I confess – I am sometimes the ultimate power walker. Blinders on – full speed ahead. But today was different. This was different.
We assembled in the quiet stillness of the early morning. We came in prayer, we came in praise, we came in peace – not in protest – although we came to the same streets that have been home to protesters not all that long ago. Except for the shirts we wore, with the message of peace written on the cross, no casual observer would have recognized us as members of the same group.
Why? We defied description. For those who love to put a label on a person or on a group and thus dismiss them, they would not so summarily be able to declare us described and dismissed, labeled and left for insignificant. There were both genders present in our group and multiple age groups and multiple skin colors, multiple education levels, multiple church affiliations, multiple political affiliations – we were not a one label fits all kind of a group.
I think we looked a lot like America and I know we looked exactly like Revelation 7:9 as we gathered at the courthouse, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”
We came to pray over our city and by extension over all the hurting cities across our country. We came to pray for the people of our city and for the people of our country. We came to pray over them, for them, with them – we came in peace, we came in prayer, we came in obedience to the One who calls us to stand in the gap as intercessors in prayer.
“if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Our land desperately needs healing right now. But our country will not be healed until our hearts are healed. And our hearts will not be changed nor healed apart from God. God is the Maker of our hearts. He is the only one who can fix them. We cannot heal our own hearts.
Our country surely needs a heart transplant right about now if she is to survive. But for her to get that transplant, I first need a heart transplant of my own. Let it begin with me. (just like the song, “Let peace begin with me”) If I am willing, maybe others will be willing as well. The promise is in Ezekiel 36:25-29, where God says,
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness.”
God gives us new hearts and He also gives us something else that the world cannot give us – unity. The world is all about division. God is all about reconciliation and unity.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Jesus prayed in John 17:23, ” . . . May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”
And so we prayed where protesters had once prevailed. We prayed for God’s presence and protection and most of all His peace to come upon our battle weary city and nation, ushering in His healing touch upon our land. We prayed John 14:27, where Jesus said,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
We walked in our city with a much needed message of hope and of peace. And with every step my feet took I thought of these words from Isaiah 52:7,
“How beautiful on the mountains (in the cities and urban streets) are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ ”
Oh Lord, continue to direct my footsteps, our footsteps, as we step out in prayer, standing in the gap for those we love and for those we don’t even know, but You know them, Lord – and You love them. Make us faithful to pray for our country, for our community, for our children – that we might remain free to worship You and to proclaim Your name, for
” . . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
sincerely, Grace Day