Have you ever wished you could have walked with Jesus and his disciples in Galilee, Samaria, and Jerusalem? Have you ever thought this Christian life might be a whole lot easier if Jesus was here right now with us? Here’s the good news. When Jesus said to his disciples “Come follow me …” that is not just an historical fact. It can be a present day reality for each one of us in every season of life. We have received the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11). By the Spirit, Jesus is with us always (Matthew 28:20). Every day we can walk with Jesus by prayerfully coming to His word, reflecting on His life in the bible, applying His teaching and example to our lives, and walking in the Spirit with Him.Seasons of Prayer
The disciples walked with Jesus for three years in every season of seedtime and harvest including the people of Israel’s annual festivals of prayer and worship in Jerusalem. Similarly, over many centuries, Christians have observed seasons of prayer and reflection, followed by times of celebration and proclamation on a regular basis throughout the church’s annual calendar. Lent is one such season. It is traditionally a time of reflection, repentance and making ourselves right with God prior to the celebration of Easter. Observing such seasons of prayer and reflection helps us develop personal rhythms of walking with Jesus every day.
This year, following an ancient practice over Lent and Easter. we are reading one of the gospels together—the gospel of Luke. Leading up to Palm Sunday, each of our weekend messages will highlight a story or teaching on prayer from the book of Luke. Approaching Easter, we will reflect on Luke’s account of Jesus walk to the cross—a walk that led to resurrection life. As we read this life changing story, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in our own walk with Jesus.
Here are some additional details on church activities and resources that can help us take another step together with Jesus during this season of prayer and reflection over Lent.
• Reading through gospel of Luke.
Daily readings from Luke’s gospel are available on our church website and app. The readings come from a Lent devotional by Tom Wright. called “Lent for Everyone: Luke Year C.” For a small cost this is available as a digital book on Kindle, or Logos bible software, or it can also be ordered in hard copy from Amazon.
• 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.
From March 6 to 27, we are encouraging everyone to take part in 21 days of prayer and fasting. A CityLife Church prayer guide will be made available with prayer points and additional readings from the book of Nehemiah to complement our readings in Luke.
• Congregational Prayer Events.
All of our congregations will also be having a prayer or encounter meeting during the 21 days of prayer and fasting. Details available on the website for each site.
• 24 Hours of Prayer Each Day for a Week.
In the last week of our 21 days of prayer, we will be praying together as a church for 24 hours a day for seven days. To facilitate this, there will be an online prayer roster so you can sign up to pray for any hour of the day or night. You could even choose to do this as a Life Group!
• Prayer before and during church services.
There will also be opportunities for prayer and prayer ministry before, during and after our church services. So do come a little earlier to our church services to pray together.Follow Me
To start this journey of prayer and reflection with Jesus, let’s begin where the disciples began their walk with Jesus. The gospel of Luke gives two powerful accounts of Jesus calling his disciples to walk with him. Slowly and prayerfully read through these stories. Ask the Holy spirit to open the eyes of your imagination. Imagine you were there, and it is Jesus calling you to follow him.• Luke 5:1-11 … Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.• Luke 5:27–28 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Note how Jesus did not just say watch me, listen to me, or learn from me. He asked them to follow him. Simon, Andrew and Matthew then faced a radical life choice. What might have been going through their mind in the moments before they made that choice? There can be so many different emotions and thoughts that go through our hearts and minds when we consider the next step to God is asking us to take in our walk with him – surprise, weariness, concern about the practicalities of life, uncertainty? What have been your reactions to God’s call to walk with him? Our Christian Walk
The gospels give us concrete examples of the disciples walking with Jesus that can stimulate our imagination and inspire us to reflect on our own walk with Jesus. The teachings of Paul and John on our Christian walk can also help us find the wisdom, courage, strength, and faith we need to take our next step with him.Walking in the Spirit
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). In his letter to the Galatian church, Paul highlights how our walk with Jesus is a walk by the spirit. Taking another step to follow Jesus begins by being in Christ and having His spirit alive in us. We cannot do God’s will on our own limited capacities. We need the strength, wisdom and courage that comes from a life lived in the same spiritual power as Jesus (Romans 8:9-15).Walking in Love
Another principle of following Jesus is to walk in love. Paul talks about walking in the way love (Ephesians 5:2) When you’re not sure what to do, ask what is the most loving thing to do? Looking at a problem or opportunity from that point of view can be a very helpful guide rather than just “what about my career? my job? my reputation? my security, and my comfort?” Love is our highest priority (Romans 13:9-10)Walking in the Light
The apostle John describes our walk with Jesus as walking in the light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) That is really about being people of truth. Taking another step with Jesus requires us being honest with ourselves. It may require admitting a mistake, asking for God’s forgiveness and possibly the forgiveness of others. Not easy to do at times – walking with Jesus in every season can be costly. However, walking in the light is often a first step to walking in fullness of life with Jesus.Walking in Obedience
John also talks about walking in obedience to Christ’s commands (2 John 6). Jesus’ highest command is to love God and love one another. But there are times we need a bit more guidance on how to walk in loving obedience. To guide us on this journey, the bible provides so many real life stories and practical teachings that the Holy Spirit can help us apply to our life today. Jesus is the word of God made flesh (John 1:14). Walking with Jesus is walking in obedience to his word.Conclusion
Over this season of prayer and reflection leading into Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, our desire is to rebuild our spiritual rhythms of “walking with Jesus” personally and in community. So what step will you personally take this coming seven weeks to walk closer and more regularly with Jesus? What step will you take together as a Life Group?Discussion Questions
1. As two initial fun exercises for this study you could:
Think of as many benefits of a regular habit of walking as you can.
Discuss the benefits of walking compared to other forms of exercise like running or swimming or team sports.
2. Discuss why you think the authors of the New Testament used walking as a word picture for our relationship with God?
3. Read Luke 5:1-11 and 27-28. What have you felt or thought when faced with a choice to follow Jesus?
4. Read a selection of these scriptures and discuss what they say to you about walking with Jesus.
Walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16)
Walk in the love (Ephesians 5:2)
Walk in the light (1 John 1:7)
Walk in obedience (2 John 6)
5. What are some of the struggles you have had walking with Jesus?
6. What have you found helpful in guiding your walk with Jesus every day?
7. What step will you take in your walk with Jesus in the weeks ahead?