Jump to Prayer FocusBible Passage for Meditation: Isaiah 61:1-3
Key Verse: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Isaiah 61:1
The last blog I wrote, entitled “The Freedom of Forgiveness,” triggered more responses than I could have imagined. I came to an overwhelming realization that perhaps more than ever before our church is filled with brokenness.
The hurts within our church family are deeper than we allow ourselves to acknowledge, and while we as a body of believers find ourselves bickering about everyday issues, it’s obvious that the enemy is wreaking havoc among us over deeper hurts in our hearts. Whatever it is covering up the light of Christ—whether it is our children straying from the path of holiness, our marriages being torn apart, hate, suicide, abuse, or sexual immorality—we are virtually suffocating from a cloak of darkness that is rooted in our dire state of pain and disunity as a body.
In my daily work, I often come face to face with the inexplicable pain that drains the heart of the very desire for life. On every side I witness brokenness and despair.
However, I am reminded of the words of our Lord in Isaiah 61:1-3, affirming that my calling in this life (and your calling as well) is to be a source of healing and hope for those lost in despair. God has sent each of us to bind up the brokenhearted; that means those who have been hurt by loved ones or even cast out of their communities. He has called us to proclaim freedom for (legal) captives of the enemy—those who willingly participate in things that displease the Lord. While they have no strength to get free, our prayers can help set them free! God also calls us to offer hope to those who are depressed and wish to die because they feel so alone in a cruel world.
The casualties of war are on every side. That’s why God needs us, as a church body, to unite in prayer, setting free the captives of darkness and the prisoners of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and more.
We should also search our hearts to see if we’ve intentionally, or even unknowingly, despised others or kept them on the periphery of our church community. We are called to offer hope and healing, courage and love to these outcasts as well. As we pray for them, we will find our distaste for them evaporating. It’s time for those barriers to come down and for healing to take place.
Sister White admonishes us, “No provision has been made for Christians to draw apart from one another. By our unity and love we are to reveal the character of Christ” (Review and Herald, April 27, 1897, par. 7).
If we are to be united in our mission, if we are to welcome the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and if we are to offer hope and healing to a dying world, we must allow God to heal the wounds among us. We must come together in unity and love, seeing one another as Christ sees us. This time of unity will bring healing; we will then go forward with new strength and power as a united body, and our churches will once again begin to flourish.
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Loving Lord, forgive us for becoming distracted from our mission by the worldly concerns of our individual lives. We bicker among ourselves so much that we have lost sight of Your call to minister to the hurting within our own church family. We’ve also not allowed you to heal the pain in our own hearts. Unite us, Lord, in the mission of Isaiah 61, to become Your servants who provide for those who grieve in our churches. May we become a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of heaviness. Let us unite at the foot of the cross and receive Your healing so that we can share this hope of healing with the rest of the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
[For some practical tips on how to bring your church into greater unity, click here for downloadable file.]