1 & 2 Peter
We turn the page in our Bible and find two letters written by Jesus’ friend Peter. He was the most unpredictable and enthusiastic of the disciples – he said what he thought, responded instinctually, and kept things…interesting. He is a great example of what can happen when you take a chance on Jesus without over-analyzing it – he walked on water, saw people healed through God’s power working through him, and experienced deep, true forgiveness after betraying Jesus.
Jesus also gave Peter the experience of transformation: he went from being a bit of a wild card to a true leader of the new church as the news about Jesus spread. In these letters, we see him advising believers – mostly Gentiles (who were not of Jewish ancestry) – as they figure out how to live into the new possibilities Jesus offers. My favorite line from these letters is, “Make every effort to respond to God’s promises.” (2 Peter 1:5). That’s our mission here.
Monday, March 27 – 1 Peter Chapter 1. Peter affirms his readers’ identity: We are known and chosen by God, and made holy by God’s Spirit. That’s something we tend to skip right over when we think about our faith – we focus on what we think we need to do to be better, rather than on the truth that God set this whole thing up: He made you. He chose you. He loves you. He has a good plan for your life. Anything you do to pursue faith should be to connect with this reality.
Prayer ideas: Ask God to make His love for you the most certain thing you know. To fill you with the “great expectations” Peter describes, and for the courage to live in the presence of these expectations, resisting the temptation to squash them or kill them off. Ask God to make you BRAVE.
Tuesday, March 28 – 1 Peter Chapter 2. Peter speaks of “a full experience of salvation,” as if there is something far less we’ll be tempted to settle for. It makes me realize that when my salvation feels burdensome or disappointing, it’s not that I was sold a bill of goods…it’s that I’m not having the full experience. Peter exhorts us to “cry out for this nourishment.”
Prayer ideas: Ask Jesus for the full experience of His reality. For freedom from fear that it won’t be good, for courage to hope in the face of bleak circumstances, and for freedom to dream with God and to entrust Him with our imagination. Cry out for the nourishment God offers.
Wednesday, March 29 – 1 Peter Chapter 3. Peter outlines roles in society and how God meets us in some of the challenges there. Of course, the temptation is to grow angry at the suggestion that we should ever submit to someone else, particularly if they seem undeserving of that honor. But I find it helpful to counter this temptation with a different approach: I look at the specifics, asking myself, “What is he suggesting I do here?” When I take the perspective off of other people and put in on me, and ask God to personalize it, I find that He speaks to me with specifics that help and encourage me, offering a new way to interact with my life.
Prayer ideas: Ask God to protect you from the lies of the Enemy about Scripture. For the ability to hear God speaking to you through Peter’s words, and the capacity to respond. For fullness of life and abundance.
Thursday, March 23 – 1 Peter Chapter 4. Peter normalizes the experience so many of us have, that our faith in Jesus makes us the object of scorn and slander. This is the weirdest part of faith for some of us – how this thing that brings us new life results in the death of so many relationships.
Prayer ideas: Ask Jesus to apply His resurrection power to relationships that have died. Pray for specific people to be “revived” by the Good News, for God to open their eyes to His wonder and goodness. And ask God to give you confidence in Him in the face of these relational losses.
Friday, March 24 – 1 Peter Chapter 5. This chapter contains one of Peter’s most famous lines, where he exhorts us to “Give all our worries and cares to God.” That takes practice.
Prayer ideas: Ask God to show you a routine you can implement to regularly cast your worries & cares on Him. Ask for courage to humble yourself before Him, trusting that He will lift you up.
Saturday, March 25 – 2 Peter Chapter 1. Peter opens his second letter by calling our attention to God’s promises that enable us to escape human corruption. He speaks of “moral excellence,” which we tend to think of in terms of “be extra good!” But there’s more to it than that. The word Peter uses is better translated to call us to be people who apply God’s mighty, miraculous power to the challenges of this world.
Prayer ideas: Ask God to fill you with this kind of moral excellence, and to quicken your response when you feel the sense that you should pray for something or speak God’s Word over a situation. Ask God to transform you into someone who turns to God first, ahead of all other options.
Sunday, March 26 – 2 Peter Chapter 2. Peter has harsh words and severe warnings about the false teachers believers will encounter. Rather than engage in endless arguments around what is and is not false teaching, I find this checklist helpful when asking God for discernment. (Adapted from The New Spirit Filled Life Bible, page 1657):
To determine if a revelation or perspective is true or false, ask:
Does it reinforce God’s Word? and
- Lead me to Christ and fill me with love for his church?
- Align itself with the clear and complete teachings of the Bible?
- Strengthen my faith and give me an honorable purpose in life?
- Turn me from wrongdoing, promoting righteousness and purity in my life?
- Build up the body of Christ, equipping believers for the work of ministry?
Prayer ideas: Ask God for the wisdom to recognize false teachers and teachings and the courage to walk away. And to provide you with excellent teachers who will help you learn and grow.
What do I see here that I want to pray for myself?
What do I see here that I want to pray for specific people in my life?
What do I see here that everyone needs, that I want to pray for all of us?