Imagine the difference between a life deeply rooted in prayer and such a life without prayer. One prayer after another and across the seasons of our lives, we grow in a clearer understanding that God is active and present through the power of prayer.
As followers of Christ, we are uniquely created people, ever developing into more and more faithful children of God. In our life of prayer, we can find the divine within and around us. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is itself a prayer of thanksgiving in which the apostle reveals to the people his heart as outwardly expressed before God. Whatever our writing, speaking, singing, dancing before the Lord, we are also privy to the opportunity to offer such expressions.
God’s grace justifies us to be level and centered, in position to be sharers and receivers of all that is holy and righteous. So then our prayers take on a new sensibility. As people afforded the gift of life that comes through the saving grace of Christ, we are poised to celebrate rather than dwell in worry or fear that we are not enough. Our praying for others, our words of thanksgiving, and our commitment to live within the love and righteous aims of Christ enhance the power of God at work within us. God tames the challenges that fear creates and emboldens in us the power of love.
What better manner to give glory and praise to God than through our prayers? How better to highlight and value Christian community than by lifting others by name and sharing our joys with one another and with God? Open letters give us a window into stories of which we might not otherwise be aware.
God, may we be so open, so bold in our love, so frank in our appreciation, that our words lift off the pages of our lives and impact the world in our sharing and witness. Amen.
The prophet Malachi speaks of a future day when God’s messenger will come to prepare the way for the Lord. The Lord will then purify the people and restore proper worship of God. Christians believe that John the Baptizer was this messenger, preparing the way for Christ. In Luke 1, the Holy Spirit fills Zechariah, John’s father, who proclaims that the fulfillment of God’s promises to their descendants has begun. Luke continues the story of John in chapter 3, describing John’s ministry of calling people to repentance. They need to prepare the way of the Lord in their own hearts, thus fulfilling Malachi’s prophecy. Paul in Philippians focuses not on the advent of Christ but on the ongoing power of Christ’s presence to make us blameless and righteous in God’s sight.
Read Malachi 3:1-4. How have you encountered the refiner’s fire? What was your experience?
Read Luke 1:68-79. In what ways have you experienced God’s tender mercy in your life?
Read Philippians 1:3-11. How do you make expressing your gratitude for others a daily habit?
Read Luke 3:1-6. How are you preparing the way of the Lord? What crooked paths are you helping to make straight?
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