We finish reading Ezra's story today (Ezra 8-10). He's a really successful guy when we look closely at his life. But, his success isn't at all defined by a custom built palace or fancy chariots. Ezra's success is defined by his devotion to God. God is his motivation for all that he does.
Ezra is succeeds in bringing a huge group of Jewish people back to the Promise Land. And along the way, He is a prime example of faithfulness. He reminds people of their roots and foundation in God. Ezra works hard to let God's Word ground his actions. People around Ezra see that and are inspired by it.
Ezra prays so wholeheartedly, not for himself, but for an entire nation. His prayer is powerful, and it helps to change the world in which he lives.
While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. 2 Then Shekaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. 3 Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. 4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”
I can only imagine that those around Ezra are strengthened and renewed in their faith.
When I turn my thoughts to the world in which I live today, I know it needs my wholehearted prayers and God's saving grace. I don't often think of myself as having the ability to change my country or world, but I am reminded today that God does. Every prayer counts.
A prayer for today-
Thank You for the real power of prayer to make a difference in the world. Open my eyes to see and know the needs of those around me, near and far. Give me the awareness and the words to pray for them.
I pray today for all who are a part of this nation, Lord. I know our sins are much higher than our heads, and I am so thankful for Christ who died to save us. Please, Lord, forgive us for going and doing things our own way instead of turning to You.
At at time when "separation of church and state" is the norm, we remember that, in Christ, there is no separation from Your love for us. And so, I pray that Your Holy Spirit will fill us and move us to lead by serving You. We need You, now more than ever, to be at the center of everything that we do.
Please, Lord, by Your Spirit and the power of our prayers, renew our faith as a nation one person at a time.
I love You, God, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my mind. Guide me in loving my neighbor as myself, and may this love be contagious, life-changing, and transforming, both near and far.
In the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I pray,
Peace of Christ,