“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV).
Prayer can do amazing things. Once there was a certain church that went through an acrimonious split. Before it was a growing church with flourishing ministries spread across the city. But somewhere some members decided to walk out due to some issues, and the Pastor was forced to resign. This led many others who preferred the Pastor to storm out too. Before long the church had split into three congregations!
When people have been meeting regularly to fellowship they become like a family. A church split can be as devastating as a biological family that breaks up with brothers and sisters walking separate ways. It is a time of turmoil.
But just as the church was going through this turmoil, the elders did an amazing thing. They decided to set aside a time for prayer. For some months members were asked to drop by the church after work and participate in communal prayers. The elders encouraged fasting, just as well, during the day.
As members met, repented and cried out to the Lord, this church was restored. The Lord led it miraculously to find a new Pastor; within no time he had turned it around into one of the fastest growing churches in the city. Of this success one elder later said, “we felt the split was the time to drop everything and turn to the Lord. This is how our church was saved.”
Once there was a time when “the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem” (1 Chronicles 21:14). However, the Lord had mercy upon Israel, because of the prayers of his servant David and the elders. “But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand” (vv 15).
In the midst of any turmoil, personal or national, the battle cry for all believers is to get out, fall on their knees, and cry out to the living God for mercy.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I fall facedown and cry out to you that through your mercy you restore anything amiss, this I pray in the Lord Jesus’s name!
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!