ONE PRAYER - December 29, 2022

Thursday, December 29th

Advent Devotional #33 written by Pastor Shawn Thornton




To read today: Philippians 4:4-9


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7


Worry and worship. If you can do one, you can do the other. Throughout the holiday season, we focused on how a little baby could capture our attention, cause wonder, and bring peace to our hearts. The shepherds came to the stable to worship. The wise men arrived sometime later to worship as well.

It’s incredible how worship and worry are so similar. They both consume our attention. They both start in our minds and settle in our hearts. Both worry and worship impact how we see life, the choices we make, and how we handle situations beyond our control. But one leads to peace and upward focus. The other leads to panic and inward focus. Worry and worship separate from one another based on that key element – our focus. Worry focuses on “what if…” “what about…” and the question “where’s God?” Worship maintains one focus: God. Period.

Throughout the Bible, prayer shows up as an integral part of worship. Whether standing with hands raised high, kneeling, or lying flat face to the ground, prayer always takes a posture – even if it is simply a posture of the heart. So do our thoughts. Thoughts take a posture of panic or prayer.

This year you will face situations and circumstances you cannot imagine. I know this is true of my life as well. Only God knows what lies ahead. The number one tool He gives us to respond is prayer.

In our reading for today, the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Do not be anxious about anything” but pray about everything (Philippians 4:6). Every significant story in the Bible holds at the center a conversation with God – prayer. Jesus told the Disciples that there are some challenging circumstances that only prayer can change (Mark 9:29).

You will face difficult “someones” and demanding “somethings” this year. Your human nature will kick in with panic or problem-solving. God tells us to respond with prayer.

What will be your one prayer this year? What will be your “go-to” prayer when you face something only God can handle?

This past weekend in our Christmas services, we heard by video from Hannah Snoots, Calvary’s Special Abilities Ministry Director. She shared the challenges of raising two severely challenged daughters with special needs. If you remember, Hannah said her go-to prayer was, “OK, Lord. If this is how it is going to be, I need strength, your strength.” So that is her go-to prayer.

You can write your own brief starting point prayer. Start by using Scripture and incorporate your word or promise you are claiming for this year.

Here are places to start to develop your go-to prayer:

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

Choose a Psalm: 1, 23, 139

Choose a prayer from one of your favorite Bible stories.

Rewrite a verse as a prayer.

Choose to pray the promise you picked yesterday.

Pray Hannah’s prayer, “OK, Lord, if this is how it is going to be, I need strength, your strength.”

Today: Choose a prayer you will pray throughout this year as your go-to prayer when life gets challenging.

P.S. You can pray for your church one hour a week for all of 2023. Join hundreds of folks in the Calvary family as we saturate every hour of every day, of every month, for all of 2023 in prayer! Sign up today: shawnslinks.com/prayer

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