Counting Down the Omer, Day #15:
(May 25, 2019)
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “Our house is built…” As you exhale, whisper, “…on the Rock of the Living Word.”
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27, ESV)
A Prayer of Protection for Our Children and Youth
Righteous Father, we are so grateful that You are all-seeing and all-knowing. You have Your eye on each and every person on this earth, including our children and youth. Thank You for faithfully watching over them every day. We thank You for keeping Your angels stationed around them day and night. Thank You, Lord, for guarding their lives in the face of seen and unseen dangers. Father, we give You glory. You are in Your holy Temple, yet You still rule from heaven. You watch everyone closely, examining every person on earth. We lift our hands and worship You, for You Yourself watch over our children and youth. You stand beside them as their protective shade. All praises to You, our Father and our God!
Awesome Father, when our children and youth are at home, You are there. When they are in school, You are there. Wherever they go, You are there. We believe in the power of Your Word, so we commit ourselves to declaring blessings over our children and youth every day. In the Name of Jesus, we rebuke every foul plot of the enemy to harass, bully, injure, harm, or kidnap our children and youth. The blood of Jesus covers them and guards their steps. We declare that our children and youth live in the shelter of the Most High, and they find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. You alone are their refuge and their place of safety. You are their God, and they trust You. Lord, we expect You to rescue them from every trap (drugs, alcohol, crime, and abuse), and protect them from deadly disease. You promised that You will cover them with Your feathers. You will shelter them with Your wings. These promises are their armor and their protection.
Holy Spirit, help parents to act responsibly when it comes to the welfare of their children. Keep them from being distracted by work, bills, relationships, and other issues. Help them to be open to correction and instruction if they are lacking in good, balanced parenting skills. Lord, help us all to be shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves in the handling of our children and youth. Give us the courage to take action when we see warning signs of impending danger around them. Help us to come together in our communities to cover those children who are runaways and castaways. Empower our law enforcement officers, social workers, attorneys, child advocates, and court judges with the ability to bring to justice those who perpetrate crimes against children and youth. Bring strong conviction upon the hearts of those who have offended our children and youth, and bring them to the point of repentance and deliverance so that they can receive the grace and redemption that Jesus made possible for all mankind.
List the names of any children and youth who are or may be in danger and pray for them. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can be of help:
Blessed Father, forgive us for our sins, especially those we have committed against our children and youth. Forgive those who discourage and demean our children and youth. Forgive those who refuse to do their part to protect our children and youth. Forgive those parents and guardians who refuse to seek help for their children when they are spiraling out of control. Forgive those in the Church who judge and ostracize our children and youth instead of seeking to understand them and showing them love. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that You have committed). Holy Spirit, remind us of all those we need to forgive and help us 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 reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Magnificent Father, no one is holy like You! There is no one besides You. There is no rock like our God. You are the Lord, the Mighty One, who has spoken and summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets. From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, You shine in glorious radiance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text:
Psalm 11:4, Psalm 121:5, Psalm 91:1-4, Matthew 10:16, Matthew 6:13, I Samuel 2:2, Psalm 50:1-2
Concepts to Consider:
As we approach the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount the cycle of choices between two things (e.g., God vs. money [6:24]; narrow vs. wide gates [7:14]; doing stuff for God vs. being in relationship with God [7:21-23]) culminates in “a tale of two houses.” Where will you choose to live? In a “house” built on the solid rock of Jesus’ teachings (His full-throated, lean, love-filled, and Divinely authoritative rendering of the Torah—the foundational first five books of the Bible) or a “house” built on the shifting sands of broken, religio-politically expedient Torah interpretations and institution that rely on the “authority” of religious pedigree and precedent rather than on the relational, re-creating Presence of God? Jesus is clear that a “house” that cares less about people made in God’s image and more about external, rote adherence to a bloated “moral code” (see: 1 Corinthians 13) is on its way to a disastrous fall.
- Jesus doesn’t pull any punches. In Matthew 5, 6 & 7 He sets Himself up to be the definitive Interpreter of Torah and God’s ultimate intentions for humanity and the cosmos. This stance gets Him in a great deal of trouble with the religious establishment, and it ultimately is a factor that leads to His death. When Jesus asks us to follow Him, how far are we willing to go in living out His teachings in humble and loving ways, even if it flies in the face of the status quo? (see: Luke 9:23)
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.