Daily Prayer Reflections for Holy Apostles Church 2020

 

The reflections for the next two weeks are from John’s gospel.

 

Monday 20th April

 

Pause: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:1-5

 

Think about where the Light is in our situation.

 

Respond: In the Message version of the Bible, verse five says “The Life- Light blazed out in the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.” Take some time now to light a candle or a lamp and notice how the light from the flame or bulb touches and changes the things around it.

 

Think about the light from your candle or lamp as the ‘Life-Light’. You may want to listen to a song or hymn about the light. Allow yourself to think about where you are seeing light in these dark times: - it may be birds outside of your window, someone waving as they go past your home, or something on the news. Make a note of or draw these things and place them around your light. Go back and think about the verses and imagine Jesus taking all these things on your notes and illuminating them to create even more light.

 

Pray: Lord Jesus, we praise you for being our life-light. We thank you that you are in control of our situation. We ask your light to shine out in the darkness to bring hope and comfort to all. Amen.

 

Tuesday 21st April

 

Pause: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning round, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’), ‘where are you staying?’ ‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’ So, they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.”
John 1:35-40

 

Jesus had time for the two disciples of John’s who wanted to know more about him. This shows that Jesus will always have time for people who want to know Him.

 

Respond: Here in five short verses we learn so much. John prophesying who Jesus is. John’s own disciples who were expecting to meet Jesus later, instead are instructed to go with Him immediately.

 

Think about how you answer the call to Jesus. Do you always do His will immediately? Talk to him about your feelings and ask for His help to bring others to Him as Andrew did.

 

Pray: Lord Jesus, help us to recognise you as John did, to follow your call immediately as John’s disciples did. May we lead our friends and families to you as Andrew did. May we remember that you always have time to teach us to do your will. Amen.

 

Wednesday 22nd April

 

Pause: “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’ ‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from eighty to a hundred and twenty litres. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’ They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realise where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’”
John 2: 1-10

 

This is the first time we see Jesus perform a miracle. He is reluctant to get involved but does so anyway. This miracle is unique in that it does not respond to a critical situation, and that no-one physically sees it. Think about the times Jesus has quietly intervened in a situation in your life.

 

Respond: At this time, we are all very isolated. Take time now to write to God and ask him to intervene in a situation that is known to you. Bear in mind that you will not be able to see this intervention. Write with trust and confidence knowing that He will answer your prayers.

 

Pray: Lord God, help me to trust that you will always help me, help me to have confidence in you and you alone at this difficult time for our country and our world. Amen.

 

Thursday 23rd April

 

Pause: “In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So, he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!’”
John 2:14-16

 

On first reading this passage looks as though Jesus lost his temper because of the behaviour of the traders and people in authority who allowed the trading to take place. But if we look again at verse 15, we see that Jesus knew exactly what he was doing and was in control of the situation.

 

Respond: We saw in the passage how both moral and ethical standards had fallen short in the temple. Financial and economic concerns had taken precedence over the need to honour and worship God. In this season we are faced with many new financial and economic concerns; both as individuals and as a church. Take some time now to write or draw your concerns.

 

Pray: Take your written or drawn concerns, look at them again then turn them over and pray this prayer: - Jesus you know our concerns for our economy, and finance. Help us to trust that you will make things right for us. Do not allow us to be distracted from living godly lives to glorify you. Amen.

 

Friday 24th April

 

Pause: “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.’”
John 3:1-2

 

Nicodemus clearly recognised Jesus, as a teacher and prophet. He was a person of importance in the Jewish community. He chose to go and see Jesus at night. Why choose night? Could it have been because by going at night he could see Jesus privately and learn from Him on a personal level?

 

Respond: Jesus died for us so that we can learn personally from Him. Take time to be still, re-read the passage very slowly. Allow the words to sink in and bask in His presence. If you’re not used to doing this; persevere. It will be worthwhile.

 

Pray: Pray these words from John’s gospel for yourself “‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.’”

 

Saturday 25th April

 

Pause: “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’”
John 4:13-15

 

The woman here is so eager to be saved from her life that she misses the point of what Jesus is promising for her. How often do we sometimes miss the point of what we need from Jesus?

 

Respond: Think of a few times when you may have missed the point of something. How can you use these times of confusion to grow in faith?

 

Pray: Lord, open the eyes of my understanding and give me real wisdom. Help me not to fall into a spiritual slumber but rather to remain alert and watchful, knowing that you have promised me eternal life. Amen.

 

Sunday 26th April

 

Pause: “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I’ve ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.”
John 4:39-40

 

Having initially missed the point of her encounter with Jesus the woman told everyone in her village about Him. This led to the whole village wanting to know more.

 

Respond: Think about the things that are holding you back from telling others about the remarkable man called Jesus. We with the benefit of hindsight know the rest of the story. Why then do we sometimes find it so difficult to do what this woman did? Ponder on this for a while before you pray. As part of your response today you may well want to ask someone to pray with you or for you to build confidence in this area of faith. If you feel you need help why not phone your prayer buddy, who will be happy to pray this for or with you over the phone.

 

Pray: Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to speak your truth all through this year, leading to massive salvation and bringing people into your Church. Amen.

 

Monday 27th April

 

Pause: “‘Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
John 5:24-25

 

Jesus promises that if we hear and believe we will not be judged, and will have eternal life. He also promises that the dead will hear and live. How does this encourage you today?

 

Respond: Who has encouraged you in your belief over the years? Today take time to thank them. If they are dead, thank God for their impact on your life.

 

Pray: Praise God for who he is. Thank him for caring for you, your family, and friends.

 

Tuesday 28th April

 

Pause: “Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ So, they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.””
John 6: 8-15

 

Jesus understands that the practical needs of the people must be met. Andrew finds the means to feed the people but is unable to follow through. Jesus springs into action and trusts God to stretch the food to ensure that there is enough for over 5000 people. God demonstrates his love and provision by not only making sure that there is enough but that there are a lot of leftovers.

 

Respond: Have you ever been faced with a situation that seems impossible? How did you find a solution? Jesus simply asked his father with thanksgiving and trusted Him to deal with it. Today think about the times you have had to trust God, and thank Him for his provision for you.

 

Pray: Father God, you never said that things would ever be easy. You simply said “trust me” so I resolve to trust you with my life, and problems and live each day with gratitude. I promise to appreciate every little thing, both difficulties and pleasures. Amen.

 

Wednesday 29th April

 

Pause: “When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.”
John 6:16-21

 

Imagine this scene. It must have been quite a squall for the disciples to have not recognised Jesus who they saw all day every day. As soon as they realised it was Jesus their fear left them and all was well.

 

Respond: Can you think of a frightening time when someone came to you and made you feel so calm that you knew everything would be alright?

 

Take that feeling now and apply it to your faith.

 

Pray: Lord Jesus I want to trust You in every situation and every season of my life, for You have promised to take all things, and use them for good – not only for my good but for the good of others. Amen.

 

Thursday 30th April

 

Pause: “After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.’ For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”
John 7:1-5

 

Here we see a problem even Jesus’ own brothers don’t realise what and who He is. They think that he just wants fame and glory for himself. They want a leader who will lead them into a battle to overthrow their enemies. At this point in time they are unable to understand their heritage, and teaching. They are expecting something very different to what they are experiencing.

 

Respond: Think about your expectations of those around you. How often have those around you not met your expectations? Write or draw your feelings of disappointment at that time. Now think about how things turned out in the long term. Write or draw your feelings on the outcome. Did things ultimately end well?

 

Pray: “Lord Jesus I love and I trust You. You never let me down and my hope is founded on You alone. You are my God and Saviour. I praise Your Holy Name. Amen.

 

Friday 1st May

 

Pause: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”
John 8:3-11

 

This passage has a lot to teach us about the grace of God, forgiveness and how we should live our lives. This passage does not condone sin (sexual or otherwise) it does however tell us to repent and to live Godly lives in future. While we are being called to live these Godly lives, we are also expected to show understanding and compassion to people who fall short of the mark. It’s easy to condemn others, but harder to understand their behaviour. This passage clearly has no time for condemnation, we need to learn sensitivity to other people’s situation.

 

Respond: God offers us limitless grace and forgiveness but in return we should do likewise with others.

 

Pray: Gracious Father, keep me mindful of the need to grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus and teach me to live in a godly way, to Your praise and glory. Amen.

 

Saturday 2nd May

 

Pause: “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’”
John 11: 20-27

 

Martha demonstrates tremendous faith in Jesus in this passage. She is rewarded for this faith by Jesus revealing who He is to her and ultimately by the restoration of her brother Lazarus.

 

Respond: Martha was a conformist. She knew what was required of her by the society in which she lived, she acted accordingly. Even with the constraints that her society placed on her she still got to know Jesus. How does this knowledge of Jesus fit with the expectations that our society puts on you?

 

Pray: Help us at home, and in the wider world to be good and faithful witnesses to the good news of the Gospel. Amen.

 

Sunday 3rd May

 

Pause: “When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’ Because of this, the rumour spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?’ This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
John 21:21-25

 

John knew Jesus, his accounts of what happened may well be first hand as he was probably there. He also tells us that he has left a lot out because there isn’t room for him to fit them in. He ends up by musing on the fact that he doesn’t think that the ‘whole world has enough room for the books that would be written’.

 

Respond: We know that Jesus did many amazing things when he lived on earth. We also know that he will still do amazing things today. Think about one amazing thing that you know Jesus has done in your lifetime. Find a way to share this with someone today.

 

Pray: Jesus help me to see the ways that you have touched my life, transformed me, and healed me. Help me to tell other people my about my part in your story Amen.

 

End this time of prayer by saying the Lord’s Prayer:

 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Amen.