Do you care about yourself? Pray! Do you care about your spouse? Pray! Do you care about your kids? Pray! Do you care about your family? Pray! Do you care about your friends? Pray! Do you care about your work? Pray! Do you care about your workplace? Pray! Do you care about your church? Pray! Do you care about the leadership over you? Pray! Do you care about your neighborhood? Pray! Do you care about your community? Pray! Do you pray about your country? Pray! Do you care? Pray!
Worry changes nothing, Prayer changes everything! Said another way…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. –Philippians 4:6
Do you care? Pray!
Do you feel the need to pray for something beyond yourself? Do you know who to turn to? Do you care? Today’s reading speaks about Isaiah’s prayer…
Isaiah’s Prayer for Jerusalem
1Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. 2The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the lord’s own mouth. 3The lord will hold you in his hand for all to see— a splendid crown in the hand of God. 4Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride. 5Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. 6O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the lord. 7Give the lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth. 8The lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength: “I will never again hand you over to your enemies. Never again will foreign warriors come and take away your grain and new wine. 9You raised the grain, and you will eat it, praising the lord. Within the courtyards of the Temple, you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.” 10Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see. 11The lord has sent this message to every land: “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’” 12They will be called “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the lord.” And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City No Longer Forsaken.”
–from Isaiah 62
Do you realize what you are facing? Do you realize the battle belongs to the Lord? Do you realize that giving it into His hands is the best thing you can do? Do you realize vengeance is the Lord’s? Do you realize that giving it into His hands is the best thing you can do?
Judgment against the lord’s Enemies
1Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength? “It is I, the lord, announcing your salvation! It is I, the lord, who has the power to save!” 2Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes? 3“I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes. 4For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to ransom them from their oppressors. 5I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me. 6I crushed the nations in my anger and made them stagger and fall to the ground, spilling their blood upon the earth.”
Praise for Deliverance
7I will tell of the lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the lord for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love. 8He said, “They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior. 9In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years. 10But they rebelled against him and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he became their enemy and fought against them. 11Then they remembered those days of old when Moses led his people out of Egypt. They cried out, “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd? Where is the one who sent his Holy Spirit to be among his people? 12Where is the one whose power was displayed when Moses lifted up his hand— the one who divided the sea before them, making himself famous forever? 13Where is the one who led them through the bottom of the sea? They were like fine stallions racing through the desert, never stumbling. 14As with cattle going down into a peaceful valley, the Spirit of the lord gave them rest. You led your people, lord, and gained a magnificent reputation.”
Prayer for Mercy and Pardon
15lord, look down from heaven; look from your holy, glorious home, and see us. Where is the passion and the might you used to show on our behalf? Where are your mercy and compassion now? 16Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, lord, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past. 17lord, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession. 18How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it. 19Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you, as though we had never been known as your people.
–from Isaiah 63
Let’s lift up our voices to God in praise! Let’s praise Him no matter the circumstances! Let’s give it up to Him through prayer and praise!
Jesus came to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! Jesus came to bring hope, hope and a future! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! So prayer gets answered! Will you be ready to notice it and receive it? Miracles still happen today! Will you be watching to spot them and praising God for all He is doing? Everyday we need Him! Left to our own ways we would be lost! It’s is only by grace through faith that we are saved!
1Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence! 2As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! 3When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! 4For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! 5You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? 6We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. 7Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins. 8And yet, O lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. 9Don’t be so angry with us, lord. Please don’t remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all your people. 10Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin. 11The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised you has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed. 12After all this, lord, must you still refuse to help us? Will you continue to be silent and punish us?
–from Isaiah 64
We can’t judge people because of the way they look, sound, … but rather we need to love people the same way Jesus does! We need to be living out life trying to allow others to hear about and receive the promises of Jesus! We can’t let our selfishness or bias or prejudice get in the way of what God wants to do in and through us! Let’s share the good news!
Let’s see what Peter faced when he was called by Cornelius…
Cornelius Calls for Peter
1In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. 2He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. 3One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. “Cornelius!” the angel said. 4Cornelius stared at him in terror. “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel. And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering! 5Now send some men to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. 6He is staying with Simon, a tanner who lives near the seashore.” 7As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of his personal attendants. 8He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.
Peter Visits Cornelius
9The next day as Cornelius’s messengers were nearing the town, Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, 10and he was hungry. But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. 12In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. 13Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.” 14“No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.” 15But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” 16The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven. 17Peter was very perplexed. What could the vision mean? Just then the men sent by Cornelius found Simon’s house. Standing outside the gate, 18they asked if a man named Simon Peter was staying there. 19Meanwhile, as Peter was puzzling over the vision, the Holy Spirit said to him, “Three men have come looking for you. 20Get up, go downstairs, and go with them without hesitation. Don’t worry, for I have sent them.” 21So Peter went down and said, “I’m the man you are looking for. Why have you come?” 22They said, “We were sent by Cornelius, a Roman officer. He is a devout and God-fearing man, well respected by all the Jews. A holy angel instructed him to summon you to his house so that he can hear your message.” 23So Peter invited the men to stay for the night. The next day he went with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa. 24They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter entered his home, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!” 27So they talked together and went inside, where many others were assembled. 28Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. 29So I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. Now tell me why you sent for me.” 30Cornelius replied, “Four days ago I was praying in my house about this same time, three o’clock in the afternoon. Suddenly, a man in dazzling clothes was standing in front of me. 31He told me, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your gifts to the poor have been noticed by God! 32Now send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. He is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner who lives near the seashore.’ 33So I sent for you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you.”
The Gentiles Hear the Good News
34Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. 35In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. 36This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. 38And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39“And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, 40but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, 41not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead. 43He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”
The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit
44Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. 45The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. 46For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God. Then Peter asked, 47“Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” 48So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.
–from Acts 10