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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Cross of Christ

29 January 2014

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Stand up Stand up for Jesus

Theme: The Mystery of Christ
Topic: The Cross of Christ

Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to Christ.’ 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The cross of Christ has become for Christians, a reminder of the great sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Although there are several depictions of the cross of Christ, for example with Christ on or not on it, the focus of our discussion will be on the overarching spiritual connotations of the cross of Christ.  As of the time of Christ’s crucifixion, the cross was regarded as one of the most shameful and painful means of capital punishment; somewhat similar to relatively modern day death by hanging or firing squad.  Hence, one can argue that Christ (following false accusations by His fellow Jews) was not the first person to die on the cross in the hands of Roman soldiers.  What has made the cross of Christ a symbol of indescribable proportion is the transaction that occurred when He was crucified on it.  Through the shedding of blood and death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the sins of the whole world were atoned for.  He paid the price for our redemption on the cross, reconciling us to God; that is the power, mystery, and significance of the cross of Christ.

1. Discuss your understanding of the cross of Christ. 
1 Corinthians 1:19-31
For it is written,
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
   and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ 
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’

Ephesians 2:11-22
So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by those who are called ‘the circumcision’—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— 12remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one bodythrough the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

Colossians 2:9-15
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

2. What are the lessons for us in Matthew 4:12-23 regarding the cross of Christ? 
Isaiah 9:1-4
But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

Matthew 4:12-23, 16:24-27
Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 ‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.’ 17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
16:24-27 Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27 ‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.
3. How do we apply the power of the cross of Christ in our lives?  Discuss practical examples. 
Psalm 27:1, 5-13
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
   whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
   of whom shall I be afraid? 
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
   in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
   he will set me high on a rock. 
6 Now my head is lifted up
   above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
   sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
   be gracious to me and answer me! 
8 ‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
   Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9   Do not hide your face from me. 
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
   you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
   O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me,
   the Lord will take me up. 
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
   and lead me on a level path
   because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
   for false witnesses have risen against me,
   and they are breathing out violence. 
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
   in the land of the living.

Colossians 3:1-17
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.7These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices10and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all! 12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


The cross of Christ is a reminder that we have been redeemed, and at a great price.  A precious reminder that Christ bore our sins on the cross, reconciling us to God.

Closing Prayer (Collect for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany)

Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service.  Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Christ, the Light of the World

22 January 2014

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: O Worship the King, All Glorious Above

Theme: The Mystery of Christ

Topic: Christ, the Light of the World

Reading: Isaiah 49:1-7
Listen to me, O coastlands,
   pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born,
   while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. 
2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
   in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
   in his quiver he hid me away. 
3 And he said to me, ‘You are my servant,
   Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ 
4 But I said, ‘I have laboured in vain,
   I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my cause is with the Lord,
   and my reward with my God.’ 
5 And now the Lord says,
   who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
   and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord,
   and my God has become my strength— 
6 he says,
‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
   to raise up the tribes of Jacob
   and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
   that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’ 
7 Thus says the Lord,
   the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,
   the slave of rulers,
‘Kings shall see and stand up,
   princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
   the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’ 

One of the numerous ways Jesus Christ describes Himself in Scripture is as the Light of the world.  The world is generally depicted as a dark one; not in terms of visual senses, but in spiritual context as a result of the fallen nature.  Our world is described as dark due to the presence of sin, wickedness, oppression, and satanic influences in it following the fall of Adam and Eve.  God then sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, to redeem humanity back to Himself.  God did this because there was no other way for us to be reconciled to Him.  Spiritual darkness manifests in several ways including lack of peace, unrighteousness, injustice, ignorance of God, insecurity, and all manner of satanic control and attacks.  Christ came, died and rose again, to bring light and life into our souls, family and world.  That we may live free in all sense of the word, just as our Father in Heaven originally intended us to live, and to reign with Christ for eternity.  The implication of the foregoing is that we, followers of Christ, will likewise be the light of the world just as Christ our perfect example is.

1. Discuss your understanding of Christ as the light of the world.
John 1:1-13, 8:12-18, 10:7-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

8:12-18 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ 13Then the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’ 14Jesus answered, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge by human standards; I judge no one. 16Yet even if I do judge, my judgement is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. 18I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.’

10:7-18 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

2. What are the lessons for us in John 1:29-42 regarding Jesus Christ as the light of the world?
John 1:29-42
The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ 32And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’ 35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples,36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ 39He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simonto Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).
3. How can we follow the example of Christ in becoming the light of the world?  Discuss practical examples. 
Psalm 40:1-12
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
   he inclined to me and heard my cry. 
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit,
   out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
   making my steps secure. 
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
   and put their trust in the Lord. 
4 Happy are those who make
   the Lord their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
   to those who go astray after false gods. 
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
   your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us;
   none can compare with you.
Were I to 
proclaim and tell of them,
   they would be more than can be counted. 
6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
   but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt-offering and sin-offering
   you have not 
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am;
   in the scroll of the book it is written of me. 
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
   your law is within my heart.’ 
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
   in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
   as you know, O Lord. 
10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
   I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
   from the great congregation. 
11 Do not, O Lord, withhold
   your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
   keep me safe for ever. 
12 For evils have encompassed me
   without number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
   until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head,
   and my heart fails me. 

Matthew 5:13-16
 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Christ, our perfect example, is the Light of the world.  As we live for Him, may we take His nature, and live as true ambassadors of His great love and mercy.

Closing Prayer (Collect for the Baptism of the Lord)
Almighty God,
your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
is the light of the world.
May your people,
illumined by your word and sacraments,
shine with the radiance of his glory,
that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed
to the ends of the earth;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Christ, Ordained by God

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert, and art, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though our sinful human gaze thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three persons, blessèd Trinity!

Theme: The Mystery of Christ
Topic: Christ, Ordained by God

Reading: Acts 10:34-43
Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

The Baptism of Jesus Christ was a remarkable event.  John the Baptist initially objected to baptizing Christ, however, the Lord persuaded him to go ahead in order to fulfill all righteousness.  After the baptism of the Lord, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of God was heard from Heaven, confirming that Jesus is the chosen Saviour of the world.  There are several lessons for us in the anointing of Christ following His Baptism, and we shall discuss as many of them as possible.  Although sent by God, Christ the Creator humbled Himself to be baptized by His creature, John the Baptist.  Jesus did not rush into His ministry of declaring the gospel, and sacrificial death; He was first baptized and then filled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and power from God; He also prayed regularly to His Father during Hs ministry on earth.  Christ made regular prayer to God an integral part of His life.  The same power that anointed Christ is still available to us today.  If we seek God in humility, repentance, and faith, He will forgive our sins, and fill us with His grace, Holy Spirit and power.  Scripture encourages us to pray to God on a regular basis, just as Christ did.

1. Why did Christ insist on being baptized by John the Baptist?
Matthew 3:13-17; 5:17-20
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ 15But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’
5:17 ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore, whoever breaksone of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

2. What are the lessons for us in Matthew 3:13-17 regarding the Baptism of Jesus Christ?
2 Chronicles 7:11-15
Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished. 12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.15Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

Isaiah 42:1-9
Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
   my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
   he will bring forth justice to the nations. 
2 He will not cry or lift up his voice,
   or make it heard in the street; 
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
   and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
   he will faithfully bring forth justice. 
4 He will not grow faint or be crushed
   until he has established justice in the earth;
   and the coastlands wait for his teaching. 
5 Thus says God, the Lord,
   who created the heavens and stretched them out,
   who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
   and spirit to those who 
walk in it: 
6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
   I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
   a light to the nations, 
7   to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
   from the prison those who sit in darkness. 
8 I am the Lord, that is my name;
   my glory I give to no other,
   nor my praise to idols. 
9 See, the former things have come to pass,
   and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
   I tell you of them. 

James 4:1-10
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 4Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, ‘God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? 6But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
‘God opposes the proud,
   but gives grace to the humble.’ 
7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.9Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
3. How do we emulate the prayer life of Christ?  Discuss the benefits.
1 Samuel 30:1-8, 16-20
Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negeb and on Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag, burned it down, 2and taken captive the women and allwho were in it, both small and great; they killed none of them, but carried them off, and went on their way. 3When David and his men came to the city, they found it burnt down, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept, until they had no more strength to weep. 5David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6David was in great danger; for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in spirit for their sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. 7 David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, ‘Bring me the ephod.’ So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8David inquired of theLord, ‘Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?’ He answered him, ‘Pursue; for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.’ 16 When he had taken him down, they were spread out all over the ground, eating and drinking and dancing, because of the great amount of spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not one of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. 18David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken; and David rescued his two wives. 19Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken; David brought back everything. 20David also captured all the flocks and herds, which were driven ahead of the other cattle; people said, ‘This is David’s spoil.’

Matthew 7:7-12
‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 ‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Ephesians 6:10-18
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise the words of prophets, 21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22abstain from every form of evil. 23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.


God desires to fellowship with us daily; may we humble ourselves before Him always, that He may fill us with His grace and Spirit.

Closing Prayer (Collect for the Baptism of the Lord)
Eternal Father,
who at the baptism of Jesus
revealed him to be your Son,
anointing him with the Holy Spirit,
keep your children, born of water and the Spirit,
faithful to their calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,

now and for ever. Amen.