Category Archives: Prayer

Cut Off His Horns

Gadhafi, raising his horns. 2007. AP Photo

I chuckled when news reporters were caught on camera running from a conference room shaken during the East coast earthquake last month. But pictures of Hurricane Irene that followed of flooded homes and bridges ripped out, weren’t so funny.

Whenever we hear of the wickedness of a Gadhafi torturing his people or the arrogance of a Dawkins railing against heaven, we anticipate their fall. For that matter if anyone with the power of money or politics or fame starts acting like they are in control, we get upset.

The Lord in Psalm 75 promises to “cut off the horns” of the wicked who are acting like bulls in a barnyard. Because God holds firm the pillars of nature and society, imagine how silly our posturing looks to Him. He is the only one we can rely on when the earth or the nations quake.

We all act in pride or godlessness, living as though God is not there. The next time we personally forget His rule and need to confess our sin, let’s include the pastors, missionaries and other leaders we know in our prayer. Grace to face challenges God only gives to the humble and thankful.


Pain in Prime Time

Prime Time for Next Generation

Spring planting is done and Indiana corn is knee-high. Kids out of school are splashing in the pool and hanging out in the park. The 4th of July fireworks went off. Here in the Midwest it definitely feels like it’s time to go camping, tour Gettysburg or see the Rockies.

Many Europeans are also preparing to leave their hot cities for several weeks in July or August. Russians like to send their kids to live with grandma and grandpa in rustic cabins where the main activity is reading or raising vegetables in a small garden plot.

But for our Polish friends near Wroclaw, July is prime time for the ministry of the gospel. Summer camps use Christian volunteers to teach English, play sports and hike in the forest. Dozens hear the gospel from counselors who love the Lord. Then 5000 young people attend the annual SLOT art festival on the grounds of a beautiful old monastery: 8 days for music, art, and current events to ferment with the gospel.

Then last week the sound of a stumble, a crack and a scream interrupted counselor training for 15 guests in the leader’s home. Julie tripped over a mattress and shattered her elbow against the wall. Hours later she awoke in a hospital bed with her arm suspended over her head in traction. Her X-rays are mostly promising – the broken bones and chips seem to be growing back together. But I doubt surgery and a cast were in her family’s plans for the summer.

We rarely get to know whether the personal pain we endure is part of the suffering we share with Christ for the sake of His final glory or is an echo of the groaning our entire planet is subject to until the Lord returns and restores creation. Until His return we pray for every effort to move the gospel out to the nations will find listening hearts. And we pray that these special servants can find special moments of rest that will restore their souls for the harvest that is ripening right now in Eurasia!

Mary’s Test

Mary's response

In the gospel of Luke, Gabriel greets Mary and says, “You are highly favored and the LORD is with you.” … Highly favored? Full of grace! Me?

This was the deciding event of Mary’s life. Luke had already described how Mary’s relative, Zechariah, a respected priest of Judah, had failed a personal test of faith meeting an angel in the temple.

Usually we have time to prepare for an exam. But the final exams of life – “You have a son,” Dad, I think he is the one!,” “It’s cancer” — burst in with no warning. No more preparation, no phone calls, no Bible dictionaries!

Am I ready for Mary’s test?

“You are an angel and God sent you to talk to ME!? I suppose that means I AM really important to rate an announcement by angel! Did you just say that I am favored by the God of the Universe? Me! Whoa! About time someone noticed how awesome I am. God’s grace is on ME!”

Grade on my exam: F!

Mary is troubled. Mary wonders. Mary asks, “How will this be?” Reverence, submission, courage and faith are present in her response. How did heaven mark Mary’s test? A+!

Reflection for Mary is a life habit. In her next big moment, Mary responds with worship to God after her much elder relative praises her. Clearly the thoughts that filled the mind of this young woman while travelling from Nazareth to Elizabeth’s village in Judea were reverence and faith, submission and courage.

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  Luke 2:19

Note: This sketch reveals the truth that the only dignity we sinners have left is humble rapture before the face of our Savior’s overwhelming grace. My thanks to the artist for depicting grace like Da Vinci could sketch and for preserving worshipful posture and light as did iconographers from the Orthodox tradition. I’d prefer giving the artist credit deserved, but their name was not connected to the digital file I received by email.

Even the “Perfect” Ruler Needs Prayer

Until Jesus comes how can a godly “subject” serve the ruler he has? Psalm 72 is Solomon’s prayer that he might become the “perfect” king.

At the start of his reign God was Solomon’s standard for righteousness. He prayed for wisdom to judge his people. Israel was at peace with the surrounding nations and was prospering in the “Pax Davida”. But Solomon squandered that great heritage as he grew older. His son Rehoboam inherited rebellion at home and war abroad.

Whether our ruler is righteous or our nation is prosperous, God instructs us to live righteously, respect our leaders and pray for them. Our duty to serve doesn’t change whether Washington, Lincoln, Putin, or King George III is our ruler. Nor does the responsibility to honor them change even when we oppose them.

Join me this month to pray confidently “in Jesus’ name” for President Obama and the rulers of our brother Christians.

·   Ruler’s character lines up with God’s righteous standard.

·   Wisdom to judge impartially and make good decisions.

·   Avoids shedding innocent blood either at home or abroad. “… precious is their blood in his sight”. Psa. 72.14

·   Nation’s work to be productive and not wasted.

* Afflicted or needy (orphans, widows, strangers) get help