Tag Archives: 40 Days of Prayer for Cleansing and Covering our Shameful Nakedness-2012

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Pray for Life – November 6, 2012 (Psalm 4:8)

As these 40-days of prayer and reflection come to a close, I am reminded that sexual love is all about life.

The beauty and power of sex is managed well when it is oriented toward creating and tending new life. That presumes, of course, that the man and woman becoming one have made a lifetime commitment to each other. (How else can new life be well-tended unless the two that created it are prepared to care for it?)

Marriage demands two things of sex: first, that sex answers to the greater commitment that two people have already made with their clothes on. And second, that the fruit of sex—kids—are treated with dignity, cared for by two who must answer to each other.

In our day where sex is celebrated as a human ‘right’ and answers only to how much pleasure one derives from it, marriage may seem medieval, ill-suited to a culture fractured by divorce, addiction, and cynicism about anyone keeping his/her promises.

I say instead that marriage has never mattered more for our culture or for any other. One man for one woman champions the dignity of every citizen by reminding all that our bodies possess the power to create life, a call so precious that it requires commitment.

The states of Maine, Minnesota, Washington and Maryland will decide today whether they will uphold marriage or further fracture it by introducing same-gender unions into the mix. To do so strikes down what marriage in essence is, and raises up yet another confusing symbol of humanity that will not serve future generations well.

Why? ‘Gay marriage’ cannot generate life. And cannot demand the growth required by ‘otherness.’ Sexualizing same-gender friendship is yet another form of narcissism, as one peers into the pool of his/her own image.

Pray for life. Pray for citizens in these four states to honor marriage for the good of all.

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November 6, 2012

‘I will down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ (Ps. 4:8)

On this Election Day, we entrust our great and compromised nation to God. Because of her goodness and our gratitude to our country, we also fear. We fear that she might refuse to uphold what God does. I have witnessed many nations now who have passed ‘gay marriage’ initiatives and it does not go well for them. The face of perversion is magnified when the state redefines marriage —one can only imagine its impact upon generations-to-come. And it weakens the witness of Christians in the land, who often curtail their witness for fear of being seen as intolerant for calling homosexuals to repentance.

So we pray that God would restrain one particular form of wickedness by rallying people to uphold marriage in the land. In so doing, we are asking God to have mercy on us. If we fail to uphold what He does, He can withhold favor from us.

At the end of this day, our hope lies not in a vote or in the judgment of a court. Our hope lies in God. He alone makes us secure. If all turned away from His ways, we each can stay true to Him. We may need to suffer more by defying cultural norms. God employs everything for His good.

David came close to being murdered by Absalom. All it took was one low-hanging branch from a tree to knock his son’s block off (2Sam. 18:9, 10). Absalom died swiftly and David proceeded on to seek and serve His God. May we proceed onto revived hope and trust in our King, who alone makes us secure.

‘Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s wrath comes upon you. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.’ (Zeph. 2: 1-3)

‘Have mercy on our nation, O Lord. May the people who gather to vote today uphold marriage. We confess and repent of our shameful nakedness. Hear our prayers and answer. Act on our behalf. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and to other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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November 5, 2012 (Psalm 4:8)

‘In peace I shall both lie down and sleep for You alone, Lord, make me secure.’ (Ps. 4: 8 NAB)

I confess that I fear for the Church. At times I am confused and frustrated by her lack of clarity. Even on issues in which she appears clear—sexual sin, upholding true marriage–she often has not the courage of her own convictions.

So I pray and make known the truth as best I can, employing the clear witness of Scripture, Church tradition, and my own witness and service. I do my part then trust God, confident that He is at work.

Sometimes, I weep and cry out for mercy over her indifference. At other times I am surprised by joy. A pastor whom I love and honor who has been cryptic at best in regards to his views on sexuality. Then last week he wrote of his utterly orthodox, compassionate ‘take’ on chastity and marriage. Though I trust God alone, I rejoice and draw life from the faithfulness of His servants. When shepherds walk in truth, the sheep can repent unto mercy.

‘You do not realize that you are wretched, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy for me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.’ (Rev. 3: 17, 18)

‘We love Your Church and cry out for her repentance. May zeal for her truth consume us; deliver us from our lukewarm spirit, we pray. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and to other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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November 4, 2012 (Psalm 4:8)

‘I will lie down and sleep in peace…’ (Ps. 4:8)

Many times, Annette and I lay in bed at night awaiting the return of a troubled child. Anxiety is easy; how difficult to entrust our children and loved ones to the living God.

We can cover them with our prayers. Those prayers begin with confession and repentance for our sins and those of our generation. With the Psalmist we cry out: ‘Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.’ (PS 79: 8) If our familiar sins have not given us a fear of the Lord, perhaps our children’s will! We then pray accordingly, asking God to set into motion the plan that will reduce our children to the very mercy has become our freedom. We pray like this: ‘Do not hold our sins against them; release them to Your mercy…’

Then we ask God specifically to visit our loved ones with His Almighty Mercy. I love the Canaanite woman who implored the Lord to act on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter. She humbled herself and with great faith likened herself to a dog at His table, grateful for any crumb He might drop for herself and kin. Moved by her faith, He healed the girl in an instant. (Matt. 15: 21-28)

‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be answered to you.’ (Matt. 6:7)

‘Father, establish a momentum in our cries for mercy. Let it begin with ourselves, then let mercy roll like a river into the lives of our loved ones. Help us to trust that You work all things for the good to those You love—parents and children alike. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and to other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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November 3, 2012 (Psalm 4:8)

‘For You alone, Lord, make me secure.’ (Ps. 4:8 NAB)

Those of us who have veered off the straight and narrow in a sensual quest for love know how destabilizing idols are. Yesterday’s confirmation becomes today’s condemnation. The world’s mirrors are cracked and deceiving, unable to secure us in love. How blessed are we who cry for Mercy. How blessed are those reduced to the covering and cleansing only God can give!

One day I was wrestling with some shameful sexual feelings until I surrendered them to the Lord. I saw the man Christ clothed in rich white garments. He enveloped me and assumed the dirt accumulating around me. At the same time, His embrace imparted strength and courage to arise in the true man, clothed also in robes of righteousness.

I recalled St. Paul’s words in Ephesians 4: 22-24 where the apostle spoke of the true self, ‘created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’ Our security lies in Christ who imparts dignity to the weakest one who cries out for it. God alone can cleanse our hearts, and cover our nakedness with His righteousness.

‘When I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of My garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you My solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became Mine.’ (Ezek. 16: 8)

‘Father, our security lies in You. Teach us to rest in the embrace that exchanges our rags for Your righteousness. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and to other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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Peace Prevailing – November 2, 2012 (Psalm 4:8)

‘I will lie down and sleep in peace, because You alone, O Lord, make me secure.’ (PS 4:8)

How could David sleep? Hounded by Absalom and a murderous band, he had a natural right to be terrified! So do we. ‘Conflicts on the outside, fears within’ (2 Cor. 7:5), our anxiety seem justified. Each of us can point to myriad concerns that resist rest and provoke us to problem-solving long into the night.

Fear competes with faith and often wins. Sleeplessness is a good barometer of this. Within the dark silence, problems loom large. From our culture of death to a   disastrous economy, from a compromised church to compromised loved ones to the temptations of our own temple, our hearts are troubled.

In his trouble, David trusted God. He slept in the everlasting arms. As he lay down he handed over what he could not control. He put more faith in God’s sword than Absalom’s.

I recently faced some conflicts that robbed me of sleep, and the capacity to be a good gift to others. God directed me to a simple image of Jesus, the Divine Mercy. From Jesus’ heart flows water for cleansing and blood for life. The caption: ‘O blood and water that flows from the heart of the Savior as a fount of mercy for us all, I trust in You!’ Simple trust in the fruit of Calvary set me free. I slept like a weaned child.

For the last 35 days, we have fought hard on our knees for this election; we have implored God to uphold marriage in four states and for the election of officials who fear Him and champion life.

We do our part as grateful citizens of a democracy in which our voices and votes count. Yet more than anything we are citizens of the Kingdom. We trust in the King. We war in rest, His peace prevailing.

‘The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the design of His heart for all generations.’ (PS 33: 11)

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November 2, 2012

‘I will lie down and sleep in peace, because You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ (Ps. 4:8)

His pursuers still close behind him, the king trusts the King. Countless battles—from moral failure to murderous threats—reduced David to simple, childlike faith. Like us, he could have plugged into myriad fears and rehearsed survival schemes long into the night. Instead, David sleeps in the everlasting arms, ‘like a weaned child with its mother.’ (Ps. 131:2)

Aware that he could awaken to a spear in his face, David ‘stilled and quieted his soul.’ (Ps. 131:2) He trusts God, as must we with our many fears. Are you afraid for your sanctity in a culture that celebrates the very thing you die to daily? Trust in God. Do you fear for your family’s sanctity? Trust in God. For the nation’s? Trust in God.

The only way we will win the war is through trusting Him with every battle we face. We fight hard in peace. We do so on the sure ground He has already won for us in an effort to take more ground for His Kingdom.

Bottom line: our security lies not in any created thing but in the Creator and Redeemer of all living.

‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.’ (John 14: 27)

‘Father, grant us the gift of faith as an antidote to fear. Teach us to trust You. Establish us in peace amid the battles at hand. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we confess our sins of cowardice and compromise. We have violated Your holy commands in regards to what we have done to our bodies and to other bodies. And in our compromise we have become cowards, unwilling to stand for what we know to be true for the dignity of all. We ask that You might have mercy on Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington; uphold marriage in these states, and in our nation, as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on ‘gay marriage.

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