Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What is Our Heart's Cry?

On my way from here to there in the Scriptures this morning, I landed on a verse in Romans 10 about Paul's heart's desire.

"Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation." Romans 10:1 nasb

Paul was referring to those who were part of the establishment of the church, people who wouldn't even consider the possibility that Jesus was the Messiah. These were part of the group of people of whom Paul was a welcome part until his Damascus Road experience. 

Once he began to follow Jesus, he became a target for the very ones he'd worked with in targeting Jesus' disciples. 

They knew Saul/Paul. They had been colleagues, if not friends. When disagreement about faith came, they turned on him, persecuted him, arrested him, sought to kill him.

Paul, however, held to his newfound faith. Jesus said to love, so he loved. Jesus said to forgive, so he forgave. Jesus said to pray for your enemies, so he prayed.

Paul did not say, "You beat me half to death. Be cursed and go to hell." He did not say, "They hurt me. I'm not praying for them," or "Be nice first," or "They're in the wrong. 

His prayer was that his enemies come to Jesus and become his brother and sister in Christ. 

The deepest desire of Paul's heart was that God would turn his enemies into family.

Ponder that for a moment.

What is our heart's deepest desire? What do we pray for those who are our enemies? 

A couple from Nigeria and I were looking at my prayer board yesterday. They noticed the photo of the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau. "You have Boko Haram on your board?" The surprise was evident in her voice. 

"Yeah. I figured someone needed to pray for him. Might as well be me. I'm praying he comes to Jesus..."

"We need people who will pray for him," her husband said.

I guess I could pray more that Shekau would be stopped in his terrorist ways and that his reign of terror would come to an end. Mostly though, I just pray, "Save him, Lord, and turn his life around." 

That enemy is on the other side of the world from me, so it's not as personal when I pray, but what about the enemy who lives nearby? The one who betrays us or hurts us in our everyday life?

What is our heart's desire for them?

Today, let's do what Paul did. Because Jesus said to love, let's love. Because Jesus said to forgive, let's forgive. Because Jesus said to pray for our enemies, let's pray. 

We can be more like Jesus than we are, so what's stopping us? Only our stubborn will. Jesus, however, said, "Not my will, but yours, Father, be done," so let's say that, too.

Not what I want, Lord. Have your way in me. Let's make that our heart's cry today. 
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