Monthly Prayer Focus – Go South to the Road
Go South to the Road If you’ve ever hiked on a trail through the woods at some point you would usually come to the conclusion that if that trail wasn’t there, you’d never find your way back. I had an experience like that, but with no trail! Several years ago in Virginia, I learned a little about orienteering. Orienteering is using a map and a compass to find your way from point A to point B, no trail. I decided I was going to try this since of course I had very little experience and had never actually practiced it. Oh, and did I mention I was by myself. Makes sense, right! Uhhhh…to my defense, I was in a park with houses not too far away. I couldn’t have gotten too far without running into humanity.
So, there I was in the parking lot, not a soul around, snow on the ground, and my map and compass in hand. I laid my map flat, oriented my compass, and took off. I made it to the river and couldn’t cross so I decided to head back. At first, I thought about just following my snowy footprints back, but I decided against it. I oriented my compass again and headed back. As I walked back, I kept feeling like I needed to go a different direction. The compass said I need to continue in the direction I was going, but as I looked around, I tried to gage where I was and where I thought I needed to go. And the two were very different. There were many times that I wanted to just ignore the compass because surely I knew better! But I continued on in the way of the compass. At one point I stopped in the middle of the trees, nervous and a little scared. I was truly worried that I might actually be lost. Nothing seemed right. Should I go the way I feel I should go or should I continue to follow the compass? I followed the compass and guess what! I walked right back into the middle of the parking lot. It was amazing!
I tell this story for two reasons. One, to remind us that God has a path, a plan for our lives, and the only way to walk on that path, to be in His will for your life is to follow Him, in the same way I had to follow the compass to get me to where I needed to go. If I chose to follow the compass some of the way and my feelings the other part, I would have been lost. The second reason is this: Go south to the road. God will lead us in ways that serve and glorify Him. However, we have to trust Him and where He is leading us even if it doesn’t make sense. When I was following the compass, all of my senses wanted to turn a different direction. The direction the compass was leading didn’t make sense to me. But I had to trust it. When the angel of the Lord told Philip to rise and go south from Jerusalem to Gaza, I’m sure he wondered, Where are you leading me, Lord? This doesn’t make sense! It’s a desert place! But Philip followed where God was leading even though it may have sounded strange, and trusted who God was—His character— knowing He would only lead Philip into the good and glory of the Lord! And look what happened! The eunuch was saved!
¬ Where is the Lord leading you during this season in your life?
¬ In what situation, even if it doesn’t make sense, is He asking you to trust Him?
Monthly Prayer Focus for August– Praying for the Lost: Part 3 of 3
Part 3: Faith – Matt. 17:20-21
“He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Faith embodies every single part of our Christian walk. As Hebrews tells us, without faith it’s impossible to please God. As we journey on this path to become the person God has created us to be, we have to stop and truly meditate on the words God has ordained and anointed as His Holy Word. This story, this Gospel story, is one of redemption for those who are in chains, eternal life for those are broken, heaven for those who are hopeless, and salvation for those who are lost. That is our story. If you are a Christian, that is your story and mine. And it can be someone else’s if we allow this gift of faith to be opened and set free.
The mustard seed was the smallest of all seeds sow by first-century farmers. The seed’s tiny size compared to what it becomes, a 12 foot tree, is an enormous gap. If only we would begin to explore the power given us when we settle into His arms of faith then just think about what the kingdom of God would look like! All of those things—the fears, the barriers, the apathy—that keep us from stepping out—to say a word of hope in the name of Jesus, to lend a hand, to pray earnestly, to give generously, to risk the unknown, to live uncomfortably, to look different—all of it would be washed away in the cleansing, living water of our Lord and Savior. We will then be bold in our faith and speak the Truth to others for the salvation of lost souls. A commentary on this Matthew 17 passage at biblegateway.com says this on faith: “Faith means willingness to go where God leads, not power to avert all unpleasant circumstances. We mature as the Lord leads us through hard tests for his name’s sake, forcing us to actively trust his provision and power.”
In part one of Praying for the Lost, we learned that Satan has power in this world and can blind people to God’s glory. We need be aware of this blinding and pray for the lost. In part two, we learned that God’s ultimate mission is to seek and save the lost through redemptive love. We need to ask God for the heart of Jesus and love the lost. And lastly, but not least, we need to take our mustard-seed faith and be bold in speaking Truth to the lost. All of these combined are a recipe for living a life in the footsteps of Jesus and bringing a lost world to His saving grace!
Monthly Prayer Focus for June– Praying for the Lost: Part 2 of 3
Part 2: Love – John 3:16; Luke 19:10, respectively
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Not only should the fact that Satan has blinded the eyes of the lost compel us to pray with more diligence, but the second factor that should cause our hearts to ache over the lost is our love for them. It was God’s love for mankind that began this redemptive story…and finished it. There is nothing greater in this world than bestowing Christ’s love to another. Jesus’ entire purpose was to bring salvation to a lost world, with overflowing love at the root of it all. God’s love is just and righteous and holy. It is also compassionate and merciful and full of grace. He looks beyond the heart of stone and bequeaths a heart of flesh to all who call upon his name unto salvation. The love Christ has given us, the love that has transformed our hearts, is the same love He asks us to lavish on a world that is dying.
In an article in Christianity Today (click here for the article), the author speaks on loving the lost. He believes that “The true test of our maturity is not measured in how much we leave behind, but how much we love.” As we grow and mature in our relationship with Christ, we desire what Christ desires. And Christ desires to seek and to save that which is lost. His love is immeasurable. His love is beautiful. His love sees beyond. As we consider His glorious and grace-filled love for us…in our weaknesses, in our failures, in our continued struggles…how can we not grant that same love to another who is lost and searching? Let us come before the Lord and ask Him to help us first, surrender to that beautiful love in our own walk with Him, and second, to give us a heart that will love the lost like never before.
Monthly Prayer Focus for May– Praying for the Lost: Part 1 of 3
Part 1: Blinded – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
“If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” (NLT)
I love this passage taken from the New Living Translation because it states so clearly that the god of this age, Satan, has blinded the mind of those who don’t believe! They are in darkness. Satan has a stronghold on their life…and that was once us! But wait, there’s more! The passage doesn’t stop there and neither should we! God doesn’t stay in the tomb; He is risen! Darkness and unbelief does not have to be the end! Jesus is the Light of world and as believers He has given that light to us. Jesus shines in our hearts so that we may shine His light into the lives of others.
And the first stop…prayer! God moves when His children pray! Don’t think that your little prayer isn’t good enough, doesn’t have the right words put together in the right way, or isn’t worth mentioning to the God of this Universe! That’s exactly why we need to pray! He is the God and Father of all. He is the one who has the power to move mountains. And He is the one who will turn darkness in to light…because of He is faithful!
Jesus has asked us to work alongside Him. Don’t you want to be a part of that!? Don’t you want to partner with Him in the eternal transformation of someone’s life? Yes!
Then let us pray for the lost! Let us pray that darkness flees in name of Jesus Christ! That deaf ears will hear the whispers of Jesus’ voice. And that blind eyes are opened to “the glorious light of the Good News.” Let us pray!