Personal Application: Friday

Friday’s Reading: Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:22-17

Just after the disciples experienced the miracle of helping Jesus feed thousands of people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus commanded them to get into the boat and head to the other side of the water. The disciples obeyed him, and hours later, found themselves exhausted and fighting against wind and waves that were on the verge of overwhelming them.  The disciples did not find themselves in this situation because of an unwise decision or a disobedient act.  In fact, they found themselves fighting the storm precisely because they did what Jesus told them to do.  At the height of the storm, when the disciples’ exhaustion and fear were probably at the highest point, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.  Jesus sent them into the storm in order to press their current understanding of who He is.  He sent them into the storm and allowed them to feel the weight of fear and exhaustion in order to show them more of who He is.  When we find ourselves in a place we don’t want to be, remember that Jesus uses the storm to allow us to see Him for who He is; to give us an opportunity to press into Him in a deeper way.  Remember the words of Jesus when you feel overwhelmed by the storm: “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Prayer: Lord, in the storm it so easy to lose hope.  It is so easy to focus on the wind and the waves and to forget to look to the One who made them both.  I know You promise to never leave me or forsake me and I know that Your Word is trustworthy and true. When the storms of life rage around me, help me to keep my eyes on You and to press into who You are and what You have promised me.  Be glorified in the storm, and use each one to shape me into who You desire me to be.  


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!

Personal Application: Thursday

Thursday’s Reading: One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on Him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So He sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.  His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.” Luke 5:1-11

Simon, James, and John were fishermen by trade.  They had worked hard all night long and caught nothing.  Jesus, who was a carpenter by trade, instructed Simon to head back out and let down his nets again.  Can you imagine what might have been going through Simon’s head?  He must have been tired after a long nights work.  He was possibly frustrated because his hard work hadn’t yielded any fish.  Maybe he was even feeling a little bit hopeless.  After all, fishing was his livelihood.  If he didn’t catch any fish, he didn’t make any money.  He might have even been surprised that Jesus, a carpenter, would give instruction to him about how to do his job.  But Simon responds with faith and humility.  Even though it didn’t make sense, even though he was probably tired, frustrated, and losing hope, he said “Because you say so, I will”.  What an amazing response.  Are there situations in your life right now where following Jesus doesn’t make sense?  Are you struggling to believe that His way is the better way?  Is Jesus calling you to take a step of faith in some area of your life?  Ask God to give you the ability to respond like Simon did.

Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are the way, the truth, and the life.  I want to follow You and walk in obedience to You, but sometimes I struggle to do it.  There are areas in my life that I really struggle to be obedient to You.  Sometimes, what You ask of me doesn’t make sense.  Sometimes it seems so much easier to rely on my own ability to determine how I want to live.  Give me the faith and the humility to respond to You in the same way as Simon did.  Because you say so, I will.


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!

Personal Application: Wednesday

Wednesday’s Reading: but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again to the temple. All the people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test Him, that they might have some charge to bring against Him. Jesus bent down and wrote with His finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask Him, He stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more He bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:1-11

Can you imagine the fear, shame and guilt that this woman must have experienced as a group of powerful men brought her before a large crowd of people and exposed her sin?  She must have felt completely alone, helpless, and humiliated.  The scribes and Pharisees who brought her before Jesus had no concern for her at all.  She was simply being used as bait to trap Jesus.  But Jesus saw right to the heart of both the men who accused her, and the adulterous woman who stood before him.  We do not know what Jesus wrote on the ground. But whatever it was, it caused the scribes and Pharisees to walk away, one by one without bringing any further accusations or punishment to the woman.  How must she have felt as she watched these powerful religious leaders walk away?  What would it have been like to eventually be standing alone with Jesus, so aware of the sin and shame that had brought her to Him in the first place?  Then Jesus, the only One who was able to bring forgiveness, utters these beautiful words “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more”.  There were no conditions to meet, no religious rituals to complete.  There was just a beautiful invitation to step out from underneath the fear, guilt, and shame and step into a new way of living.  The same invitation awaits you and me.  When we cast ourselves on the mercy of Jesus, He takes the shame of our sin and the death that it leads to and gives us the freedom and hope we need to “go and sin no more”.  What a beautiful gospel.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for bearing my sin and shame on the cross.  I cast myself wholly on your mercy and forgiveness. Help me to step out from underneath the weight of sin and step into your invitation to new life.  Give me the eyes to see the areas in which I am still living as a slave to the sin and shame that you came to set me free of.  Give me the faith to believe that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  Help me to walk each day in the power of your Spirit, living life the way you designed it and bringing the same grace and forgiveness to those around me that you have brought to me.


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!

Personal Application: Tuesday

Tuesday’s Reading: He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10 

Zacchaeus was a Jewish tax collector who collected taxes from the Jewish people for the Roman government.  He had amassed great wealth by overcharging his fellow Jews and keeping the surplus for himself.  He was despised by his community and considered a “sinner” by those who knew him.  Like the rich young ruler, Zacchaeus cared far more about his wealth than he did about other people.  Unlike the rich young ruler, his life was completely transformed by his encounter with Jesus.  When Jesus passed by the tree that Zacchaeus was sitting in, He called Zacchaeus by name and invited Himself to stay at his house.  Take note of the response of the crowd that was following Jesus.  They grumbled.  They did not want Jesus to reach across social boundaries and invite a “sinner” into His presence.  The crowd had drawn a line in the sand delineating who was “in” and who was “out”.  Zacchaeus was definitely “out”.  Throughout the gospel, we constantly see Jesus pressing into relationship with the unlovable, the unclean, the unworthy.  The very people considered “out” by the crowd are the people that Jesus invites in. Zacchaeus responded to Jesus with joy.  His life was transformed by the love of Jesus.  Where do you draw lines in the sand?  Who do you consider to be an “outsider”, undeserving or unable to respond to the invitation of Jesus? How can the story of Zacchaeus change your heart?

Prayer: Lord, I know that I have been guilty of drawing lines in the sand, just as the crowd who watched Jesus engage with Zacchaeus did.  Expose in me the prejudice that exists in my own heart.  Help me to be honest about the people that I think of as “out”.  I believe that Your love transforms lives.  Help me to see people the way You see people.  I want to be an extension of Your love in the world around me.  Forgive me for allowing my own prejudice, fear, and self-righteousness push people away from You.  Help me live and love as You did so that the beautiful truth and grace of the gospel can be made known to all people.


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!

Personal Application: Monday

Monday’s Reading: “And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”  And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:17-22 

As Jesus traveled throughout Galilee and Judea doing ministry, this young man approached him with a desperate question.  He was a man of status, position, and considerable wealth.  We see in the text that this Jewish man had kept the commandments outwardly from the time he was young.  Yet, he was still looking and longing for the missing piece that would qualify him for eternal life.  He wanted a religious recipe he could follow.  But Jesus loved him (v 21) and out of His love He answered him by cutting right through his outward conformity to the law and exposing the inward position of his heart.  The young man was so caught up in the hustle, in earning his right to be considered good, he was so attached to his material possessions, and so dependent on his wealth, that he left his conversation with Jesus feeling disheartened and sorrowful. Do you struggle to give up the hustle in your own life and give yourself over to God’s grace?  Are you willing to surrender everything, even what you hold most precious in this life, for the hope of the life He gives you in return?

Prayer: Lord, as I read your Word I see parts of myself in the rich young ruler. I know that there are places in my own heart that I hold back from You. Expose in me the things that I cling to and the areas that I struggle to surrender to You.  Help me to submit to You wholeheartedly, even when it means letting go of my material possessions or wealth, my social status or position, or my own ideas about what it means to be good enough to earn Your forgiveness and Your eternal life.  Enable me to cast myself fully upon Your grace and to follow after You wholeheartedly.  Help me respond differently than the rich young ruler.  Instead of turning away from You in sorrow, help me run toward You in surrender. 


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!

A Diary of Private Prayer: Friday Evening

This week’s content comes from The Diary of Private Prayer By John Baillie
Each day you will receive a morning and an evening prayer. Join the the rest of the church as we pray the same prayer at the same time (if you can) at 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM each day.


Friday 8:00 PM Prayer

Lord, you are the Lord of the night as you are the Lord of the day and all the stars are obedient to your will. In this hour of darkness, I too submit my will to yours.  Father God, set me free; from the stirrings of self will within my heart; from cowardly avoidance of the things I need to do; from rebellious reluctance to face necessary suffering; from discontentment with my place in life; from jealousy of those whose place in life is easier; from being dissatisfied with my talents yet hungry for more; from the pride that sets human knowledge above your wisdom; from undisciplined thought; from being unwilling to learn and reluctant to serve.  God my Father, you are often closest to me when I am farthest from you, and you are near at hand even when I feel that you have abandoned me; mercifully grant that the defeat of my self-centeredness may be the triumph in me of your eternal purpose.  May I grow more sure of your reality and power; may I reach a clearer picture of the meaning of my life on Earth; may I strengthen my hold on eternal life; may I look increasingly to what lies beyond my vision; may my desires become less unruly and my thoughts more pure; may my love for other people grow deeper and more tender; and may I be more willing to take others’ burdens upon myself.  To your care, Father God, I commend my soul and the souls of all whom I love and who love me; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!

A Diary of Private Prayer: Friday Morning

This week’s content comes from The Diary of Private Prayer By John Baillie
Each day you will receive a morning and an evening prayer. Join the the rest of the church as we pray the same prayer at the same time (if you can) at 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM each day.


Friday 8:00 AM Prayer

Almighty and most merciful Father, your power and love eternally work together for the protection of your children. Give me grace today to put my trust in you.  Father, I pray; for faith to believe that you rule the world in truth, justice, and love; for faith to believe that if I seek first your kingdom and righteousness, you will provide for my needs; for faith not to be anxious about tomorrow, but to believe the love you have given me in the past will continue into the future; for faith to see your loving purposes unfold in all that is happening in our time; for faith to be calm and brave in the face of any dangers I may meet with while doing my duty; for faith to believe in the power of your love to melt my hard heart and remove my sin; for faith to put my own trust in love rather than in force, when other people harden their hearts against me; for faith to believe in the ultimate victory of your Holy Spirit over disease and death and all the powers of darkness; for faith to learn from any sufferings that you call me to endure; for faith to leave in your hands the welfare of all my loved ones, especially                                      .  Lord, all my ancestors were justified in their trust in you. Rid my heart of all pointless anxieties and paralyzing fears.  Give me a cheerful and buoyant spirit and peace in doing your will; for Christ’s sake. Amen.


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!

A Diary of Private Prayer: Thursday Evening

This week’s content comes from The Diary of Private Prayer By John Baillie
Each day you will receive a morning and an evening prayer. Join the the rest of the church as we pray the same prayer at the same time (if you can) at 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM each day.


Thursday 8:00 PM Prayer

I call upon you, O Lord; come quickly to me; give ear to my voice when I call to you.  Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.  O Lord, my open lips and my mouth will declare your praise.  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits; who forgives all of your iniquity; who heals all of your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy; who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  But who can detect errors?  Clear me from hidden faults.  Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me.  Then I will be blameless and innocent of great transgressions.  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.  Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.  I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. Amen.


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!

A Diary of Private Prayer: Thursday Morning

This week’s content comes from The Diary of Private Prayer By John Baillie
Each day you will receive a morning and an evening prayer. Join the the rest of the church as we pray the same prayer at the same time (if you can) at 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM each day.


Thursday 8:00 AM Prayer

ALMIGHTY God, in your infinite wisdom you have set my life within the narrow bounds of time and circumstance; so, let me now go out into the world with a brave and trusting heart. It has pleased you to hold back from me a knowledge of everything; therefore, give me the grace of faith so that I may grasp what I cannot see. You have given me little power to shape things to my own desires; therefore, use your own great power to make what you desire happen within me. It is your will that through hard work and suffering I should walk the upward road; so be my fellow traveler as I go. Let me face what you send with the strength you supply; When you make what I do effective, help me to ensure that your word is effective in my heart; When you call me to go through the dark valley, do not let me persuade myself that I know a way around; Help me not to refuse any opportunity to help other people that may come today, nor fall into any temptation that may lie in wait for me; Do not let the sins of yesterday be repeated in the life of today, or the life of today set any evil example to the life of tomorrow. O God of my ancestors, in every age you have enlightened the souls of the faithful. Thank you for the gift of shared memories through which the great stories of the past live with us today. Thank you for the lives of the saints, and for the help I can gain from their example. Thank you for the memory of ___ and ___; for the apostles, prophets, and martyrs; but most of all for the incarnation of your dear Son, in whose name these prayers are said. Amen.


Throughout this series we would love to hear about your stories of answered prayers or how new prayer habits are effecting the rest of your life. Click here to share your story with us!