Isaiah 61:1–2) Instead of
going on to teach, Jesus sits down and says, “Today this scripture is
fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)
At first, everyone is impressed because Jesus has read the
Scripture with such ardor. Then someone whispers, “Wait a minute.
Who on earth does he think he is? Isn’t he the son of Joseph the
carpenter? How could someone like him fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy?”
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Although the criticism was whispered, Jesus perceives it and
says, “I suppose you’re going to say, ‘Physician, heal thyself.’” A twitter
of nervous laughter flutters through the crowd. Jesus goes on, “I also
imagine you’re expecting me to do the kinds of healings you heard I
did in Capernaum. Unfortunately, no prophet is ever accepted in his
A tense silence settles around the room. The older residents set
their jaws tightly and cross their arms in disapproval. Someone com-
plains in a stage whisper, “Here we’ve invited this kid to speak at the
synagogue, and now he’s calling himself a prophet and insulting us all
at the same time!”
As Jesus’ eyes scan the familiar faces in the crowd, He tries to
open our minds to the fact that God’s healing power is not some-
thing that’s just for insiders who believe they’re owed special favors
from God. He recounts how the ancient prophets were often sent far
from home to offer God’s provision and healing. And not everyone
got healed or helped, only those whom God chose for his own rea-
sons. (See 1 Kings 17:7–16.) Elisha even healed a Syrian of leprosy!
(See 2 Kings 5:1–14.)
Catcalls begin at the thought that Syrians might get healed or
blessed instead of Nazarenes. People start yelling and soon pande-
monium breaks out. We’re shocked when several men grab Jesus by
the collar of His tunic and hustle Him out of the synagogue. The rabbi
hastily rolls up the scroll of Isaiah to keep it from being damaged as
the crowd rises to its feet to follow the men dragging out Jesus.
Our hearts are hammering as we follow the mob up a nearby hill.
In horror we try to tell ourselves that surely they’re not planning to
shove Jesus off the steep cliff at the top! Then confusion comes over
the crowd, and people start bumping into each other. The men sud-
denly lose their grip on Jesus. We see Him turn around and slowly
but surely walk right back through the crowd and down the hill with-
out anyone from His hometown realizing it. Then Jesus simply keeps
walking until Nazareth disappears behind Him on the dusty road.
We’re glad that Jesus has gotten away alive, but He certainly isn’t
leaving with His reputation intact. Rejection is a horrible experience,
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especially when it comes from those we thought were our friends,
our brothers and our sisters. The hurt, horror and disbelief don’t go
away easily, sometimes not for years—if ever.
Because rejection attacks our spirit, prayer is one of the best ways
to overcome it. All of the heavenly graces we have discovered so far
in prayer—the knowledge that we are loved, accepted, forgiven and
known intimately—give us the ability to prayerfully pass through the
crowd and walk away from rejection. We have the strength to do this
because prayer enables us not only to walk away from rejection but
also to walk toward something of much greater value—God’s clearly
defined pathway of purpose for our lives.
We’re realists, and we certainly aren’t saying that overcoming
rejection is a short, simple prayer process. Maybe Jesus is recalling
this experience in Nazareth when He sends out His disciples, tell-
ing them, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words,
shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.”
(Matthew 10:14) Shaking the dust off of sandals is a physical means
of expressing an inner prayer resolve through a symbolic action. Per-
haps we won’t have physical dust to shake off our shoes, but we can
dust our hands together during prayer to show that we are asking for
God’s grace to brush off this experience and go forward.
PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
Choose an instance from your life when you’ve felt rejected. Think
deeply about the fact that God loves you and accepts you. Then find
some small symbolic act you can do to help you separate yourself
from the pain and move forward on God’s positive path for your life.
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Week 7: You Belong
Sunday: To the Truth
Scripture: Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but
with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the
truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts
condemn us…. —1 john 3:18–20
Prayer Starter: Father, my friend ________________________
is so disappointed in his/her recent wrong choices. I pray that You
would set his/her heart at rest in You today.
Prayer Closer: Lord, help me not just talk about loving people.
Help me to do it.
Monday: To God
Scripture: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
—1 peter 2:9
Prayer Starter: Father God, it is a joy to be among those You call
Your own. I thank You and praise You for saving me from the darkness
and destructiveness of my own choices.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I pray that all Who belong to You would be a
light in the darkness of selfishness in this world. Use that light, Lord,
to draw others to Yourself like moths to a flame.
Tuesday: To the Lord
Scripture: If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the
Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You that nothing, in life or in death, can
separate from You those who are yours.
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Prayer Closer: As You know so well, Jesus, rejection hurts. I pray
that every wound of rejection to myself and others would be healed
by the one thing that really matters: being accepted by You.
Wednesday: To the Body of Christ
Scripture: If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not be-
long to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
—1 corinthians 12:15
Prayer Starter: Father, even when I’m active and involved in a
church, I sometimes feel so disconnected from the body of Christ. I
pray that people in local congregations would feel connected, not just
by their activities, but in heart and purpose.
Prayer Closer: Help those, Lord, who are looking for their place in
the body of Christ. Reveal Your purposes and give them opportunities
to use their gifts and talents to minister to others.
Thursday: To the Day
Scripture: For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get
drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober,
putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a
helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salva-
tion through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 thessalonians 5:7–9
Prayer Starter: Lord God, I pray that my choices and actions would
reflect Your light today.
Prayer Closer: God, pour out self-control, hope and faith over
________________ today. Give him/her all he/she needs to walk out
of the darkness into Your salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Friday: To the Lamb
Scripture: All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all
whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the
Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.—revelation 13:8
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Prayer Starter: Jesus, Lamb of God, I have a lot to rejoice about,
but in this one thing I rejoice the most: that I belong to You, that my
name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. I’m so looking forward to
spending eternity with You.
Prayer Closer: Father, I pray that You would open eyes to the very
real spiritual battle that is still raging for the souls of men. Give
people a revelation of truth about eternity with You—or without You.
Saturday: To Christ
Scripture: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh
with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in
step with the Spirit. —galatians 5:24–25
Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, help me each and every day to walk in
the Spirit, to love the things You love and hate the things You hate.
Prayer Closer: Lord, believers everywhere are struggling today to
crucify their flesh and walk in the Spirit. Strengthen them and help
them to walk in the freedom You died to give us all.
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 8
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:21–28
KEY VERSE: The people were all so amazed that they asked each
other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He
even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” —mark 1:27
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
Jesus has moved on to Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of
Galilee. It’s the Sabbath, and we’re sitting in the synagogue eager to
hear Him speak. We can tell by the attentive expressions that people
are spellbound by Jesus’ teaching. It’s no wonder. They’re used to
hearing itinerant rabbis quoting other rabbis and teachers of the law
to back up every point they make.
The last visiting rabbi told us that on the Sabbath we can’t take
a lid off a clay jar. But if the lid is already off, it’s okay to drink what’s
in the jar. Only don’t pick up the jar and pour—that would be forbid-
den work! Afterward, we were happy to get out into the fresh air of
But today Jesus, a radically different sort of rabbi, is speaking
in the synagogue. He teaches a simpler, more direct approach to
faith where there are no teachers of the law with rule books standing
between us and God. Jesus speaks with a deep, personal, intimate
knowledge of God. Jesus declares with conviction, “Indeed, the very
hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12:7) As we listen, chills
run down our backs.
The power of the teaching of Jesus is so profound that even the
craziest fellow in the village is stirred up and yells out, “What do you
want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I
know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24)
Jesus peers deeply into the eyes of the bedeviled man. When
Jesus parts His lips to speak, He doesn’t quote a rule or a law.
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Instead Jesus issues an authoritative command: “Be quiet. Come
out of him!”
The deranged man convulses and shrieks so loudly that the hens
across the street squawk and flap their wings and scurry blindly for
the bushes. After the shriek, dead silence falls in the synagogue.
Over the course of several minutes the man’s whole body relaxes, one
muscle group at a time, and a peaceful, childlike look settles on to
his face, as if he’s just crawled out from hiding under the covers. The
evil spirit is gone!
None of us has ever seen authority like this! As we listen to Jesus
teach, our hearts beat with the hope that what He was saying is true.
Now we have rock-solid proof that Jesus operates with an authority
far beyond anything we’ve ever known. Soon the whole region has
heard the remarkable news.
Jesus has proven his authority. Our prayers in turn have author-
ity because Jesus personally vests us with it. (See Luke 9:1–2.) Of
course, ours is not blanket, absolute authority in the sense that every-
thing is going to happen exactly as we word it just because we’ve
prayed. Although Jesus has absolute authority, even He is very cir-
cumspect in making sure He uses it wisely and in accordance with
His Father’s greater plan. Remember back when Jesus wouldn’t turn
stones into bread even though He was starving and had the power to
do so? (See Matthew 4:3–4.) Nor does Jesus use His absolute power
to win over disgruntled neighbors in Nazareth. (See Luke 4:25–27.)
He never uses His absolute authority to please Himself or others. He
only uses His absolute authority to please God.
On the other hand, Jesus constantly exercises spiritual authority
in his teachings. A careful reading of today’s Scripture reveals that
many people were awed, helped, set free and transformed by Jesus’
spiritual authority in the same life-changing way that absolute au-
thority can exorcise an evil spirit.
Amazing as it seems, Jesus gives us the spiritual authority to pray
God’s truth, words, love, connection, strength, provision and power
over people, over ourselves, over life situations and over our greater
world. And through the avenue of prayer, Jesus grants us the spiritual
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authority to take stands against evil, injustice, greed and sin, and the
authority to reclaim the lost. And that’s something worth declaring all
over the countryside.
PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
Choose a specific spiritual stand you feel strongly about today. Thank
God that through prayer in union with Jesus you have the authority
to take this stand. Then pray as the Spirit leads, believing that your
prayers have spiritual authority and are making a difference.
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Week 8: Authority
Sunday: Authority of Jesus
Scripture: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven
and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have
commanded you.” —matthew 28:18–20
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, we can’t begin to make disciples until
we ourselves are truly Your disciples. Help Your followers live to know
and obey You.
Prayer Closer: I pray for teachers, pastors and missionaries whose
lives are devoted to making disciples in Your name. Bless them with
authority and anointing from heaven that cannot be denied.
Monday: Authority over Evil Spirits
Scripture: All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What
words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure
spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout
the surrounding area. —luke 4:36–37
Prayer Starter: God, help us be prepared spiritually to recognize
and take authority, in Jesus’ name, over evil spirits.
Prayer Closer: Lord God, help me be sensitive to opportunities to
spread the news about freedom in Christ. Help me not leave it for
others to do.
Tuesday: Authority of the Righteous
Scripture: When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the
wicked rule, the people groan. —proverbs 29:2
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Prayer Starter: Father God, Your heart hurts for those who are
hurting and oppressed. I pray that You would move on behalf of ev-
ery nation in the world to put good men and women in positions of
Prayer Closer: Lord, bring down every wicked leader who oppresses
his/her own people and who rules to bring glory to themselves.
Wednesday: Authority to Forgive Sins
Scripture: “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get
up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has author-
ity on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you,
get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of
them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
Prayer Starter: Father, there is no greater joy than knowing You’ve
forgiven our sins, not even the joy of being healed by You. Give me
that joy anew today, Lord.
Prayer Closer: Lord, for all people who are paralyzed not just physi-
cally but spiritually as well, I pray for healing. Heal them to get up
and walk physically and spiritually toward You.
Thursday: God-given Authority
Scripture: “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me
commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command
leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me
to say.” —john 12:49–50
Prayer Starter: Father, I know that too often my words are not
Your words. Be a guard over my thoughts and what comes out of my
mouth, Lord, that it may be a blessing to others.
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Prayer Closer: Your Word is going out every day by so many who
love You. I pray those words would lead to everlasting life for those
who hear them.
Friday: Governing Authority
Scripture: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for
there is no authority except that which God has established. The au-
thorities that exist have been established by God. —romans 13:1
Prayer Starter: Father, an understanding and respect for authority
is something that is greatly lacking in our culture and the results are
scary, Lord. I can’t change others, but I choose today to do my part to
restore a respect for authority by honoring, supporting and praying for
those in authority over me.
Prayer Closer: So, Lord, I admit I struggle with some people in au-
thority over me, especially _______________________. I pray today
that You would protect him/her, give him/her favor with others under
his/her authority, and help him/her to use the position You’ve placed
him/her in with wisdom and kindness.
Saturday: Fear of Authority
Scripture: Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is
good, and you will have praise from the same. —romans 13:3 (nkjv)
Prayer Starter: God, I lift up young people today who are running
from authority. Reach down and turn their lives around until they are
running into Your arms.
Prayer Closer: I pray for the protection of our country’s police offic-
ers and all those who risk their lives for our safety. Please bless them,
Lord, and surround them with Your angels.
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PRAYING WITH JESUS: Week 9
Praying in a Solitary Place
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:29–39
KEY VERSE: Very early in the morning, while it was still dark,
Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where
he prayed. —mark 1:35
ENTERING THE SCRIPTURES
We are sleeping on a mat on the floor in a small divided room in the
home of Peter and Andrew along with Jesus and a group of disciples.
Here in the ancient village of Capernaum, sleeping is a group activity.
Because everyone sleeps together in such a small space, when one of
us rises we all awaken, usually to the sound of the village rooster or
the squall of the newest baby on the block.
We’ve had a very late night and everyone—including Jesus—is
desperately in need of sleep. Yesterday was the Sabbath, and the
villagers waited until after sundown to come here so they wouldn’t
break the Sabbath laws about travel. The moment night fell, people
came over in droves. They crowded at the doorway begging for heal-
ing and relief from demons. Jesus cured them all. It has been a re-
markable yet very exhausting day—and night—for all of us.
We turn over on our mats and notice that Jesus is wide awake.
We’re surprised because Jesus seems very much at peace right now.
The warm welcome in Capernaum has been tonic for His soul after
the horrible rejection He experienced in Nazareth. Here in Peter’s
house Jesus has laughed and smiled like He’s among his own broth-
ers. And more importantly, there are countless people here in the
village who are beginning to believe in Him!
Jesus carefully crawls out of the dark room so as not to awaken
anyone. He ties His cloak around His shoulders against the cool
night air and quietly steps out onto the small porch near the cis-
tern. His bare feet step into the dirt courtyard because He’s carrying
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His sandals in His hand lest the crunch of the soles against the gravel
set the dogs barking and awaken the neighbors. We wonder where on
earth Jesus could be heading.
Jesus silently passes the fishing boats and the stables, the thresh-
ing grounds and the vineyards where people will be stirring in a few
hours to begin the day’s work. He travels farther on, feeling His way
along an isolated pathway by the light of the moon until He reaches a
spot where there is no evidence of human habitation. At last He sinks
to the ground and begins to pray.
We wonder what subject of prayer is of such crucial importance
that God would plant a “get up and go pray” command in His mind in
the middle of the night. And why did Jesus go to such great lengths to
get so far away from the village? Couldn’t He have prayed just as well
in the stable or out by the cistern?
Jesus continues in prayer as the stars begin to fade. We hear
the faraway crow of a rooster. The sky turns pink. The sun rises,
bringing color to the landscape. Jesus continues to pray. By now
everyone is up back at Peter’s house, yet Jesus makes no move
to head back to the village. Another hour passes and we hear a
familiar voice calling Jesus’ name. Peter spots Jesus praying on the
hillside and runs to Him and says, “Master, everyone is looking
Jesus doesn’t seem to be surprised. But His reply startles us all:
“Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach
there also. That is why I have come.” (Mark 1:38)
Peter answers, “Why are we going so soon? Things are going so
well here right now. You have everything you need here—a home to
stay in, food to eat. We all love you like you’re part of our own family.
And the people in the village are already gathering at my house in
droves, eager to hear you teach again.”
Jesus responds, “It’s time to move on to another place.”
Peter rubs sweat off his forehead. He didn’t expect to have to
choose so soon between supporting his family and going off with
Jesus. We can see a mental battle going on. Then Peter finally nods
to Jesus, and they set off together for a nearby village.
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This Scripture teaches us the absolute importance of creating per-
sonal space for prayer. From Jesus’ example we learn the necessity of
good personal prayer habits, which include finding time even if it means
getting up early, becoming more intentional, being more disciplined and
using more determination to fit quality prayer time into our busy days.
But Jesus’ example isn’t simply about carving out time. It is also
about carving out physical and mental space, which is much harder to
do. In order to bring decisions before God in prayer, we need to draw
apart from everything else. Intense, uninterrupted prayer is often the
only way to move on toward something new at the expense of leaving
behind dearly loved parts of our lives.
Picture yourself in the place of Jesus, lying there in the house
where you feel safe, comforted, loved and accepted. Imagine how
much harder the decision to leave would have been if Jesus had ig-
nored that restless “Get up and go out to pray” calling. What if Jesus
had rationalized that He could pray just as well lying there amongst His
sleeping friends? The strong emotions tying Him to the comfortable,
protected surroundings would have been a stumbling block to prayer.
Serious prayer for guidance always calls us out. We must inten-
tionally set out on a mental and physical journey to an empty, neutral
zone, a “lonely place” that’s not full of the precious, hard-to-ignore
details of our lives. We must step out of our little worlds into a setting
where we can be totally alone with God, where we can more actively
pray and set our whole attention on God. Jesus retreated to the holy
detachment of a solitary place. Solitary places are not always easy to
find. But once we’re there, it’s much easier to find God.
PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES
Think about some sort of change that you have been considering
making in your life. Instead of praying about it in a comfortable, fam-
iliar setting, intentionally set off to find a physically and emotionally
solitary place where God’s Spirit and the inner voice can more easily
help you sort out the next step in your life.
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Week 9: Alone
Sunday: To Pray
Scripture: After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside
by himself to pray. —matthew 14:23
Prayer Starter: Dear God, forgive me for minimizing the importance of
time alone with You. Draw me, Lord, into Your sweet presence every day.
Prayer Closer: Father, at this moment people everywhere are seek-
ing a place and time to get away and pray. Clear a path to You in the
busyness of their schedules and responsibilities. Meet with them,
Lord, and bless them.
Monday: Alone, but Not Alone
Scripture: “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be
scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am
not alone, for my Father is with me.” —john 16:32
Prayer Starter: Thank You, Father, for Your constant presence.
When friends turn away and I’m feeling alone, I pray that I would be
quick to remember that with You in my heart, I’m never alone.
Prayer Closer: Lord, I lift up __________________________ to
You today. He/she is feeling abandoned and alone. I pray that you
would meet him/her in his/her pain with Your love and comfort.
Tuesday: A Companion for Man
Scripture: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper suitable for him.” —genesis 2:18
Prayer Starter: Lover of our souls, be an intimate companion to all,
married or single, who are suffering today in their aloneness.
Prayer Closer: As their wedding day approaches, God, bless and
prepare ______________________ and _____________________ to
be lifelong companions.
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Wednesday: Left Alone
Scripture: The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her
hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for
help. —1 timothy 5:5
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, according to this Scripture, some-
times it takes a long time to see answers to our prayers. But even a
widow in desperate need doesn’t give up and continues to put her
hope in You. Thank You for her example. Help me never give up
hope in You.
Prayer Closer: Lord, several family members and good friends are
looking for jobs. Some are putting their hope in You; some are just hop-
ing in hope, I guess. I pray that You would answer the prayers of both.
Thursday: With a Vision
Scripture: I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who
were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they
fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision;
I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.
Prayer Starter: Dear God, I’ve committed to something that scares
me half to death, yet I believe it is something You want me to do. I
can’t do this without You. Today I put my confidence in Your enabling
grace and not my own abilities.
Prayer Closer: Lord, bring support and encouragement to those
who are struggling to move in the direction You’ve given them. I pray
especially for those who feel inadequate and alone. Give them cour-
age, faith and wisdom to take the next step.
Friday: With the Lord
Scripture: It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let
him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his
face in the dust—there may yet be hope. —lamentations 3:27–29
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Prayer Starter: I sit alone in silence and humility before You today,
Lord. As hopeless as the situation about ______________________
looks, today I choose to take my hands off of it and hope in You.
Prayer Closer: Lord, in our busy lives and culture today, sitting qui-
etly alone can feel like wasted time. Slow us down, Lord. Convince
each of us of all that is accomplished in the quiet time we spend
Saturday: With Friends
Scripture: The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite
shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that
Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away
alone. —john 6:22
Prayer Starter: Alone with You, Jesus, to soak up Your love and
sweetness. Nothing could be more wonderful.
Prayer Closer: Lord, here are some things that keep me from being
alone with You: my cell phone, my computer, the Internet, televi-
sion, coffee with friends, family commitments—all good things un-
less they take priority over You. Be my top priority today and every
day, Lord Jesus.
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