Transforming the Fearful into the Faithful – A Prayer Guide for John 20:19-23

fearful to faithfulPraying Scripture | John 20:19–23

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

  1. Preparation: Pray and Read Through Your Passage
  • Lord, open the eyes of my heart and the hearts of all whom I love to see you and the emblems of your costly love for us – your pierced side and nail-scarred hands.
  • Come and banish fear from our hearts.
  • Speak your peace over us and make us glad in who you are for us and all that you have done to rescue us.
  • Come and breathe upon us your Holy Spirit and transform us for your service we pray in Jesus’ mighty name, AMEN.
  1. Adoration: Praise God for Who He Is

What should you praise God for based on your passage?

  • Jesus does not allow his followers to languish in demoralizing and immobilizing fear. He comes to encourage and embolden us.
  • The Father loves me enough to send his only begotten Son to rescue me and make me his own.
  • Our heavenly Father sent someone to share the message of salvation with me. He is presently sending me to save others.
  • Jesus sends the Holy Spirit into the hearts of his followers to equip us for his mission.
  • Jesus only has the authority and power to forgive sins.
  • Jesus desires to extend his peace in our times of trouble and uncertainty.
  1. Confession: Acknowledge and Turn from your Sinfulness

What sin should you confess based on your passage?

  • Grief and disappointments can cause us to doubt God’s plan and purposes.
  • Forgive us for allowing fear to become the driving force in our lives, especially the fear of others.
  • It can cause us to insulate ourselves from risk. We can lock ourselves and our hearts up in a casket of self-protection.
  • Nothing can bring more gladness and joy to the heart of a believer than the sight of our Lord. Forgive us for finding more joy and satisfaction in created things rather than in You.
  • Pardon us for refusing to live missionally. We need grace for all the ways we choose comfort, succumb to cowardice, and retreat!

Are there any sins you need to confess to others? Make a note of them and plan to keep a clean conscience before God and man (Acts 24:16).

  • Too often I live without a sense of the moment-by-moment presence of Jesus with me.
  • Too often I live in the house of fear instead of the house of joy!
  • Too often I try to do the Lord’s work in my own strength rather than in His – the Holy Spirit.
  1. Thanksgiving: Express Gratitude for God’s Works and Gifts

What should you thank God for based on your passage?

  • Thank you, Lord, for all the ways that you pursue and come to us when we try to evade you.
  • Thank you, Lord, that you are indeed Emmanuel – God with us.
  • Thank you, Lord, that you use frail and weak people to accomplish your eternal, kingdom work.
  • Thank you, Lord, for energizing and equipping us for your mission with your presence, your power (Holy Spirit), your peace, and your forgiveness.
  1. Supplication: Ask God to Meet Your Spiritual and Physical Needs

What should you ask for yourself based on your passage?

  • Open the eyes of my heart to see you, Lord!
  • May I experience in the depths of my soul your presence, your peace, your indwelling Holy Spirit, and the joy of forgiven sin.
  • May I gladly consent to live as one sent by Jesus Christ to serve His purpose in my generation.
  1. Consecration: Commit to Obeying God’s Will

What should you commit to doing based on your passage?

  • WORSHIP: A renewed commitment to worship. May the Lord unveil his beauty to our sight that we might love him more. The emphasis on the Word helps to turn the ear into an eye… so that we ultimately experience a fresh encounter with the living Lord Jesus Christ just like these original disciples.
  • CONNECT: A renewed commitment to the Word. Jesus speaks a word of comfort and a word of exhortation. He speaks his words of peace over us before he speaks his word of challenge and exhortation. He breathes upon us His Holy Spirit who only can regularly assure of his peace and equip us for his mission.
  • ENGAGE: A renewed commitment to his mission. I can no longer live my life focused on whatever I want to do. I resolve to discover what it is that the Lord wants and how best to engage in his kingdom enterprise.
  1. Intercession: Ask God to Meet the Needs of Others

Record your prayer for God’s help.

  • Deliver those whom I love from faithless fears and worldly anxieties.
  • Give to them a comforting sense of your presence with them.
  • Flood their hearts with your peace.
  • May your peace garrison their hearts so that they engage your mission and take risks to serve you and others.
  • Pour out your Holy Spirit upon them to help, sustain, equip, and encourage them to live faithfully and devotedly to You.

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