JANUARY 23, 2017
Sometimes I think the hardest part of being a Christian is acknowledging the fact that there are many of those we hold deeply in our hearts do not profess the same convictions that we do. They do not recognize Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; they may not even acknowledge God. It might be parents, siblings, nieces, nephews or friends and neighbors. No matter, whoever that person is, as a Christian it causes me pain, anxiety, and fear.
Fear, yes. As a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, many in my life fit into the non-Christian category. And it causes me pain but mostly it makes me very fearful. I know where I will be when I leave this life, and that thought gives me great pleasure. But I also know it is only by the grace of my Father and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that I have been given that opportunity. It was given to me as a choice, and I took it, I chose it.
I also know at the day of judgment EVERY KNEE shall bow and EVERY TONGUE shall confess.
Isaiah 45:22-23 Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me, every tongue will swear.
Philippians 2:10-11…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
When I read these scriptures, I see the one I hold dear with a hand on the back of their neck being forced to kneel and to bow – reluctant even at that moment. My heart breaks and I know it breaks the heart of my Father that it has to be done. Will we watch in horror emitting cries of anguish as those we have loved and cherished on this earth will be turned away? It is a vision that puts me to my knees.
Faithful to the Call to PrayMaybe that is a good thing, that I see that, that I feel that now while I am still here on the earth. My mother lived until she was almost ninety-nine. The last few years she experienced dementia. Up until that time she prayed that God would take her home, we (her children) all said God needed her here to pray for all of us. And pray she did constantly without ceasing. I often wonder in her years of dementia if she still prayed, I believe that sense was so strongly seated within her spirit that she did. I know her intercessory prayers helped led me to where I am now. She stood in the “gap” for me.
Ezekiel 22:30 I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and standing the gap before me for the land so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.
No one, not one. Was I called to be that one and I ignored that call? Did I choose to turn away and not see another destined for death? Was I too embarrassed, too cowardly, too afraid of offending them? That thought makes me cry and grips me with fear. We are called to stand in the gap- to intercede for people – to pray for them. I believe without a doubt we are called to do just that.
This scripture gives me comfort, I know without a doubt that prayer is strong, very powerful.
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. – John 14: 13-14
WOW, do I have that kind of faith. I pray I do, and I pray that I can through my prayers help to change the lives of those I love and maybe those we especially do not like but need our prayer. Or maybe it is someone we have never met or never will meet. Until that one day in eternity, someone comes up to us and says “you don’t know me, but do you remember…”
Being Open to Opportunities to Pray
A close friend and sister in Christ loves to dumpster dive. She was on vacation in another city – another state and was looking into a dumpster when she spotted a pack of greeting cards. They had been tossed but were all written by the same person. My friend re-purposes cards and therefore excitedly snatched them from their demise. Her heart was touched by the written phrases in the cards. It has been put on her heart to pray for the young woman who had written them. Is this mystery woman currently a Christian? My friend has no clue and of course, knows nothing really about her except her first name. But God knows her and knows she needs my friend to pray for her. How cool is that?
Every Sunday at the end of our church service we close with the whole congregation singing the chorus of Lead Me Lord.
Lead me Lord,
I will follow.
Lead me Lord I will go.
You have called me, I will answer.
Lead me Lord, I will go.
We can sing it, say it, pray it; but we must choose to do it.
Does that mean we stand on the street corner and shout the Gospel, how good it would be if that were effective, we know it usually is not? Past experience has certainly taught me that I can preach and talk until I am blue in the face. I know my words fall on deaf ears. In fact, if I continue not only will it not be heard but those I am trying to convince will only be stronger in their convictions against God and Jesus Christ. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
Therefore I am left only with prayer and the showing of how I live my life. Hoping I will let the light of Christ shine through me by my actions, not my preaching. That leaves me with 3 actions:
- If the word has been given – it is there. It may only be a tiny seed but that small seed can be nurtured and cultivated – not by me, that is up to God. It is amazing to see how God sets people and circumstances into lives. At just the right time and the right place.
- Give my loved one over to God. This for me is the most challenging part because I MUST leave them in his hands and ask for whatever it takes to soften their hearts, open their eyes and free their minds. Realizing that might not be pretty. I have to TRUST. God knows the plans; we have to pray into His plans.
- Ask. God knows what is in our hearts, but He wants us to ask for it. Pray without ceasing
Joining Together in PrayerPray and trust, pray and trust, pray and trust. That is all I can do, and as a Christian that is what I must do, it is my duty. I know God hears my prayer and I know he answers them. I just have to be patient and wait; I may not live to see the answers because his timing is not my timing. But I KNOW the prayer will be answered.
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9
I have a friend that prays with me on Monday morning at 6:30 am. We pray for a specific people and specific results; with hopes of bringing that person to Christ. We are not in the same place, but I know we are praying together. When Gods put something or someone on your heart, don’t turn it away, find a prayer partner; someone who knows the person and the situation. Ask them to pray with you; set a specific day and time that works for both of you and then DO IT. Then watch God at work.
THERE IS POWER IN PRAYER!