Sunday, December 5, 2010

Praying in the Spirit of Advent

Advent (Latin Adventus) means a coming/an arrival - celebrated the 4 Sundays before Christmas

Three aspects/applications:
1. we celebrate His coming
2. we anticipate His return
3. we call upon Him to come NOW - as You have come and will come again.

The point is not presence but it means activity (active presence) Judges 6:12-13
Acts 4:29-30

Advent prayer is "as you came and will come.. So come, now, and... make yourself known and do might works among us."

This is a common theme: Exodus, Judges, Exile, Macabees, Persecuted Christians
Therefore: Psalm 5:1-5, 7:1-2, 5-9, 10:1-3,10-12

So..... what should we pray and who to pray for???

I. WHAT??? "Lord, come now and ....

1. deliver your people - from oppression, evil, injustice, persecution
2. establish justice - make things right
3. bring healing - physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, social, political, racial, etc.
4. comfort - because healing is not always available!!!
5. Shed light - knowledge, wisdom, discernment, understanding; Contrast: darkness
6. grant salvation - save souls, reconcile, grant eternal life....
7. effect transformation of individual/ of society - change things
8. expand your Kingdom - "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done .... on earth.."
9. execute judgment (now) on sin, evil, wickedness
10. make yourself known - as in Advent 1 & 2

II. Who to pray this for??
1. yourself
2. other individuals
Lord, come and deliver (sin/drugs/emotion/ heal - cancer? comfort - save

3. a group - family, church, community, nation
"Lord, bring light, effect transformation, make Yourself known."

III. How should we pray? (an advent prayer?)
On one hand, God can't be manipulated or coerced.
But, He answers prayer so......

Components of an Advent Prayer
A Recognition of need.... of His presence, power, intervention
Point being, there's no need to call if: A. all's well and B. we can handle it. Which is why these kinds of prayers are not common in the U.S. We've got it so good!!!
Our nation is not going to turn around without a mighty moving of God!!

#2. A desire of the heart. (not ritualistically) You can't fake this. Isa. 1:10-15 - all external.

#3. Serious invitation "Cry out" Ex. 3:7-10 Judges 3:7-9

#4. personal preparation. example: John the Baptist - Mark 1:2-5,7-8
Why?? Amos 5:18-20 - When He comes, you want to be ready for His arrival.
Always before the Lord came, He looked for His people to prepare for His coming.

#5. A spirit of cooperation. ie: Are you willing to work with Him to accomplish what you pray for??? Examples: Exodus, Judges, Exile, Macabees

#6. Submission to His decision(s) (timing, methods, etc.)
Example: Hab. 1:2-6,12 (b) Example: deliver from Rome took 300 years of spreading the Gospel. God didn't do it the way they wanted it done, so they rejected their Messiah.

#7. the inclusion of Christ. This is more than a call for God to act. It is a call for Him to act through His Son, the person of Jesus Christ.

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