Again…only of interest to those who want to join us in prayer.
It occurs to me that there may be new readers who do not know what this is. Once, when reading an article on the web, I came across where someone had been told during a Near Death Experience that twenty people praying could stop a war. I later found a very similar statement by the founder of my church…implying that a group of people praying could do amazing things. So, I started a monthly group of people who all pray about a certain subject. The group is called Twenty For Prayer. To join, all you have to do is pray about the topic of the month for a few minutes, and then again whenever it comes to mind for the rest of the month.
This month, let’s pray about: Hope
In these times of constant broadcast of dark news, hope is something we all need. And, most of all, we need the kind of hope that is based on God’s Word, which we call faith.
In Hebrews, we read: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
This reminds me of the simple statement: Believing is seeing. If we believe, if we have hope, if we have faith…even when walking through the lion’s den of economic ruin or the fiery furnace of troubled times…then shall we see the good that God has in store for us.
Jesus’ words upon the cross are familiar to us all: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This hardly sounds like a cry for hope. Yet, one day, I realized that this was the first line of Psalm 22, a psalm Jesus was also familiar with, perhaps more so than us, since scriptures was a large part of his life. His quoting them on the cross is similar to if we expressed dismay by quoting a well known song.
So, I asked myself, what does this song say? If Jesus had had time to recite the whole psalm, where would have it led?
Psalm 22 begins in sorrow and describes many tribulations, including: “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” An experience very similar to what Jesus was experiencing. And yet, it is, ultimately, a psalm of hope. It promises us: “Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.” And it ends: “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.”
I cannot help wonder when I read this, was Jesus expressing doubt upon the cross? Or was he remembering the whole psalm…that the appearance of God’s forsaking us, even in the worst of times, is not true and leads – for those who have faith – to deliverance, even to the resurrection!
So, let us not lose hope, no matter what the news shows us, and let us pray for those who are currently suffering tribulations, that hope will be with them, too, and that faith will sustain them…until the substance of things hoped for becomes substantial!
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.
I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.
Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.
All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.