Bible Readings: Jan 6-12 2020

PRAYING THE KING’S AGENDA

21 Days of Prayer – January 2020

Jesus is the King of kings. He is the Lord of lords. When a king speaks, his subjects listen. When a lord (master) sets the agenda, that agenda is followed to a T. This is praying the King’s Agenda: Take what Jesus has revealed and pray it back to him. These 21 Days of Focused Prayer won’t begin to exhaust all that the Scriptures reveal about Jesus or all that comes from him. But it’s a wise start. And it sets a pattern you can continue.

Each day, we invite you to: Read a brief passage with a truth about Jesus or a command from him. Notice some details from the passage, to aid in understanding. Think about it. What does this imply for me today? How will this impact my day (my week, my month, my life)? Pray. We will offer a suggestion for a prayer starting point, but feel free to “build your own” prayer from there. Want to reflect more on what the Scriptures say about these things? Additional Bible passages are offered for deeper thought. Finally, take a moment and respond personally to each day’s truth and prayer opportunity. What is the King, Jesus Christ, saying to me personally through his word today? How can I share it with someone who needs Jesus? Praying the King’s Agenda is simply another way of saying, “Hear what the Lord Jesus has to say to you from the Bible and pray about that in response.”

Abridgment-Source: Praying the King’s Agenda, 2019

Download PDF: Daily Bible Readings 2020 Praying the King’s Agenda Week 1

Monday, January 6 (Day 1)

Read John 1:1-5 (Genesis 1, Psalm 148, John 1)

THINK: “Without him was not anything made that was made.” The world we live in, including all the universe, the billions of stars, the sun and moon; the continents and oceans, majestic peaks and Grand Canyon; the eagles that fly, the lions that roar, the fabulous colors of the flowers and fish of the sea—Jesus Christ created it all! The same Jesus who died on the cross for us, who said, “Follow me,” who healed the sick and raised Lazarus, created your world. Created you. Think about it: when you pray to God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, you are praying to the God who called every star by its name and placed them in orbit. That same God knows the physics behind a major-league curveball and the anatomy that keeps your heart beating.
 

PRAY: A prayer of praise: “I praise you, God, for you not only created the universe, but you created me and breathed the breath of life into my lungs. I praise you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I praise you for giving me life and breath and every good and perfect gift that makes my life possible. It thrills my soul to know that my Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, was there when the planets and stars were set in motion.

God, I exalt you as Creator, and submit my life to you to fulfill every good work that you have planned for me today. I know that nothing is impossible with you, and so I will live today in the great joy and hope of being a child of the King. May every step I take today be to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who is my King. I will live for the King’s agenda today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Tuesday, January 7 (Day 2)

Read Luke 5:27-32 (Luke 5, Psalm 139)

THINK: A tax collector, Levi was considered an outcast by the Jews of the time who despised their Roman occupiers. The system of collection led to deep suspicions of theft—collecting more than needed to pad your own pocket. But that’s just the kind of person Jesus came to seek, a sinner in need of saving. I qualify. You qualify. When Jesus said to Levi, “Follow me,” that’s just what the tax collector did. He left everything, got up from the tax booth, and followed Jesus. He then threw his new Master a big feast. Following Jesus requires submission to him. He wants no “half-way” disciples. Jesus is Lord and King. It may require leaving some stuff behind; it certainly means a change of direction. Jesus wants to come to your house, dine with you, in fact live with you, and lead you. Think about it: following Jesus involves submitting to a new Master. Jesus guides us through life’s pain and challenge and hurt and disappointment and blessing, while filling our lives with purpose, hope, and joy. To follow may mean some short-term pain, but the long-term benefits are fabulous.
 

PRAY: “Father in heaven, today I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is my Master. He’s my King. I submit my day, my week, my life to him. I am filled with joy, for I know that any short-term pain with yield eternal benefit. I yield my every circumstance to your loving lordship and leadership in my life. Like Levi in the gospel of Luke, I leave my stuff behind to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, knowing that Jesus has my well-being in view. Take me, Father, for I am yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Wednesday, January 8 (Day 3)

Read Matthew 11:27-30 (Joshua 1, Hebrews 4)

THINK: A yoke was a wooden frame for adjoining oxen to do the heavy lifting in a hard job. It formed the tractor of Jesus’ day to work the fields or haul a huge load. For the Jews of Jesus day, the law had been turned into a heavy burden, a crushing yoke, impossible to fulfill. Jesus offered a better way, walking with him by faith. He knew God the Father, and the love of the Father, and he knew that to walk with God should give rest, not a crushing load. Thank about it: Are you tired? Life can be hard! From cancer to career, from romance to ridicule, from disappointment to delight, life is no picnic. In need of rest? Let Jesus take the weight off your shoulders. He doesn’t promise that all your problems will disappear; he does promise to walk with you through all of them. He has no plan to make religion a crushing yoke for you. Rather, he offers the joy of forgiveness, freedom, and fellowship for life’s journey, and then, his eternal kingdom. You know people who are deeply burdened and in need of Jesus’ help. Write down 3 names here and pray for them.
 

PRAY: “Heavenly Father, I want the rest that comes from walking with Jesus. I need it! Please take the heavy load of stuff that makes my life hard and carry those things for me (tell God what those things are if you like). And I pray not only for myself, but others, who feel the crushing burden of life weighing them down. (Mention those people by name here.) Thank you, Father, for the promise of rest. Thank you for shouldering my burdens for me. And thank you not only for rest today, but the great promise of everlasting rest through Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Thursday, January 9 (Day 4)

Read John 6:35-40 (Exodus 16, Psalm 78, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

THINK: Hunger and thirst are a craving common to all people. Each of us has a spiritual craving as well as a physical one: we have a gnawing need for something more, deep inside of us. People try many things to quell that inner spiritual gnawing hunger and thirst, from food to sex to success to money to power, and on and on the list goes. But nothing satisfies. Jesus came to offer the one thing that will satisfy that hunger—himself! “Believe in me. Trust in me. I am the bread of life that you need to sate your inner thirst.” Think about it: What do you believe in to meet your inner craving? Have you learned to chew on the Jesus bread? If you are reading this, you likely have trusted in Jesus Christ and are walking with him. What a gift you have received! Is there anything that is currently diverting you from your walk with Jesus? Beware of bread that will not satisfy.
 

PRAY: “My Father, what an extraordinary gift you have given in your Son! Thank you for sending us the Bread of Life. By your grace and the Holy Spirit help me to keep walking with Jesus. Keep me from straying off the path of faithfulness to wander after distractions that will never satisfy. And I pray for my family, my friends, our church—God keep us trusting, keep us believing, keep us hoping in the One, True Source of Life, King Jesus. Help me today to point others to him. Amen.”

Friday, January 10 (Day 5)

Read Luke 9:22-27 (Psalm 27, Romans 12, 1 Peter 4)

THINK: The cross and the Easter resurrection of Jesus are the very heart of our gospel. When King Jesus died for us, he opened wide for us the door to his kingdom. It is the King’s agenda for us now to turn from self-directed living to cross-centered living (“deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”). The temptation Jesus describes here is to go hard after the agenda of this world but in the process lose yourself. We might “gain” something temporarily, like money or power or earthly pleasure or success, but if our soul is lost, woe to us. Instead, our King says, “Follow me.” Think about it: Our sin nature is selfish. When we repent and trust Jesus, the King calls us to live a cross-centered life of walking with him. We turn in a new direction and submit to the King’s agenda. What is that agenda? Certain things are common to all of us: following the clear commands of the King from scripture, fellowship with the church (his body), using our spiritual gifts. How are you submitting to the King’s agenda for your life?
 

PRAY: “It amazes me, Father, that today I can walk with King Jesus in a life of joyful service to you. Thank you for giving me this life, with a place and people, a context for using my gifts and time and energy for your kingdom agenda. Help me today to notice the opportunities you place in front of me. Help me to serve others with gladness, with the strength that you supply me, communicating the love of Jesus. Take my life, Father, and let it be set apart to you and your agenda for the benefit of others and the building up of your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Saturday, January 10 (Day 6)

Read Matthew 22:34-30 (Deut. 6, Psalm 36, 2 Thess. 3:1-5)

THINK: “Who is the greatest?” “Which is most important?” Sports radio loves a raging “G-O-A-T” debate, “the greatest of all time.” MJ or Lebron? The Babe or Mickey Mantle? Want to start an argument? Ask a group of Americans which is the important of the Bill of Rights.

In this exchange, religious leaders are trying to cause Jesus trouble. It’s the GOAT question applied to God’s law, the Torah. Which of God’s commands is the greatest? Jesus answers brilliantly. Who can argue? After all, every Jewish child was taught to love God with their entire being as a “first principle” (see Deuteronomy 6:5). And now Jesus teaches us the same. Love God totally: emotional self, spiritual self, intellectual self—love him with your entire being. Think about it: What do you think it means to love God with your entire being? The implications are significant: today, as you do your job, interact with family and friends, use your spiritual gifts in the life of your church, how can you do those things in a way that expresses your wholehearted love for God?

 

PRAY: “Father in heaven, my love for you knows no bounds. I love you with my entire being. Help me today to express that love through my words and actions, to align my life with that love that Jesus called your greatest command. Let me love others with the love of Jesus: my family members, co-workers, neighbors, and brothers and sisters in Christ. Help me cling to that love when things go wrong today. Teach me, God, to love as you loved us when you gave your Son as our Savior and King. To the praise of your name, Amen.”

Sunday, January 11 (Day 7)

Read Luke 10:25-37 (Leviticus 19:9-17, 1 Corinthians 13)

THINK: One expression of our wholehearted love for God is that we love our neighbor. In Dr. Luke’s account of this command, the lawyer famously asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In answer, Jesus tells one of his most famous parables, The Good Samaritan. The priest passed by the needy man, as did the worship leader, but the Samaritan stopped to aid him at his own expense and time. To love our neighbor is to stop what we are doing, go to some trouble to intervene, and provide practical assistance. It is showing mercy. God has been merciful to us, and we in turn show our neighbors mercy. This is the second greatest of God’s commands! Think about it: One distinguishing mark of modern life is a hectic schedule. “I’m too busy” is a repeated phrase; we’ve all said it many times. Are we too busy to love others? Today, is there room in your “to do list” for love, for practical kindness and generosity, to show God’s love?
 

PRAY: “My Father, I am called to love: to love you first and foremost, to love my neighbors, to love my fellow believers, even to love my enemies. God, please help me love my neighbor today. Open a door for me to make a difference in someone’s life. Prompt me by your Holy Spirit and give me wisdom in how best to respond. I want to be your vessel of love today and every day, by your grace and for your glory, Amen.”