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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Day 146: Luke 22:24-53 & Psalm 142 - Where Do You Find Your Strength and Confidence?

Today's Reading: Luke 22:24-52 & Psalm 142

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Where Do You Find Your Strength and Confidence?

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” - Luke 22:31-34, ESV

As the time drew near for Jesus to be betrayed by Judas into the hands of His enemies, He took time to pull Peter aside and warn him of Satan's desires for him. Peter, in his characteristic bravado, responded, "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death." 

Before we judge Peter too quickly or too harshly, we need to understand that he was serious. He meant what he said. Hours later, he would draw his sword and cut of the ear of the servant of the high priest. Peter was a man of resolve, a man of action. While he would later deny knowing Jesus three times, he was sincere here in his desire to fight for his Lord. 

Jesus didn't want Peter's sword. He wanted his prayers. Rather, He wanted Peter to find his confidence not in his sword but in his prayers and in Jesus' prayers for him. Jesus told His disciples, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” While Peter was willing to draw his sword and strike, he was unable to stay awake and pray. 

How many of us find it easier to do almost anything rather than to pray? How many of us could spend hours laboring for the Lord but find it hard ti spend a single hour on our knees before Him? Do we think our resolve, our hard work, our expertise and our diligence are all worth more to the Lord, and to us, than prayer?

Jesus told His disciples to pray. This was their best weapon against temptation. Jesus told Peter that He was praying for him. This was Peter's best source of comfort in a time of great trial. Our prayers and Jesus' prayers for us should be where we find all of our strength and confidence in times of trial and temptation. When we are feeling stretched and pushed, we need to resist the temptation to swing out swords and instead drop to our knees!

Prayer Based on Psalm 142:

Today, we pray a prayer that David prayed when he was in a great trial, fleeing from Saul and hiding in a cave:

With my voice I cry out to You, Lord;
    with my voice I plead for mercy to You, my Lord.
Hear me as I pour out my complaint before You;
    I will tell my trouble before You.

When my spirit faints within me,
    You know my way!
In the path where I walk
    they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
    there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
    no one cares for my soul.

I cry to You, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”
Attend to my cry,
    for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
    for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,
    that I may give thanks to Your name!
The righteous will surround me,

    for You will deal bountifully with me.

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