Welcome to the 2nd Day of Christmas Prayer. If you are on this blog, I assume you are drawn here with the desire to draw close to The Lord and to seek after him. Maybe you want to gain some sense of peace this holiday season from a spiritual journey. Whatever you are seeking, I pray that our 12 days of prayer will be a place to find Jesus, to draw close to him and to shake off the dust of this life that clings to you during your long journey.
Let us seek him together in prayer!
Matthew 2 New International Version (NIV)
The Magi Visit the Messiah
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warnedin a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Magi- The Seekers and Givers
The Magi were wise men who were looking up at the stars. Looking up is important. Are we looking up spiritually or do we have our noses to the grindstone?
They were seekers. They left everything to follow the star they believed had eternal revelation behind it. Their worship was beautiful, committed, unwavering, blessed, fruitful and giving.
Many scholars believe that the Magi followed the star for a great deal of time. They left what they knew and everything they had and took off on a long, dusty journey. Also, apparently they were prepared for a spiritual encounter with God that would require their worship. They brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Their spiritual seeking wasn’t comfortable and it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t quick. It was long and arduous.
During the Christmas season, we do everything we can to make ourselves and our families comfortable and to celebrate in style and with meaning. This feels good to us and requires no real sacrifice or pain. While Jesus’s gift of eternal life is free, what does our worship of God look like? Does it look like the wise seekers, the Magi, who knew that the God who created the stars deserved a gift worthy of kings? What is he worthy of to you? Your time? Your gifts? Your calling?
Is he worthy enough for you to make time to worship him in public at church or does he take a back seat to sports, work or other commitments? And when you come to church, do you come to receive or to give? The Wise men came to worship with their time, their humility of bended knee (something some would say was sensationalistic or emotionalism nowadays) and their money and resources. The gold, frankincense and myrrh were most likely used by Joseph and Mary to pay for the trip to Egypt when they had to flee from Herod. Did the wise men know what was going to be done with the gifts they gave? No. They freely gave to The Lord out of worship for the kingdom of God to grow.
Prayer challenge 2: Teach me sacrificial worship as I seek God. Take a knee. Let us throw away our American comfort when it comes to The Lord. Will you pray on your knees? In front of others?
Father, in Jesus name I seek your face in prayer. I ask Lord God that you do a new work in my life, a powerful work and that you will bring life to dead places in my heart. I seek you for you are the one true living God. All other names in heaven and on earth bow to you. Today I bow before you in humility.
Lord, teach me to love. Teach me to give. Teach me to worship. Show me how you feel about my church attendance, Lord. Am I giving you the proper worship and praise, given what you deserve? I bow down before you now and ask you to forgive me for all of my sin known and unknown.
God, teach me to look up. Teach me to look to you and to anticipate you in my everyday life. Show me how to look for your will and how to study your Word to find you. You said, “When you seek for me, you will find me, when you seek for me with all your heart.” I pray that as I seek for you, that you will reveal yourself to me, Lord.
This Christmas, show me who you want me to bless in your name and what you want me to sacrifice. Show me how to give with a grateful and glad heart and forgive me for giving out of duty or because it’s something that is expected. Search my heart and teach me. Show me the poor and lowly people around me who need assistance and help. My money, my life and my resources all belong to you, Lord. I give them to you. Forgive me for times when I think of them as mine alone.
Lord God, teach me to hear from you. Teach me to watch for you. Take my eyes and fix them on you. You say whatever I do to the least of these my brethren, I have done it to you. Show me how to treat others and how to go out of my way to do your work, even if it’s difficult. Teach me about sacrificial praise. Forgive me for times when I am selfish and choose to do what is best for me and I ignore your voice to look around or look up.
Teach me to walk in forgiveness, Lord. Teach me to forgive those who have worn me out with their neediness or their weaknesses. You forgive me for my weaknesses, so help me to bear with those who are weak in my life. Help me to stay the course, like the wise men, so I can get to the destination of perfected worship, where you are glorified, even in my weaknesses, as I obey you.
Deliver me from the evil one. In the name of Jesus, I bind every work of Satan that comes against me and my family. I pray, Lord that you confuse his schemes and send him running, in Jesus name! I pray, Father God that any work of Satan to distract me from worshiping you with other believers, to keep me too busy, to set up idols in my life, in Jesus name that you would destroy his work.
Father, help me to forgive those in the body of Christ who have hurt me that I will not give Satan a foothold in my life, In Jesus name.
Father, I pray for my enemies right now. I pray for ISIS, that people in ISIS will turn from their wicked ways and turn to Christ. I pray that you will confuse their plans and expose their war against the people of God. I pray that the authorities will uncover their plots and they will not be successful. I pray for protection from the Satanic evil they bring and plan. I pray for the safety of schools, work places, homes, our military personnel and shopping malls. I plead the protection of the blood of Jesus over my neighborhood and community. I stand against every evil attack in Jesus name that would come against us. I ask Father that you will oppose Satan’s work to kill, steal and destroy families, children and individuals, in Jesus name. Jesus, you came to bring life and to destroy the work of Satan. I worship you for you are the Prince of Peace, but you do not show peace to the evil one!
Father God, take away my fear this holiday season. May your love and peace reign in my heart. Fill me with the power of God through your Holy Spirit and replace the fear with your love. Thank you for sending Jesus here as a baby to experience everything I have experienced and to overcome so that he could save me from my sins! You are holy and I worship you today.
In Jesus name, Amen!