“As is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.” — Martin Luther
- 1-Minute Devotional Thought:
In Luke 11:24-28, Jesus teaches us that when it comes to being a citizen of either the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of the devil, there is no middle ground of mere morality on which a person can choose to stand.
Jesus told a parabolic story of a man who had a demon, but then the demon left. It wandered around, looking for a new place to reside. Then, the demon happened upon his old “house,” the soul of this man.
“My goodness,” the demon exclaimed. “Look how neat and tidy and put in order this soul is. I don’t remember it being such a nice place. Well, since nobody else lives here, I think I’ll call seven of my friends in and we’ll live here.”
Jesus said that the man’s condition was worse in the end than it was in the beginning.
You see, the man who had been possessed by the devil had not taken the step of intentionally responding in faith to Jesus. As a result, he was not “Christ’s possession.” His “house” sat empty . . . and so it stood ready for re-possession by the demon and his friends.
The “putting things in right order” counted for nothing. The man — and each of us — must have Christ’s life in us, and we must be His possession. There is no neutral zone. Mere morality does not save. Morality is the fruit of salvation but not its root. Apart from saving faith in Christ, morality only serves to make life a bit more tidy — soothing the soul into complacency about the eternal dangers of living as a citizen of the wrong kingdom and a subject of the wrong lord.
As you pray “Thy Kingdom come” — daily lean into the good news of the Gospel. Jesus came to save sinners. He is the strong man who is stronger than the other strong man (Luke 11:22) — and our strong man plundered us from the house of the devil in order that we would become His own possession.
Christians, our strong man is the strongest strong man there is.
So, choose you this day whom you will serve. As Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23).
Prayers for the week…
- In the midst of national scandals, pray for wisdom and godly leadership. Pray for the president, the cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, civil servants of the IRS, members of the military, the media, and all those affected by the decisions these people make every moment of every day. May they receive wise counsel, and may they make decisions that honor God and advance His purposes of justice, equity and liberty for all. May those with self-seeking agendas be thwarted and the plans of those who would harm our common life frustrated unto futility.
- As resident aliens and neighbors to the lost: This summer, pray for the ministry of evangelism and discipleship that goes on in your community by means of Vacation Bible School. Pray that the Gospel goes forth with Kool-Aid, crafts and fun … and that such opportunities have an impact on eternity.
- Pray for pro-life ministries throughout our land and the world. Last Monday, Vermont became the fourth state in the U.S. to legalize assisted suicide.
Vermont becomes the first state to enact such a law legislatively. Oregon and Washington have laws passed by public vote. The Montana Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that physicians there may aid terminally ill patients in dying if they request it. In 2013, eight states introduced bills to allow physician-assisted death; two states introduced bills banning the practice, according to the Death with Dignity National Center, based in Portland, Ore. [USATODAY]
- Pray for the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) ministry taking place at Louisiana State University — led by Josh Martin:
Josh was born and raised in Greenville, SC. After attending the University of South Carolina – Spartanburg and Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Josh accepted a call as RUF Campus Minister at Delta State University in May of 2001. In June of 2008 he became the RUF Campus Minister at Louisiana State University.
- Using the new 2013 “watchlist” produced by Open Doors, we pray for the persecuted Christians of a different country each week.
Teachers/parents, consider this a great way to introduce geography into the weekly lessons. Show students where the nation is, then pray for Christians in that place.
This week we pray for the Christians of Turkmenistan, which ranks No. 19 on the watchlist:
The state exerts strict control in order to avoid the emergence of any independent economic, social or cultural groups – which includes churches. All unregistered religious activity is illegal and the government uses the ‘Council on Religious Affairs,’ police and the secret services to keep the church under surveillance. The frequency of raids, even on registered churches, has increased and obtaining registration is nearly impossible. Formal religious education is almost totally banned, as are all religious publications.
Pray: For Muslim Background Believers who face more problems than other persecuted Christians, including physical attacks; that government officials will be willing to register churches; give thanks that Pastor Ilmurad was released from prison in 2012; he must now report to the police each week.
- Prayer for the nation – focusing this week on the state of Louisiana.
- In 2013, we will pray together by name for Christians in 50 nations, Christians in all 50 states and all the presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the emerging new Reformed body, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. You are encouraged to add specific pastors, lay leaders, congregations, missionaries, new church developments and other ministries to the list by posting a comment to the blog. (Please do not publicly post the names of missionaries serving in contexts where exposing their identity would cause them harm or bring harm to those they serve in Christ’s name.) Let us kneel before the Father and ask His will be done.
- Prayers for the PCUSA: Pray for the presbyteries of the Rocky Mountains: Denver, Glacier, Plains and Peaks, Pueblo, Utah, Western Colorado, Wyoming and Yellowstone.
- Prayers for Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC): the East Presbytery (Ron Meyer, stated clerk) and preparations for the 33rd General Assembly meeting in Colorado, June 18-22.
- Prayers for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA): the churches of the Southwest Florida Presbytery and the 41st meeting of the General Assembly in Greenville, SC, June 18-21.
- Prayers for ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.
- Prayers for The Fellowship of Presbyterians.