Pray for the Nation
~ INOI MO TE MOTU
Intercessors for New Zealand 105 Woodman Drive, Tawa, Wellington 5028, New Zealand firstname.lastname@example.org www.Pray-for-the-Nation.org FEBRUARY 2018 “Rejoice in the Lord always. … Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which far exceeds all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” (See Philippians 4:4-7)
Worship the Lord! Often, we spend most of our times of prayer, interceding for others, or praying for ourselves and our needs. But it is very important to “Enter God’s gates [presence] with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise” (Psalm 100) As we go through this new year, let us first reflect on who God is, and bring praise and worship to Him for all His goodness and blessings to us. The Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-21) declares and praises God for His attributes. He is awesome, full of splendour and glory. He is majestic. He is almighty, powerful, strong, victorious and triumphant. He is unique, holy, steadfast and eternal. He works wonders; He guides and leads us by His Spirit. He is full of love – our loving Heavenly Father. In David’s praise to God (1 Chronicles 29:10-22), he worships God for His greatness, power, glory, majesty and Kingship. He is our Creator; head over all; ruler over all. A God of power and might, but also the giver of all things. Every single thing that we have is a gift from God, who created all things – including the supreme gift of Jesus Christ, His beloved Son, so that we may have hope now, and eternal life. In David’s Song of Praise and Thanksgiving (Psalm 103), he thanks God for all His goodness and blesses Him for all His benefits – forgiveness, healing, redemption, love and mercy, all good things; for renewed youth; His justice, mercy, grace, love, removing our sin, compassion, and His everlasting, steadfast love for us.
Let us read the above three passages, preferably aloud (or quietly); let us really think about them (meditate on them); and then let us praise and worship Almighty God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – for all He means to us, and all He has done for us!
INTERCEDING FOR THE NEEDY When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd [no-one to provide and care for them]. (Matthew 9:36) Pray for the Nation
Most of us have probably had a great Christmas and New Year break, and enjoyed our time of rest, relaxation and friends. But this is not the case for thousands of people, many of whom we probably don’t even think about, unless we have family or friends who might find this time to be particularly difficult. Consequently, the following prayer items focus on those people who are going through difficult times (and this might include you). Please pray for the following people, especially those people you know who may face these situations: • Those who are sick, elderly, or people with special needs – and those who look after them. • Those in hospitals, in care, or in prison – and those who are responsible for them. • Those who are poor, needy, or homeless – and those who help them. • Those who are lonely or hurt – that God will bring healing, wholeness and friendship to them. • For Government departments, especially the Ministry of Social Development and its Cabinet Minister; Christian and other welfare groups, and others who look after those with special needs. • For all those who don’t know or understand why Jesus came into our world; who don’t yet know His love, salvation, amazing grace, and power to meet all our needs. Also give thanks to God for all those good things you enjoy, and pray that God will help you to share these things with people who are not otherwise able to have them!
PRAYER FOR THESE DAYS Over many years, Noel and Barbara Bell (founders and leaders of Intercessors for Australia) have led many small groups of Christians, waiting at the feet of Jesus, and meditating on the Lord and His Word. Noel and Barbara have written a book called “Only one Thing – Spending Time at the Feet of Jesus” (based on the incident of Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, while Martha was ‘distracted by her many tasks’ – Luke 10:38-42). The following are five priorities on Jesus’ heart, for prayer, for His Church and the nations, that have come out of those times of waiting on the Lord, (pages 162163 in the above book). Continued on page 4 …
Prayer Suggestions NEW ZEALAND CHRISTIAN NETWORK Quite often we are reminded of the need for unity between Christians, and the need to pray for this, as Jesus prayed in His longest recorded prayer (John 17). NZ Christian Network seeks to help Christians to work together, build the Church of Jesus Christ, and positively influence society. Since 2002 they have served the Church in New Zealand, running Congresses, conferences, forums, and workshops; sharing information through personal visits and media; representing the Church in public forums and interfaith dialogues; and resourcing leaders in many ways. They network between denominations, between Christian ministries, and between towns and regions throughout New Zealand. See www.nzchristiannetwork.org.nz for further details and ways you can pray for them. Please pray for this ministry and encourage them whenever you can, and support them as you are able. Pray for: • each of the many ways in which they serve the Lord and His Church, as mentioned above. • their new leader and God’s anointing and inspiration to lead NZCN in God’s ways. • pray also for wisdom for the Board of NZCN as they face this new year – for God’s direction and provision in every way. • NZCN’s other workers and volunteers. • the finances needed to enable this ministry to work throughout our country in helping to unite believers, and to reach out to our nation with Gospel of Jesus Christ.
URGENT NEED Psalm 119:126 says, “It is time for the Lord to act – for Your Law has been broken.” At least 6 times in the Bible it says that “God gave them up” because of the sinful way people were behaving (2 Chronicles 30:7; Psalm 81:12; Acts 7:42; Rom 1:24, 26, 28). Absolutely terrible things are happening in different parts of the world – including New Zealand! You will be aware of many of these things, through the media. Horrific terrorism, killing, murder, other acts of violence, perversion, drugs, abortion, etc. God has given us all free will and the ability to choose the lives we live. But how terrible it is when God “gives up” on people, and groups of people, and even nations because of their wickedness. Please pray that a Spirit of conviction and repentance will fall upon nations, and people, and individuals – and that they will cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness. This is becoming increasingly URGENT!
THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW THE LORD
religious gods, or the gods of the materialistic age in which we live. Those who are not Christians can do what they like (but if they are caught breaking their country’s laws they may be punished!) Christians cannot force God’s Word, His ways, and His laws on non-Christians, but God’s Word says, “It is appointed for people to die once and after that, God’s judgement” [according to God’s Law!] (See Hebrews 9:24-28). There is no reincarnation back into this world – only to Heaven, for those who are saved. For those who seek to obey God’s law and receive His forgiveness, there is eternal life, with Him in Heaven forever. For those who refuse to believe in Him and receive His forgiveness, there is eternal separation from Him in a place called hell. Note that one problem with sin is that it adversely affects other people too! As we remember Jesus’ coming to earth to reveal the Father and to bring His saving grace, let us pray for those who do not yet know Him: Please pray for those people who: • Have never been born again by the Spirit of God. • Have never heard of the one true God and the saving life of Jesus Christ. • Have heard but rejected God’s salvation. • Have a distorted view of the Gospel, or of Christians, and/or of the Church. • Worship other gods, including deceiving or evil spirits. Pray also for those people who: • Share the Gospel with others – evangelists and other Christians (like us!) • Seek to live the Christian life and be a positive witness and example of the way God wants us to live. • Those who share the Gospel and God’s way of living, through the media – radio, television, the internet, print media. • Those who share the Gospel through camps, conventions, beach or street missions, and so on. • Those who are involved in children’s ministries, holiday programs, and so on. • • •
• • •
We are living in a country that has an increasing number of people who no longer worship the LORD God Almighty, the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Many people no longer believe in God, or believe in God but do not fellowship with other Christians, or worship other gods – whether they are Pray for the Nation
Pray that the Gospel will be shared in the power of God’s Spirit and His Word – in Spirit and in Truth. Pray that people’s hearts will be open to hear the Truth and receive it. Pray that those people who still live only under the Old Covenant will come to the realisation that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant and introduced the New Covenant. Pray that people will be open to the full Spirit and Truth (Word) of God. Pray for a Holy Spirit-sent revival in our land, affecting both our people and the way we live. Pray that all Christians will be able to say … … as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD! – and mean it, and live it! See Joshua 24:14-18
His name is J e s u s 11. Hebrews – chapters 7-10 and King of kings. So Melchizedek was a forerunner, or type, or example of Jesus.
Our Great High Priest In Old Testament times, the only person who was allowed to go into the Holy of Holies (the Holy Place) in the Tabernacle or, later, the Temple, was the High Priest. Even the High Priest was only permitted to go in, one day each year – on the Day of Atonement. The High Priest was the person who came between, or represented, the people and Almighty God (El Shaddai). He came “into the presence of God”, as represented by the Ark of the Covenant, and sprinkled the blood of a goat on the Mercy Seat, which was the gold-plated top of the Ark. He also sprinkled the blood on the corners of the Altar of sin offering. Forty years after Jesus died and shed His blood, God allowed the Temple to be destroyed, and no-one knows what happened to the Ark of the Covenant. After Jesus died, rose again and ascended into Heaven, God allowed one generation of Jews (40 years, to 70 AD) who were alive at the time of Jesus’ death, to come to recognise Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. The Old Covenant had passed away; the New Covenant had arrived with the death, resurrection and ascension of the Messiah, Whom God had sent into the world to be our final offering. There is no longer any need for Temple or sacrifice, for Jesus, the great High Priest, has taken away the sins of the world – forever! When we repent, confess our sins, and receive Jesus the Messiah (Christ) as Lord and Saviour, our sins are washed away by Jesus’ blood. He became our sin-bearer Who removed our sins as far as the East is from the West, and buried them in the depths of the sea, never to be remembered any more. Praise His wonderful name! 7:1-10 The priestly order of Melchizedek Melchizedek is a forerunner, or type or example of Jesus, our great High priest. Verse 1 describes Him as “King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God.” So he was both a priest and king. Under the Mosaic law, noone could be both priest and king – until Jesus came! Verse 2 says that his name Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness”; and he was also King of Salem (“King of peace”). Genesis 14:18-20 tells us that he met Abraham and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tithe of everything. The only other Old Testament reference to Melchizedek is Psalm 110:4. Hebrews is the only New Testament book which mentions him (8 times). There is no mention of his genealogy (father or mother), when he was born or died, but “resembling the Son of God, he [Melchizedek] remains a priest forever” (Heb. 7:3). Jesus also, of course, is both our great High Priest Pray for the Nation
7:11-28 Another priest, like Melchizedek If perfection could be obtained through the Levitical priesthood, why would Psalm 110:4 speak of another Priest who would come, “according to the order of Melchizedek”? If the priesthood is to be changed, then the law must be changed too (Heb. 7:12). For example: • Jesus came from the tribe of Judah, not from the tribe of Levi. • Priests were appointed by physical descent; Jesus came through the power of an indestructible life (“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek”). Jesus had no human ancestry – He existed before the worlds were created; He had no beginning of days, nor end of life. He was God, and the Son of God. • The Levitical priesthood was repealed because it was weak and ineffectual – the law made nothing perfect, but the New Covenant introduced a better hope, through which we can approach God. • When priests were chosen, there was no oath of confirmation, but when Jesus came as a Priest there was an oath because “the Lord has sworn, and will not change His mind, ‘You [Jesus] are a Priest forever’.” (Psalm 110:4). • There were many Levitical priests because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but Jesus holds His High Priesthood because He lives for ever. So Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the guarantee of a better covenant: • He is always able to save those who come to God through Him. • He always lives to make intercession for us. • He is the only High Priest who is holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. • He doesn’t have to offer sacrifices every day because He offered His life for our sins – once and for all – on the cross! 8:1-13 Jesus – the Mediator of a better Covenant •
We have a High priest seated at the right hand of God in the heavens – a Minister in the Heavenly sanctuary and the true Temple that the Lord (not man) has created. Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and is Mediator of a better covenant, which came through better promises than any Levitical/Mosaic covenant and Tabernacle. If the first (Old) Covenant had been faultless there would be no need for a second (New) one. See Jeremiah 31:31-34. Page 3
In speaking of a “New Covenant”, God made the first one (the Old Covenant) obsolete, and what is obsolete and growing old, will soon disappear (Hebrews 8:13). The second Temple had not been destroyed at the time this was written – that is, prior to 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed.
9:1-22 The Earthly and Heavenly Sanctuaries The first (Old) Covenant had regulations about worship, and an earthly sanctuary (Tabernacle or Temple). Once a year the High priest went into the Holy of Holies, taking the blood of a lamb that he offers for his own sins, as well as the sins of the people. But these sacrifices cannot perfect the conscience of the worshipper – they were temporary, only lasting until the time came to set things right. The New Covenant was established when Jesus came, and He, as the great High Priest, entered once and for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of animals, but with His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:14). Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant – the only way by which people can be reconciled to God – without the shedding of His blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. 9:23-28 Christ’s sacrifice takes away our sins It was necessary for the forerunners of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these. Jesus did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands, but entered Heaven itself. He did not offer Himself again and again (year after year). He appeared once and for all to remove sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (See Hebrews 9:27-28). 10:1-18 Christ’s sacrifice was once and for all
10:19-39 WARNING 4: A call to persevere •
Hold fast to the confession of our hope – God who promised all this, is faithful! • Stir one another up to love and good deeds. • Don’t wilfully persist in sin. • Endure! (See Hebrews 10:32-39 and Habakkuk 2:3-4). We are not amongst those who shrink back and so are lost, but amongst those who have faith and so are saved! Praise God!
QUESTIONS 1. What is the significance of the curtain which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple, being torn apart from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross? 2. Why was there 40 years between Jesus’ resurrection and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD? 3. Do two covenants still apply today – the Old and New covenants? Which is “the better covenant” and why? (Compare them). 4. Briefly summarise in your own words, the main points of what Paul says in Romans chapters 9, 10, 11. 5. In what ways was Melchizedek similar to Jesus? 6. Compare Jesus’ death with the sacrifice of lambs in Old Testament times. … PRAYER FOR THESE DAYS (continued from page 1) Please pray concerning each of these –
The Old Testament Law was only a shadow of the good things to come. Its continually-offered sacrifices could not make people perfect, so they still had a consciousness of sin. It is impossible for the blood of animals to take away sins. (See Psalm 40:6-8). Jesus abolished the old way of sacrifice and established the new way – His own death and shedding of blood, once and for all. (See Psalm 110:1). By a single offering (of Himself), He has made perfect for all time, those who are sanctified. (See Jeremiah 31:33-34). Where there is forgiveness, through the shed blood of Jesus, there is no longer any offering of sin. Our sins are not merely covered, they are washed away – forever! So we have confidence to enter the sanctuary – the Holy of Holies – by the blood of Jesus.
1. The completion of the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:44-49) 2. The Bride (the Body of Christ) preparing herself to be ready for the Lord’s return (Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 19:6-9) 3. The veil being lifted from the eyes of the Jewish people, to reveal Christ as their Messiah, and come to Him for salvation (1 Samuel 12:22-23; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; Zechariah 12:10) 4. The ministering to the poor (Isaiah 58:6-8) 5. The gathering of all nations before the throne of God (Matthew 25:31-33)
Pray for the Nation, 105 Woodman Drive, Tawa, Wellington 5028, New Zealand Weekly Prayer Updates can be found on our website: www.pray-for-the-nation.org/prayer-updates.php This monthly Prayer Letter is also on our website: www.pray-for-the-nation.org/monthly-magazines.php
Pray for the Nation
February 2018 Prayer Letter from Pray for the Nation