“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’” – Isaiah 45:22-24a
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11
A Thought for the Day
Today marks the beginning of an eleven-day period where Christians around the world will gather, pray, fast, and pursue God over the salvation of their families, friends, communities, and nations. We are encouraged to each choose five people, who we think do not yet have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, and pray for God’s Spirit to birth faith in them and draw them into God’s family.
Many of us, have been praying for close friends and families like this for our whole lives. Years of pleading, fasting, and praying for their rescue. Some of those have joined our number, but many have not. So why do we keep on praying? Why do we keep on asking if nothing has happened yet?
Pete Greig, the founder of 24/7 Prayer and author of many fantastic books about prayer, often challenges us to consider that the next time we pray for someone may well be the moment that everything changes for them. That vibrant hope and faith are so important, and act as fuel to keep the fire of prayer going day after day, especially when it seems like it is making no difference.
Isaiah and the apostle Paul remind us of something in the passages above that is, perhaps, even more important to consider and remember as we get down on our knees and pray for our five again today: God’s promises.
Notice God’s authority in what he says in Isaiah, “a word that will not be revoked.” That word is that every single person will bow before him. The people you are praying for will one day bow before God, that is a promise that will never be revoked. Paul takes that promise and shares it to us again in the light of Jesus.
Jesus is the fulfilment of that promise because it is by and through Jesus that God is going to do this rescuing work. Paul takes this thought a step further for us from Isaiah 45 and declares in Philippians 2 that because of Jesus every single person will “exomologέo” (acknowledge) that Jesus Christ is Lord. That Greek word means to openly and wholeheartedly confess, acknowledge without any reservation to the point of it being worshipful. Because of what Jesus did, the people you are praying for will not only one day bow before God, they will also openly and wholeheartedly worship Jesus as Lord.
So, as you pray for your five over these next ten days, and hopefully beyond, remember that every minute of prayer has extraordinary value because God will keep his promises.
Praying for your Five:
“Heavenly Father, we know that your promises can be fully relied on as you will never break your promises to us. We are so grateful for what you did for us through Jesus, and that because of Jesus we can be a part of your family and have eternal life. Today I pray for [say names of your five] and declare that I believe that what Jesus did for me, he also did for them. It is in the name of Jesus, the only name I can approach you through, that I call on you to birth faith in them, to give them a revelation of you and your love for them, and to be faithful in leading them to the time and place that they will worship Jesus as their Lord. Amen”
Praying Something Old
Here is a portion of a famous prayer attributed to Saint Patrick from the 5th century AD. After you pray it for yourself, you could insert the names of your five in place of yourself to pray Christ over them.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Praying Something New
We believe in a trinitarian God; that God is one but made up of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Most Christians have a tendency to direct their prayers to one of these three. As all three are involved in the salvation of your five, take some time to directly pray to and connect with each aspect of the trinity about your five. Sit with each of them, chat to them, listen to them, and ask them to rescue the five you are praying for.