December 13, Day One of Week Three – The Way of Peace though Joy

Luke 1: 5 – 8, 11 – 13 “In time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.  Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.  But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.  Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.  When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.  But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.”

RaindropsBlessings  Song Link

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

REFRAIN  ‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe REFRAIN
When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home  REFRAIN

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?

Reflection:  Zechariah and Elizabeth were old and unable to conceive a child as they wanted.  They were good people who did all the things God asks of us.  This one thing that they prayed for and wanted more than anything remained elusive.  Then the angel appeared to Zechariah in the church and tells him his prayer has been heard.  We’ve all prayed for something, wanted something so much, only to not receive it or receive it long after the prayer has been forgotten.  There is a song, called Unanswered Prayers.  Some of the lyrics include, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.  Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs that just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care.  Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”  Sometimes what we want may not be something we’re ready to receive.  Sometimes what we want is not what we need.  Sometimes we get what we wanted only to discover it wasn’t really what we wanted.  And sometimes, we get what we want – in God’s time.

Action:  What are you praying for?  In your prayer have you told God how to answer your prayer?  Is it possible he has answered your prayer but it wasn’t how you expected?  Could it be the answer is sitting there right in front of you? Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking we know what we need instead of knowing God will put what we need in front of us.  Are you doing your part – has God answered the prayer but it requires your action?  Has God filled you the courage and now you need to take the next step?  Today, reconsider how your prayers may have been answered.

Dear God, thank you for our answered prayers.  Open our eyes to all the ways you answer our prayers every single day.  Sometimes, in our earthly arrogance, we think we know the answers. Then you surprise us with an answer that fills us with more than we could have conceived.  Keep our hearts humble and open to your answers.  Knowing you know best, Amen.

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