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Praying the Names of Jesus: A Daily Guide

(Hardback - Sep 2006)
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Overview

Joy, peace, and power these are only some of the gifts promised to those who trust in the name of the Lord. Praying the Names of Jesus will lead readers into a richer and more rewarding relationship with Christ by helping them to understand and to pray his names on a daily basis. By understanding the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, readers will gain a more intimate knowledge of Jesus and of his plan for their lives. They will also begin to see how each of his names holds within it a promise: to be our Teacher, Healer, Friend, and Lord to be God with Us no matter the circumstances. Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Bread of Life, Yeshua. through his names and titles, we come to understand more fully how Jesus reveals God s heart to us. "Praying the Names of Jesus" focuses on twenty-six of his most prominent names and titles to provide six-months worth of devotions. Each week provides a unique devotional program designed for personal prayer and study or for use in small groups. "Praying the Names of Jesus" is the companion volume to the bestselling "Praying the Names of God." In ways both surprising and profound it reveals a rich portrait of Jesus that will move readers toward a deeper experience of his love and mercy."

Details

  • SKU: 9780310253457
  • UPC: 025986253455
  • SKU10: 0310253454
  • Title: Praying the Names of Jesus: A Daily Guide
  • Qty Remaining Online: 19
  • Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company
  • Date Published: Sep 2006
  • Pages: 374
  • Weight lbs: 1.14
  • Dimensions: 8.63" L x 5.77" W x 1.23" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Price on Product, Price on Product - Canadian, Dust Cover, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Awards: 2007 Christian Retailing's Best (Finalist - Prayer)
    2007 Retailers' Choice (Finalist - Prayer)
  • Category: DEVOTIONALS
  • Subject: Devotional
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Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

Immanuel

[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Immanu-el, Emmanouel

The Name

The name "Immanuel" appears twice in the Hebrew Scriptures and once in the New Testament. One of the most comforting of all the names and titles of Jesus, it is literally translated "with us is God" or, as Matthew's Gospel puts it, "God with us." When our sins made it impossible for us to come to him, God took the outrageous step of coming to us, of making himself susceptible to sorrow, familiar with temptation, and vulnerable to sin's disruptive power, in order to cancel its claim. In Jesus we see how extreme God's love is. Remember this the next time you feel discouraged, abandoned, or too timid to undertake some new endeavor. For Jesus is still Immanuel - he is still "God with us."

Key Scripture

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:22-23

Monday

HIS NAME REVEALED

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:18-23

Immanuel, I praise you for your faithful love - drawing near when I was far from you. Instead of casting me away from your presence, you came to call me home. Instead of punishing me for my sins, you came to free me from them. Immanuel, my God, you are here with me today. Live in me and glorify your name, I pray.

Understanding the Name

The name "Immanuel" (im-ma-nu-AIL) first appears in Isaiah 7:14 as part of a prophetic word that Isaiah spoke to King Ahaz of Judah (the southern kingdom) at a time when Syria and Israel (the northern kingdom) had formed a coalition against Assyria. The prophet Isaiah counseled Ahaz not to join in their uprising against Assyria, the region's greatest power, assuring him it would not succeed. He urged Ahaz to trust in the Lord rather than to appeal to Assyria for help against Syria and Israel, who were threatening to invade Judah for not joining their uprising. Then he invited Ahaz to ask the Lord for a sign to confirm the prophetic word, but the unfaithful king refused, having already decided to place his trust not in the Lord but in Assyria.

In response to Ahaz's refusal to trust God, Isaiah proclaimed: "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of human beings? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."

Shortly after that Syria and Israel were soundly defeated, exactly as Isaiah had prophesied. Many years later the southern kingdom of Judah was destroyed by Babylon, its people taken captive.

Matthew's Gospel recalls Isaiah's prophecy, applying it to the child who would be born of Mary, the virgin betrothed to Joseph. The sign given hundreds of years earlier to an apostate king was meant for all God's people. In fact the Bible is nothing if not the story of God's persistent desire to dwell with his people. In Jesus, God would succeed in a unique way, becoming a man in order to save the world not from the outside, but from the inside. Immanuel, God with us, to rescue, redeem, and restore our relationship with him.

Studying the Name

1. How have you experienced "Immanuel" - God being with you, in your life thus far?

2. Matthew begins and ends his Gospel (see Matthew 28:20) with the promises that God is with us. How would your life be different if you began and ended each day with the firm belief that God is with you?

3. What does this title of Jesus reveal about his nature?

Tuesday

PRAYING THE NAME

"Go away, Lord; I am a sinful man!" Luke 5:8

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7 - 10

Reflect On: Psalm 139:7 - 10.Praise God: For his promise to be with you.Offer Thanks: For God's persistence in pursuing you.Confess: Any pattern of sin in your life.Ask God: To increase your confidence in his desire to be with you.

* * *

One of the greatest of all the promises in the Bible is this: I am with you. Jesus said it to his disciples (and to us) at the end of Matthew's Gospel: "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." If the Lord is with us, what do we have to fear? What do we lack? How can we lose? The same Lord who walked on water, healed the sick, and rose from the dead is saving us, watching over us, guiding our steps. Knowing this, why don't we dance in the streets and throw more parties? Why do we sometimes act as though God is not only not with us but that he is nowhere in the vicinity?

There may be many reasons why we feel God's absence in our lives. One of these is surely that our "spiritual sensors" often don't work very well. We are like malfunctioning radar that can't spot a supersonic jet flying straight overhead. But another common reason is that we are the ones who go AWOL, not God.

Consider Peter. One day Jesus climbed into Peter's boat, telling him to row out into the lake and cast his nets out despite the fact that Peter had been up all night fishing with nothing to show for it. But this time when Peter threw out the nets, he caught so many fish that his boat began to sink. Instead of jumping with joy, Peter fell down and implored Jesus to leave him, saying, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"

There's something right about Peter's response. Jesus is holy and sin is his implacable enemy. Still the Lord didn't leave Peter. Instead he stayed and transformed his life. And that's what Jesus wants to do with our lives. We make a mistake when we let our sin drag us down and away from the One who has promised to be with us. Instead of running to him, we let a cloud settle over us. Finding it hard to pray, we move farther away. In a thousand different ways, we say, "Depart from me, O Lord!"

At times like this we need to recall the words of Psalm 139:11 - 12:

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

If you are troubled by some persistent failing, by some entrenched sin, don't run away from Jesus. Instead express your sorrow and ask for his forgiveness - and then receive it. After that try praying this famous fourth-century prayer known as St. Patrick's Breastplate:

Christ be beside me, Christ be before me, Christ be behind me, King of my heart; Christ be within me, Christ be below me, Christ be above me, never to part. Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand, Christ all around me, shield in the strife; Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting, Christ in my rising, light of my life. Christ be beside me, Christ be before me, Christ be behind me, King of my heart; Christ be within me, Christ be below me, Christ be above me, never to part.

Wednesday

PRAYING THE NAME

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Genesis 28:15

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4

Reflect On: Genesis 28:15 and Isaiah 25:4.Praise God: Because he is present, even in the midst of great suffering.Offer Thanks: For all the ways the Lord has watched over you.Confess: Your inability to reflect Christ's presence without his grace.Ask God: To open your eyes to the ways he is at work in the world and in your own life.

* * *

What if God had jurisdiction only in your city, county, or state? Leaving the area would mean leaving behind his protection and care, putting yourself outside the circle of his influence. At such times you wouldn't even bother praying to him because he could neither hear nor help you. Odd as it sounds, that's precisely how many ancient people thought about their gods. They believed in gods whose power was limited to a particular region or locality.

But listen to what God said to Jacob when he was on the run from Esau, the brother whose birthright he had stolen: "I will watch over you wherever you go." Clearly, this God was not confined to a particular territory or region. His protection and power were available wherever his people went. Indeed, as they were to discover, his power extended over the whole earth.

Many of us are taught this truth as little children, barely able to mouth the bulky words - God is omnipresent and omnipotent, everywhere and all-powerful. Yet as we grow older, some of us find ourselves restricting him, shrinking him down, setting boundaries around his ability and his love. I caught myself doing this as I listened to media reports of a tropical storm that slammed into Haiti a few days ago. More than 1,500 people drowned, and another 1,300 were missing, many of them swept out to sea or buried beneath debris. Of those who survived, many of the 300,000 homeless were perching on rooftops or living on debris-strewn sidewalks where the water had subsided.

But it got worse. Unburied bodies, raw sewage, and animal carcasses were everywhere, and there was not enough food to feed the living. Without adequate roads and supplies, relief efforts seemed like Band-Aids pasted over gaping wounds. How could anyone, I wondered, solve Haiti's intractable problems? It seemed like such a God-forsaken place.

As I prayed, I began to realize that God isn't the one who is absent in Haiti or in any other part of the world. It may only seem that way because so many of us are absent, withholding our prayers because of our little faith, withholding our gifts because of our little love. True, we can't do everything, but we can do something. We can tackle the problem that is in front of us, helping to bring God's presence to those who suffer.

If we want to experience Immanuel, "God with us," we need to be where he is, to do what his love compels, to reflect his image to the rest of the world. Today, I pray that Christ will pierce my heart with the things that pierce his. I ask for the grace to look for him in the midst of the world's suffering, whether close to home or far away. I pray that he will give you and me the faith to join him there, transforming our prayers, our time, our talents, and our financial resources into evidence of his presence in the world - Immanuel, a God who is truly with us.

Thursday

PRAYING THE NAME

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:9-12

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16

Reflect On: John 15:9 - 12 and 1 Corinthians 3:16.Praise God: For calling you to be his image bearer.Offer Thanks: That God lives in you.Confess: Any failures that mar the image of God in you.Ask God: To show you how to bear his image, to magnify him by expressing his love to others.

* * *

Randy Frame was part of a team of journalists and business leaders invited to Haiti in the mid-1990s to view its problems close up. Trained as a reporter to maintain his distance, Randy wasn't prepared for what happened on the last day of his trip.

That day the group visited La Cay Espwa, the "House of Hope," a refuge for starving children cared for by a small group of nuns. As soon as Randy entered the two-room structure, a nun by the name of Sister Conchita approached, offering him the child she cradled in her arms. Reluctant at first to take the child lest he violate his role as an objective observer, he finally gave in, deciding it would be rude to refuse.

"Her name Maria," the Sister said with broken English and a quiet smile.

Frame writes:

I took Maria into my arms, gingerly at first. She seemed so fragile: I could practically see the skeleton beneath her skin. Only her eyes seemed to have escaped the circumstances of her young life. Her eyes were deep brown and as shiny as any healthy child's ought to be. She focused them not on me, but on Sister Conchita. It was clear I was "second string." Perhaps my arms were not as soft or comfortable. Yet she didn't cry. Maybe she was too weak to protest being held by a stranger. Or perhaps she was glad to be in anyone's arms. How could I tell?

After they left, Randy's tour guide explained that on average one in four of the children in the House of Hope die because their internal organs are too damaged by the time they arrive. You can spot the ones who won't make it. Lethargic, with pale, rigid skin, their hair has a reddish hue. She could have been describing Maria.

Despite being warned about the danger of venturing out alone in Port-au-Prince, Randy left the security of his hotel that night to make the two-mile trek back to the House of Hope. When he found Sister Conchita, she was still sitting on her rocker with Maria in her arms.

As I approach Sister Conchita, she stands, sensing exactly why I have returned. She says nothing, but offers me the child. And also her chair I have arrived at the place where I want to be. And as I live out what I'd earlier in the day envisioned, I am suddenly and fully aware of my weaknesses, my limitations. And aware also of the limitations and shortcomings of humanity, which has somehow failed this child and many others like her I am utterly powerless to determine whether this child, who bears the image of God, will live or die this night. But I do have power - complete power - to make certain that if and when her frail body finally yields, she has felt the security, the comfort, of someone's loving arms. Tonight they are my arms. It's the least I can do for her, and also, perhaps, the most. Her weak but gracious eyes look up to mine. And hold their gaze. And in the sacred silence of this moment, there is no other power I crave, no other purpose I desire.

Randy's story made me sad - and happy. God's love is so evident. It is "God with us," "God with Randy," "God with Maria" - the Lord expressing himself to and through human beings. Like Randy, we are called to be Christ-bearers, to reflect God to others. Today let us ask for the grace to make Immanuel known, to allow his light and his life to shine through us.

(Continues.)

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