Stand Firm - let nothing move you!
Most of Daniel’s early life was spent in the training academies of the Babylonian emperor. The storyteller says that Daniel was “without physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace.” (Daniel 1:4) Daniel remained true to his early life and refused to eat and drink the royal food and wine (8). There was a discipline to his life that was actioned in everyday living.
Resilient people prepare themselves by committing to train and be ready for the future. There is a focus, of their intentions, to look ahead to see what needs to be accomplished; they have an unswerving focus. They understand the words of Peter, who wrote:
So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. (1 Peter 1:13-15 NLT)
Early Christians understood that crisis might be around any corner, that they might be called upon to answer for their convictions whatever the cost. It was an emotionally challenging time for these early Christian and it is an emotionally challenging time for people today! Keeping emotions in ‘check’ is a part of resilient living in these challenging times; I am not suggesting that we should ignore the way we feel but test and discipline
our emotions to translate them into responsible action. Paul understood this more than many (Acts 27:22-25) as many around him had lost all-self control in a moment of absolute terror. In short, resilient people: prepare themselves; focus on what needs to be accomplished; harness emotions to take action to stand firm.
REFLECTION & STUDY
Consider a moment where you were under extreme pressure and emotion. 1. How did you deal with the situation? 2. What sources of help did you draw upon?
Think about the early Christians and persecution. 1. Do we/you face persecution? 2. If you are able and it is suitable to do so share your thoughts about this together.
Reflect on Paul’s words, “I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost...” (Acts 27:22) These words have contextual meaning (22-25) but also contain a profound truth. Discuss this together!
PRAYER - consider the words in (3) above. What have you learnt or will take away or are still thinking about from this study and week of prayer? Take a moment to talk about or look back through the guide to help you. 1. Pray for your needs and those needs of your study group. 2. Pray for resilience to grow through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
IDEAS FOR FAMILIES
This section provides a few ideas for families to engage with the ‘Week of Prayer’ material. It acts as a guide for you to develop with your family as appropriate.
TO TALK ABOUT: Preparing to be all grown up!
Ask the children about growing up - what are they looking forward to being able to do? Talk about their hopes and dreams.
Talk to the children about the story of Daniel. What do the children know or remember about the story? He left his home at an early age and lived in an unfamiliar land but remained firm about how he should live.
Remind the children about the story where Daniel refused to eat the royal food and drink the wine.
ACTIVITY (Optional): Think about the story of Daniel - together while you bake a cake or help peel some potatoes talk about being ‘grown up’ - what do the children think it will be like?
TO THINK ABOUT: The bravery of Christians who live in difficult places around the world.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for the story of Daniel and the way it teaches about what it means to be ‘all grown up’. Help us to grow up well like Daniel did in the story today. AMEN
PBC Week of Prayer 2020
Thursday 2nd - Wednesday 8th January 2020