Mark  Broadus
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Pandemic Praying 5

I had a Zoom meeting yesterday with the pastors of 6 other GTA Christian Reformed Churches. They are all struggling well through this pandemic, facing similar challenges to us here at Fellowship. They all had many reasons to be thankful and things that caused their hearts to be heavy, including concerns for family members.  There was great care and concern for each person and for all of our churches, and committed to help one other through this. Additionally, the churches of the 427 Ministerial continue to regularly share ideas and information, and pray for one another.  I am grateful to God for these support networks.

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Today’s Scripture is the entire fifth chapter of Revelation; read it, or hear it read to you:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.”

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Using today’s song, “Is He Worthy?” (suggested by Alice VDK), take some more time, in the quiet of your own home, to worship the One who is worthy.

Turn with me now to the intercessory “prayers of God’s people” (Rev 5:8).  Dan and Jan shared this prayer; after each sentence I have added a blank line for you to intercede for whomever the Holy Spirit puts on your heart:

Dear God,

We pray that You calm fears and that the church will be a calming presence and radiant light in the face of so much confusion and darkness. Help us to be people of compassion who intentionally reach out to others in our neighbourhoods and to our family around the world where community healthcare, less or no access to medicine, is so prevalent.

I pray now for ________________________________.

We also ask that you guide our world leaders as they work with healthcare organizations and the medical community to develop next steps. Please guide researchers and biologists with your hand, granting wisdom and insight as they work to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

I pray now for ________________________________.

Please provide your love and protection for first-responders around the world who are tasked with triaging, testing, and treating increasing numbers of people. Also give them patience, wisdom and a gentle spirit as they work to navigate fears and offer effective treatment.

I pray now for ________________________________.

Please be with our church leaders as they offer insight and wisdom to their congregations and communities. Help them to be a voice of reason, clarity and grace. We lift to you the families of so many people who have died and for those undergoing treatment, for your comforting peace. Please comfort the broken-hearted and strengthen those who are suffering physically and emotionally.

I pray now for ________________________________.

We pray for those whose work has been affected due to economic downturn. For parents who are struggling to work and care for their children.

I pray now for ________________________________.

And we pray that we as God’s people will remember our hope in Christ and the truth that our Savior who died and rose for us has already overcome the world.

Amen

We end this week of "Pandemic Praying" with this quote from John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, 4th century, as quoted by Ravi Zacharias, and shared by Judi: 

“The potency of prayer has subdued the strength of fire, it has bridled the rage of lions, hushed anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of Heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all sufficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by the clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm.  It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings.”

In closing, let’s pray together as Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

Take this blessing with you today:

God go before you to guide you.
God go behind you to protect you.
God go beneath you to support you.
God go beside you to befriend you.
Be not afraid.
Let the blessing of Almighty God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Descend upon you,
settle in around you,
and make its home in you.
Be not afraid.

Pastor Mark

PS – I have great news: EASTER IS COMING!  On Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday; remember to check in Sunday morning to the church web site for the link to the service recording. At 10:30, join us for online coffee hour (bring your own mug and favourite drink). In our “Elbow Bumps” next week we will walk together towards Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

 

 

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