FPC Prayer Blog

The Walk to the Cross

A Devotional Study for Holy Week and Easter

This six-day devotional study addresses Biblical perspectives on atonement and its association to Christ’s life and teachings, death on the cross, and resurrection. Now that Palm Sunday has passed, please take a few minutes to learn more about the purpose of Christ’s journey and the astonishing salvation we have received because he was willing to walk to the cross for our sins.

Behind the Scenes: The Context Associated With the Week 2 Verses

As mentioned previously, we will be providing a few brief notes based on the Zondervan Bible Commentary for the prior week’s scripture lessons that were used for the Love to Pray devotions. This approach is intended to reinforce what you learned one week by providing more in-depth information the following week. We hope that the combination of the book’s devotions, the six alternative verses of the scriptural passages, and the short commentaries will help you gain a greater understanding.

Week 2, Day 1 (Sept. 19): Psalm 66:18-19

This psalm generally is considered to offer thanksgiving for deliverance from a time of trouble that was experienced by a nation or congregation. The first two sections acknowledge God’s immense power and call his people to worship him. The third section, however, shares the testimony of the leader who is thanking God specifically for his answer to the people’s prayers.

Week 2, Day 2 (Sept. 20): Mark 11:22-24

Much happens in this chapter of Mark, which includes quite a few different events in Christ’s life. It begins with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and includes the famous story of him over-turning the tables in the temple. The specific verses in this devotion are associated with Jesus cursing the fig tree—the only miracle where he brought death instead if life. This encounter becomes a real-life parable that Jesus uses to explain how faith is an essential element of prayer. The chapter ends with Jesus’ authority being challenged by the chief priests, scribes, and elders.

Week 2, Day 3 (Sept. 21): 1 John 3:21-22

The focus throughout this chapter is to help us understand the concept of being children of God, Practical obedience is defined in terms of being like Christ by doing right and loving our brothers. The latter verses reassure us that being obedient is the key to us experiencing God’s reassurance and feeling confident that we truly are his children.

Week 2, Day 4 (Sept. 22): John 16:24

Here, Jesus is telling his disciples about what will happen in the future, and he does so in terms that they grasp better than they had in the past. He begins by informing them that they will be driven out of the temple and even killed by people who mean well but do not grasp God’s plan for mankind. Christ then discusses the role of the Holy Spirit after his death. It is at that point that Jesus lets his people know that he will be their advocate if they ask in his name.

Week 2, Day 5 (Sept. 23): Luke 18:1

A widow pleads for justice, but the judge is unconvinced because of his own character deficits. Eventually, however, the judge succumbs to her persistent requests. When considering this parable, care must be taken to avoid equating the judge’s negligence with God’s timing in regard to answering prayers; there is not an intended or unintended connection. Instead, the focus is on the woman’s faithful persistence. Although she does not obtain the desired judgement quickly, she never stops believing she will receive it at some point in the future.



40-Day Prayer Challenge Week 3 Begins on September 26—Electronic Version of the Book

The devotions for Week 3 from the electronic version of the book and their associated topics and Bible passages are shown below:

Sept. 26: Prayer as Conversation with God (Genesis 3:8)

Sept. 27: Living Prayerfully (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Sept. 28: Hearing from Heaven (John 10:27)

Sept. 29: Praying the Ordinary (Ephesians 6:18)

Sept. 30: A Private Meeting with the Father (Matthew 6:6)
 

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Differing Perspectives of the Week 3 Verses—Electronic Version of the Book

Here are the links for this week’s verses (for the electronic version of the book) as presented in six alternate versions of the Bible. Hopefully, these reference sources will enhance your understanding of each devotion’s scriptural foundation.

Date Sept. 26 Sept. 27 Sept. 28 Sept. 29 Sept. 30
Passage Genesis 3:8 1 Thessalonians 5:17 John 10:27 Ephesians 6:18 Matthew 6:6
English Standard (ESV) Link Link Link Link Link
New International (NIV) Link Link Link Link Link
King James (KJV) Link Link Link Link Link
Contemporary English (CEV) Link Link Link Link Link
The Message (MSG) Link Link Link Link Link
New Revised Standard (NRSV) Link Link Link Link Link

 



A Prayer Story From Connie Connally

As most of you at FPC know, my son Brendan is a missionary. He had his first extended experience with missions when he was eighteen and doing a “gap year.” During that time he went to the Brazilian Amazon jungle and assisted a British missionary family for about six months. He learned Portuguese, dealt with overwhelming humidity, and came to love and respect poor Brazilians as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Brendan told us about a Brazilian fisherman with whom he spent a day on the river. The man’s son was a well-educated pastor, but the fisherman himself was illiterate. He was also a mature, dedicated Christian. Since he couldn’t read scripture, he depended on his church for Bible teaching, and his private devotional life was based solely on prayer. I’m sure he wished he could read the Bible; but nonetheless his faith was vibrant because he prayed.

This has stayed in my mind over the years. I have been a Christian since I was fourteen, and in my own devotions I’m much more reliable about reading Scripture than praying. I don’t know why this is; maybe it’s because I can intellectualize Scripture, but I can’t do that with prayer. Reading I can do with my head; prayer has to come from the heart. It’s deep work and often hard. But the Brazilian fisherman did it day after day, and he was known for his strength of faith. When we think about it, this is how millions of illiterate Christians have related to God, some of them very faithfully.

I’m so thankful to be able to read the Bible each morning. But I know that all too often I neglect the great gift of prayer, and I am probably not alone in this. During our Prayer Challenge this fall, I hope we’ll all grow as people of prayer. God is inviting us, calling us, and listening.


Behind the Scenes: The Context Associated With the Week 1 Verses

As mentioned previously, we will be providing a few brief notes based on the Zondervan Bible Commentary for the prior week’s scripture lessons that were used for the Love to Pray devotions. This approach is intended to reinforce what you learned one week by providing more in-depth information the following week. We hope that the combination of the book’s devotions, the six alternative verses of the scriptural passages, and the short commentaries will help you gain a greater understanding.

Week 1, Day 1 (Sept. 12): Psalm 16:11

Psalm 16 focuses on the writer’s affirmation of faith and his confidence that God will preserve him from an untimely death. Instead, the psalmist acknowledges that God is in relationship with us at all times, providing a constant presence our lives and ongoing blessings. Overall, this Psalm offers a prayer of thanksgiving, acknowledging that when God is our friend, he will preserve us.

Week 1, Day 2 (Sept. 12): Romans 8:26-27

God opens the door for our prayers. We do not need to knock because the Holy Spirit is constantly moving through us, being aware of both our conscious and unconscious thoughts and concerns. The Holy Spirit translates our inner feelings of inadequacy and yearnings into “groans” that God turns into relationship-building communications.

Week 1, Day 3 (Sept. 12): Psalm 34:1-3

This Psalm is an acrostic poem; the first letter of each verse begins with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet which progress in order. The three verses in today’s devotion are a call by the psalmist for others to join him in proclaiming God’s greatness. The next two sections of the poem deal with God’s goodness and the practical implications associated with fearing the Lord.

Week 1, Day 4 (Sept. 12): Exodus 17:9-11

This passage offers the first time that Joshua is mentioned in the Bible, and it demonstrates how his role will replace the leadership of Moses. In this case, Moses remains on the hill alternating periods of prayer and non-prayer while Joshua leads the battle force. Only when Moses is praying are the Israelites successful. God listens to and answers prayers, and there are few more dramatic and direct indicators of this connection in the Bible.

Week 1, Day 5 (Sept. 12): Hebrews 4:16

Because Christ died for us, we can approach God’s presence without trepidation. God knows our name, and he welcomes us to have a relationship with him. Although we don’t deserve his love and forgiveness, this passage assures us that we can have confidence we will receive his grace and mercy during our times of need.



40-Day Prayer Challenge Week 2 Begins on September 19

The devotions for Week 2 and their associated topics and Bible passages are shown below:
 
Sept. 19: The Necessity of a Clean Heart (Psalm 66:18-19)
Sept. 20: The Faith That Receives (Mark 11:22-24) 
Sept. 21: The Life That Can Pray (1 John 3:21-22) 
Sept. 22: Praying in Jesus’ Name (John 16:24) 
Sept. 23: Praying with Persistence (Luke 18:1)
 
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Differing Perspectives of This Week’s Verses

Here are the links for this week’s verses as presented in six alternate versions of the Bible. Hopefully, these reference sources will enhance your understanding of each devotion’s scriptural foundation.
 
Date Sept. 19 Sept. 20 Sept. 21 Sept. 22 Sept. 23
Passage Psalm 66:18-19 Mark 11:22-24 1 John 3:21-22 John 16:24 Luke 18:1
English Standard (ESV) Link Link Link Link Link
New International (NIV) Link Link Link Link Link
King James (KJV) Link Link Link Link Link
Contemporary English (CEV) Link Link Link Link Link
The Message (MSG) Link Link Link Link Link
New Revised Standard (NRSV) Link Link Link Link Link


40-Day Prayer Challenge Begins on September 12

The devotions for Week 1 and their associated topics and Bible passages are shown below:
 
Sept. 12: Friendship with God (Psalm 16:11)
Sept. 13: Prayer Starts with God (Romans 8:26-27)
Sept. 14: Celebrating God Through Prayer (Psalm 34:1-3)
Sept. 15: God Needs Our Prayers (Exodus 17:9-11)
Sept. 16: Your Welcome to the Throne (Hebrews 4:16)
 
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