MONDAY MUSINGS

Two Printable Prayers for Our Nation and Ourselves

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Fear. Anger. Rage. Anxiety. Sadness. Restlessness. Hopelessness. 

It seems our country has been hijacked by emotions. Remember those old-fashioned glass thermometers? I envision the red mercury line rising upward until the glass shatters.

The times we are living could incite paralyzing fear and hopelessness IF we did not know Jesus. But we do know Jesus and His church is never without hope. Perfect love casts out all fear! (1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 John 4:18)

What should Christians be doing as our nation appears to be unraveling at the seams?

Dear ones, our mission has not changed.

We are still the army of God equipped with His love and armor. Included in the armor from Ephesians 6:10-18 is the power of prayer.

The Lord placed upon my heart to fast, pray, and ask others to join me last week. But to be honest with you, I had no idea where to begin. I had nothing! That is, until I remembered this:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to prayfor, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 NIV

And the Holy Spirit was faithful. He guided me to start with the person in the mirror first.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NLT

Next, I got on Facebook live and we prayed (some fasted and prayed) together at the same time for three days. Below are two of the prayers we prayed together. Please tweak and make these prayers your own. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. They are only a guide. I hope you find them helpful.

A Prayer for Our Nation
Father God, As we face these uncertain times in our nation and the world, we ask you, Lord, to dwell among us. We reach out to You in humility that you would bring healing to our nation.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
You are not a faraway God, you are close and involved on a personal level because You care about each person—no matter the race, gender, economic status, or anything else. You knitted together each individual and still love us equally the same. There is nothing we could do to earn more of Your love. You loved us so much that You sent Jesus to die for all of our sins.  And we are forever grateful. 
We trust our nation to Your loving care, Lord. Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray in this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2:1-5
We pray that our hearts and our nation would pursue righteousness rather than sin. 
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:34.
We come against the enemy and his schemes, the evil rulers and authorities, and the mighty powers in this dark world. The devil comes to kill, steal, and, destroy, but we have the power to push him back and take back the territory he has gained. 
We come against and cast out the spirit of fear in the name of Jesus and speak peace over our homes, cities, states, nation, and world. We come against violence and speak love. We come against greed and speak God’s generosity. We pray the fruit of the spirit over this land: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We lift up those who have lost jobs and business and pray for restoration. We pray comfort over those who are mourning. We pray salvation for those who do not know Jesus. 
Father, give us Your light, truth, and love. Give us the courage to shine for You. Show us where our hearts need to change to better reflect who You are in the world around us for Your Kingdom. 
May we not just be hearers of the Word but doers. Show us how to love generously and help those in need in our country.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
As we seek first Your Kingdom, may your will be done in our nation 
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10
We ask these things in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Printable PDF of both prayers: Prayers-A Prayer for Our Nation, Be Doers of the Word and News Media Prayer

A Prayer to Be Doers of the Word and for News Media
Heavenly Father, as we pray together for our nation, we realize the need to pray for our own hearts. We ask that you open our eyes to areas that need your touch and change. We desire to grow more like Your Son, Jesus so that we will represent Him well to our world.
God, in a world full of noise, rhetoric, and media, may we move beyond lofty words to quiet ourselves and hear Your will.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NLT
Give us boldness to act on your call to justice, especially when no one is watching or applauding. Show us ways we can serve in our churches, local communities, and wherever You would send us. Give us eyes to see the needs of others. 
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25 NLT
Lord, we continue to pray for our nation and its leaders, from President Trump and Vice President Pence to all who have leadership roles. But today we focus on news media.
We pray for honest, reliable, accurate journalism, blogs, radio shows, and programming. Rise up people working in journalism with integrity who are committed to fairness and the truth. We pray for Christians working in traditional and non-traditional media alike, who care deeply about what is wrong in society, that will create content that shines a light on what’s going on. We also pray for Christian media to become more influential and relevant in today’s culture.
Father, inspire good leadership in newsrooms and productions in all media platforms. Rise up Christians with a passion for media to influence positive change. We pray for advertisers and the necessary means to pay journalists well.
We also ask that you expose the lies, yellow journalism—those who Inflate events for sensation, neglecting others, stereotyping, or being disproportionately negative. Open the eyes of Americans to see them clearly for what they are. Give us the courage to stand up for necessary changes to bring journalism back to the obligation of truth-telling using reliable and accurate facts without bias. 
God, you are the ultimate storyteller. You know the importance of media, good literature, and movies. We ask that You expose and dispose of the liars and abusers of their power within journalism and put in place individuals who are truth-tellers with excellence and integrity. Protect those who are doing just that. 
Thank you for this country and the freedoms we have such as the freedom of the press. 
Guide us as we continue to stand for the inherent dignity of all people and speak out against injustice, racism, and love each other deeply. 
We pray as Christ has taught us: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). 
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Thank you for standing together in prayer. May God bless you, your family, and the United States of America.

Much love,
Beckie♥


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11 thoughts on “Two Printable Prayers for Our Nation and Ourselves”

  1. Beckie, I did try to join in last Saturday, but Facebook was not being cooperative. These prayers and petitions are so powerful and moving! I’m going to share this post on Facebook to my followers. There are so many lies out there, and we need to pray that God’s ultimate truth prevails.
    Blessings, dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for joining in prayer and for sharing. No worries about Saturday. God could hear you just fine. 🙂 I’m glad you shared. I hope these serve as a valuable resource guide to get people praying.
    Blessings to you, too, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen Sweet Sister in Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua Beckie!!

    Please Pray for the Holy Land of Israel-Yisrael and Our Judeo-Christian Nation USA and our Christian Earth, that CHRIST-MESSIAH JESUS-YESHUA CAME too SAVE Everyone!! “Pray Without Ceasing.” ( I Thessalonians 5:17 KJV )!!

    ( Psalms Chapter 117 KJV ) “O Praise the LORD, all ye Nations: Praise Him, all ye people. For His Merciful Kindness is Great Toward us: and the Truth of the LORD Endureth For ever. Praise ye the LORD.”!! Praise the LORD HIS HOLY NAME!!

    ( Psalms 33:12 KJV ) “Blessed is the Nation whose GOD is the LORD; and the People whom HE hath Chosen for HIS Own Inheritance.”!!

    Jesus-Yeshua Christ-Messiah is the WORLD’S ONLY HOPE for our Judeo–Christian Nation United States of America and Israel-Yisrael and Our Christian Earth!!

    Our ONE True GOD’S LOVE 💕is ETERNAL THROUGH HIS SON Christ-MESSIAH Jesus-Yeshua for Today and Everyday Forevermore Everyone!!

    I Love you all Everyone through Jesus-Yeshua Christ, because HE LOVED EVERYONE FIRST!! 💕 Praise Jesus-Yeshua Christ for Today and Everyday!!

    “Happiness keeps You Sweet, Trials keep You Strong, Sorrows keep You Human, Failures keeps You Humble, Success keeps You Glowing, But Only GOD keeps You Going.”!! Amen-Amein Praise Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua Hallelujah!!

    Love 💕 Always and Shalom, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

    Liked by 1 person

  4. reblogging so good readings GOD BLESS YOU sister . Anger. Rage. Anxiety. Sadness. Restlessness. Hopelessness.
    It seems our country has been hijacked by emotions. Remember those old fashioned glass thermometers? I envision the red mercury line rising upward until the glass shatters.

    The times we are living could incite paralyzing fear and hopelessness IF we did not know Jesus. But we do know Jesus and His church is never without hope and perfect love casts out all fear! (1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 John 4:18)

    What should Christians be doing as our nation appears to be unraveling at the seams?
    Dear ones, our mission has not changed.

    LOVE GOD. (Mark 12:30)
    LOVE OTHERS. (Mark 12:31)
    TELL HOW JESUS SAVED YOU. ( 1Peter 3:15-16; Matthew 28:19-20; Revelation 12:11)
    PRAY. (Ephesians 6:18)
    We are still the army of God equipped with His love and armor. Included in the armor from Ephesians 6:10-18 is the power of prayer.

    The Lord placed upon my heart to fast, pray, and ask others to join me last week. But to be honest with you, I had no idea where to begin. I had nothing! That is, until I remembered this:

    “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to prayfor, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 NIV

    And the Holy Spirit was faithful. He guided me to start with the person in the mirror first.

    “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NLT

    Next, I got on Facebook live and we prayed (some fasted and prayed) together at the same time for three days. Below are two of the prayers we prayed together. Please tweak and make these prayers your own. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. They are only a guide. I hope you find them helpful.

    A Prayer for Our Nation

    Father God, As we face these uncertain times in our nation and the world, we ask you, Lord, to dwell among us. We reach out to You in humility that you would bring healing to our nation.

    “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

    You are not a faraway God, you are close and involved on a personal level because You care about each person—no matter the race, gender, economic status, or anything else. You knitted together each individual and still love us equally the same. There is nothing we could do to earn more of Your love. You loved us so much that You sent Jesus to die for all of our sins. And we are forever grateful.

    We trust our nation to Your loving care, Lord. Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders.

    “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray in this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2:1-5

    We pray that our hearts and our nation would pursue righteousness rather than sin.

    “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:34.

    We come against the enemy and his schemes, the evil rulers and authorities, and the mighty powers in this dark world. The devil comes to kill, steal, and, destroy, but we have the power to push him back and take back the territory he has gained.

    We come against and cast out the spirit of fear in the name of Jesus and speak peace over our homes, cities, states, nation, and world. We come against violence and speak love. We come against greed and speak God’s generosity. We pray the fruit of the spirit over this land: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

    We lift up those who have lost jobs and business and pray for restoration. We pray comfort over those who are mourning. We pray salvation for those who do not know Jesus.

    Father, give us Your light, truth, and love. Give us the courage to shine for You. Show us where our hearts need to change to better reflect who You are in the world around us for Your Kingdom.

    May we not just be hearers of the Word but doers. Show us how to love generously and help those in need in our country.

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

    As we seek first Your Kingdom, may your will be done in our nation

    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10

    We ask these things in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
    Printable PDF of both prayers: Prayers-A Prayer for Our Nation, Be Doers of the Word and News Media Prayer

    Prayer to Become Doers of the Word and for News Media

    Heavenly Father, as we pray together for our nation, we realize the need to pray for our own hearts. We ask that you open our eyes to areas that need your touch and change. We desire to grow more like Your Son, Jesus so that we will represent Him well to our world.

    God, in a world full of noise, rhetoric, and media, may we move beyond lofty words to quiet ourselves and hear Your will.

    “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NLT

    Give us boldness to act on your call to justice, especially when no one is watching or applauding. Show us ways we can serve in our churches, local communities, and wherever You would send us. Give us eyes to see the needs of others.

    “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25 NLT

    Lord, we continue to pray for our nation and its leaders, from President Trump and Vice President Pence to all who have leadership roles. But today we focus on news media.

    We pray for honest, reliable, accurate journalism, blogs, radio shows, and programming. Rise up people working in journalism with integrity who are committed to fairness and the truth. We pray for Christians working in traditional and non-traditional media alike, who care deeply about what is wrong in society, that will create content that shines a light on what’s going on. We also pray for Christian media to become more influential and relevant in today’s culture.

    Father, inspire good leadership in newsrooms and productions in all media platforms. Rise up Christians with a passion for media to influence positive change. We pray for advertisers and the necessary means to pay journalists well.

    We also ask that you expose the lies, yellow journalism—those who Inflate events for sensation, neglecting others, stereotyping, or being disproportionately negative. Open the eyes of Americans to see them clearly for what they are. Give us the courage to stand up for necessary changes to bring journalism back to the obligation of truth-telling using reliable and accurate facts without bias.

    God, you are the ultimate storyteller. You know the importance of media, good literature, and movies. We ask that You expose and dispose of the liars and abusers of their power within journalism and put in place individuals who are truth-tellers with excellence and integrity. Protect those who are doing just that.

    Thank you for this country and the freedoms we have such as the freedom of the press.

    Guide us as we continue to stand for the inherent dignity of all people and speak out against injustice, racism, and love each other deeply.

    We pray as Christ has taught us: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).

    In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

    Podcast Audio:

    Sermon Text:

    A lot of things sort-of collided this week. First, of course, we’ve got this pandemic looming over us with all that entails – including the enforced social distancing rules that are making daily life increasingly stressful and depressing. Next, I had a few people texting me and asking about how we can have the Lord’s Supper, communion, as a church. Could we prepare it ourselves at home and then all watch the video and do it. Would that be ok? I also came across a bunch of people and posts – from people inside and outside Christianity – that kept saying that we don’t need to gather together as a church in order to be Christian. The general gist of the argument was that a person’s connection to God, their relationship with Jesus, was only an individual one and a Christian doesn’t need anyone else to have a full and healthy relationship with God. And then, mixed into all of this, came the explosion of riots and protests in the US and Canada, as a result of systemic racism.

    As I processed all of these huge issues – social distancing, communion, the church, the riots – it occurred to me that there is an underlying, common theme. Essentially, at the heart of it all, is the problem of “division”. Humanity is divided. Social Distancing because of the pandemic has divided our communities and families. Don’t visit grandma, don’t go within 6 feet of any human being, don’t shake hands, don’t sing together, don’t give gifts, don’t share meals, don’t worship together. That alone is catastrophic for the human soul.

    But, of course, human divisions have existed long before COVID-19 came along. The bigotry of racism, sexism, ageism, classism, nationalism has divided us since Cain and Abel. In our modern context, another “ism” has grown: “Individualism”. The idea that a single person is more important than the group, that people should work for their own advantage, and that their thoughts and actions are valid simply because they are their own – and no one has the right to judge them. This individualism has infected Christianity, which is where the people who say, “I don’t need any other believers, I don’t need the church, I don’t need accountability, or elders, or theology books, or a church family – it’s just me and God and that’s how it’s supposed to be.”

    Right now, as I speak to you, humanity might be the most divided it’s ever been. It’s one thing to be sexist and think one gender is worse, another to be nationalist and think every other country is evil, another to be ageist and think every other generation is stupid, another to be racist and think that people with different coloured skin are somehow inferior – but when it comes to individualism – the belief that every other person on earth is worse, evil, stupid, and inferior, to you ­– I don’t think you can get a society more divided than that.

    As I said, this moment in time might be the most divided humanity has ever been.

    Origins of Division

    Where did all this division come from?

    God’s plan, which we see in Genesis 1 and 2, was a united humanity. God created Adam and Eve – who were probably brown people, by the way[1] – and placed them in the Garden of Eden. Already, at the very beginning, there was the potential for problems. God is Creator, Adam and Eve are creation. Adam was male, Eve female. Adam was first, Eve was second. But instead of division, there was perfect community, perfect unity, between God, Adam and Eve.

    It didn’t last long. In Genesis 3 we see Adam and Eve rebel against God when they start to think that God is being prejudiced against them! So, in ignorance and jealousy, they fall for the devil’s lies and bring sin into the world. From that moment we were divided.

    With sin came a curse. The results of sin caused cracks and fissures to form in every aspect of the universe. Humans would be divided from their Creator because God cannot be in the presence of sin. The earth would turn against itself and against humanity, as death and corruption entered the world, even the ground itself would work against us. The division would be between Adam and Eve too, men and women, who, even though they would be drawn towards each other, there would be endless strife. In Genesis 4 we see the story of Cain and Abel, two of the children of Adam and Eve. Cain wants to worship God one way, Abel does it a different way. Cain is enraged when God accepts Abel’s sacrifice and not his and kills his brother. Then, by the time we get to Genesis 6, the hearts of men are completely corrupt as evil takes over the world.

    Heart, soul, mind, body, creation, relationships all divided. Emotional walls, spiritual separation, intellectual disagreement, physical strife, a corrupted universe, destroyed unity – all because of sin. God sends a flood to wipe out the world but, in His grace, spares one family – Noah’s – because Noah was the only one who was listening when God sent the warning. After the flood subsides, humanity starts to spread all over the place, populating the world – creating civilizations, but also bringing sin, suffering, war, and division, wherever they went.

    Regardless of if you’re an evolutionist, an “old-earth” person, or a young earth person, the agreement is that it was after a great dispersion, as humans started to settle in parts of the world that had different climates and vegetation, that we start to see minor variations in the human genetic code, as generation after generation develop differences in their skin colour, hair colour, eye shape, etc.

    You see, God didn’t create many different races – He created one: The Human Race. You cannot use the Bible to condone any form of racism. It’s not in there. People have used a lot of evolutionary theory to defend racism – saying that some colours are more “evolved” than others – but you can’t defend racism from the Bible.

    God didn’t create many races, He created one: The Human Race. God didn’t create many religions and “paths to Him”, He created One, faith in the Son of God, The Messiah, Jesus Christ. God doesn’t prefer one gender over the other. He made them equal and complimentary. God doesn’t prefer one age over another. He knits the baby together in the mother’s womb, loves and defends children, trains up and uses young men and women, and gives important work and honour to the elderly. Salvation through Jesus Christ came through the Jewish People, Jesus came as a Jewish Man, but it was to offer salvation to everyone, regardless of race, nation, age, or gender.

    In Revelation 5:9-10, as the story of the end begins and the first scroll is opened, it says they sing,

    “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

    In Revelation 7:9-10, it says,

    “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”

    In the kingdom of God, there is no division.

    All the division we see and experience has one source: the human heart. The corruption sin brings to the human heart is what divides nations, tribes, peoples, and languages. It is sin that creates every terrible “ism” inside us. That’s not from God – that’s our sin.

    Racism, classism, ageism, and all the others are not just political or economic issues. It’s not because of a lack of education or a bad upbringing. Yes, they have political, economic, and social implications – but they are not the source or the solution. The source of the problem, the root of the weed, the thing you have to dig all the way down to in order to kill the problem – is the corruption of all human hearts because of the curse of sin.

    The Solution

    That’s why the only solution to the problem of racism, ageism, sexism, and all the other terrible “isms” is only found in Jesus Christ.

    The Gospel, or the “Good News”, of Jesus Christ begins with the bad news. The first words spoken in the Gospel of Matthew are the angel telling Joseph not to divorce Mary, but that “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20–21) The first words of Jesus in the gospel of Mark are “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) In Luke we read that the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist’s whole job, was to prepare people for the coming of Jesus by telling people to repent “for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3).

    The bad news of sin, the acceptance that we are sinners, must come first – and one really good word to describe the results of sin would be “division”. Sin divided us from God (Isa 59:2) and each other. It created a deadly, untreatable infection to come upon our souls, it built an unbreachable wall and dug an uncrossable chasm between humanity and God, and fractured humanity into an irreparable mess. Jesus came to cure the disease, smash that wall, take the judgment – the sinless one became sin, took the whole of it onto Himself, and then was judged and killed in our place – so He could become the bridge that allows us to cross that chasm, and to remake, reform, recreate our individual hearts, and humanity into being whole again.

    Look at the life and ministry of Jesus. There was no barrier he didn’t cross. He loved men, women, Jews, gentiles, Samaritans, soldiers, slaves, Pharisees, prostitutes, tradesman, tax collectors, children, seniors, the sick, the possessed, the wealthy and popular, the poor and outcast – equally. He saw every one of them the same – as sinners.

    When Jesus declared Himself to be the only “way, truth, and life” (John 14:6) He was calling us lost, lied to, and dead. We are all, as Jesus describes us, sheep without a shepherd (Matt 9:36), lost people who needed finding (Luke 19:10), sick people who need a physician (Luke 5:31-32), lawbreakers under judgment (Matt 12:36), spiritually dead people who needed resurrection (Rom 6:23; John 14:6). Jesus’ mission wasn’t merely to set a good example for us to follow – it was to, by his own death, to mortify (or kill) the sin inside us, and that has infected the whole world, so that we might rise as a new creation, just as He rose from the dead.

    Take a minute and consider what happened at the very birth of the Christian church. Jesus gathers a diverse group of men and women, dies, rises again, ascends to heaven, and tells them to go and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

    So they do. About 120 followers of Jesus were gathered together in one room, praying, worshipping, talking together. Men, women, young, old, Pharisees, tax collectors, all gathered in the name of Jesus, waiting obediently for what He promised.

    Then boom. Look at Acts 2, which we just read last week,

    “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1–4)

    A diverse group in one place, and what does God do. How does he send the Holy Spirit? Audibly and visually. Everyone hears, everyone sees. Everyone in the room experiences the tongues of fire divide and rest upon everyone else. Not just the apostles, not just the men, not just the old people… everyone is given the gift of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God in their hearts. And then everyone starts to speak in languages that they didn’t know before.

    Unity upon unity. Jesus unites a diverse group in His name, demonstrates the seriousness of that unity with wind and fire, and decimates the division of races, languages, and nations by equipping His people to share the gospel with the thousands of people around them who were, as verse 5 says, “Jews… from every nation under heaven”.

    Peter preaches a long sermon, and presumably, the other 119 take their turn sharing and interpreting, and the crowd yells out (in verse 37), “What shall we do?” Peter answers in verse 38, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” First the bad news, then the good news, then the invitation to join the reunited, reformed, recreated, family of God. Who gets access to the Holy Spirit? Just the original followers? Just the people that heard Jesus teaching, and experienced the crucifixion and resurrection? Nope. Everyone. God reverses the curse of the Tower of Babel and unites the people under one banner. As Ephesians 4:4-6 says,

    “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

    Then in Acts 2:42-47 we see the Holy Spirit of God working in the hearts of the people as they devote themselves to worshipping together, learning the word of God together, and taking care of each other. Verses 44-45 we see the destruction of classism as

    “all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”

    Now, if you remember, Jesus’ command to the apostles right before he ascended was to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” But they didn’t want to. They liked what they had going, so they stayed put. So God sent persecution to force a bunch of them to get out of Jerusalem and do what they were supposed to be doing.

    Within a short period of time, there were churches all over the place – Macedonia, Galatia, Greece, Rome, Egypt – and it starts to freak the apostles out a bit. Racism starts creeping into the church. It had already been there during the first crisis when the Greek-speaking Jews and the Hebrew-speaking Jews got into a big fight (Acts 6), but now there were people from all over the place, every nation, tribe, tongue, colour… all claiming Jesus as Lord.

    Weirdly, it seems the first instinct of the apostles is to say that non-Jewish people couldn’t have access to the Holy Spirit, couldn’t be a full part of God’s family. But God squashes that thought in a hurry!

    In Acts 10 God gives Peter a vision of a giant picnic blanket full of every food imaginable – including all kinds of foods the Jews weren’t allowed to eat. God tells Peter, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” (v13) And Peter says, “No way, Lord! I would never eat anything ‘unclean’.” And God says, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”(v15). Then it says that Peter saw this vision three times in a row as God hammered home the point, but Peter still didn’t quite get it.

    So God used a non-Jewish, Roman Centurion named Cornelius to explain it to him. While Peter was standing in Cornelius’ house, sharing the gospel with a whole household of non-Jewish people, the Holy Spirit came again the same way He came the first time: he gave the gentiles the ability to glorify God in languages they didn’t know before that day.

    Peter declares in Acts 10:27, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”, which is just a fancy way of saying, “Well, I guess everyone really does get to be part of God’s family!”

    It reminds me of my first church. I was a young man. 27 years old when I started. It was in Cleveland, Ohio and it was in rough shape. The building was beautiful. 3 story stained glass window, immaculate flooring, beautiful sanctuary, amazing kitchen in the big basement. Every room was stuffed with ministry material – but it was never used.

    When I came to the church, the average age of the people there was 72 years old. The majority of them were German immigrants, who had left a post-World War 2 Europe, and had banded together to start a German church for all their fellows who were coming to America. And for decades the church grew. A boatload of German Baptists would come, and they would come to the German Baptist church. But after a while, there were no more boatloads.

    Then the children started growing up. They were attending American schools where they spoke English. They had English friends. They spoke English at their jobs. The only place they spoke their native language was at home and at church. So the young people asked the older people to let them have an English service. Something a little more in their style. Something they could invite their friends to. The parents said “No, the old ways are better.” And family by family the children left – until all that remained was a handful of grey-haired old people who, in desperation, had changed to an English service and called a new, young pastor.

    I didn’t realize it at the time, but there wasn’t just ageism in the church, but racism too.

    I started to preach and have outreach ideas and God started to bless. But God is hilarious and very smart, so the first people that were saved and came to church were a couple named Senolia and Julio. Senolia was a black woman from the west-side of Cleveland, Julio was a Hispanic rapper full of tattoos. They first came to the church so I could marry them. Senolia said they had called 12 other churches but the pastors wouldn’t perform the marriage because of their race, or because it was a mixed-race marriage. I was more than happy to marry them, but I said that I wouldn’t do it unless they did a bunch of weeks of pre-marital counselling. It was during the premarital counselling that I was able to share the gospel and they were saved and baptised.

    When they started coming to church, it was rough. By then a few others had shown up, and they were… shall we say… from a group that the congregation wasn’t used to seeing. For example, there was the young lady who “didn’t dress like a Christian”, her live-in boyfriend who would come to church in a tank-top undershirt to show off his tattoos, and their hyperactive little girl.

    Right away I could see there was a problem. The new people sat in their own section, while many of the “regulars” wouldn’t even get up to greet them. The new people would chat with each other, while many of the “regulars” would ignore them, even going so far as to speak to each other in German so they couldn’t be understood.

    God was showing me that within this church full of people who said they were Christians and had been attending church for—some of them, 75 years – didn’t know Jesus, didn’t understand His message, didn’t embrace His family, weren’t changed by the gospel. And in the end, and in very short order, only 3 years after I got the job – a year after I left – the church was closed.

    Conclusion

    The story of the gospel is one of unifying a broken world. The story of the church, when you read the New Testament, is a group of people who are being led by the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus’ teaching and example and struggling to be a people who don’t have the barriers of racism, classism, nationalism, and individualism. The church had victories and failures, do good for a while and then do bad for a while, but the consistent message of the Bible, of Jesus, of the Holy Spirit, is one of unification in Jesus Name.

    If you are hearing me today and you have one of those “isms” in your heart – repent and kill that sin right now.

    If you’ve elevated yourself above others, believe that you are better and more valuable than others, that you have a special line to truth and connection to God that no one else has – get on your knees and repent because the corruption and darkness of sin has a hold of your heart.

    If you have looked down on or talked badly about the opposite gender, stereotyping and jump to conclusions about a person before you even meet them – repent from that sin.

    If you have hatred or bias against younger people or older people, valuing one over the other, or disparaging one or the other – you are in sin and need to repent.

    If you’ve been watching the news and have been thinking or talking badly about “those people”, prejudging a whole group because of the colour of their skin, where they live, or how much money they have – repent and turn that sin over to Jesus right now. It is ungodly, unbiblical, unChristlike, and is poisoning you and everyone around you.

    But you don’t need to listen to me. Listen to the words of scripture:

    Romans 10:10–13, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

    1 Corinthians 12:12–14, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”

    Colossians 3:8–14, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

    Galatians 3:26–28, “…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Ephesians 4:1–6, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

    Ephesians 2:14–19, “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…”

    James 2:1–4, 8–10, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?… If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

    Do you get it? Do you see the heart of God? Do you see His hatred of racism, sexism, classism, nationalism, individualism…? Do you understand His desire for unity? I hope you do.

    [1] https://answersingenesis.org/racism/are-there-really-different-races/
    https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/why-did-darker-and-lighter-human-skin-colors-evolve

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  5. Wonderful prayers that accurately reflect your heart for God. A heart that a great many of us need to emulate sweet friend. Well done. I was unable to participate in your events live, but know that I prayed for their success each day ma’am.

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