Jan 03

Monday Prayer Focus

Article

Prayer Focus: Your personal meditation on the gospel
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 

What is the Gospel?

The Gospel is the Good News that God saves sinners. 

Technically in the Greek of the New Testament, the words used for gospel can mean both the “active proclamation” of the message and the “content proclaimed.” So, if the “gospel” is the content proclaimed, then what is that content? Paul seemed to focus on Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15 is succinct. So is 2 Timothy 2:8. The gospel is centered on Jesus and what God has done through him. It’s essential to note his divinity and humanity; his death for our sin, his burial, his resurrection, ascension, and eventual return for judgment. The gospel is the declaration that Jesus is Lord of the cosmos and that through his life, death, and resurrection he is putting all things right, and making all things new.

Allow some time today to:

  1. Mediate on the cross – where Christ died to atone for your sin, in your place. Consider the work of Christ in what we call the “Great Exchange.” (2 Corinthians 5:21
  2. Mediate on the resurrection – where Christ was raised to new life to blow open the doors to our new life, in him. In the resurrection of Jesus God shows us that one day even death will be vanquished from our midst. (Read 1 Corinthians 15
  3. Meditate on God’s glory – a bigger vision of God displaces the apathy that creeps in and the pushes out the temptation to shrink God to a “manageable” size. Behold him today. Encounter him today. Seek his face until you experience more and more of his presence. He is with you. 
  4. Ask him to fill you with the Holy Spirit – there are many “fillings” of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Christians. Ask him to fill you afresh and anew. (Acts 2:4, Acts 4:31, Ephesians 5:18

The following two readings may encourage you: 

Excerpt from, “A Hunger for God” by John Piper

How Shall We Sustain a Soul-Satisfying Vision of God?

“The assistance we need, above all physical healing and all financial security and all employment successes and all career guidance and all relational harmony, is the divine assistance to see and to savor the glory of God in Christ. Beholding the glory of God in the gospel, we were saved (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6). Beholding the glory of God in his promises, we are being sanctified (2 Corinthians 3:18). There is only one way that we will finish our course and keep the faith and persevere to the end, and that is by “looking to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2; see also 3:1), and by looking “not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18), and by setting “[our] minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2). This is God’s will for us and God’s work in us (Hebrews 13:20–21). But we are so constituted as fallen human beings, Jesus says, that “the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things [even innocent things like food] enter in and choke the word,” which is meant to reveal to us the glory of God (Mark 4:19). Therefore the fight of faith and the battle to behold the glory of the Lord day by day is fought not only by feeding the soul on truth, but fasting, to put our appetites to the test, and if necessary to death.”

Excerpt from “A Gospel Primer” by Milton Vincent 

“When God chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world, He did not merely choose me to be “holy and blameless”; He chose me also to be “before Him in love.” To be sure, I am always in God’s presence on earth, and in heaven I will be in His presence more fully than ever. But it could also be said that in this life I am especially “before Him in love” when I come “before Him” in prayer and worship. Therefore, I can infer that prayer is not simply something I am allowed to do as a Christian; prayer is actually one of the great purposes for which God chose to save me. Christ Himself confirms this fact when He makes the following statement to His disciples: “I chose you . . . that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” As a chosen one of God, I was saved to pray; and whenever I come into God’s presence to behold Him, worship Him, or make request of Him, I am arriving at the pinnacle of God’s saving purposes for me. God is radically committed to my life of prayer. He shed the blood of His Son so that I might be cleansed and rendered fit to stand before Him in love. He also permitted the brutal rending of His Son so that I might now have a way into the Holy Place through the torn flesh of Jesus. “Draw near” He says in Hebrews 4, “draw near” He says in Hebrews 10, “pray without ceasing,” He urges elsewhere. How can I not feel the infinite sincerity of these invitations, especially when considering the painful lengths that God endured so that I might enter His presence in prayer? Indeed, the gospel itself serves as the sweetest of invitations to pray; and preaching it to myself each day nurtures within me a mighty impulse to come “before [God] in love” and do the praying that I was elected to do.”