Bible Readings: Jan 13-19 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 2

Monday, January 13 (Day 8)

Read Luke 18:1-8 (Isaiah 40, Prov. 3:5-6, Romans 11:33-36)

THINK: What a vivid parable! It involves a corrupt judge (“neither feared God nor respected man”) and a very persistent widow. She refused to take no for an answer, and eventually the judge gave her justice in her case. The point is NOT that God is like this judge. Rather, the point of the parable is: are we like this widow? Are we willing to persevere in prayer and not lose heart? Verse 8 makes clear, persistence in prayer takes faith. Think: when we bring our requests to God, he often says yes, sometimes says no, and at times he makes us wait. God asks us to trust him—to trust his wisdom in giving us what is best and to trust his timing for the when. We are often impatient: we want what we want when we want it, and we want it now! But our Father’s wisdom and timing are impeccable.
PRAY: “God my Father, forgive me for being so impatient and for treating you more like a butler than a loving father. Teach me all the good lessons of waiting. Help me to trust you with my whole heart and lean not on my own way of figuring everything out. Thank you for saying yes but thank you also for the times you have said no in your infinite wisdom. By your Holy Spirit, help me to always pray and not lose heart, to persevere in both faith and prayer, and trust you completely without reservation. In my Savior’s name, Amen.”

Tuesday, January 14 (Day 9)

Read Matthew 6:25-34 (Genesis 22, Psalm 23, Philippians 4)

THINK: King Jesus the Master Teacher shows once again the brilliant simplicity with which he communicates profound truth. Isn’t life of greater value than externals like food and clothes? Yes it is. He speaks in such relatable concepts: birds of the air, lilies of the field. Stop and think: can our anxiety add a day to our life? An hour? We have a heavenly father who takes care of us! The distress of anxiety and its companion worry is common. We all struggle with this from time to time. Jesus says, “Rather than worry about the everyday things that I will take care of, seek first my kingdom and righteousness. Leave the rest to me.” How is your anxiety level today? What is worrying you? Take them to your Father in prayer!
PRAY: “My heavenly Father, just as you feed the birds and clothe the living things in my garden, so you will take care of me. Thank you! I put all my trust in you. I release to you the things that cause me distress and fear. Rather than worry, I trust you to take care of them in your time and in your gracious way. I also pray for others in my family and church who struggle with fear and anxiety (perhaps name them to the Lord). My hope is in you, Maker of Heaven and Earth! I submit my life to your loving lordship, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Wednesday, January 15 (Day 10)

Read Matthew 5:34-46 (Genesis 39-41, Philippians 1, Philemon)

THINK: This is King Jesus teaching at his radical best. Most people love their friends and hate their enemies. Jesus says, “Love your enemies. Pray for them.” Why pray for them? Because, as v. 45 makes clear, God is able to save them! They may well become children of God; you might stand side-by-side with them at the Father’s throne in his kingdom. Pray toward that end, Jesus says. Love them with a love that stands out from the crowd; love them with the love of King Jesus. Remember: Persecution is a daily reality for Christians all over the world. Harsh treatment of believers is neither “back then” or “soon” – it is now in Asia, the Middle East, parts of Africa, and yes, it might even be a reality for you in your workplace, neighborhood, or extended family. Pray with Jesus, “Father forgive them…”
PRAY: “Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, I am amazed that King Jesus calls me to pray for my enemies. What radical love that is! Teach me the love that Jesus displayed from the cross. I pray today for those who are persecuting believers around the world. Give the Christians divine endurance and eternal hope and move mightily to save those who are hateful. I pray for those who are making my life difficult; save them O God! You showed me such grand love, Father, now let me show that love to those who need you. For Jesus, Amen.”

Thursday, January 16 (Day 11)

Read Luke 11:27-28 (Psalm 119, James 1)

THINK: What a fascinating statement this “woman in the crowd” makes! She recognized something unique and remarkable about Jesus, and honors his mother with a blessing. Jesus turns the situation around; rather than “blessing” his mother, he points the woman (and the surrounding crowd) to the “blessing” of those who hear the commands of God and obey them. Who are blessed? Those who hear God’s commands and align their lives with that teaching by being “doers” of the word. Note: It makes sense to hear the commands of King Jesus and pray them back to him! That’s exactly what we are doing these 21 Days. Included in prayer is our willingness to submit ourselves to what he instructs, to align our lives to those commands. Anything less is hypocrisy.
PRAY: “Father in heaven, today I hear the voice of Jesus telling me to walk in the obedience of faith. Help me, God! I want to live my life in alignment with King Jesus. Help me be a doer of the word, and not just a hearer. Please help me reject hypocrisy and embrace obedience. Guide me today by your Holy Spirit. Help me to walk in love today! I love you, Father, and ask you to enable me to love my neighbors. In fact, help me love my enemies as well!

I pray this also for my family and church: Father, grant us today the grace to walk faithfully in obedience to our King’s agenda. In Jesus’s name, Amen.”

Friday, January 17 (Day 12)

Read John 4:23-26 (Psalm 145, John 4)

THINK: Jesus goes through Samaria and travels a road of great historic (Jacob’s well) and religious significance. Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water from the well and turns it into a life-changing conversation about Living Water. Included is this insight about true worship: it includes both spirit (emotion, heart) and truth (intellect, mind). The woman says, in effect, “I know some day the Messiah will tell us what we need to know.” And King Jesus reveals himself to her, “I who speak to you am he.” Imagine how her pulse must have raced! The Christ was calling her to trust in him (the Living Water) and follow him as a whole-hearted worshipper. Meditate: worship is the full engagement of the Christ-follower in honoring and glorifying God. It is not a matter of location, or of style, but of heart and mind. Worship is far more than the music time in our “service” (though God gave us music as one vital way to express this “heart and mind” full engagement). It is an all-of-life response to our King Jesus. It’s not one hour a week; it is our week! Are you a worshipper?
PRAY: “What a privilege to exalt you, Heavenly Father, Maker of heaven and earth, author of our salvation! I praise you for your gift of Living Water, your Son, my Lord Jesus Christ. I delight in that gift, and drink deeply today of that Water. I offer you today my entire self, heart and mind, emotions and intellect. I place my life before you: cleanse me; fill me; use me as your vessel, O God. May my day today be invested in exalting Jesus Christ, however and wherever you give me opportunity. May my life be a prayer of praise to you today, Father, and may others look to the Living Water as a result. For the honor and glory of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Saturday, January 18 (Day 13)

Read Matthew 6:19-21 (Deut. 12:1-12; 2 Cor. 8-9; 1 Tim. 6:18)

THINK: Even King Jesus knew about moth-eaten clothes, a rusty bucket, and a stolen sheep. His illustrations point us to a different kind of focus: instead of this world, focus on the next. Focus on the kingdom of God. Invest your treasures (time, talent, money) on those things that will outlast the great judgment fire of God to come. Invest in spreading the gospel! Invest in fulfilling the global purpose of God—the King’s agenda. Think: We’ve all experienced it: the first dent in a new(er) car, the theft of a new laptop, finding termites eating away at the house. We are reminded again and again that the stuff of this world is not what lasts. King Jesus tells us to make eternal investments, for they cannot fade. Invest in the King’s Agenda! Buy lunch for a neighbor who needs the Lord; support missionary friends taking the gospel to unreached people groups; give faithfully to my church to support its vital local ministry (like VBS, youth group, the local pregnancy help center, even our own staff who are giving their lives to the King). Where is your treasure invested?
PRAY: Father, today I place my time, abilities, and money in your divine hands. I submit them to you. In fact, I give my whole self to you! Guide me by your Spirit to invest myself in things that will last forever. Please, Lord, create in me a generous, giving heart, and renew my kingdom focus. Help me live for your agenda and not my own or the world’s agenda. Give me discernment, so my kingdom investments will really count and not be wasted. Father, I want to be a cheerful giver! May it be so in the name of Jesus, my King.”

Sunday, January 19 (Day 14)

Read Mark 10:2-9 (Genesis 2, Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 13)

THINK: There was a dispute among the rabbis regarding divorce. The Pharisees were asking Jesus to side with one rabbi or another, to “show his hand” as to which rabbi he considered correct. Wisely, Rabbi Jesus responds by going all the way back to Genesis and God’s purpose in marriage. God’s design was a male and female leave their parents and “hold fast” for life, the two now one. Jesus clarifies, “You want to know my view on divorce? Hear what I say about marriage, ‘What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’” Ponder: Marriage and divorce is a painful subject for many of us. So many families have been impacted. Yet, if the church of Jesus Christ does not take a stand for the permanence of marriage, who will? We do so not to hurt those who have been traumatized by divorce, but to honor the Master Designer and trust in his plan for the family and society and the church. Certainly, we can PRAY for marriages, and call upon God for his sustaining grace, and desire to set an example of long-term commitment, enduring love, faithfulness and fidelity. If you know of a friend or family member whose marriage is difficult and painful, pray for them! Pray for the marriages of leaders in your church family, for our enemy often attacks on that front. God help us!
PRAY: “O God, I cry out to you today on behalf of married couples. Sustain them by your grace and the Holy Spirit, O Lord! I pray for my own marriage (if married), as well as those in my family and church family. How we need your help, Father. Help us model in our marriages the relationship between Christ and the church—what a tall order that is! Help husbands love their wives, and wives respect their husbands. May our church be a shelter for those who need help with marriage and family life, and may we support the hurting. I pray for the marriage of my pastor(s) and other church leaders, Father. Protect them from any harm the evil one would plot to do against them. And what I pray for them I pray for myself, In Jesus’s name, Amen.”