Chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew emphasize persons’ taking responsibility for their own salvation. We “must be ready.” But in the meantime, what about the world and those who don’t seem to respond to God? We have a mission to them and, for many of us, this includes interceding with God for their salvation.
While all prayer is good, I have experienced some helpful and unhelpful ways to pray for the “lost.” I have found it unhelpful to give God orders as to how to bless the people we pray for. I have been in the position, as a pastor and as a parent, of praying wrong things for my charges: out-of-date information, an undue slant toward my own benefit, worldly outcome oriented, and not lovingly concerned with their salvation. It’s sometimes a shock when I’m confronted with the actual person to see how far wide of the mark my prayers were!
So how can we most usefully employ our intercession in this Advent season? We can always pray for love, forgiveness, and peace in their lives and share these things with them. We may want to pray that no one be left behind at Christ’s return.
Paul’s intercessory prayers for believers provide good examples for us. In praying for the church at Colossae, where he has never been personally, Paul says, “We have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will” (1:9).
Jesus himself is the great Intercessor who prays for all. Because only the Father knows “about that day and hour,” we gratefully accept Jesus’ intercession for us as we intercede on behalf of others.

Lord God, I entrust you with the destinies of all those for whom I pray. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 24:36-44

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Lectionary Week
November 21–27, 2016
Scripture Overview

Advent is a new year, new time, new life: a genuine newness wrought by God in the world. As both the pro- phetic oracle and the psalm attest, Israel hopes for justice, peace, and well-being. The biblical community knows God’s intention for these matters and trusts God’s faithful promise. Thus Advent begins in a vision of a healed alternative for the world. The New Testament readings intensify the long-standing hopes and make the promises of God immediate prospects. The intensity and present tense of New Testament faith revolve around the presence of Jesus, whose very person initiates a new beginning in the world. The church at Advent watches in order to notice where God is bringing justice, peace, and well-being.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 2:1-5. What are your experiences of freedom and un-freedom? Consider how your demands for freedom in certain areas cause others to experience un-freedom.
• Read Psalm 122. When have you gathered for worship with a diverse community? What do you perceive as the bene ts of such a gathering?
• Read Romans 13:11-14. The writer suggests that we con- sider our salvation as a journey. Where are you along the way?
• Read Matthew 24:36-44. We are to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. How do you manifest your “readiness” for the coming of the kingdom?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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