MERCY

August 20, 2021

Today will be a different type of devotional. It is a plea that you join me in prayer for the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.

All of us hear about crises from around the world. The fateful news floods our screens, our inboxes and our conversations. Not all news is bad, of course; but that is predominantly the lead of most of our sources. Whether your particular flavor preference for news is liberal or conservative leaning, the general credo is, "If it bleeds, it leads."

My position gives me access to information sources who are on the ground in some rather sensitive areas. Afghanistan is one of those areas. What I can share with you is that the situation on the ground in Kabul is much more severe than is being reported on any of the news media. I'll not speculate here as to whether this is deliberate, or simply relates to a lack of information sources. But I will share some specific areas about which we, as the Body of Christ, ought to be praying.

I LOVE THE LORD BECAUSE HE HEARS MY VOICE AND MY PRAYER FOR MERCY.

The war between good and evil is seldom so clearly delineated as when radical, armed elements of Islam rise up in military conflict. The results are often brutal and disgusting, offensive to the senses and sensibilities.

But a lesson clearly to be learned from the scriptures is that God's allowance of evil to triumph in the battle over His people is tied to our willingness to allow and embrace sin in the camp. A few days ago I spoke about not touching the gold, the girls or the glory; but turning a blind eye to sin - and especially sin within the church - will eventually lead to discipline from a loving Father. Actions and choices have consequences.

So requests for God to be merciful and to move in power ought to begin with a self examination, with repentance, and with a willingness to change our hearts and our actions.

So, I invite you to join me in repenting for the sin we have allowed and asking God to move in power and mercy.

BEGIN by asking the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind areas where you've not been faithful to Him and His word. He will speak to you. As He brings situations to your remembrance He will give correction. Receive it, embrace it. Determine what you must do to "turn around" (which is what the word "repent" actually means) and how you can make a DELIBERATE CHOICE to walk in the direction He is leading you. Ask Him for the grace to follow Him well. Ask for and receive His forgiveness. Praying with a priest about specific issues may help you find a way to overcome.

In the Anglican tradition, we have a clear view of the sacrament of penance (speaking in utter confidence with a priest who can help you to repent of specific sin, and to receive absolution and forgiveness from God). That view is summed up in this phrase: ALL may, NONE must, SOME should. Does God forgive those who come to Him with heartfelt repentance? Of course. Is the wise counsel of an ordained representative of His Church needed in some cases. Unquestionably. Let your heart lead you.

THEN you are in a much better place from which to ask God to intervene.

Here are some things about which you might pray with respect to Afghanistan:

  • The Taliban is forcibly stopping people on the streets, examining their phones and killing anyone who has a Bible loaded.

    PRAY that God will close the eyes of the soldiers and protect His people.

    In World War II, God did this time after time. Corrie Ten Boom and Brother Andrew reported on God's mercy in this way.
  • Pray for protection of those in hiding, and for those who are moving through dangerous situations in an attempt to get inside the wire at the Kabul airport. The situation on the streets is chaotic and extremely fluid.

    PRAY that God will lead His people to safety.
  • Pray that families who are separated in transit will be able to reconnect and rejoin.

    There have been instances of family members getting separated, even as they were attempting to pass through US military checkpoints at the airport. I am haunted by the face of a specific young boy of about age 10; I have seen his passport and I know that his family has been separated from one another. He is one example of many, but he is on my heart often as I am praying.

    PRAY that families will be kept together, especially that younger children will be able to remain with their parents.
  • Pray that people will be able to escape the clutches of the Taliban and their brutal tactics.

    God is opening ways of people to escape Taliban custody. I know of one specific case where a series of miracles allowed for a student who had been captured and beaten to escape her captors before they were able to rape her. She was able to hide from discovery and get word about her locations to some people with the means to reach her. They were able to get to her and bring her to safety.

    PRAY for the strength, stamina and protection of the people "on the ground" who are engaged in rescue missions like this. They are in constant danger.

I'm confident you will think of many, many more things about which to pray. Pray in faith, and take hold of the answers.

One final word. Do not believe the lie that our enemy will tell you, insisting that your prayers are ineffective. We who are in Christ are covered by His blood and His righteousness. The word of God says "the prayers of the righteous have GREAT POWER in their effect." Believe what God says about prayer!!! And PRAY!

I LOVE THE LORD BECAUSE HE HEARS MY VOICE AND MY PRAYER FOR MERCY.

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