Day 1:



Read: Hebrews 7:23-25, Romans 8:33-34; John 17

“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies.”
- Robert Murray M’Chyne

The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 is probably one of Jesus’ most famous parables, and for good reason. It is the story of a father’s heart towards his wayward son. Have you ever wondered what the father was up to while the son was “in a far country”? We know what happened to the son, but what did the father do while his son was out “living recklessly”?  

Since the story doesn’t say, we have to imagine. And I imagine that the father was praying for his child. He fervently, earnestly, and wholeheartedly wanted for his beloved child to be made whole, and to be healed from the hurts that drove him from home in the first place. And so he prays. He prays every day for his child to come home. Maybe you even have a similar story of a parent or other family member praying for you to know God the way that they know God.

In “church vocabulary,” this act of going to God on behalf of someone else is called intercession. While I’m sure that’s not a word you’re likely to use every day, it conveys the meaning of “one who stands between.” In today’s scripture reading, the author of Hebrews reminds us that the Israelites needed an intercessor - someone who stood between them and God - and that person was the high priest. He also reminds us that we now have a permanent, perfect intercessor in the person of Christ. Jesus is our intercessor.

If you have heard the word “intercession” before, it was probably in the context of intercessory prayer. Simply put, intercessory prayer is you praying on behalf of another person. Perhaps you know of some trouble that person is going through, or are praying for a request from that person, and out of your love and care for them, you spend time and energy bringing that person before God and praying for them. In those moments, you are an intercessor.

And this is also what Jesus does for us! In today’s passage from Romans, Paul gives us the picture of Jesus sitting next to God the Father, interceding on our behalf. John 17 is an entire chapter that documents Jesus praying for both his disciples and for us. 

Let that sink in: Jesus, who has the constant ear of the father, who sits right next to him in heaven, is talking to God about you!

For reflection:

  1. What is your reaction to the idea of Jesus praying to God on your behalf?

  1. How will your day be different today if you keep in mind that Jesus is constantly interceding for you?

Day 2:

Spiritual Practice


For today’s spiritual practice it is recommended that you listen to the audio version if possible, which will walk you through the meditation. (Above)

Yesterday, we thought about Jesus’ role as intercessor, or “one who stands between,” on our behalf. The image we were left with was one of Christ in deep and fervent prayer for us.

Today, we are going to take this image one step further. We are going to listen at the door of the room where this is happening.

Get into a comfortable place, where you can be undisturbed for ten minutes or more. Start by taking deep breaths, stilling your spirit, and letting any worries or tasks for the day flow away for this short period of time. You want your heart to be centered and calm.

As you find yourself still and calm, imagine yourself in a hallway, walking towards a door. As you approach the door, you hear someone speaking. You may or may not be able to make out the words, but the tone is unmistakable. There is a great passion in the speaker’s voice. As you peek around the corner into the room, you see Jesus deep in prayer. It is at this point that you hear, unmistakably, your own name. Jesus is praying for you.

Take some time with the eyes and ears of your heart to listen to Jesus praying for you. Listen for words, look for Jesus’ posture and gestures, and try to sense Jesus’ attitude and heart as he prays for you.

Stay and listen as long as you would like. When you are done, quietly back away from the door, and return down the hall to the place you came from.

On a piece of paper, write the words, feelings, or impressions you felt flowing out of Jesus as you listened to him pray for you.

Day 3:

Our Advocate


Read: 1 John 2:1, John 8:1-11

I remember my father watching the television show “Matlock” when I was a kid. It’s a legal drama from the 1980s in which the titular character is a criminal defense attorney. As a 10(ish) year old kid, I didn’t see the appeal. A show set in a courtroom? Boring. But now, as an adult, I’ve changed my mind about legal dramas. Like father, like son, I guess. For me, what makes a legal drama great is a main character who always (sometimes surprisingly) wins their case. They find a hidden piece of evidence or cunningly reveal a witness’s lie, and their client is exonerated - declared innocent. The story about a courtroom victory becomes even more compelling when the lawyer is personally invested in the client or cause they are representing.

Growing up in the church, I remember many times hearing a metaphor of the “heavenly courtroom.” In this heavenly courtroom, there is a prosecuting attorney - an accuser (satan), a judge (God the Father), and a defense attorney (Jesus, our advocate*). In this metaphor, we are the ones on trial, and the evidence against us is clear. We are guilty. Unquestionably, undeniably, most definitely guilty. But wait! Just like those legal dramas we like to watch on TV, there is a surprising twist. Our lawyer presents a surprising bit of evidence - his own blood - that turns the tide of the verdict in our favor. The prosecutor’s accusations no longer matter. The verdict, somehow, is “innocent.” 

Whenever I would hear this metaphor used in church, it always sounded like the scene would be played out one time - when I died, and stood before God. But that’s not what John says in his letter that we read today. John wrote, But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the father.” In other words, Christ’s advocacy for us happens every time we sin. In my mind’s eye, I imagine Jesus rushing to defend us every time we mess up. Every time we do that one sin we can’t seem to stop doing. Every time we are selfish, or hurtful, or unkind, or unloving, or simply shake our fist at God in favor of doing things our own way. Every time. Jesus jumps in to be our advocate, to speak on our behalf, to remind the father that what we did is covered by his blood.

It’s kind of like in those TV legal dramas when a suspect is arrested and put into a police interrogation room. The detectives start getting in the suspect’s face with some very uncomfortable questions, accusations, and threats.  Then, suddenly the lawyer shows up. There is a sense of relief. “Don’t answer any more of their questions! I’m leaving with my client.” The situation is suddenly less bleak - there is now an advocate present, someone to help, someone to speak, someone who knows how all this works. That is the picture of Jesus, our advocate. The one who steps in and defends us.

For reflection:

  1. When in your life have you had someone advocate for you? When has someone “spoken up to defend you”? (This doesn’t necessarily have to be in a legal situation)

  1. What do you need Jesus to advocate for you about today? This week? This year? How will you approach that situation differently, knowing that he is your advocate?

Day 4:

Spiritual Practice


For today’s devotional you are invited to select and do a practice from the  spiritual practices page. God bless your time with the Lord today.

Spiritual Practices