3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2019/09)

Luke 18:35-19:10 (ESV)
18:35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Day 1: Loving God
In the account of the blind man, there is a contrast between the crowd and the blind man. The crowd merely refers to Jesus as the “Jesus of Nazareth” (18:37), a true, but unflattering title, given the insignificance and disrepute of Nazareth (John 1:46). The blind man, in contrast, reveals a much more profound faith, recognizing Jesus as the Messianic King and calling Him “Son of David” (18:38, 39; cf. 2 Sam. 7:11-14). It’s this faith that enables him to persist in crying out all the more to Jesus, despite the crowd’s rebuke and attempt to silence him. He was a desperate man who recognized that Jesus was His one chance of healing and salvation. Do you view Jesus in light of His true worth and power as the blind man did? How would remembering your desperate situation apart from Christ change your posture toward Christ and affect your prayer life?
  • Confess the ways in which your view of Jesus has fallen short of His true glory and power.
  • Pray that God would make you more desperate and dependent on Him like the blind man. Pray that you would pray more. Begin with a minute, then five, then ten, then thirty, then so on.
  • Pray that God would fill you with wonder and gratitude in response to His saving grace.

Day 2: Loving One Another
In both stories, the crowds get in the way of the blind man and Zacchaeus as they try to meet Jesus. The crowd that was “in front” of the blind man “rebuked him, telling him to be silent” (v. 39), presumably because they considered him a public nuisance and assumed that Jesus had better, more important things to do than to attend to a blind beggar by the roadside. In 19:3, Zacchaeus cannot see Jesus “on account of the crowd,” and when Jesus goes to Zacchaeus’s house, the crowd begrudges this “grumble[s]” (19:7) against Jesus. In both cases, the crowd does not understand the fact that God shows mercy to those who acknowledge their unworthiness and sinfulness. They think that the blind man and Zacchaeus do not deserve Jesus’s attention. Have you ever “grumbled” after seeing God’s favor or blessing upon another brother or sister in Christ? Have you ever considered a brother or sister’s need as undeserving of God’s, and your, time and attention?
  • Pray that God would humble you and increase your appreciation of God’s mercy and grace, so that you do not begrudge others’ blessings but can celebrate them with joy.
  • Pray that God would increase your love for our church family, so that you care for their needs.
  • Bring the needs of our Christian brothers and sisters to Christ in prayer, for healing, for sanctification, for provision, etc.

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Even though he has had no previous contact with Zacchaeus, Jesus stops at the sycamore tree where Zacchaeus was perched and tells him, “hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” (v. 5), as if He had already made an arrangement to get with him. Jesus uses the expression “I must” throughout the Gospel of Luke to indicate divine necessity (cf. Luke 2:49; 4:43; 9:22; 13:33; 17:25; 22:37; 24:7; 24:26; 24:44, etc.). It’s what Jesus must do, because His Heavenly Father has ordained it. As God the Father is running the cosmos and orchestrating all of human history, He saw it fit to ordain that His Son Jesus, while He is on His way to Jerusalem to die for the sins of His people, to pass by Jericho and stop at the house of this sinful nobody named Zacchaeus, so that he could have dinner with him and tell him about God’s good news of salvation! We, too, have been saved by this kind of radical, lavish divine appointment. God the Father chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). Are you open to the divine appointments that God has prepared for you throughout the day?
  • Pray for opportunities to serve and share the gospel with your family, neighbors, and friends. Pray for their salvation.
  • Repent of ways in which you have been too busy and self-focused to stop for divine appointments along the way. Pray that you would be more sensitive and obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray that God would give you the same urgency that Christ had, and make you an eager participant in His mission to seek and save the lost.

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