Day 7 – Unfading Beauty - 24-7 Prayer International

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    Thy Kingdom Come
    Thy Kingdom Come: Episode 7

    Day 7 – Unfading Beauty

    Today is Wednesday the 1st of June and this week we are joining with Christians around the world for the global prayer initiative Thy Kingdom Come.

    Between now and Pentecost Sunday, we are reflecting on 1 Peter with the Most Revd Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Together we are asking God to empower us afresh by His Spirit to be effective witnesses for Jesus.

    Pause

    As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly, to re-centre my scattered senses upon the presence of God.

    Pause and pray

    Prayer of Approach

    Creator God, who formed humanity from dust, breathe in me again. Revive me and sanctify me by the power of Your Spirit. Set my heart on fire with the good news of Your gospel.

    Rejoice and Reflect

    I choose to rejoice in God’s love today, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 42…

    Deep calls to deep
        in the roar of your waterfalls;
    all your waves and breakers
        have swept over me.
    By day the LORD directs his love,
        at night his song is with me –
        a prayer to the God of my life.

    Psalm 42:7-8 (NIVUK)
    Pause and pray

    I return to the Apostle Peter’s letter and read his words as if they were written for me today…

    Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

    1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV UK)

    ‘The women Peter is addressing [in this verse] have little social status. They were often objectified, often seen as something to be ‘owned’, rather than as individual humans seen and loved by God Yet Peter recognises that they have a rich inner life – one that is subversive to the expectations of the time – a life lived not for others but for Jesus. Peter affirms that neither men nor masters are the supreme authority, but the God who makes us in His own image.

    ‘Christ Jesus – the one in whom God is made visible – calls us to see people for who they really are. It’s a call to really and truly hear and know people properly, to work with God’s Spirit who encounters us and opens us up in our deepest places. … Today we reflect on the true beauty we will surely encounter if we put our trust in God’s abundant love, rather than our own fear of not being enough. Only God can enable this.’ *

    Ask

    Is there someone I am struggling to get on with right now?

    Lord I don’t truly see; I make snap judgements about people. I allow past mistakes to define them. Forgive me for not looking beyond this and help me to see this person as they truly are.

    Pause and pray

    I think of someone I know who is struggling with insecurity.

    Lord, would You meet them in their deepest places, invoking in them a deep sense of Your love.

    Pause and pray

    Yield

    As I return to the passage I listen out for any particular word or phrase that the Holy Spirit seems to be highlighting for me personally.

    Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

    1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV UK)

    What word or phrase did the Holy Spirit highlight to me? What did it make me think of?

    I’m thinking about what I clothe myself in, the image that I portray to others. So often what I am projecting externally is not what I am feeling internally. I’m sometimes struck by the thought, ‘if people really knew what I was like…’ and this fills me with fear. Then I realise that God does know what I am really like, and that fills me with peace.

    Pause and pray

    Yielding Prayer

    Lord, Your acceptance overwhelms me. I yield to You today, Father, feeling deep joy because I know that I am seen for who I truly am and that You love me deeply.

    Yielding Promise

    And now, as I prepare to take this time of prayer into the coming day, the Lord who loves me says in Romans:

    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    Romans 8:1 (NIVUK)

    Closing Prayer

    Father, help me to live this day to the full, 
     being true to You, in every way.
    Jesus, help me to give myself away to others, 
     being kind to everyone I meet. 
    Spirit, help me to love the lost,
    proclaiming Christ in all I do and say. 
    Amen.

    * Archbishop Justin Welby, Thy Kingdom Come: Novena, Reflections on 1 Peter, (London: Church House Publishing 2022), Day 6, p. 16.

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    Day 11 – Pentecost Sunday
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