Becoming a people of mercy

July 14, 2012

In the wake of General Convention, this article spoke to me.–JW
From Francis Frangipane

It is right that we should be troubled by the sins of our nation. But we must remember, all nations sin. All cultures have seasons of moral decline and spiritual malaise. Yet these periods can become turning points if, in times of distress, leaders and intercessors cry to the Lord for mercy. Thus, Christlike prayer brings redemption out of disaster.

The church was created not to fulfill God’s wrath, but to complete His mercy. True prayer is born of love and comes in the midst of sin and need. It comes not to condemn, but to cover.

Jesus said His Father’s house would be a “house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17). Consider passionately this phrase: “prayer for.” Jesus taught His disciples to “pray for” those who would persecute or mistreat them (Matt. 5:44). When Job “prayed for” his friends (Job 42:10), God fully restored him. We are to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6), and “pray for” each other so that we may be healed (James 5:16). Paul wrote that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4). Therefore, he urged “that entreaties and prayers…be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (vv. 1-2).

The nature of our calling is to pray for people in difficulty, in sin, in sickness, and in need of God. . . .

Our goal is not merely the exposure of sin, but also the unveiling of the sacrifice for sin. Our great commission is to bring healing and the message of God’s mercy to the nations. . . . May the Lord give us a clear vision of this truth: intercession is the essence of Christ’s life. Not only is He now at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (Rom. 8:34), but His coming to earth and dying for sins was one extended act of intercession. Jesus beheld the depravity of mankind’s sin. He examined it carefully in all of its offensiveness, perversity, and repulsiveness. Yes, He rebuked it when necessary, but the wonder of the Gospel is that, in spite of mankind’s sin, God so deeply loved the world that He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16-17).

We are called to follow this same amazing pattern of mercy.

We are not minimizing sin when we maximize Christ’s mercy. There is a difference between whitewashing sin and bloodwashing it. The reality that compels God’s heart—that is an underlying principle of life—is “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). To live a life of mercy corresponds perfectly with God’s heart. Mercy precisely fulfills the divine purpose: to transform man into the Redeemer’s image.

GC2012–Psalm 91

July 12, 2012

Father, we claim the promise of this scripture for Your children at General Convention.

Psalm 91:1-13 (MSG)
You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

GC2012–another intercession of Moses

July 12, 2012

Following the golden calf–

Exodus 34:8-9 (NIV)
Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

GC2012–Anglicans United prayer request

July 11, 2012

Pray against the spirits of this age, which hold so many captive. This spirits of licentiousness – do whatever you want – and lust, rule much of our daily lives and preoccupy our thoughts.

Forgive me. I am a creature of fleshly weakness and of spiritual cowardice. In my anxiety, I seek comfort in fleshly comforts rather than leaning on You. I am timid in naming the spirits of Baal and Asherah, Molech, and anti-Christ when I clearly recognize the work of their hands.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
I thank You that Christ Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. I thank You He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
I praise You Father for the exaltation of Christ Jesus to the highest place. At the name of Christ Jesus the spirits of licentiousness, lust, narcissism, hatred, arrogance, deceit, and lies must bow their knees. At the name of Christ Jesus the spirits of Baal, Asherah, Molech, and anti-Christ must bow their knees. I proclaim the lordship of Christ Jesus in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Amen. (Philippians 2)

Pray for the deputies and bishops as they begin to look toward home. Pray that conservative deputies and bishops will not be taken captive by a spirit of despair. Pray that they will sow joy and peace in believing in the final two days here and then back home.

To all deputies, bishops, journalists, and visitors who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)

James 1:2-4. “Consider it all joy my brethren whenever you encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations….” Let this scripture guide your prayers and understanding of the difficulties we are undergoing in this Church. Consider it all joy? Yes, count it wholly joyful. The Scripture continues, “Be assured and understand that the trial of your faith will produce endurance, steadfastness and patience.” God is in these times. This passage affirms, “God is in charge and nothing happens by chance.” By these actions, the faithful will gain endurance, patience and the ability to persevere. For this we praise God.

We praise You, Lord God, for the privilege of living in this time and in these circumstances. We hold high the banner of Christ. We thank You for all of Your tender mercies, for the endurance, steadfastness, and patience that You have bestowed upon us. Holy is Your name. Amen.

St. Augustine’s Prayer: “Strengthen our weakness…”

July 11, 2012

This is a favorite prayer of mine. Kendall Harmon has posted it this morning at TitusOneNine. It’s a very apt prayer, especially in interceding today for the orthodox Episcopalians at General Convention. May our Gracious Father indeed strengthen them in weakness to do valiantly in this spiritual battle.

O God, our Father, we are exceedingly frail, and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking: Strengthen our weakness, we beseech thee, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–St. Augustine (354-430)

Friends calling for prayer regarding The Episcopal Church and General Convention

July 10, 2012

I tried to stay away. Really I did. For a week I pretty much have been off the Episcopal and Anglican blogs. I sensed the Lord giving me other priorities in recent months, and that it was not my year or season to make intercession for TEC a major focus in my own life. I’ve let Jill and Torre, both of whom are still within TEC, take the lead in terms of promoting intercessory prayer for GC. And they’ve been doing a great job.

But today my heart is so heavy. It is heavy of course because of the actions The Episcopal Church is taking, such as the overwhelming YES vote to authorize a Same-Sex-Blessings liturgy yesterday by the Episcopal bishops.

Even moreso, however, my heart is heavy for, and I find myself praying for friends like Jill and George+, Torre and Jean, Kendall+, Fr. Rob E.+, Fr. Tim F.+, friends in Central Florida, +Mark Lawrence and the deputation from South Carolina, +Bill Love, Cherie and Todd+ Wetzel, Sarah, Greg and Jackie, and all I know either in person, or via much correspondence via the internet, who are still in TEC trying to stand and cry aloud for Biblical and Gospel Truth – faithfully defending their “little stone bridge” to use a famously apt metaphor coined by Sarah Hey 8 years ago.

Please pray today for all the orthodox at General Convention that the Lord would show them what He requires, that He would encourage and strengthen their hearts, and that they would be faithful and hear His well done at the end, no matter what others around them may say. May Jesus be glorified in and through them today, and may He lift them up.

Some of those calling for prayer, who are either at GC or who are committed to praying for GC include:

Fr. Tim Fountain

The Rev. John Burwell [at GC – deputy from SC]

Mary Ailes

Cherie Wetzel  (at GC, reporting for Anglicans United)

Fr. Dan Martins (at GC, Bishop of Springfield)

Read their posts and cry out to the Lord for all who will have to seek the Lord as to “what next.”

Fr. Tim Fountain, a wonderful cyber friend and former contributor here at L&B, has summed up well some of the key matters for prayer in his post at Stand Firm this morning, which I’ve linked above:

The Epistle in today’s Daily Offices reminds me to pray for all at General Convention.  We all stand in need every moment of every day.  All of us have sins “known and unknown” that separate us from God, and forces of the world, the flesh and the devil assailing us with deceptions of all sorts.  Yet we have Jesus who has overcome those forces and intercedes for us as the constant, perfect offering to our Father in heaven.  We need to join Jesus in his intercession for those at GC, not for unrealistic outcomes, but for any who still understand him as their Savior to be covered by his perfect offering, even in their sins and gullibility to deceptions.  We certainly need to pray for those who don’t believe the Gospel of salvation, that they hear and receive it.


– Karen B., Lent & Beyond founder


Update:  A commenter at SF has linked a short call for prayer (via Facebook) from The Rev. David Thurwell, one of the clergy deputies from the Dio. of  SC.  Read it here.

GC2012–the first intercession of Moses

July 9, 2012

The TEC HoB overwhelmingly passes same sex union blessing authorization.

Exodus 32:11-14 (NIV)
But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

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