Counting Down the Omer, Day #11:
(May 29, 2019)
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “We desire to be clothed…” As you exhale, whisper, “…with Power from on high.”
“Then [Jesus] said to [His disciples], ‘These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the Promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with Power from on high.’” (Luke 24:44-49, ESV)
A Prayer for Our U.S. Military Personnel
Heavenly Father, we thank You for our U.S. Military personnel. We especially thank You for those men and women who sacrificed their lives to defend this nation. Thank You for being a Comforter, Provider and Protector for those family members of our U.S. Military Personnel. Lord, we praise and honor Your Name. Your Name is the Lord and we rejoice before You. You have been our home through all the generations. We praise You, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen! O Lord, what a variety of things You have made. In wisdom, You have made them all. The earth is full of Your creatures. Lord, You are a faithful, loving and compassionate God and we bless You.
Righteous Father, we declare that You are the light and salvation of our military personnel; they will not be afraid. You are their fortress and their protection from danger; they will not tremble. We declare that any enemy or foe who comes to attack them will stumble and fall. We confess that our soldiers will trust in You with all of their hearts and they will not depend on their own understanding. They will seek Your will in all that they do, and we know that You will show them which path to take. We declare that our military personnel are blessed and highly favored. We decree that they will submit themselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from them. With the authority given to us, we cancel the assignment of anxiety, depression, anger, fear and confusion and declare that no weapon formed against them will prosper. We command God’s order to prevail within the Veteran Affairs system.
Holy Spirit, show me how I can be a blessing to a military veteran:
Holy Spirit, please strengthen and encourage the family members of those Military Personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty. Meet the financial, emotional and relational needs of these families. Help the surviving spouse and children to access the benefits that are afforded to them. Holy Spirit, please comfort those children whose parent is deployed overseas. Calm their fears and remind them that God promised to never leave nor forsake them or their parent. As our soldiers return home, Holy Spirit, help them to process all they have experienced. Heal any physical and emotional wounds. Please help them with their familial, social, and professional relationships. Lord, we ask that the wait times for appointments at the VA Hospital will be shortened and that each veteran will be treated with dignity and respect. Holy Spirit, we ask that You give our government officials the wisdom on how to cut down on the redtape that ensnares so many veterans from receiving all of the benefits they are entitled to. As a nation, help us to not overlook or discount the sacrifices our military veterans have made for the freedom of our nation.
Forgiving Father, please forgive our active and inactive military personnel for their sins. Forgive them for lying, cheating, stealing, slander, strife, malice, envy, jealousy, selfishness, disobedience and rebellion. Forgive our nation for hypocrisy, slander, greed, racism, injustice, elitism, hatred, and violence. Father, forgive the media for misrepresenting the truth. Father, forgive the Church for not praying consistently for local, national, and world leaders. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed). Holy Spirit, remind our military personnel of those they need to forgive and help them to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to show you names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He shows you, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help our military personnel not to yield to temptation but deliver them from the evil one.
Triumphant Lord, You reign. You dwell between the cherubim; let the earth be moved. You are great in Zion and high above all people. Your Name is so great and awesome. You are Holy. Yours is the Kingdom, the power and glory, forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Test (NKJV & NLT):
Psalm 90:1, Psalm 104:24, Psalm 27:1-2, Proverbs 3:5-6, Luke 1:28, James 4:7, Isaiah 54:17, I Corinthians 14:40, Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 6:13, Psalm 99:1-3
Concepts to Consider:
Similar to what we heard at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Luke echoes Jesus’ call to “proclaim… to all nations.” And what are we enjoined to proclaim? That the totality of the Scripture points to Him. Stephen’s Holy Spirit-empowered defense speech before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7 (also recorded by Luke) gives us a peek into what such a proclamation would have been like. It is clear that Stephen, a Hellenistic (Greek-speaking) Jew, knew the Scriptures and he was not afraid to tell the story of Jesus even in the face of death. He eloquently outlines how the people of Israel—his people—had habitually rejected the leaders God sent to them (especially Joseph and Moses) and how they had wrongly idolized “their ancestors,” “the land of Israel” and “the temple.” Stephen’s ultimate point was that Jesus was also a God-appointed Leader that the Jewish authorities had rejected. And more than simply rejecting “just any leader,” they had rejected “The Righteous One,” the Messiah they had all been waiting for, to whom all the previous Jewish leaders, prophets, and kings had pointed. The Sanhedrin had heard enough. They convicted Stephen of blasphemy and had him stoned as a warning to the upstart followers of the renegade Rabbi, Jesus.
Stephen’s example is challenging. He was just an ordinary guy who was an early follower of Rabbi Jesus, yet he knew the Scripture and its historical context cold. He could stand flat-footed in front of the highest religious court in the land and explain why he had chosen to follow Jesus, and why they should, too! Stephen is a testament to Jewish and early Christian catechesis. The Holy Spirit was able to powerfully use what had been deposited into Stephen’s mind and heart. The Spirit made all that information come alive. What are you doing to remain “a student-follower” (disciple) of Jesus? How are you growing in knowledge and understanding of His Word?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.