5 Habits - Spirit #4

Welcome to Everyday Devotions. These daily Bible readings and Prayer Pathways are designed to help you go deeper with God each day in response to what you are hearing at the Everyday Church services and Life Group gatherings.

Thursday 30th January

Over the past three weeks, we have looked at three healthy habits that promote spiritual growth in us – Bible Meditation and Prayer Pathways and Sung Worship. In this week’s Everyday Devotions, we are looking at a fourth healthy habit – being filled with the Holy Spirit and then walking in step with him each day.

Bible Meditation

Acts 8:4-20

4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralysed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city. 9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!”

1) How do verses 16-17 answer the objection that we don’t need to pray to be baptised with the Holy Spirit because we all received the Holy Spirit automatically at conversion?

2) Where would you place yourself personally in this passage? Not yet converted, like some of the people in Samaria? Pretending to be converted, like Simon the Magician? Converted but not yet baptised with the Holy Spirit, like most of the Samaritan Christians until Peter and John came to help them? Or full of the Holy Spirit, like Peter and John?

3) If you didn’t answer that last question by saying that you are full of the Holy Spirit, who might you ask to help you? What is the significance of Peter and John laying their hands on people? Who might you ask to lay their hands on you?

4) How do verses 18-19 answer the person who says they are ‘unsure’ whether or not they have been filled with the Holy Spirit? What must this magician have seen that made him willing to pay hard cash to be given this same ability to lay his hands on people so that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit?

5) Why is it good news that Peter refers in verse 20 to being filled with the Holy Spirit as “the gift of God”? How does it answer the person who feels too unworthy to ask for God to fill them with his Spirit?

Luke 11:9-13

9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
6) The same Luke who wrote about the early Christians in Samaria also recorded these words of Jesus in Luke 11. He wants to reassure us that we too can receive the Holy Spirit if we keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. Which common objection do you think that Luke is particularly trying to address in verses 11-13?

Prayer Pathway

So let’s pray together. Let’s keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking by praying the same Examen Prayer that we prayed together yesterday. This prayer pathway was created by Ignatius of Loyola in the sixteenth century to encourage people to come before God in prayer three times a day – first thing in the morning, again and lunchtime and then in the evening before bed – using its 4Rs as a way of coming back to God in repeated prayer.

REJOICE: Look back on the past few hours since you spent time in focused prayer to God. What has happened that is good and that you need to say thank you to God for? Make sure you check in with grateful rejoicing for what he has done for you.

REPENT: Look back on the past few hours and say sorry to God for anything that you have done that you know was sinful or displeasing to him. God is eager to forgive you and to lead you forward from here.

RENOUNCE: Look back on the past few hours and reflect on the ways in which you have seen a clash between the way God wants you to live and the way that the world around you is living. These are the battlefields on which your daily fight for holiness is being fought right now. Renounce wrong ways of thinking, declaring that you are siding with God and with his Word in each of those areas, no matter what price is to pay. As you turn your back on the priorities that are peddled by evil spirits, ask the Lord to fill you to overflowing with his Holy Spirit.

REBOOT: Look forward to the next few hours before your next check-in of focused prayer to God. What challenges and opportunities lie ahead of you? What discouragements and failures are you likely to drag with you into those next few hours unless you leave them here with God? Deal with those things now and let God reboot your life for the next few hours. Go into them empty of baggage and full of expectation. Let God commission you to serve him joyfully for the next few hours until you return to check in through these 4Rs again.

Be encouraged by Daniel 6:13 – “Then they said to the king, ‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.’” Come back later to pray these 4Rs when you wake up in the morning, when you take a break for lunch and in the evening before you go to bed.

End with Worship

In order to help you to respond to God in sung worship, we have created two playlists for you on Spotify:

The Everyday Devotions playlist contains a handful of songs which are particularly relevant to our Everyday Devotions this week. This song list changes each week along with our devotions.

The Everyday Church Song List playlist contains most of the songs that we are singing right now across the venues of Everyday Church. This is a wider song list for you to play throughout the day to help you worship as you wash up, as you drive, as you shower, as you sit on the bus and as you go about your day.

If you are somewhere where you can sing loudly, why not use these two playlists to end by singing some songs of worship to the Lord? If you are on the bus or train, why not put on your headphones and sing in your heart to God instead?

This week the songs are largely prayers for God to fill us with his Holy Spirit.
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These Everyday Devotions have been produced and edited by Phil and Ruth Moore on behalf of the Everyday Church Elders

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