Devotionals for Week 2
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph.1:18-21)
This is a pretty heavy prayer to pray because it points to the fact that the same unfathomable power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in the believer. Isn’t that incredible! As good as we are at dealing with sickness, we cannot raise the dead. But God can and did, and wants us to understand that that same power lives in us. That’s why it is good for us to pray like Apostle Paul did for the Free Methodist Church in Canada. The more we understand the power we have in Jesus the more we will be willing to tackle “the impossible”. For example, that impossible addiction, or that bad character trait, or the anxious way we live, or the bitterness towards someone, or the brokenness of those around us, or the intimidation we feel about something God is calling us to. I believe average Christians live below what God wants to do in them because they either don’t want more or they don’t believe there is more for them. In the Apostle Paul’s day there were some saying that because they were under grace now, they should just put up with sin in their lives till they get to heaven. But this is his answer to them:
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
During these 40 days I am especially praying that God will open our eyes to understand all that we have in Jesus, so that we will rise up and take hold of it and apply that power to our personal lives and become the blessing to the world God intends us to be. As we ask ourselves these days what we can do to be of help in this crisis, I believe the best thing we can do is to be filled with the Spirit. Then, as a renewed movement, we will be able to be like Jesus: \“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Ac.10:38
Pastor Ken Roth, Ottawa ON
What Happened When I Started Praying for Revival?
“We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.” – G. Campbell Morgan
“So, confess your sins to one another. Pray for one another so that you might be healed. The prayer of a godly person is powerful. Things happen because of it.” – James 5:16
Almost 4 years ago a friend sent me an email asking if I would join him and a few others to start praying for revival. Each of us belong to 4 different denominations with differing views of what the word “revival” means. We all agreed it was a good idea to start and so for the past 4 years we have been meeting twice a month to pray for revival in our lives, in our denominations, and in Canada. Here is a quick snapshot of what has happened ever since I started praying for revival: <
I have a deep support network. My friends pray for me regularly outside of our organized prayer times. They listen to God on my behalf. They frequently text me to share what they are hearing and to ask how to pray. I offer the same. This has been life changing.
I am known to others. Walking through life’s ups and downs for 4 years has made it possible to know each other deeply. This group is a safe circle in which I am free to open up my soul and confess things I can scarcely tell myself!
I have a deeper connection to God. By drawing each other into God’s presence, by keeping watching over one another and sharing each other’s burdens, by knowing and looking for the way that God is present in the everydayness of life I have grown more deeply connected to God. Staying disciplined in our commitment to pray has brought healing to areas of our lives that would not have been possible without consistency.
I still don’t know what God’s plans are for us as a denomination. I do know that praying for revival consistently and passionately is not a way to force God’s hand. This is a pagan way to view God and is not something that Christians hold to. I believe we need to keep our sails open to the winds of heaven and trust where He takes us. I also believe that there are plenty of ways we can join God’s work in our neighbourhoods while we wait for His response.
As we think about gathering for General Conference in 2021 (whatever shape that will eventually take) and as the prayer team asks us to join them in praying for revival I wanted to encourage you to consider joining. I know that I am grateful that I accept the invitation to pray like this. I am confident that your life will be changed for the better by saying “YES” to whatever God wants to do in your life.
Jared Siebert, Saskatoon SK
Into His Presence in Tears
“…Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her, and he said, “Don’t cry.” (Luke 7:11-13 NIV)
Reading this passage, the other day brought a lump to my throat. I have read it many times before, but this day the compassion of our dear Saviour registered with me. “Don’t cry,” He says, “When troubles hit you, I’m here. And if you do cry, that’s okay, too, because I understand.” Those two words, “Don’t cry,” carry so much meaning, and tell us how much He loves us and empathizes with all the ups and downs of life we face here on earth. But still, He’s there saying, “Don’t cry.”May we always remember he’s waiting for us to come to Him. His compassion never changes. How privileged we are to be able to go directly to the source of all comfort and know that He is aware of all that concerns us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may we never forget your love and concern for each of us. We are eternally grateful that we can come into your presence through our tears. We offer praise and thanks to you for this truth.
Mary Haskett, Ottawa ON
2 Chronicles 7:14 If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
How many times did God forgive their sin and heal their land when they repented and sought Him? No,
Matthew 21: And He ( Jesus) said to them, “It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you have made it a “den of thieves”
What have we made it? A place of pride, power struggles, petty grievances? When we pray in our group for someone else do we share more of their sin or problem then is really necessary to ask for Gods leading and healing or restoration? Do we need to do a little house cleaning of our own so that we can say this is a house of prayer?
Mark 16:15 and part of 16 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved…”
What we are to do seems pretty clear to me.
Spread the gospel.
We all have different gifts, skills and blessing. We all contribute in our different ways to spreading the word if we are intentional
We need to humble ourselves, pray and seek forgiveness. We need to get our house in order so that we are not exporting anything but Gods word. We need to get at it. The great commission is not wishy washy. It is very clear. We need to seek His face then obey
We need to seek Gods will to guide the decisions made at the general conference so that we are in a position to preach the gospel to the world and that includes our homes, our churches, our communities and our country
Sue Niblock, Smiths Falls ON
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps.46:10)
The Lord has been repeatedly speaking this verse to me during the past two years; it comes during a very tumultuous season in my life where there have been many difficulties and challenges outside of my control.
This verse is also a part of a section of Scripture that proclaims the power of God and the security we have in Him. Often this passage is interpreted to mean quietness in God’s presence. That is certainly helpful. However, as I studied and meditated upon it I learned some very interesting truths.
In the original Hebrew for, “be still and know”, the emphasis would have been on the second imperative. In other words, the meaning of this Scripture is that in order to know God, we must surrender to Him. Surrendering means, “letting go”. Letting go of my own agenda. Letting go of my pride, and my striving. Letting go of the treasures and pleasures of this world. Letting go of my worries and anxieties. Letting go of my own understanding and trying to fix things in my own strength. Letting go of anything and everything that distracts me from devotion to Him, and Him alone.
It has been a process. I am still in process. Surrendering is a choice I have had to make daily. I find I often try to climb back onto the platform of making my own plans, doing things my way. Can I really trust Him to fix that broken relationship? Do I really want His will in that decision I have to make? But the Lord in His mercy continues to hem me in. He continues to press me, (even crush me), sift me, search me, and through it all, call me to Himself.
I have learned that it is better to choose to “let go” and “let God”. Despite life’s circumstances my desire is to trust the Lord, to worship Him, to thank Him, and to praise Him in all things, especially the most difficult ones.
I woke up the other morning with my spirit singing these verses from Psalm 121:“I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
I choose to trust His direction in restoring the broken relationships. I choose to trust Him to call back family members who have strayed. I choose to trust Him to give direction in difficult decisions that must be made. I choose to trust Him with my loved ones as I watch them struggle in pain. I choose to trust Him to provide for all my needs. I choose to trust Him to refine me, and to prepare me for His Kingdom to come. I choose to be still, and know that He is God.
Jean Smith, Ottawa ON
How is it that life is found in dying >How readily do we tread this ground, this wilderness to find ourselves in the other?
To meet Him at our core. And how many rounds of it do we need to go through…. Maybe 40?
The dying to rise anew is a pattern echoed everywhere. We trail our fingers along the deeply familiar wallpaper. Our bodies resonate with the truth of this mystery yet it feels just out of reach of our logic, the reason that loves to organize words upon shelves.
This wider space often invites tumultuous dust and dirt, sweat streaked time of wrestling, a calling deeper into the wilderness where the mirrors of self-reveal and challenge until we can lay our small selves down and engage. To see and smell, taste and touch Trinity all around.
Sitting upon our headstones we wait and watch the mist lift. We start to see through the mirrors of the wilderness to find the sparkling myriad of ways that we are beautifully connected… a part of one another. Our hearts, unencumbered, leap with a deep love that absorbs in empathy the plight and journey of the one on our left, our right, those before us and behind. This oneness sits heavy in our chests, in awe our words stammer, but we, with the wings of the Spirit, soar in desire for wholeness, freedom, sight of both heart and mind. All yearned for and offered in a love that is Him.
Oh, the heat of this day! It presses down on my shoulders as I stumble on the uneven ground. And why does the scenery look like the wilderness? It’s like it stretches until the light is no more. Suddenly, I come to myself, there is a meeting place here, the place of death and renewal… oh how I welcome it. Let us welcome it together.
The repetitious and ongoing shift in posture, the widening in the relationship is changing our relationship with everything and everyone… even the wilderness.
Agents of Change (Matthew 6:9-10)
Lately I’ve been revisiting and pondering what we commonly know as “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6. While there are many scriptures that give us guidance on prayer, the account in Matthew 6 records the words of Jesus himself, and I am sure that he would have chosen his words carefully as he instructed his followers in how they should pray. So, I believe, this warrants particular attention to the words and I believe there is much to explore and discover in this short model prayer. I don’t get very far into the prayer before I am arrested by Jesus’s admonition to pray that “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth”. This strikes me as nonintuitive and profoundly intriguing. The God we approach in prayer has the sovereign power to ensure both his kingdom to come and his will to be done here on earth, so why would Jesus be instructing his followers to pray for that outcome? This signals that God has constrained himself and his redemptive plan for humanity to the extent that his will can only be accomplished in response to prayer. Jesus seems to be teaching that he has entrusted his “kingdom come”, this bringing the realm and influence of God down into the stream of humanity, to us, this collection of faulty, fumbling human beings, his grace-washed followers. It would seem that in order for God’s kingdom to come successfully, we must pray. This should give us cause to increase our earnestness in prayer, but also to marvel in the fact that he calls us to be actual, effective, agents of change in his kingdom’s purpose. To that end, let our prayer be “Lord give us deep desire, wisdom and power to accomplish that calling, so that we as your followers, your church, would competently reflect who you are and your goodness, and that we would be effective at bringing unbelievers into an awareness of you and your gospel of Good News. And then you, through your transformative grace, bring them also into your Kingdom.”
David Kreutweizer, Sault St. Marie ON