The Story of Lazarus

Monday – Matthew 17.14-18. Are you praying for someone to experience God’s healing in some dimension of their life? The disciples had the same type of experience with a little boy. It was tough, and they had failed. As we pray for those we long to receive forgiveness, healing, restoration of love, consider the observation of lingering prayer by N.T. Wright. “We pause here and hold before Jesus the person we’ve brought to him, about whom we seem able to do nothing. We watch (in this story) as Jesus heals the boy, and we, too, pray for healing for whoever it is on our hearts. Imagine holding them in the presence of Jesus” (Lent for Everyone).

Tuesday – Matthew 17.19-20. Jesus now is dealing with the disciples about their need for faith. “Faith is like a small window through which you can see a vast landscape, and the landscape in question is the sovereign power of the creator God and the overwhelming glory of Jesus himself” (N.T. Wright, Lent for Everyone). Imagine looking out a window in your home, and being able to gaze upon a majestic mountain range. That’s like praying in faith­−whomever we are praying for, we hold before the glorious majesty of God himself as we pray for them. It puts our prayers in perspective. We can’t heal or fix people or situations. But, we can bring them to the God who can.

Wednesday – Matthew 13.31-32. We read yesterday about a faith that can move mountains. “Sometimes its easier to move a mountain, shoveling it with spoons, than to shift the sorrow or sickness from a human heart or life” (Lent for Everyone). For that to happen, faith-full praying is essential. We need to be people who pray for others in light of God’s majesty and mission in our world. Wright continues: “The most important Christians are not the ones who preach great sermons or write great books, but the ones who pray, and pray, and pray some more, sharing the quiet but effective victory of Jesus over all that defaces God’s creation.”

Thursday – Hebrews 11.1. Today, reflect on those for whom you are praying. Select a person to focus your prayers on, imagining that you are standing with them in the presence of Jesus. Fill in the blank in this simple prayer with the name of whomever you want to pray for: “Lord Jesus, you have the power to heal and rescue. Today, I pray for ________, who needs you so badly. Bring them your healing love, and transform their lives with your grace.”

Friday – Isaiah 53.6. “The reality is that Jesus came to do more than to just keep us out of hell. He died to save me not just from my sins, but also from my self. Self-interest is the ultimate definition of sin and the cross holds the power to set each person free from self-interest. This is why Jesus went to the cross: to bring me to the place where I love him simply because of who he is and not because of what he can do for me” (Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master). Are you allowing Jesus to set you free from being dominated by self-interest?

Saturday – Luke 15.11-24. “Jesus came into our broken world to provide a way to get the prodigals back home. He wanted to purge the rebellion from our hearts so we would not only come home, but enjoy being home, so we would take joy in the privilege of being a part of the family we had abandoned. Jesus paid the price for our return and our healing” (This Day with the Master) Express thanks to Jesus for your own redemption by praying for another prodigal who you desire to see return home.