We are observing a forty-day prayer fast in Cor Unum. Some may wish to incorporate a Lenten fast, perhaps snacks or desserts or coffee … or criticism! … as well, but we are praying between now and Easter for someone in desperate need. A sick child, an overburdened mother, a prisoner, a discouraged pastor – forty minutes or four minutes each day, or something in between, only let us be faithful, let us trust that our prayers will be heard, and let us remember to rejoice along the way. We are before the Lord! We are His own worshiping, triumphant Army - and we have set out to see captives set free!
Today’s Scriptural weapon is found in the 49th chapter of Isaiah. This book is like a Biblical manual for warriors in the Spirit, and our Sword is a spiritual blade:
“Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? Surely thus says the Lord: ‘Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your sons.’” (verses 24 and 25)
Most of us have known people, even children, who seem to have been taken into the captivity of darkness and sin. When we in Cor Unum come to understand that the Lord our God loves mercy more than judgment, then we have begun to know His heart, and we will begin to fight and defend and rescue those who have been kept in captivity, those who do damage to themselves and others, instead of the “pointing of the finger” that marks unbelief and perhaps even cowardice. That abomination is mentioned in Isaiah 58 as the practice we need to put off when we fast!
It is celebratory . . . and salutatory! . . . to live in this monastery for the sake of others, looking for the mercy of the Lord. It is never hard to find. He Himself told us that, though He is just and He will dispense justice, it is mercy that He longs to show. Happily, His desire is to bring judgment down on the heads of those (spiritual forces of wickedness – Ephesians 6:12) that have so long tormented and held people in bondage of fear, regret, grief, depression, and addiction. In wisdom we know that most anger and violence stem from one of those categories. For forty days we are privileged to pray that someone we know, someone we care about, will be set free from the captivity and the mighty power of such evil.
Today we pray, “Mighty God, how we thank You that Your mercy is strong and Your truth is able to deliver ______________________ from the power of wickedness. There is no bondage that can hold where You choose to set free. We ask today that You send Your Word and heal these for whom we pray . . . send Your Word and heal them, and deliver them from even their own destructions! Let those that have put them to shame be put to shame, and let these that we love be risen and stand upright! Set the captives free, Lord God! All by Your mercy, all by Your Power, all according to Your love for them. Amen, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”