Advent prayer focus

An almighty God, a small baby boy, and prayer

Mary did you know that that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod and when you kiss your little Baby you’ve kissed the face of God? These words to the familiar Christmas song, sung by Clay Aiken among others, grab me every time I hear them. I visualize Mary as she held Jesus, caressed and nurtured this baby. She knew the true identity of her baby boy. Can we comprehend that baby Jesus was the face of God? The thought that the baby Jesus was the Almighty God is more than the human mind can embrace and yet it is because of this baby that we have access to God. The death and resurrection of Jesus opened the doors to our hearts which became the dwelling place of God. It is in this place that God hears our prayers. Let the contemplations of this baby born on Christmas day be an invitation to energize your prayer life. God invites us to come. Just come. Come and pray.

Three Days of Prayer

The Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ urges us to participate in a world-wide prayer vigil on January 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of 2018. Whether this is in your home or at the church, plan to be part of this time of church wide prayer.

December 3, 2017

prayer focus

Like a running back with the ball held close, head down and stiff arm rushing head \long into the defense, so we seem to enter the season of Advent. The greeting, “Hi, how are you” is replaced by “Are you ready for Christmas” in conversation. Certainly, Advent is a time of preparation, but not the frantic activity of consumer gluttony that seems to be the hallmark of this season. Advent is a time to quiet our minds, and slow our pace, to prepare our hearts to embrace the mystery of Christmas sung in the words of a familiar carol,

“Hark! the herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born King

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinners reconciled…

Here are some ideas to slow yourself down this Advent Season

1. Practice waiting. “Lord unrush me” Lysa Terkeurst

Waiting is a radical act in the month of December. Resisting the sprint towards Christmas requires us to go against the grain of popular culture, which is more consumed with unceasing activity than the long and slow journey to Bethlehem. Waiting demands we slow down, open our distracted hearts and make room for the sacred in the middle of the frenzy. It means not rushing to the manger, but absorbing the unfolding story of Scripture that leads us to the birth of the Christ child. Waiting can also mean not singing Christmas hymns the first few weeks of Advent, keeping the tree in the box for a while and setting up the Nativity scene on Christmas Eve. In the end, those who wait are rewarded with the deeper satisfaction of growing closer to God rather than the empty feeling associated with holiday exhaustion.

2. Develop a discipline of daily scripture reading

5 minutes a day of faithful bible reading will change your life through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. Paul writes in Romans 12:2, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

3. Develop a discipline of daily writing

Record the bible verses from your daily discipline of scripture reading. Write a few words of your experience. Even the word WOW could be enough to capture your experience.

4. Join a small group (new advent study begins this week!)

Sharing Advent with others is a meaningful way to experience the season. Try joining a small group during Advent that will give you a place to connect with others and travel the advent journey together. An organized small group focused on the themes of Advent can take you to a place that cannot be reached on your own. A small group experience builds relationships that enrich and sustain your spiritual life. A new group study, “Awaiting the Already”, begins today at Gloria Dei. Join us as we explore the advent message presented in each gospel.

Some material borrowed from Pastor Mark Altrogge and Pastor Billy Doidge

November 26, 2017