We will visit the topic of prayer several times in this study. Today, let’s start with three prayers from people who rejoiced at the news of the baby Messiah. Take your time with this post, reading the prayers several times.
First, there is a poetic prayer from Mary, Jesus’ mother:
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
(Luke 1:46-55 ESV)
Next, the priest Zechariah praised God for the birth of his son John the Baptist, who would pave the way for Jesus:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham,
to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:68-79)
Third, Simeon, who met the infant Jesus and his parents in the temple, praised God for his fulfilled promises to all people.
Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel. (Luke 2:29-52)
These three prayers show us several of the main themes in Luke.
• Mary’s prayer vividly describes a great reversal that exalts the humble and brings down the mighty. Jesus would not be the Messiah everyone was expecting.
• Zechariah said Jesus would show God’s mercy and fulfill God’s promises.
• Simeon called Jesus “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” Jesus did not come to bring salvation to the Jews exclusively.
Think about your life and your need for peace. Which of these themes is especially relevant to you today?
• A great reversal in the status quo
• An unexpected, surprising Messiah
• The faithful merciful God
• Light that brings knowledge and joy to those who are living in darkness
Next, read about the background of this Gospel here.