3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2019/06)

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Luke 12:13-34 (ESV)

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Day 1: Loving God

The parable in verses 13-21 teach us about the foolishness of covetousness (v. 20), and Jesus’s instruction in verses 22-34 teach us about the faithlessness of anxiety (v. 28). It is foolish to accumulate wealth in order to “relax, eat, drink, be merry” without being “rich toward God” (v. 21), because to do so is to care only for temporal life and to neglect eternal life. It is faithless to worry about our earthly needs, because to do so is to distrust our Heavenly Father who provides for us.

We tell people, “put your money where your mouth is.” Similarly, we “put our money where our hearts are,” whether it’s a house, church, cell phone, car, food, TV, college, charity, or vacation. By following where people spend their money, we can discern what their hearts truly love. Take a look at your bank/credit card statements and examine the proportions of your spending. What does it reveal about your heart? Is your goal in life to “relax, eat, drink, be merry”? We can find the inscription “In God We Trust” on our coins. Do you really trust in God or in your money? Does your security come from the care of God or the cushion in your bank account? Stocks rise and fall, currencies inflate and deflate, jewels get lost and stolen, things become old and useless, but treasures we store in heaven do not fail.

  • Repent of any covetousness and a shortsighted desire to “relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
  • Confess all the anxieties that preoccupy and prevent you from pursuing God’s purposes and priorities. Entrust these things to God in prayer.
  • Ask God to reveal to you one or two specific ways that you can “seek his kingdom” with your money and store up treasures in heaven.

Day 2: Loving One Another

Jesus promised, “seek [God’s] kingdom, and these things will be added to you” (v. 31). Seeking God’s kingdom entails giving toward the mission of God and providing for the people of God. Acts 4:34-35 says of the early church, “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” Karl Marx probably took his slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” from the Book of Acts, and institutionalized it to fit his socialistic agenda. But this is only possible within the Spirit-indwelled Christian community. Are we so generous with one another within the family of God so that “there [is] not a needy person among [us]”?

  • Pray that we would live as stewards/managers of God’s money rather than owners, and that that we would view as money as what God has entrusted us with rather than what we have earned.
  • Pray that we might be church that gives sacrificially and generously to one another.
  • Pray that God would reveal to you a need among church people that you can meet.

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors

Our trust in God’s provision frees us to give generously and sacrificially to the needy (v. 33). “Do you ever abstain from something you’d otherwise think of as ‘the needs of life’ in order to give to others? Nothing shows our hearts like sacrifice. When we’re willing to not only give from our excess but embrace personal loss or disadvantage for the sake of showing generosity toward others, we say loudly and clearly—even if only to our own souls—that we have a greater love than ourselves and our comforts” (David Mathis, Habits of Grace). Do we care for our neighbors’ needs, or only for our needs?

As we think of our needy neighbors, we also remember their greatest need: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Their greatest need is their spiritual impoverishment and separation from God because of their sins. Are you sharing with your neighbors “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ”?

  • Pray that we would be kingdom-minded rather than self-minded.
  • Pray that we would be a church that gives generously toward the needy in our neighborhood.
  • Pray for specific unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors, that they might know Christ who forsook his riches to enrich us and bring us into His Kingdom.

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