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Silent prayer

Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. – 1 Samuel 1:13 (NKJV)

Nowadays, you need to be verbose in prayer for people to realize how much you are suffering. If you remain calm, not talking much about your afflictions, then either you have no problems or you are not suffering enough.

Especially with the latest motivational self-help books asking you to “speak your heart out, tell exactly how you feel, don’t let the emotions remain in your heart”, many Christians are taking this route. Yes, when we tell others aloud about our problems, we feel as if the burden has reduced. But, it is what we feel. In truth, nothing has changed. It is sad that more Christians seek a temporary relief for their problems, when the Prince of peace is waiting to give a permanent solution.

In today’s world, if you even have a headache, you need to post in Facebook; you need to send a tweet about how bad  you are feeling; and of course, a photograph on Instagram is a must so that others understand your pain. Then you need to monitor to see how many likes and comments you get, and who gave the first like, and who took time to comment… It is really sad that a generation is wasting their life, instead of spending their time in prayer.

One of the verses about prayers in the Bible is written about Hannah. It says that despite all her sorrows, only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Yet, later she tells Eli that she had poured out her heart before the Lord (v.15). Yes, we can pour our hearts before the Lord without our voices being heard.

This is what our Lord Jesus Christ taught us about prayer. If we read the Sermon of the Mount, in the segment where He deals with prayer, Jesus says to pray in secret so that our Father Who sees in secret will reward us (Matthew 6:6). May the Spirit of God help us to internalize our feelings and pour it out in secret to our loving Father, so that we may receive the rewards He has for us. Amen.

Mt6.6

Whose fault is it?

On November 8th, 2016, we had a praise and worship service at our church. After finishing it, as we entered our home, there was a phone call from one of believers, asking us to check the breaking news of the day. On turning TV, we found that the prime minister of India had made the leading currencies of the Indian economy were invalid from midnight. While many people thought that it was a bold move, I was convinced in my spirit that it was a foolish move which would make many innocent people suffer.

But there are times where we know we are right, but wish we are not. The innocent people are not just suffering, there are many people who died; some because they lost all hopes and committed suicide and others, because they suffered cardiac arrest.

Recently, there was a news about a farmer whose crops were hit hard by drought and he needed some money to save the crops. He went to the bank to mortgage some family jewels, but the bank told him that they did not have enough currency to give him as there is a shortage of the new currency. They asked him to come the next day and, with hope, the farmer came to the bank next day. But the situation had not changed, the bank still did not have any currency notes to give him. He suffered a massive cardiac arrest and died right there inside the bank. His family is struggling now, not knowing what to do.whose-fault

On Wednesday, we were praying in our church and the prayer leader mentioned this incident and asked us: whose fault is it? Some believers said, it was the prime minister’s and others said, it was the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s fault. As I started to pray for all those innocent people, suddenly the Spirit of God moved my heart and asked me the same question: whose fault is it? When I tried to blame the prime minister and the RBI, the Holy Spirit kept asking me that question again and again… till I was broken and realized that it was my fault.

Yes, it was my fault. It is my fault.

I am a Christian. I have a duty to pray for my country. I have a duty to pray for my fellow citizens. I may not agree with what they are doing; I may dislike the rulers of the country. But I am a Christian. Above everything else, I have tasted the love of God for the fallen mankind.

Though I knew that this demonetization move would bring sufferings to innocent people, I failed to pray for them. I failed to bend my knees, bow down before the Almighty God to seek His intervention. I failed to humble myself before the Lord Jesus Christ and with humility, seek His mercy towards my country. Yes, it is my fault.

Oh Lord our Father in heaven, please forgive me for this sin. Through Your Son Jesus Christ, I seek Your forgiveness for failing to do my duty. Please wash away this guilty conscience and may Your Spirit enable me to come into Your holy presence, to plead for those who are suffering. In Jesus’s Name, I ask. Amen.

7. Word of Rest

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. – Luke 23:46

Luke 23.46

This is the seventh and the last of the utterances of our Saviour Jesus Christ from the Cross and it is the Word of Rest.

Just like God created the world and its order and finished everything on the Sixth day, Jesus said “It is finished!” as His sixth utterance from the Cross. And God rested on the Seventh day. And the seventh utterance of Jesus is a Word of rest.

Before “It is finished!”, the cry of the Lord is, “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?” After it is finished, it is “Father”. Yes, dear friend, Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Law and has paid the price in full. Before it was “our God”; before we felt as if He has forsaken us. Not anymore, because God, Who is the Father of Jesus Christ, is also our Father in heaven.

Before “It is finished!”, Jesus felt as if the hands of Father had let Him down. But, once it is done, it is into those same hands, Jesus commits His spirit. We can rest knowing that the eternal God is our Refuge and underneath are His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Underneath

Before “It is finished!”, Jesus asked His Father, “Why have You forsaken Me?”. But now, He says, “I commit My spirit.” Dear friend, commit your life to our Father now. Commit your future to Him. Commit your everything to Him. As Paul said, we know Whom we have believed. Believe in our Father Who gave His only Son for us. May that faith bring rest unto our life. Amen.

1. Voice of Forgiveness

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” – Luke 23:34

Luke 23.34

The first of the seven utterances of our LORD Jesus Christ, when He was on the Cross. We are told to forgive others, because Jesus forgave those who crucified Him. But, Jesus did not forgive them, He prayed for their forgiveness.

On numerous accounts, we see in the Gospels, Jesus forgiving the sins of many sinners. Matthew 9.6When the  Scribes questioned His authority to forgive sins, Jesus clearly tells them that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). So, why didn’t He forgive the sins of those who crucified Him? Jesus could have simply said, “I forgive you, for you do not know what you do.” Instead, He prays to Father to forgive them.

There could be many reasons for this. But one of the reasons, IMHO, could be that Jesus is setting an example for what He preached in Matthew 5:44-45.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

In His infinite wisdom, our Lord knows that there will be certain offenses against us, that no matter how much we want to forgive those who offended us, we will not be able to. There will be certain bitterness remaining in our hearts. So, Jesus instructs us to pray for their forgiveness. As a Man, it would have been very difficult for Jesus to forgive those who were crucifying Him. So, He prays to His Father to forgive them. Yes, He is a High Priest Who understands our weaknesses.

Dear friend, there may be some who have hurt you so much, that your life has become bitter. You have tried your best to forgive them, but it is of no use. So, now is the example that the Saviour has set before us. Let us pray for them. Let us ask the Father our God to forgive them. If He forgives them, then He will surely pour His abundant grace into our hearts, that we will be able to forgive too.

matthew_5.44-45

El Roi – God Who saw Hagar

Gen 16:13  Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”

Hagar was Sarah’s maid and she never became anything else. Moreover, she despised Sarah and was dealt harshly because of that. To make things worse, Hagar ran away from her mistress.

It was a grave error during those times, to run away from your master or mistress. Yet, it did not stop Hagar from running away.

Yet the LORD’s eyes saw her. Saw Hagar, who was a maid, a slave who despised her mistress and was running away from Sarah. Yet the LORD saw her. He saw her during the worst time in her life.

There are times in my life, where my behaviour was not at its best. When was supposed to be grateful, I behaved as if they were destined to help me out. And I had been to my shares of wilderness and loneliness. And, unfortunately, I had been preached that the LORD covers His face from sinners like me.

But at the worst times in my life, I have seen the presence of the LORD. I have seen His face, just like Peter saw the face of the LORD after denying Him three times (Luke 22:61-62)

Why would the LORD look at me during those times? Unworthy as I am, it was hard for me to understand till I realized, I am His child. It was not by who I am, but because of His Son and my LORD Jesus Christ. And I now know that the LORD Who saw a maid in the wilderness is gracious and merciful and He will surely sees all His children.

Yes, dear friend, the  LORD sees you. Probably you are struggling with sin at this moment, but the LORD sees you. You may be struggling with people who are dealing harshly with you – and it may be even your fault, but El Roi is seeing with compassion at this very moment.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15) So cry out to Him. Let us cry out to our Abba, to our Father. Now. At this moment. For our Father, our Abba is El Roi – God Who sees us. With compassion and love.
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