DAY 2 -TREMBLE IN HIS PRESENCE/REPENT
I have chosen the prayerful man of God - Old Testament Prophet Ezra - as our example and template for the kind of Prayer which the Lord listens to...for such an evil time as this. Just like America in 2012, the people of God had sided with the culture and pagan world around them. They had chosen to turn their backs on the specific Word and INTENT of the Lord while paying Lip Service to Him on Temple days (eg.Sundays @ church). They had intermarried with non-believers and had one foot on a banana peel and another in the grave.
Just like America in 2012, because of the disobedience to the Word and Call of God, religious freedom was curtailed severely. During the exile in Babylon, which preceded this book of Ezra, the Jews were told they could not worship the One True God. In America, due to the political ill-winds, military chaplains cannot pray in the Name of the Messiah - Jesus...and more. In Babylon, the Jews were being made to eat food sacrificed to disgusting pagan gods. In America, the church let those who walk/vote/support and participate in idolatry six days of the week, eat communion with the Lord on Sunday, in open rebellion against God.
It was against this cultural and religious corruption, which perverted the Church, that Ezra - the new Spiritual Leader of the Remnant returning to Jerusalem cried out as the example for us "For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice."(Ezra 9:2-4 ESV)
As we pray and fast and turn our hearts towards the Throne room of the REAL King of the Universe, not some mortal man, we need to catch three things in our meditation and supplication before the Lord this day:
1. Remember our Faithlessness before the Lord.
2. Tremble at the mention of His Name and the Holy Scriptures.
3. Render (rip open) our hearts and be completely open before Him.
Therefore, for as long as it takes, let us now draw our hands towards heaven and pray with Ezra "And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. (Ezra 9:5-7 ESV)
Father God, in Jesus' Mighty Name, I confess all my sins before You right now - for sins of commission, I repent of them. For sins of omission - I repent of them. For sins of the flesh - I repent of them. For sins of the mind - I repent of them....and more. Lord, I realize that I have been unfaithful to Your Words and Your Precepts as laid out in bold simplicity before me. Therefore, by my disobedience and the corporate disobedience of Your church across the Land, with many others like me, we have allowed the majesty and power of Your Holy Church to be corrupted and now dictated to, by the whims and decrees of men and women who do not have Your heart or the furtherance of Your Kingdom in mind.
Forgive us, oh Lord. We are truly ashamed as our brother Ezra here, prayed over 2500 years ago. Our sins here in America have risen before You like a foul odor in the Presence of a Holy God and our churches and ministries are being rendered powerless with no fruit for the Kingdom of Christ.
Forgive us, oh Lord. We are so guilty, we cannot raise our faces up to You to view on Your Marvelous Face, because our kingdom authority is being held captive to our own sin and complacency. Release us from this bondage this day, Oh God. Yes, oh God. Look down upon us this day, as we press into our destiny to pray for the restoration of Your people these next two weeks...and beyond, in Jesus' Holy Name, amen.
(image courtesy google)