Welcome to today's devotional thoughts on New Year with New Hope! (See our introduction and other devotionals in this series.)
This message will help prepare you for the first focus of our one hour of simultaneous prayer for the world as we enter 2021: "Exalting Jesus as Savior and Lord"! You will find some starter Scriptures to use for your preparation and prayer time as we join together with other followers of Jesus from around the world. God bless as you partner with God who loves and longs to redeem our broken world!
Word — Scriptures to get us thinking.
Ask the Holy Spirit to speak truth into your heart as you refresh your heart with these Scriptures:
For the LORD is God,
and he created the heavens and earth
and put everything in place.
He made the world to be lived in,
not to be a place of empty chaos.
"I am the LORD," he says,
"and there is no other.
"Let all the world look to me for salvation!
For I am God; there is no other.
I have sworn by my own name;
I have spoken the truth,
and I will never go back on my word:
Every knee will bend to me,
and every tongue will declare allegiance to me" (Isaiah 45:18, 22-23 NLT).
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in [Jesus] because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world" (John 4:39-42).
Insight — Stories and observations to open our hearts.
Jesus' interactions with a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well transformed a simple drink of water into a divine appointment (John 4:1-42). This divine appointment began with an ostracized woman with a questionable history and ended with her bringing her village to faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
Have you ever had what was supposed to be a simple event transformed into a divine appointment that changed your life forever?
I remember sitting in a church sanctuary on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 1995. I was in the second of three services I was preaching that morning. I had just finished the Lord's Supper, and I was praying to Jesus silently. As I poured out my heart, I asked the Lord, "What am I supposed to do with all this content I've written for two-minute radio spots that are now too expensive for us to air?"
I am not sure I really expected an answer. I guess I was basically expressing my frustration for all of this work that had been effective that now seemed wasted. However, almost imperceptibly, a voice seemed to speak into my heart these life-changing words: "The internet, dummy!"
"What?" I surprised myself by saying where those around me could hear to my embarrassment. In 1995, the internet was not yet well known and certainly not well used.
"The Internet, dummy!" the words echoed in my heart.
Since then, for the last 25 years, I have served churches all over the U.S. and several other countries, but my primary calling has been Heartlight Internet Ministry and Verse of the Day daily devotionals. A simple Communion service became a divine appointment that changed my life and has connected me with hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. Sure, I wasn't caught up into the glory of God's throne room like Isaiah was (Isaiah 6:1-8), but that one prayer and the answer softly placed in my heart has profoundly changed me.
Prayer has unfathomable power to rearrange our futures when we come seeking the Lord of the universe with all of our hearts. Simple prayer moments can become divine appointments that change our worlds. I wonder how many I — and if you are like me, how many you — may have missed because I wasn't listening for that small still voice of God's grace.
I know he still answers prayers, so why don't we listen more carefully to his answers?
Ah, dear friend, that is why we are entering into shared prayer for our broken world, praying for a New Year with New Hope!
Focus — Main point of our prayer time.
Have you ever thought about all the different people the Lord Jesus touched in just three years of ministry? Without prepping, in just a few moments, I jotted down the following:
Magi, who had traveled for months from the distant east to find the one who was born King of the Jews.
A bride and groom's family about to be shamed for running out of wine at their wedding.
A leper cast out and living on the margins of human existence.
A father whose little girl died.
A Roman Centurion worried about his servant's severe illness.
An isolated and ritually unclean woman who had become impoverished trying to cure her mysterious flow of blood.
A woman rejected by at least five husbands and cast out of normal society who came to draw water at a well, alone.
Two sisters who were heartbroken because their brother had died because Jesus wasn't there with them.
A rich young ruler who wrestled with how much he was willing to give up to follow Jesus as Lord.
A great religious teacher who was intrigued then defended, and at Jesus' death, followed him as Lord and Messiah.
A foreign woman who was clever and determined to get her daughter freed of Satan's grip.
An out of control man who could not be bound because of his demons and who lived as a shrieking mass of barely discernible humanity.
Yes, there are others, many others, than those mentioned. But the point is clear: Jesus came for everyone — each person, each kind of person, any race of a person, and any level of social position, gender, size, age, and level of influence of a person.
We pray for our broken world because Jesus came for each person in our world because he loves each one of us! As the villagers in that small Samaritan town said to the woman who met Jesus at their well: "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
We pray for that world to have a new start to the "New Year with New Hope"!
Pursuit — Putting our prayer focus into practice.
Let's join together in this prayer for the sake of our world:
Dear Father, we long for Jesus to be exalted as Savior and Lord throughout our world. We believe this about your Son, Jesus, our Lord, Savior, and Christ:
The Son was in very nature one with you, God;
yet he did not consider equality with you as God
something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death —
even death on a cross!
Therefore, you, O God, exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to your glory, O God, our Father. Amen. (Adapted from Philippians 2:5-11 NIV.)
Resources — Scriptures that help in our pursuit.
Here are passages about Jesus Christ being the Savior and Lord of all people. You can use them to help you in our first prayer focus, "Exalting Jesus as Savior and Lord":
- John 3:16-17
- Matthew 28:18-20
- Luke 24:44-49
- Acts 1:1-10
- Galatians 3:26-29
- 2 Peter 3:9
- Revelation 7:9-12
Hozana has joined with the prayer effort for a New Year with New Hope and will have resources to help track and provide our content to other readers.
Sign up and watch our group grow as people world-wide join our prayer efforts. We appreciate all who are willing to pray for the three areas of emphasis for our world in 2021: