Advent Waiting: Watching for the Bridegroom

Advent: Second Week

Advent: Second Week

So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.

Matt. 24: 42 NLT

Watchfulness is a passionate desire for the presence of the bridegroom which awakens within us a spiritual sensitivity to the signs of his soon arrival. This spiritual sensitivity is a heart connection with the Holy Spirit who graces the believer with insights and discernment concerning the times and seasons immediately preceding Christ’s parousia. A watchful attitude is characterized by being spiritually alert, holy and ready for Christ’s return, as opposed to spiritual dullness typified by worldly attitudes and sinful passions. (HT: Mike Bickle)

We must not only have faith in [Christ], but must wait on Him; not only must hope, but must watch for Him; not only love Him, but must long for Him; not only obey Him, but must look out, look up earnestly for our reward, which is Himself. We must not only make Him the Object of our faith, hope, and charity, but we must make it our duty not to believe the world, not to hope in the world, not to love the world. We must resolve not to hang on the world’s opinion, or study its wishes. It is our mere wisdom to be thus detached from all things below. . . .

They, then, watch and wait for their Lord, who are tender and sensitive in their devotion towards Him; who feed on the thought of Him, hang on His words; live in His smile, and thrive and grow under His hand. They are eager for His approval, quick in catching His meaning, jealous of His honour. They see Him in all things, expect Him in all events, and amid all the cares, the interests, and the pursuits of this life, still would feel an awful joy, not a disappointment, did they hear that He was on the point of coming.

John Henry Newman,   “Waiting for Christ”


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Advent’s Meaning: The Three Comings

1 Advent A

1 Advent A

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

1 John 3:2-3

The season of Advent celebrates three comings of Christ: one future, one past, and one present. Advent waiting is present-day thankfulness for Christ’s first coming in the manger while eagerly expecting Christ’s second coming in glorious majesty. This present thankfulness, this present waiting; God uses to enter our lives afresh in power and purity (1 Cor. 7:29-31).

Advent prepares our hearts for the second coming of Christ as we express gratitude to Christ for his first coming. Our hearts and lives must be prepared and ready for his return. Advent is a season of repentance for we know that Christ comes again in holiness, power, and judgment. Advent is a season of joy for we will encounter Christ in newness of life. Advent is a season of personal renewal as we focus anew on “keeping our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:2).

The season of Advent should lead us into deep repentance: Christ comes now into our hearts by the presence of the Holy Spirit as we spiritually prepare for his return. Advent is a season of deep delight for we are grateful for Christ’s coming in the manger: the incarnation made the way for our salvation. Advent is a season of brokenness: our repentance builds within us an eager expectation for the coming of Christ. Advent is a season of revival: we surrender our wills afresh to God for the coming year.

In preparation for the coming church year, we yearn for the personal  transformation. Advent waiting is the prayerful longing to see Jesus face-to-face and experience the Holy Spirit deeply and personally.  Advent waiting cleanses, converts, and renews our hearts as we await Christ’s physical appearance in the skies (1 John 3:2-3).

In this present world, we endure while calmly trusting the Holy Spirit to be Christ in us in the midst of a fallen and decadent world. In hope, we look forward to seeing our blessed Savior face-to-face. In faith, we trust his promises standing on his Word. In love, we reach out to others that they too might know the Christ who comes.

A summary of Robert Webber’s thoughts on Advent from his book, Ancient-Future Time:

Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of the Messiah.

The Messiah’s coming is understood in three different senses: (1) His coming to earth in Bethlehem, (2) His second-coming at the consummation of God’s purposes and (3) His coming in the present moment into my life.

The coming of Messiah to me in this moment is predicated on repentance.

Repentance is not something we can take, but it must be granted us by God.

Isaiah is the prophet of Advent because in his life and prophetic word, he represented the hope of Advent.

John the Baptist and Mary, Jesus mother, reveal Advent spirituality: the former by his single-minded mission and self-giving love, the latter by her willingness to yield her life to God’s will.

Robert Webber, Ancient Future Faith: Forming Spirituality Through the Church Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004).

HT: Joel Willitts


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Send Us Out: Day Forty, Forty Days of Prayer

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matt 9:37-38

Lord, send us out to preach your gospel to the lost, the least, and the lonely. Father, show us how to reach our family, friends, and neighbors who do not know you. Spirit, give us boldness to proclaim your truth without fear or reticence. Break our hearts with love for those who need your love the most. We pray that no one would be lost because we failed to heed your command to make disciples of all nations. Help us to walk in wisdom, making the most of every opportunity you have given us. Open the hearts of those we encounter to hear your gospel. May you add to our number daily those who are being saved.

~~ Nicholas Beckham

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Burdens: Day Thirty-Nine, Forty Days of Prayer


Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 55:22 ESV

Lord, we cast our burdens upon you for they are heavy. Our hearts are broken and downcast. Our spirits are burdened over loved ones who are sick, lost, and dying. Please come and sustain us as you have promised. Please heal and save those we fervently love and diligently serve. Let us not be moved from steadfast faith and complete trust in your all-mighty power. Do not allow Satan to come and steal our hope in your faithfulness. We thank you, Lord, that you hear our prayers on behalf of our loved ones. Come and have mercy on us, we pray in Jesus’s name. Amen!

~~India B. Davis

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Great Love: Day Thirty-Eight, Forty Days of Prayer


In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

1 John 4:9

O’ Jesus, the greatness of your love for us staggers our imaginations. Thank you for your great love that is never ending and unshakeable and indissoluble. Lord, you remind us every day through your Word that we are loved. Therefore, we ask dear Lord that your love for us will move through our hearts to our family, friends, neighbors, and those in need. Lord, you love us unconditionally. Father take away the lies of the evil one who would convince us that we are not good enough to be loved so powerfully and so deeply. We thank you, Lord, that your love has set us FREE from the law of sin and death and that we are free forever to be loved by you. Lord in your Mercy! Hear our prayer. Amen!

~~India B. Davis

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Our Hearts: Day Thirty-Seven, Forty Days of Prayer


Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Ps 86:11 NIV

Lord Jesus Christ, take our lips and speak through them, take our minds and think through them, take our hearts and set them on fire for love of you.

~~Adapted from W. H. Aiken (1841-1927)



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Precious Jesus: Day Thirty-Six, Forty Days of Prayer


And [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Colossians 1:18 ESV

We hail you precious Jesus, praise, honor and glory be to you. Blessed Christ who for our sake condescended from your great heavenly throne, and from the sweet fellowship of the Father, you came into our fallen misery and became God incarnate in human flesh–one with us. We seek you, make our hearts a precious dwelling place for your presence, adorn our lives with your fruit, replenish our ministries with your gifts, and possess our hearts fully and completely. You are Jesus our Savior, be our complete and total deliverer and rid us of the sin that so easily ruins the sweet fellowship of your presence. Grant us committed hearts full of affection and devotion, give us compassion for others’ pain, trials, and struggles. Pray that we may love others as you have loved us, that we may forgive as you forgave us and that we may show mercy to the merciless. In your blessed name, we pray. Amen.

~~ Fr. Glenn E. Davis

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Blessing: Day Thirty-Five: Forty Days of Prayer


He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

Deuteronomy 7:13

Lord God Almighty, thank you that all spiritual blessings are found in Christ. We thank you that every desire, every want, every need is found in you. We ask, please bless our finances that our daily obligations may be met. Lord Jesus, we pray that you would bless us with good health that we may serve you. Merciful Lord, please open the wombs of godly women that their families may be blessed with children. Lord, we beseech you to enlarge our hearts so that we may learn to love you, our families, and our neighbors more fully and completely. Lord, we entreat you to bless us with the power of your Holy Spirit that we may demonstrate your life in our lives. Most of all Lord, we ask for the blessing of your presence so that we may always grow to be like you. Lord in your mercy, please hear our prayer. Amen!

~~India B. Davis


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Your Creation: Day Thirty-Four, Forty Days of Prayer


For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Rom 1:20 ESV

Father, we thank you for your creation. You spoke the heavens and earth into existence by the Word of your mouth. Thank you for stars and planets and moons. Thank you for the warmth of day and the cool rest of night.  You are good, and you made your creation good. Thank you for the sea and the land and for all the delightful, frightening, and adorable creatures that inhabit them. Thank you for establishing order and structure and beauty. You have not left us without a witness to your power and presence.

Forgive us for ignoring and desecrating your witness through our wasteful consumption of creation. Thank you that you have not abandoned this world to bondage and corruption, but that you will one day redeem both it and us. Pray, make us more appreciative of the good things of creation and more careful in how we use them. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

~ ~Nicholas Beckham

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Your Working: Day Thirty-Three, Forty Days of Prayer


But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4,5 (ESV)

Galatians 4:4,5 ESV

Lord, thank you that you did not create and then abandon this earth, but that you intervene in human history. Thank you that you are working out your sovereign purposes despite our rebellion to your will. You have not left us to our own devices. By your sovereign hand, you led your people Israel out of Egypt. By your power, you gave them the Law and the Prophets, working miracles and deliverances even though they disobeyed you. Thank you for personally entering into human history and taking on our likeness and frailty. Thank you for offering yourself as the ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

You have made us a part of your covenant people and allowed us to share in all the blessings and promises of Abraham. Pray, Lord Jesus Christ, work in our lives as you did in the lives of the faithful men and women of old. O’ Lord, work in us as you worked in them. Pray, transform into us the likeness of your incarnate Son, that our lives may reflect the beauty of your holiness. In Jesus’s blessed name, we pray. Amen.

~~Nicholas Beckham

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