Time for Reflection and Preparation
'As we continue our journey through this unfamiliar ‘lockdown territory’, we are making every effort to keep connected, keep worshiping the Lord and keeping hopeful. Praying together helps maintain a spirit of unity whilst keeping God’s vision alive at New Life with our eyes on the future.
After using the account of Nehemiah and Ezra and the building project, to inspire our continuing prayer strategy for 2021, Ian would like to share some thoughts about the season of Lent as a time for reflection and preparation, which could be meaningful in these ‘COVID-19 conditions’.
This is a fixed 40 day period which has many Biblical connotations associated with hardship, trials, testing, judgments and equipping as preparation for God’s purposes.
As we are experiencing this global crisis and its effects on society, we can use this reflective season together to accomplish God’s good outcomes regarding New Life
You are invited to follow this weekly programme from Wednesday to Tuesday, excluding Sundays, with daily scriptures to meditate and focus on.
It has been said that ‘a family that prays together, stays together.’ Let us strive to be such a family in these unprecedented circumstances.
May God bless our prayerful exploits for His Kingdom.
Week 1 Day 1
Week 4 Day 1
Wed Mar 10
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
In this Psalm we witness an intimate outpouring of David’s heart to his Lord. We hear David’s passion for and devotion to his Creator. He is conscious of his natural inclination towards sin but desperate to be found righteous in God’s sight. He trusts in God to deliver him from the wickedness of his own heart that he might be free to walk with him for eternity. So today WE can feel safe in our Father’s company during this time of reflection for Easter to, simply and unashamedly, ask Him to ‘search our hearts’ in order to separate us from any ‘wickedness’ that would hinder our way ahead.
Song: At the Cross - Chris Tomlin
Week 4 Day 2
Thurs Mar 11
LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
The road to Easter (the Cross) is paved by confession and repentance. These are issues that are easily overlooked in this age of ‘grace’ when we accept that forgiveness flows readily from a crucified saviour. We are no longer under ‘the law’ ascribed to Moses, yet God is no less Holy, and sin is no less sin. Here we can take a leaf out of the book of Nehemiah who understood his relationship with a covenant keeping God and recognised that in his brokenness this act of confession and repentance would get God’s attention. Any brokenness in your life? - Now’s the time to bring it to the Lord.
Song: Holy Water - We the Kingdom
Week 4 Day 3
Fri Mar 12
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.
1 Peter 5:6
Humility lies at the heart of the Christian character and was fully demonstrated by Jesus as ‘the Suffering Servant’. When taunted to show his power and authority by ‘saving himself’ on the cross he remained silent. He had already committed himself to the will of his Father not his own. When we confess and repent of our sins we are submitting our wills to the will of the Father as Jesus did. Humility, under the mighty hand of God, may come at the price of our pride, but its value is in being exalted by God in is good time. “Lord, we humbly ask that you expose and forgive any stumbling block of pride in us as we desire to align our will with yours during this Lent season.”
Song: King of Kings Brooke Ligertwood
Week 4 Day 4
Sat Mar 13
Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast
Here Jesus gives the context for including fasting in our prayer lives. He sees it as a relational activity expressing a yearning and a longing for the coming of the bridegroom as the bride – the church - makes herself ready. In Matthew 6 He had previously given the disciple guidelines on how to pray and fast; in secret and without pride; unlike the Pharisees. Again it was in relationship to the Father. We have intentionally set this time aside to encourage a life style of intimate prayer with the Father as we give thanks for His son and long for his return. Like the disciple we continue to ask, “Lord teach us to pray.
Song: Jesus Paid it All - Kim Walker-Smith
Week 4 Day 5
Mon Mar 15
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
From the Christian perspective Easter is an acknowledgement of the terrible suffering that Christ undertook on our behalf, but from his eternal perspective Jesus endured this ‘with the joy set before him’ – Hebrews 12:2 – our eternal salvation. Therefore we also celebrate our hope in our eternal destiny through the resurrected Christ, overcoming death and eternal separation from the Father. Let us meditate on the unfathomable love of God as we thank Him for that assurance of eternity with Him through Jesus by faith and the receiving of the Holy Spirit – the seal of ownership in our hearts guaranteeing what is to come
Song: Ain't No Grave- Molly Skaggs
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
1 Corinthians 15:19
Week 4 Day 6
Tues Mar 16
For this reason WE kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 WE pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen US with power through his Spirit in OUR inner being, so that Christ may dwell in OUR hearts through faith. And WE pray that WE, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that WE may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
To end this week’s reflections what better than to emulate Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, on our knees, on behalf of our New Life Family
Song: This is Amazing Grace: Phil Wickham