How Great is Our God in HEBREW,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Praying for Shalom

Picture:  Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his arrest, on the eve of his death....praying fervently to the Father to take the "cup" from him. Jesus, the human, was scared to the point that he sweat droplets of blood from his forehead.  With each request to his Father to please find another way, he yielded his will and submitted to the Father's plan, yet still desperately longing to bypass what lie ahead.  Jesus asked for the support and prayers of his friends/disciples on his behalf...yet found them time after time snoozing.   Finally he realizes that in this, he was truly alone. In his last session with his Father before the mob arrived to arrest him, again, there seemed to  be silence on the part of the Father.  But according to Hebrews, that was not the case.

Hebrews 5:7New Living Translation (NLT)

While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.

How was this the case? As we all know, the Father did not make another path for the salvation of mankind....Jesus was tortured and died a horrendous death.  How was he heard?

I believe that the Jesus who sobbed out his fear, who in terror sweat drops of blood, who begged his Father for mercy....was not the same man who  moments later faced a lynch mob with calmness and strength.  He was heard.  And somehow, mysteriously,  he was strengthened and emboldened to carry out his part in the violence and pain to come.

I am reading a book called The Mystery of God by Steven D Boyer and Christopher A. Hall and it is from my reading there that I am presenting my thoughts to you here --thoughts that were born in this book.

The authors say that our prayers must be shaped to best bring back to earth the "Shalom" of God.  "Shalom" means peace --but it means more than that. It means wholeness, wellness, kinship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It means to live in the manner that God initially dreamed for mankind to dwell.  The Shalom on Earth was destroyed by the sin of Adam and Eve....and it has taken all this time for God to unfold his plan to restore the Shalom.  This did not come cheaply or easily.  It came at the cost of the death of the Son.  And even then, even after the resurrection, although the coming of Shalom was guaranteed by that death and resurrection, it did not bring it immediately.  In fact, here we are 2000 years later, still battling the sin in our own hearts; still striving to display the love and mercy of God to a world that wants no part of him.  And believers, daily, give up their lives and their families to the hands of brute forces who in the insane pursuit of pleasing their god...are murdering and pillaging and killing and imprisoning thousands of Christians each year....and with every year that goes by, the numbers increase.

Surely, this cannot be God's plan! ...can it?
It is freedom, bought at a huge price.   As was the freedom purchased on the Cross.  How is it freedom you ask?  Every blood drop of a God-loving believer, is working to bring about the Shalom of God back to this war-torn planet.

How then, shall we pray?
I propose that we pray like Jesus did, "Father, Abba, if there is any other way, please bring it to pass.  If the lives of one or many can be saved on this earth, than do so.  But God if your plans are bigger than what we can see now,  then Lord, carry them out and do not let us, your flawed children, get in the way or work against your plans.  Grant those who suffer, courage.  Comfort the widows and orphans and provide for their needs.  Let love for their captors well up in the hearts of those who are hurting and dying at their hands.  Lord bring about Shalom. And may it hasten.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus!! Restore, Rule, Reign  Here. Soon."

Are your prayers full of the "Gimme's"?  Gimme this and gimme that?  I challenge you today to stop working against the plans of God on earth.  Partner with Him instead.  Pray for those who are buying Shalom at the high price of their bloody deaths.  And ask God to make you willing to pay your two cents as whatever way God shows you that you are to work for Shalom, then ask for courage to do it.
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