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A Leaf from our Church’s Prayer Guide—December 24, 2020

Reading: Luke 18:9-14

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

For our church:

Please pray that our members, being the very workmanship of God, would, by the Spirit’s power, walk in the good works that God has prepared in advance for them to do.  

Our teaching moment:

No humility? No prayer. No kidding. In the gospel of Luke, the parables of Jesus often employ a similar theme: those who humble themselves and ask persistently are rewarded. The persistent friend receives the much-needed loaves of bread. The persistent widow receives justice against her adversary. The humbled tax collector receives mercy. (Luke 11:5-8; 18:1-8; 18:9-14) Likewise, in the gospel of Luke, some of the central characters who encounter Jesus, do so after a season of persistent prayer. Simeon’s persistence is described by Luke, “this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel…” Simeon’s waiting, being described as righteous, must have been marked by a spirit of continual, humbling petition. The prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, worshiped with “fasting and prayer night and day.” She, too, was blessed with an encounter with Jesus. (Luke 2:25-26; 2:37) Today, do not be discouraged, but continue to present your requests to God and hold fast to these Scriptural examples as to a promise.

Prayers from the past:

Help me, Lord, to go humble all my days, in this view, and let it be my morning thought, as well as my midday and evening meditation, that I am kept by thy power, through faith unto salvation. Almighty Father, help me to be living upon thy faithfulness in the covenant of grace, established and sealed as it is in the blood of thy dear Son, that “thou wilt not” turn away from me to do me good; and that thou wilt put thy fear in my heart, that I shall not depart from thee. (Jer. 32:40) Precious Lord Jesus! give me to rest also upon a union with thee, a communication of grace from thee, and a participation in thee, in all the blessings of thy redemption. Surely, I am the purchase of thy blood, and thou hast said, “thy sheep shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of thine hand.” (John 10:28) And Oh! thou blessed Spirit of all truth, be thou to me an indwelling security from sin, to keep me from falling, and to preserve me faultless in Jesus, until the day of his coming.

Robert Hawker (1753-1827), The Poor Man’s Morning and Evening Portions, 230.