In today’s daily encouragement we refer to one of the great prayers of the great Apostle Paul, from Ephesians chapter 3.
He prays for the church out of his pastor’s heart, that they would know the love of God and become lost in the depth and height and width and breadth of that wonderful all-consuming love.
How often do we use this prayer to pray for ourselves? Or for others? There are amazing keys in praying this prayer. The fullness of God can only come as we are filled with His love, with for us, and then through us. There is no fullness outside of love, because God is love.
We are going through an unprecedented global ‘time’ of pandemic and lockdown restrictions. Additionally as a church we are also in a ‘time’ of fasting and prayer. Both of these ‘times’ are significant and require us as Christians to become more aligned with Heaven’s purposes.
Paul tells us in Eph. 5:15-17 to be discerning and not unwise, and to redeem – to buy back – the times. Redemption in the New Testament is a concept from the slave markets of the day, where a person captured and brought into slavery could be bought with the purpose of then setting them free. Jesus has redeemed us from sin. We were all slaves to sin, but through His death on the cross He paid the price to set us free.
But here he talks of redeeming our times. The word used for time is “kairos” and it means a specific time or opportunity. The amazing thing is that we have been given the authority, through seeking God, to buy back key moments and opportunities. Our times – even in this difficult season we find ourselves in – can be submitted to God and His loving hands, and they can be redeemed so that something profitable comes out of them.
Today we begin our Autumn Fasting and Prayer in Golden Valley Church.
It’s not a coincidence that we are beginning our season on the Jewish and Biblical “Day of Atonement” [Yom Kippur].
Yom Kippur in the Old Testament was the day when the High Priest entered into the Holiest Place to make atonement for the whole nation. Today it is still the holiest day of all in the Jewish calendar.
We also believe these days to be highly significant as they are part of Heaven’s calendar for the earth. Although as Christians we believe that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Day of Atonement in the sense that He was both the sacrifice and the High Priest, and that He opened up the heavenly Holy of Holies for us to enter boldly through His blood, it is still highly profitable to make specific and special time to draw near to Him on this day.
Yom Kippur ends 10 days of soul searching, repentance, forgiveness, and cultivating the fear of the Lord. Of course, in one sense we should do this all the time, however, it’s expedient and powerful for us align with heaven’s dates and seasons.
Let’s approach the Throne of Grace – the Mercy Seat – with boldness and confidence, and yet with deep humility, repentance, and awe. I believe God will meet us as we do, in this fast time.
It was with great joy that we welcomed Sarah Liberman and her team from Carmel, Israel, to host the “Ascend: The Worship Journey” conference in Golden Valley Church, this past weekend.
Sarah is a Worship Leader, Songwriter, and Speaker with a deep passion for true worship from pure hearts. Her love for God, and her appreciation of all that Yeshua (Jesus) has done is clearly evident.
She challenged us to go deeper and higher in our worship, to listen and obey God’s voice, and to develop pure hearts before Him. Sarah carries a unique sound of worship, which bridges across generations and nationalities.
The prayer session on Sunday afternoon was powerful! Those in attendance sought God fervently for our own area of Gloucester and Cheltenham, for the UK, and for Israel. Many delegates commented on how impacting and life-changing the weekend has been. We are truly thankful to God.
Sarah has two worship albums, “I Am Before You” and “A Pure Heart”, and also her own YouTube channel.
This morning in Golden Valley Church, Wes read out the prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake [c1540 to 1596].
Drake was a product of his time, an era of ongoing war between the European sea-going nations, and valued as a hero to the English and a ‘pirate’ to the Spanish, whose territories he often raided on behalf of the then Queen of England, Elizabeth I. His sailing career had begun as a young man within the slave trade, though latterly he employed escaped slaves in his crew. He was the second person to circumnavigate the globe in the late 1570’s, and received a knighthood immediately afterward. Through modern eyes he would appear to be a very strange mixture of qualities, yet he penned this amazing prayer which is so relevant to us all as we move into another year.
Disturb us, Lord, when We are too pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we dreamed too little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when With the abundance of things we possess We have lost our thirst For the waters of life; Having fallen in love with life, We have ceased to dream of eternity And in our efforts to build a new earth, We have allowed our vision Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wilder seas Where storms will show Your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back The horizons of our hopes; And to push back the future In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain, Who is Jesus Christ.