Counting Down the Omer, Day #29:
(May 11, 2019)
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “We are blessed…” As you exhale, whisper, “…to be a blessing.”
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father Who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father Who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4, ESV)
For further consideration: Videos: http://scripture.live/matthew5-7
http://b.link/KeenerM6A (long, academic lecture)
http://pages.today/KeenerM7 (long, academic)
A Prayer for Our Graduates
Gracious Father, we thank You for our graduates. Thank You for being the source of all wisdom. Thank You for the plans that You have for each of their lives; plans for good and not evil, so that they will each have a future and a hope. We give thanks to You, Lord. We call upon Your Name and make Your Name known among the people. We will sing psalms to You, Lord, and talk about all of Your wondrous works.
Blessed Father, we declare that our graduates will not turn away from Your Word. They will meditate on it day and night so that they will be successful in everything they do. As they continue their education or enter the job market, we confess that they will trust in You with all their hearts and not depend on their own understanding. They will seek Your will in all they do, so that You will direct their paths. Lord, many of our youth are leaving home for the first time. We declare that they have been taught to choose the right path, so now that they are older, they will remain on that path. They will choose Christ over culture and holiness over worldliness. Godly wisdom will lead and guide each graduate so that in all they do, they will not gain the world and lose their souls. We expect favor to surround each of our graduates as they enter this new phase in life.
List the names of those persons you know who are graduating. Now ask the Holy Spirit how you should intercede for them:
Loving Father, please help our graduates to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Holy Spirit, please remind them that the decisions they make today will have an impact on their future. Open doors for them that no man can shut. Help them to identify and take advantage of scholarships, grants, internship opportunities and job leads. As they begin this new season in their lives, remind them to continually seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously so that the Father will provide them with all that they need.
Merciful Father, please forgive our graduates for any acts of sinfulness that they have committed. Forgive them if they have made poor decisions during their time in high school or college that is now limiting their future. Forgive them for any illicit, illegal or inappropriate behavior that they engaged in while they were in school. Forgive those who have disrespected their parents, teachers, friends or themselves. As for me Holy Spirit, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed). Holy Spirit, remind our graduates of those they need to forgive and help them to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, please help our graduates not to yield to temptation but deliver them from the evil one.
Triumphant King, You are the Lord, our Redeemer and Creator. You are the Lord who made all things. You alone stretched out the heavens. You made the earth and everything in it by Yourself. You reign forever! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Jeremiah 29:11, I Chronicles 16:8-9, Joshua 1:7-8, Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 22:6, Mark 8:36, Psalm 5:12, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 6:13, Isaiah 44:24
Concepts to Consider:
As we continue to count down toward Pentecost and Holy Spirit Re-Launch on June 8, 2019, we are walking down the pathway of Jesus’ teachings found within His “Sermon on the Mount.” Chapter 6 of Matthew’s Gospel opens with a summary statement regarding the three foundational virtues of prayer, fasting, and giving that will be expanded in 6:2-16. In context, all three of these godly practices are to be performed without drawing undue attention to ourselves. The glory and honor belong to God. Our service in giving, praying, and fasting all work together to strengthen our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, empowered by His Spirit, and to demonstrate our collective willingness to lift our eyes and care about the things God cares about most: holy love, justice, restoring creation, loving neighbor, etc. His healing grace helps us look “over the fence” of our self-referenced lives into the wider world that needs to see Jesus in action through us, the church.
As we see illuminated in Matthew 6, the core of the Jesus-following life is a progressive shedding of the “what’s in it for me” attitude. A self-referenced life will inevitably lead to an insatiable hunger and emptiness that can only be ultimately filled by a growing relationship with our Creator, anchored in Jesus. What areas of your life have been characterized by a “self-referenced” disposition?
Take some time to lift these areas of brokenness before the Lord and ask Him to enter in and heal the fears, hurts, and desires that drive our unhealthy obsession with self.
(Note: We are supposed to love ourselves in healthy proportion to how God loves us. According our Creator, we are beloved, cherished, and worth living and dying for. You are God’s masterpiece. The brokenness we inherited from our First Parents, Adam and Eve has unfortunately left us with a “narcissistic distortion” that can only be tamed and put into perspective as we steadily walk with Jesus every day, who loves us unconditionally.)
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.