BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Luke 1:5-25 NRSV
In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
8 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10 Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” 19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”
21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. 22 When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24 After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25 “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”
PRAYERS & QUESTIONS:
Sunday: Luke 1:5-7
Lord God, I know that you can do miraculous things. Make the impossible possible, so that all may know your power. Amen.
Have you ever prayed for a miracle? What are some impossible things that God has done for you?
Monday: Luke 1:8-10
Dear Lord, you are worthy of worship and praise. Help me to remember to honor you, on special days and every day. Amen.
What do you pray about? What do you hope for when you come to a worship service at church? What do you think God desires from our worship?
Tuesday: Luke 1:11-13
Dear Jesus, I know that you show up when I am afraid. Help me to know that you are with me, no matter what. Amen.
Describe a time when you have been afraid. What or who helped you to get through that scary time? Does it make a difference to know that God is with you in times of fear?
Wednesday: Luke 1:14-16
God of all, I thank you that you lead me and guide me. When I stray, help me to turn around, to turn always toward you. Amen.
Have you ever had a time in your life when you were tempted to do something wrong, and then turned away from doing it? Have you ever helped someone else to get back on the right path?
Thursday: Luke 1:17-19
Dear God, I thank you for the age that I am. Help me to do the impossible with the wonderful gifts you have given to me. Amen.
Have you ever been told that you were too young or too old for something? What did that experience feel like? What age of people do you think God likes to use?
Friday: Luke 1:20-22
(Instead of using words in your prayers today, take the time to take five deep, slow breaths and listen for God to speak.)
Have you ever had a time when you were unable to speak? What about a time when you took the time to listen? What would it be like to not be able to speak for nine months?
Saturday: Luke 1:23-25
Dear Jesus, you know our hearts. Help me to look past the surface and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Amen.
Have you ever had a time when people changed their opinion about you for the better? What about when your opinion was changed about someone else? What do think God’s opinion was?