Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pray with Me

Our Bible Study ended for this season. After completing studies in Daniel, Ruth, Esther and Deuteronomy, I am finding many of the themes we focused on to be relevant to current situations.  Concern for our nation and the upcoming elections has progressed from a mild "wait and see"to an acute "where are you, God?"!  Feeling helpless, I invited some great prayer warrior friends together every Friday afternoon for an hour of petition.  It is something I can do when it looks like our nation is begging for change, no matter at what cost.

Daniel becomes my example of praying for a nation in captivity. He starts with confession of sins and crying out for mercy.  Daniel understood the time he was in according to prophetic word and God's promise of restoration, and he fervently prayed for God's will to be done. Here is an excerpt of a prayer of Daniel's from Daniel 9:
17 “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary.
18 “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.
19 “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”

Esther shows me a woman, brave and courageous, in a time when God's people are facing threat of life.  Her God-given assignment sends her to the king's presence where she may or may not be welcomed, to plead for the life of her people. Some of us may have life and death assignments in such a time as this or in whatever lies ahead. Lord, keep me close and my ear fine-tuned to your voice so I don't miss my part in your Kingdom's advancement here on earth.

The entire book of Deuteronomy is Moses' last address to a people about to enter into their inheritance.  He reiterates, almost to boredom degree, that they need to obey the Lord their God, refuse to follow the gods and idols of the nations they will live among and hold fast to all they have been taught. Based on their past history, Moses had little confidence in their ability to do this, but he lays out very clearly the blessings that will be theirs if they will listen and the curses that are just as certain to overtake them if they disobey.  What a sobering study for us as we recognize our own idol pursuing tendencies and the prone-to-wonder-from-our-God inclinations in a time of comfort and conveniences.

As we began our prayer sessions we focused on specific results we wanted to see---a God-fearing leader for this nation, preservation of freedoms we hold dear, revival in the land...I've sensed a turn in our emphasis lately, God-inspired, I believe, to confessing our own sins and praying for the church in our nation to be faithful, saturated with God's Word, teaching our youth how to be Kingdom focused, and asking for God to bring revival in the church and country.  We aren't promised an earthly God-fearing government.  But our heavenly Kingdom is secure and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Prayer changes things, definitely, and maybe the change most needed is in our hearts. 

I will continue to pray for God's will to be done in our nation as it's done in heaven.   Why God doesn't seem to be answering my specific requests, when in fact, the opposite is happening and godlessness is rampant, I don't know.  But my heart is confident in His sovereignty and I can speak of His goodness every day.  We serve a faithful God who has a plan for you, for me and for all nations of the world.  Will you join me today in prayer and making the following verses our practice?

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. Phil. 2:14-16.

Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.  Daniel 12:3

More to come on Deuteronomy...

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Thanks for sharing your response!