3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2019/04)

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Luke 9:18-36 (ESV)
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

Day 1: Loving God
Reflect:
The first step of Christian discipleship is “self-denial” (v. 23), because it requires a shift of allegiance from self to Christ. The second step is to “take up [one’s] cross daily” (v. 23) which means to submit to the Lordship of Christ in every aspect of life, on a daily basis. Only, then, can we “follow [Jesus]” (v. 23). Then, in verses 24-26, Jesus gives three reasons to motivate us,  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” What are the comforts and pleasures of this life that make you cling to your life instead of giving it up for Christ? In what areas of your life is God calling you to greater submission? What are your personal ambitions that prevent you from pursuing the priorities and purposes of Christ? What plans have you laid for your life that you are not willing to exchange for God’s plan? Who are the people you are trying to please and impress other than God?
Pray:
  • Confess the sins you have clung to, and ask for strength to deny yourself and carry your cross today.
  • Pray that God would give you faith to see the true value of Christ, so that all else pale in comparison (Phil. 3:8).
  • Pray that God would give you humility “not to think of [your]self more highly than [you] ought to think, but to think with sober judgment” (Rom. 12:3).

Day 2: Loving One Another
Reflect:
Jesus took Peter, John, and James along to the mountain so that they might pray with Him (v. 28), but they were instead “heavy with sleep” (v. 32). This contrast between Jesus’s watchful prayer and the Apostles’ sleeping occurs again later in Luke 22:39-46. Jesus uses “sleep” as a metaphor for spiritual unreadiness, and teaches us in Luke 21:34-36 to watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. … But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” How can you be more alert and diligent in your prayers for other members of our church? What are the things in your life that lull you to spiritual sleep? Can you give these up for the sake of Christ and out of your love for others in the church?
 
Pray:
  • Make a list of other member in the church, and pray by name for those people.
  • Pray that our church might grow in our prayerful dependence on God.
  • Pray for the spiritual awakening of members who are “heavy with sleep.”

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Reflect:
Jesus says in verse 26, “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Only those who live in light of the certain return of the glorious Christ will endure shame and reproach in this world in order to bear witness of Christ. Have you shared the good news of Jesus Christ with anyone in your life recently?
Pray:
  • Pray that you would not be ashamed of the gospel (2 Tim. 1:8), but boldly bear witness to Jesus with those around you.
  • Pray for the salvation of specific unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors.
  • Pray for those who visited our Resurrection Sunday Service, Easter Egg Hunt, and/or Potluck, that they may be saved and return to be a part of our local church family.

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