Posts Tagged Prayer

Return to your God

So what was Esau thinking when he went out with the men of his house- four hundred strong, to meet his twin? Was it score settling time, as Jacob feared?  Were they mounted on fast raiding camels, Lawrence of Arabia style?

They meet, embrace, weep.  Jacob eats humble pie, “My Lord, your servant,” “I see your face as the face of God.”  His gift in sheep, and goats, camels, cattle, and donkeys, is over the top. Esau is gracious, only accepting the gift after Jacob insists, offering to lead the way, or provide escorts.

Still, the bottom line remains. Esau goes south to Seir, and Jacob heads north-east to Succoth.

Bloodshed is averted, but a real home-coming, doesn’t happen.

We are left wondering about the rights and wrongs of the relationship because the writer of Genesis limits himself to recording, he doesn’t offer commentary.

Years later two of the Old Testament prophets do weigh in on the issue.

Malachi:

I have loved you, says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” Is not Esau Jacob’s brother? says the Lord. Yet I have loved Jacob  but I have hated Esau;(NIV)

Hosea:

 The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah;
he will punish Jacob  according to his ways
and repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;
as a man he struggled with God.
He struggled with the angel and overcame him;
he wept and begged for his favor.
He found him at Bethel
and talked with him there—
the LORD God Almighty,
the LORD is his name of renown!

But you must return to your God;
maintain love and justice,
and wait for your God always. (NIV)

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Unless you Bless Me

There are passages of scripture that remain obscure until we have walked through similar life experiences.  Some, we shrink back from, because the price tag is high.

I’ve been thinking of Jacob, now renamed Israel, limping away from the ford of Jabbok with the light of the morning sun on his face.

Surely the night before was one of the darkest of his life. After twenty years of running and scheming he had run out of dodges. His past had caught up with him.

Finally, he sent everyone and everything else ahead, and spent the night alone at the Camp of God.

I think of David’s cry to God,

“Who have I in heaven, and what is there on earth to take pleasure in, other than you?”

So Jacob says, to the one he has wrestled with all night, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

It is only later, in the clear light of day, that he gulps and says somewhat shakily- I have seen the face of God and been delivered.  Limping, but alive, and blessed.

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Our daily bread

After I finished the last post on Jacob, I was sitting quietly, just to listen, and the word that immediately popped into my mind was, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Yes, holding our Father’s name holy, and asking for his kingdom to come, and his will to be accomplished, come first in the Lord’s Prayer,

But then, there it is, the daily necessity of food for the body has it’s own plank in the prayer of prayers.

Fear not little flock, our Father knows we need these things and it is meet, right and our bounden duty, to ask them from his hand.

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A Psalm for today

One of the wonderful things about God’s Word, is the way God has engineered it to be case specific, spanning the comprehensiveness of the human condition.

Today I chanced on these.

A Psalm for those in Misrata,

Praise be to the LORD,

for he showed his wonderful love to me

when I was in a besieged city.

In my alarm I said,

“I am cut off from your sight!”

Yet you heard my cry for mercy

when I called to you for help.

Psalms 31 (NIV).

A Psalm for those in danger of Tsunami,

Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you

while you may be found;

surely when the mighty waters rise,

they will not reach him.

You are my hiding place;

you will protect me from trouble

and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32 (NIV)

File in case of need.

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When a foreigner prays. . .

I was watching the news last night and they briefly interviewed a lady from Benghazi, Those interviewing seemed dubious about the rebels capabilities. How did she expect them to succeed?  “Only God” she replied, “Only God.”

I thought about  King Solomon’s prayer that I have recently been reminded of. He entreated God to answer the prayer of the foreigners who would come to his newly dedicated temple.

When one appeals to the God of the Universe, he responds.

If those protesting in Libya are feel inadequate,  if the coalition making air strikes is confused about leadership and objectives, and if human lives are at stake- wouldn’t this be a good time to ask God for guidance?

If those battling nuclear meltdown are finding their technological skills taxed, wouldn’t this be a good time to ask God for help?

He, who is not restricted to temples made with hands, will surely answer.

Solomon’s prayer is still relevant.

“Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name —for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm—when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house,  then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you.

Not being Jewish, I am of course a foreigner, and I believe God answers.

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Light Ten Thousand Cell Phones

Watching video of the first minutes in Tahrir Square after the announcement of President Mubarak’s resignation my attention was caught by the multitude of glowing blue squares of cellphones and the like held high to record the moment.

Truly,  Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet, albeit abetted by good old fashioned landlines, helped release the genie from the bottle this time.

Amazing to sit here in snowy Canada and be given such a window on happenings half a world away.

While we wait for the day to dawn and the smoke of celebratory fireworks to clear, I pray that the one who is the light of the world and the sun risen with healing in his wings, would bless Egypt and uphold what is good.

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Don’t waste your time on the Soaps

I said something like that to a lady at the pool after mentioning that I was following the news from Egypt closely, and she said, “But at least we know the Soaps [soap operas] aren’t real.”  Yes, and therefore not something we expend effort praying about.

For the last 12 days I have been glued to the BBC live feed which is covering events in Egypt.  That is, I catch up on it multiple times through the day and have read it all. Momentous history in the making.   There’s a lot I don’t know and I can’t see the eventual fallout. I pray for justice to prevail.

The last two entries seemed significant:

  1. 1415: We’ve received a few of the following: TravellerW tweets: “Word of a Christian mass on Tahrir tomorrow sunday. I’ll be there, too, praying. Will you?”
  2. 1410: Ursula Lindsey, writing in the Arabist blog, draws attention to activists held by the secret police: “Many Egyptian human rights activists arrested in the last few days remain in detention… There are probably hundreds if not thousands of others that are also being detained, interrogated and tortured right now. Frightening as the attacks on foreign journalists have been, most of our colleagues have emerged relatively unscathed. It’s the Egyptians being rounded up by police and intelligence that I truly fear for.

Christians need to wake up and pray.

We make a big noise about democracy and freedom of speech in the West.  We need to put our prayers where our mouths are.

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