The 84 days 2018 Renewal Prayer Chain and Fasting that connect us to this year’s Lenten season is beyond the familiar ceremonial cleansing ritual that prepare religious people for worship. Thank God, we all know we have to be holy in order to enter the Temple because sin always blocks our vision and mission of God. For us to see God in Truth and Spirit, we must strive for peace and holiness (Ps 24:3, 4). Holiness is coupled with peace – staying out of quarrels bearing in mind that a right relationship with God leads to right relationships with fellow believers. In a hurting and divided world, we must pursue peace as we become more Christlike.  To strive for peace and holiness is a call to effective discipleship, a part of what it means for us to be alive in Jesus Christ.  For example, at baptism in our Church, candidates are asked, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?” 

The real struggle for the soul of 2018 is allowing Jesus, the “Word made flesh,” “God made flesh,” to be genuinely enfleshed in us, enfleshed in our hearts and minds and hands, enfleshed in our relationships and in our care for the stranger, for the jobless, for the homeless, for those in any need or trouble, enfleshed in our struggle for justice and peace among all people.

Never in the history of the world has there been an era of division, corruption, war and terrorism.. This is a tougher era of fake news, fake leadership, spiritual and physical warfare. More nations and people are under bondage now, more than in any other period of human history. There are cases of deep bondage, uncommon attacks against the Christianity, family and horrendous occurrences in the lives of individuals. The devil has wreaked a lot of havoc upon humanity and Church. The Bible has described in vivid terms that God is aware of the high spate of demonic hostilities. Hence the Holy Spirit has released the prophetic revelations on the need for intercessory prayers in this end times.  It is important to note that Sin, selfishness, pride, and doubt hinders prayer. “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear,” (Psalm 66:18, Jam 4:3,6; 1:6). We all sin, but do you have unconfessed and unrepented sin in your life? If so, confess your sin, repent from it as you are commanded in Acts 17:30, and continue in witnessing and prayer.

 A poor husband and wife relationship hinders prayer: This may seem a little out of place here, but it isn’t. A proper relationship with your spouse is very important. If there are problems because of selfishness, pride, argument, anger, unforgiveness, or any of the other multitudinous obstacles that can develop in marriage, then your prayers will be hindered. How are you doing with your mate? Are you witnessing while there is anger between you two? (Matt. 5:23-24, 1Pet 3:7). Let us pray for healing of home.

A Call to Epiphany: Epiphany is about changes in our latitudes and attitudes like the 3 Wise men.  A renewed Christmas and active expectation of fresh and future possibilities suggest that we do not need to cling to the familiarity of 2017. The New  Year 2018 stretches before us like a blank white piece of paper and clean slate provides opportunity for us to set some goals to work toward. Prayerfully set your goal before God.

WORLD EVANGELISM: (1) Let us repent of leaving God’s mission to a few. Let us pray for brothers and sisters who suffer for the faith. Let us rejoice that the Spirit is waking us to see our mission in God’s world. (2) Thou shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day (Ps 91:5) – Let us take authority over all activities of Boko Haram and ISIS, in Jesus name. (3) The Church main goal in 2016 is to advance God’s kingdom including reversing Christmas shaped as “a festival of consumption” that proclaims the material goods we buy and sell. There is need to observe the entire Advent-Christmas-Epiphany season as an ‘antidote to the powerful distractions of the market.’ To overcome the war on Christian traditions, break the yoke of our consumer mentality that makes it very difficult for us to recover the theological riches of Christmas and other Christian celebrations. (4) Here I am, Lord; send me (Isa. 6:8) – ‘Not for yourself, O church, do you exist, anymore than Christ existed for himself. His glory was that he laid aside his glory; the glory of the church is when she lays aside her respectability and her dignity, and counts it her glory to gather together the outcasts, and her highest honour to seek amidst the foulest mire the precious jewels for which Christ shed his blood’ -Charles Spurgeon. Let us pray that the church will no longer exist for self honour, glory and respectability. (5) In a world estranged from God, where millions face confusing choices, God’s mission is central to our being, for we announce the one name – JESUS that saves. Let us pray to God to give us His heart for the nations. O Lord, let us be light to the world; use us to declare your salvation to the people of the earth. May we be moved by compassion, let us know your love for the lost; Lord, use me to lead others to the cross. (6) Let us pray for more people with desire to witness for Christ (Matt. 9:37-38). What is the field? It is the world of sinners. Who are the workers? They are people like you and me. Pray for boldness, for the courage to step out in faith and speak up for Christ. (2 Tim. 1:7-8). Let us break the hierarchy of demons seeking to hinder Gospel witness and steal the seeds of the Gospel that is being planted. In Jesus name, we bind Satan and his angels.

Personal: (1) Like Herod there are parts of us that are threatened if we “pay homage” or surrender our lives to God.  The reflection is, what are the parts of yourself that play the role of Herod when you think of complete surrender to God? O Lord deliver me from my Herod. (2) Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? (Ps 2:1) – Lord, let every rage and every vain imagination of the enemy against me amount to nothing, in Jesus name. (3) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed … (Ps 2:2-3) – O Lord, let every spiritual king and ruler taking counsel against me be dethroned, in Jesus name. (4) Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us (Ps 2:3) – Lord break every band of barrenness and destroy every demonic cord tying me down, in Jesus name.


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