Written by Pastor Shawn Procter
Good morning brothers and sisters in Christ! Tomorrow is the official end of our fast as a church family, however, we look forward to gathering with many of you tonight from 9pm-1am for our Midwest and CityLights Night of Prayer at Midwest Bible Church. As we walk through this final devotional together this morning,
5 “may the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 15:5-6
Have you noticed that many of the prayers from Scripture selected for this week’s devotionals are corporate in nature and most have involved being set apart (sanctified) by God unto the good works of love and living in community?
We believe that God is reminding us of what is important to Him…that there will be a unified community of Jesus followers on the earth proclaiming in word and deed the gospel of the kingdom, living lives set apart for worship, love and ultimately for the glory of God.
Yesterday’s devotionals came from John 17 which was Jesus’ prayer just before heading to the cross, and encapsulated the will of God for us today (the future believers/followers of Jesus). He prayed to the Father asking,
21 “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” –John 17:21-23
Jesus also commanded that we love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34-35). Jesus Christ’s love unites His body and unity in Jesus Christ will yield love. Christ-centered unity and love will glorify God because it is ultimately granted by God. This is why we exist. This is why we are fasting and praying for one another. This is why we will gather with Midwest tonight- to express our love to God and one another in unity of prayer!
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” -Psalm 133:1
Our prayers this week have been less about God doing things for us, but about Him doing things in us in order for our lives to be set apart unto loving one another by the strength He supplies. Spence-Jones said, “Love is the life of the saints.”
If our lives reflect this unity and Christ-centered love which is demonstrated toward others, then our families, churches, community groups, jobs and neighborhood streets will be changed and God’s glory will be the chief end. I hope this fast has reflected the fast God chose as described in Isaiah 58:6-12.
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.” –Isaiah 58:6-12
Let us pray that together that the God of endurance and encouragement will grant us to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together we may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!