Today’s post is somewhat awkward. Typically prayer and conversation with God is extremely personal to me. I am not prone to share those a times but I feel he is leading me to share a bit about my time with Him, so here goes:
As I was talking to The Lord this morning praying for concerns and needs among my family, friends and church, there was an unusual change in the direction and tone of my prayer. I had prayed for health and healing, and some more specific individual needs and for wisdom and understanding for myself and those for whom I was praying. As I continued, I began to pray about things going on in the world. There is so much need, so many people hurting and more than our share of violence and atrocities all around! I began to feel an urgency to pray for an awakening in the church, for renewal, and for revival. Once again the phrase, “arise oh sleeper” from Ephesians 5:14 came to mind. prompted by the Holy Spirit? Perhaps, probably.
As I began praying for the Church around the world. I felt prompted to intercede because The Lord called those in the church to be in the world but not of the world. Many times in our culture it has become hard to tell the difference because there is a tendency to fit in rather than stand out. As I prayed, I felt as if The Lord, Himself was guiding the direction of the prayer by bringing to mind certain scriptures. There was an urgency to pray for a great move of the Holy Spirit, a renewal of loving as Jesus loved. I also felt Spirit prompted to pray that individuals and the church worldwide would learn that it is not our job to accuse, condemn and judge each other whether inside or outside the Body of Christ because according to Revelation 12: 10, Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Instead, may those of us who belong to Jesus respond as Jesus would respond, with love, mercy and grace.
A prime example is found John 8. The experts in the law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. Scripture clearly says that their purpose was to set a trap for Jesus. Jesus’ response: “Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger. 7 When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight and replied, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground. 9 Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones, until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up straight and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
John 10:10 tells us that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy…but Jesus came to bring life! abundant and full. Being critical, accusing and being judgemental throws up barriers, brings out defensiveness. Paul teaches us this in Ephesians 4:14-16 (HCSB):
“14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.”
The wisdom of Solomon teaches us this in Proverbs 16:5-7 (NET):
5 The Lord abhors every arrogant person;
rest assured that they will not go unpunished.
6 Through loyal love and truth iniquity is appeased;
through fearing the Lord one avoids evil.
7 When a person’s ways are pleasing to the Lord,
he even reconciles his enemies to himself.
Oh Heavenly Father, may there be a great renewal of Your love flow through this world. May your Spirit be poured out and the Fruit of the Spirit flow fully in Your people!! May renewal come, may Your children love others following the example of Jesus! Lord, please fill Your church with Your love, mercy and grace like never before in ever-increasing waves until the whole world has been covered and all have had a chance to experience the greatest and truest form of love ever known!
1 Peter 1:21-23
Living Bible (TLB)
21 Because of this, your trust can be in God who raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory. Now your faith and hope can rest in Him alone. 22 Now you can have real love for everyone because your souls have been cleansed from selfishness and hatred when you trusted Christ to save you; so see to it that you really do love each other warmly, with all your hearts.
*bold words, author’s emphasis