Monday January 28 — Genesis 20:8-18
Human beings were made to be in a relationship with God. Although the first use of the word “pray” does not appear until Genesis 20:17 (according to many modern English translations of the Bible), we know that from the very beginning, God related to humanity in direct and personal ways. (See Genesis 3:8-13 for an example of a conversation between God and the first humans.) How do you relate to God? In what ways does God communicate with you? How do you communicate with God? What are your habits and patterns of prayer?
- Prayer: Loving God, grant me wisdom to maintain my relationship with you. Hear my prayers and help me experience your presence.
Tuesday January 29 — 1 Samuel 3:1-21
God uses a variety of means to get our attention. (See Exodus 3 for a familiar example.) Sometimes, God wants to get our attention and we either do not hear the sound of God’s voice, or fail to recognize that God is calling us. Samuel needed the help of Eli to discern. Eli taught Samuel to be ready and, when he heard God’s voice, to say, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9-10). How does God get your attention? When you hear God calling, are you willing and able to listen? What might God be saying to you today? Sit quietly for a few moments and listen patiently for the sound of God’s voice.
- Prayer: Eternal God, teach me the sound of your voice and open my ears to hear. Speak, for your servant is willing to listen.
Wednesday January 30 — Isaiah 56:1-8
Worship and prayer are completely interconnected: worship is prayer and prayer is an act of worship. Both worship and prayer are sources of God’s joy—channels by which we experience the joy of a deep and lasting relationship with God. When have you experienced joy in the past week? Was there any connection between your experience of joy and your prayer-life? Was there any connection between your experience of joy and worship?
- Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me when I fail to experience your joy because I fail to spend time with you in prayer and worship.
Thursday January 31 — Luke 22:31-34, 39-46
According to the New Testament’s Gospels, Jesus taught his disciples to pray by his words (see Luke 11:1-4) and his example. For Jesus, prayer (conversation with God) was so ingrained in his daily life, that it comes as no surprise that, at a time of crisis—a time of great stress—Jesus prayed for his disciples and spent time alone with God in prayer for himself. How do the daily events of your life shape your prayer-life? Are you able to spend time with God in prayer in times of crisis? How does your prayer-life help you navigate stressful situations in life?
- Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the example and teaching of Jesus. Help me follow the example of his prayer-life.
Friday February 1 — Philippians 1:12-26
The apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi was written while Paul was in prison. But it is probably the most joyful letter in the New Testament. In the opening chapter, Paul describes his situation in a way that celebrates with great joy the spread of the Gospel. Paul endures, because
he knows that God is doing great things through his ministry and his witness. The faithfulness of the Philippians is a source of great joy. Think of the most joyful times in your life? Have these always been “good times”? What might bring you joy during one of life’s “bad times”?
- Prayer: Faithful God, remind me today that you are with me always. Teach me to trust you in good times and in bad times.
Saturday February 2 — Philippians 4:4-9
The fourth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians includes his final exhortations. He calls on the church to rejoice always, to not worry, and to take everything to God in prayer (with thanksgiving). He also calls on the church to think about things that are “worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). His words provide the “secret” to finding joy in a stressful world: pray, be thankful, remember God’s blessings in life, and “keep on doing the things that you have learned and received” (Philippians 4:9). Make your own list of things that are “worthy of praise.” In prayer, thank God for everything on your list. Use your list keep you focused on God’s blessings when you’re in a stressful situation.
- Prayer: God of Grace, you have blessed me far more than I will ever deserve. Help me stay focused your gifts of love and grace.