Dear Prayer Partners,
The ICEJ defines itself as a ministry of intercessors. Prayer has been the driving force of our ministry from the very beginning. Time and again, the Lord leads us back to this fundamental trait. This is how the Isaiah 62 initiative was born, as well as the new Prayer Wave initiative.
There are many ways we can pray and many models we can find in the Bible. One of them is the instruction Jesus gave to His disciples in Matthew 6. He instilled faith in them by assuring them that the Father already knows all their needs before they even asked Him. Then, He continued to lay down what is known as the Lord’s prayer. These short lines can be seen as a set of priorities for our prayer life.
In this prayer letter, I will share a few thoughts and invite you to meditate on the text yourselves.
The Lord’s prayer starts by addressing God as our Father. He is not a distant God who is not interested in our affairs, instead, we can relate to Him as to a family member. Paul underlines this by using the word “Abba”, which literally means “Daddy”. When I see little children on the street or at the beach in Israel saying, “Abba!” and running to the father, I am always reminded of this close relationship of trust that God wants to have with us.
If we received Jesus as our Savior we received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba Father.” We are not slaves, we did not receive the spirit of bondage and fear (Rom 8:15-16, Gal 4:6-7). The very beginning of the Lord’s prayer puts us in a place of trust and safety. No matter what goes on in our lives, our loving Father knows about it and tells us: “Fear not, for I am with you.”
Living as children of God also has implications for our behavior. Paul says in Romans 8:11-14:
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
The sign of sonship is that we are led by the Spirit. How do we recognize it? By not living according to the flesh. This entails resisting sin, fighting temptation, and enduring chastening:
For whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (Heb 12:6-8)
Therefore, when we start to pray, we recall that we are in a place of complete safety because He is our Father. We have His Spirit in us, and strive to live according to the Spirit. We must guard our path and receive chastisement, unlike the sons of the world. When we concentrate on His name and His kingdom first, we are inspired to search the motives of our hearts. Whose name should be glorified? “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory” (Psalm 115:1). The story of the tower of Babel teaches us that there may be lofty goals, great unity, efficient methods, advanced technologies, and yet it may end up displeasing the Lord if we say in our hearts: “let us make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4ff).
Praying for His kingdom to come means focusing on the big picture. God’s Kingdom is much more than just our personal life or church life. It encompasses all of society. God wants us to bring Kingdom values to this world wherever we are: in the marketplace, in art, at school, at home, and with friends. When we pray for His Kingdom to come, we must expect to be used by Him and for Him.
God chose Israel to be His model Kingdom and He will accomplish His plan. This is why all Israel will be saved. Jesus will restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6), and we are called to pray as watchmen and give Him no rest until he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62:6-7).
This is a place to pray for your country, too. God will judge the nations (Mt 25:31ff) and the measuring stick will be how they related to the Jewish people and to the land of Israel (Joel 3:1-2). Let us pray for our nations and our leaders.
Prayer has the power to change history! May God give you revelation as you continue praying according to the Lord’s prayer.
Shalom from Jerusalem,
Vice President – International Affairs
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem