Drawing Near : daily readings for the month of March

March 01 | Unceasing Prayer

Prayer is communication with God; and like all communication, it can be developed to maximum efficiency or allowed to languish. Which you choose will determine the quality of your spiritual life.

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March 02 | Unlimited Prayer

As a child I was taught to pray with my head bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded. Even as a young man I thought that was the only acceptable mode of prayer.

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March 03 | Uncompromising Prayer

Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:1-19 illustrates the key elements of effective intercessory prayer. Those elements will serve as the focus of our studies for several days, but first some background to Daniel’s prayer will be helpful.

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March 04 | Praying According to God’s Word

Have you ever wondered if it’s Biblical to pray for things God has already promised in His Word to do? Is it proper to pray, say, for the salvation of sinners, knowing that God will redeem all the elect anyway, or for Christ’s return, knowing it is a sure thing? Daniel gives us a clear...

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March 05 | Praying According to God’s Will

It is characteristic of God’s people to identify with God’s purposes and to conform their will to His. Learning to pray according to His will is a major step in that process because it drives you to the Word and demonstrates a humble, submissive heart.

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March 06 | Praying with Fervency

People view prayer differently. For some it is a last resort after all human options have been exhausted: “All I can do now is pray for you!” Others liken it to a spiritual spare tire—something used only in the event of an emergency.

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March 07 | Denying Yourself

In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable to people who were trusting in their own self-righteousness. He said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people,...

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March 08 | Confessing Your Sins

Confessing your sins means you agree with God that you have offended His holy character and are worthy of punishment and in need of forgiveness. That’s exactly what we see Daniel doing in verses 5-16. Verse 20 summarizes his prayer: “I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people...

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March 09 | Praying for Others

In verses 5-16 Daniel identifies with his people and intercedes on their behalf. That’s a common practice in Scripture. For example, Moses interceded for the Israelites after they sinned by worshiping the golden calf (Ex. 32:11-13).

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March 10 | Relying on God’s Character

Prior to the Babylonian Captivity, God had warned His people not to adopt the idolatrous ways of their captors, whose gods were idols that could neither hear nor deliver from distress (Isa. 46:6-7).

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March 11 | Praying for God’s Glory

Someone once said, “Show me your redeemed life and I might believe in your Redeemer.” That’s a fair request! As Christians, we are Christ’s ambassadors to a dying world. With His Spirit in our hearts and His Word in our hands, we are to speak His truth in love and live a life that lends...

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March 12 | Praying as Jesus Prayed

Many people have memorized the Disciples’ Prayer so they can recite it often, but as beautiful as it is, it wasn’t given for that purpose. In fact, after Jesus gave it, no one in the New Testament recited it—not even Jesus Himself (cf. John 17)!

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March 13 | Recognizing God’s Fatherhood

The term Father is one of the most commonly used terms in our prayers, and rightly so, because that’s how Jesus taught us to pray. But as common as that term is to us, it was very uncommon to the people of Christ’s day.

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March 14 | Looking Beyond the Temporal

Author H. G. Wells wrote of a man who had been overcome by the pressure and stress of modern life. His doctor told him his only hope was to find fellowship with God. The man responded, “What? That—up there—having fellowship with me?

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March 15 | Putting God First

he Disciples’ Prayer illustrates the priority that God should hold in our prayers. Jesus began by exalting the Father—“Hallowed be Thy name” (v. 9), then requested that the Father’s Kingdom come and His will be done (v. 10). He concluded with an anthem of praise: “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the...

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March 16 | Hallowing God’s Name

To most people the word hallowed elicits thoughts of Halloween, ivy-covered walls, or starchy religious traditions. But those are all far from its Biblical meaning. “Hallowed” in Matthew 6:9 translates a Greek word that means “holy.” When Christ said, “Hallowed be Thy name,” He was saying in effect, “May Your name be regarded as holy.”

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March 17 | Displaying God’s Holiness

We have learned that hallowing God’s name requires setting it apart from everything common and giving Him first place in our lives. That starts with believing He exists. Hebrews 11:6 says, “He who comes to God must believe that He is.”

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March 18 | Praying for Christ’s Rule

When we hear the word kingdom, we tend to think of medieval castles, kings, knights, and the like. But “kingdom” in Matthew 6:10 translates a Greek word that means “rule” or “reign.” We could translate the phrase, “Thy reign come.”

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March 19 | Forsaking Self-centered Prayer

Attempting to explain all that is involved in the phrase “Thy kingdom come” is like a child standing on a beach attempting to scoop the entire ocean into a little pail.

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March 20 | Building God’s Kingdom

Someday Christ will return to earth to reign in His Kingdom. In the meantime He rules in the hearts of those who love Him.

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March 21 | Responding to Christ’s Invitation

Many people who think they’re Kingdom citizens will someday be shocked to discover they aren’t. In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”

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March 22 | Praying with Commitment

Matthew 6:10 literally says, “Whatever You wish to have happen, let it happen immediately. As Your will is done in Heaven, so let it be done on earth.” That’s a prayer of active commitment to God’s will.

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March 23 | Praying Aggressively

Many people assume that somehow everything that happens is God’s will. But that’s not true. Lives destroyed by murderous aggressors and families broken by adultery aren’t God’s will. Children and adults ravaged by abuse or crippled by disease aren’t God’s will.

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March 24 | Receiving God’s Provisions

In America, praying for our daily bread hardly seems necessary. Most people need to pray for self-control to avoid overeating! But Matthew 6:11 isn’t talking about food only. It is a statement of dependency on God and an acknowledgment that He alone provides all of life’s basic necessities.

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March 25 | Appreciating God’s Gifts

God has given us everything good to enjoy, including rain to make things grow, minerals to make the soil fertile, animals for food and clothing, and energy for industry and transportation. Everything we have is from Him, and we are to be thankful for it all.

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March 26 | Dealing with Sin

Christians struggle with sin. That surely comes as no surprise to you. As you mature in Christ, the frequency of your sinning decreases, but your sensitivity to it increases.

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March 27 | Solving Man’s Greatest Problem

Man’s greatest problem is sin. It renders him spiritually dead, alienates him from God and his fellowman, plagues him with guilt and fear, and can eventually damn him to eternal Hell. The only solution is forgiveness, and the only source of forgiveness is Jesus Christ.

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March 28 | Forgiving as You Are Forgiven

It’s possible to confess your sins and still not know the joy of forgiveness. How? Failure to forgive others! Christian educator J. Oswald Sanders observed that Jesus measures us by the yardstick we use on others. Jesus didn’t say, “Forgive us because we have forgiven others,” but “Forgive us as we have forgiven others.”

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March 29 | Seeking God’s Protection

At the moment of your salvation, judicial forgiveness covered all of your sins—past, present, and future. Parental forgiveness restores the joy and sweet fellowship broken by any subsequent sins. But concurrent with the joy of being forgiven is the desire to be protected from any future sins.

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March 30 | Avoiding Temptations

When we hear the English word temptation, we usually think of a solicitation to evil. But “temptation” in Matthew 6:13 translates a Greek word that can refer either to a trial that God permits in order to refine your spiritual character (James 1:2-4) or a temptation that Satan or your flesh brings to incite you...

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March 31 | Applying the Disciples’ Prayer

The implications of the Disciples’ Prayer are profound and far-reaching. An unknown author put it this way: “I cannot say ‘our’ if I live only for myself in a spiritual, watertight compartment. I cannot say ‘Father’ if I do not endeavor each day to act like His child. I cannot say ‘who art in heaven’...

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