Tag Archive: freedom

PRAYER FOR AFGHANISTAN

Picture a young M*slim woman, physically, emotionally and mentally abused by the husband she was forced to marry at age fourteen. Desperate, near death on occasion, losing several children in the womb. Then Jesus helped her escape. The Jesus she saw in a vision at fourteen when he told her he loved her – this girl who felt unattractive, unloved, unwanted. She didn’t understand then. But later, she gave herself fully to Jesus as she learned who this Man was who appeared to her in her teens.

Satan tempts her at times with the fear of the past, the scars she’s borne. But she fights him with the full armor of God.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” 

Ephesians 6:10-13

The elements of that armor?

  • The Belt of Truth
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness
  • Readiness to share the gospel of peace
  • The Shield of faith, with which to extinguish the evil one’s attacks
  • The Helmet of Salvation
  • The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and
  • Praying at all times in the Spirit for all the saints.
smiling woman wearing hijab
Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy on Pexels.com
This is a representative photo and is not the woman I write about

This young woman has fought against evil and is finding freedom from the memories, the scars of her past, and I praise God for her life and her testimony.

And now we see desperate people trying to flee Afghanistan in the wake of our withdrawal of troops and the takeover by the Taliban. Oh, how we need to pray for these people, beloved by God who gave His Son that ALL might know Him. I can’t even imagine the terror they feel as they rush the airport, cling to airplanes from which they fall to their deaths, as they try desperately to flee a horrible regime.

I know many of us are praying for the Christians who will be sought out and persecuted, likely killed. Franklin Graham has called for today, Sunday 8/22, to be a Day of Prayer for Afghanistan, especially for Christians and those who have worked with America. I am copying here a prayer by Anne Graham Lotz (daughter of Billy Graham) for the people of Afghanistan.

“…I cannot shake the very heavy burden I feel to pray for Afghanistan. The following is a summary of how I am praying as I pour out my heart before God. Please join me if you feel led:

Creator of the Universe. Ruler of All. Lord of the Nations. Are You not the Judge of all the earth? If my heart is broken…shattered…over what’s taking place in Afghanistan, what must Your great heart feel? So I come to You and plead Your mercy for Your people who are now hiding in basements, caves, any hole they can find, knowing that demonic forces will not stop until Your people are found and slaughtered. So I pray for Your people…followers of Jesus…to be supernaturally protected and delivered. Send Your angel armies to surround Your people, as You did for Elisha (2 Kings 6). Blind the enemy so they cannot locate Your people in hiding. Didn’t You teach us Yourself that when we pray, we are to pray that we would be delivered from evil? (Matthew 6) So. Deliver Your people. By any means. Please. But if You do not, and if You allow Your people to be slaughtered, then I pray that You would give dying grace to each and every one of them. Men. Women. Children. Fill them with Your supernatural peace. Give them a vision of Heaven opened for them, as You did for Stephen in Acts 7. Open their eyes to see You, Lord Jesus, standing at the right hand of the Father, waiting to welcome them Home and give them a martyr’s crown.

And then I pray…yes I do… for the fullness of Your wrath to fall on the evil perpetrators, whether they are in Kabul or Tehran or Washington, DC. Holy God. Avenge Your people. I know You hear this prayer. Now I wait to see how You will answer. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Surely it’s time for You to be glorified in all the earth. For the sake of Your great name, Amen”

Anne Graham Lotz

Please join me in this prayer. May God keep His sovereign hand on His precious people.

post by carolnl | | Closed

Grace, God’s Grace

I feel bound. Working in a ministry with legalistic leadership, I had lost the joy in service and felt only anxiety and tension. Some mornings it was all I could do to get up and go to work. Many evenings I cried myself to sleep, praying “Lord, please hold onto me. I have nothing with which to hold onto you right now.”

This is one of the results of legalism that our pastor spoke about last weekend. Loss of joy, feeling like I need to “work harder” to please Christ, wondering if I’m following God’s plan for my life or someone else’s.

At the time, I felt my leader was asking things of me that God was not asking … signing a vow to commit to a somewhat nebulous goal (“Sign it or leave” – but where would I go? I wasn’t prepared to leave this organization I had helped establish); telling me I should not attend the church I did because they would pull me away from the ministry…not from Christ, but from the ministry.

I Tried Harder

I signed the vow. I went to the church where most of the staff worshiped. Sermons were excellent. But I missed my old fellowship and friends, and resented being told where to worship. If I didn’t follow the unwritten rules I was considered rebellious. I was told I “should” have joy. But I didn’t.

Legalism and my response to it resulted in some severe health problems. Finally the leader suggested that, since we had worked together for ten years, I take a month to rest. Before meeting him at the end of that month, I went to Yosemite to read and pray and seek God’s will. I didn’t hear a voice; I didn’t get a clear direction. What I did sense was that God was giving me a choice, with the assurance that He would be with me regardless of what I elected to do. I chose to leave that organization, but it took several years for my spirit and body to recover.

That’s a clear picture to me of the difference between legalism and grace. One said “You haven’t done all we required.” (You’re a disappointment. You failed.) It’s all about control.

Jesus said “What would you like to do, my child?” Grace is a free gift, unmerited favor with God. Wow!

In Galatians 5:1 Paul says “So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (NLT)

My husband is very gracious. He pulls my car out of the garage and next to the side door on cold mornings so that when I get into the vehicle it’s already warmed up and ready to go. He often empties the dishwasher first thing in the morning, before I’m up. He starts the laundry if I’m out for the day. But he does these things because he loves me amazingly, not because someone put a list up saying “Do this and that and the other …” These are acts of love, not of duty. There’s a huge difference between the two.

Isaiah 30:15 states “The sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, ‘Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.’ …” That reads to me like grace, not legalism – not “doing,” but resting, waiting, basking in the love of God, and then responding in love.

I’m still learning about grace. How about you? Are there areas where you feel bound rather than free? I’d love to hear from you.