My husband is currently on a mission trip. He walks with a 12 foot cross from town to town sharing the message of Jesus as he goes. It’s prophetic as the cross goes through a town declaring the symbol of Jesus’ death and resurrection in everyday life rather than in a church building or service. He prays as he goes declaring God’s words and asking God to bless the areas. He has wonderful conversations with people and has opportunities to pray with them for their situation, salvation or healing. He’s walked in 13 different countries.
He left on the 2nd July to start in Brussels and yesterday he arrived in Paris. He posted photographs of the celebrations for Bastille day with the crowds pouring through the streets outside his room and blogged about how he had been amongst them in the day sharing and praying with people.
At the same time of his postings different events were enfolding in Nice, southern France. Being a national holiday the same crowds and party atmosphere manifest in that town until death and panic arrived with a man driving a van into the crowd. Shocking. Awful. Oh how we need to pray!
As I tried to get some information for him I read about 2 days of national mourning being declared. The comments under the news article was where God spoke to me about how to pray. And it is a picture of how God turns things around for good. One commentator was generically hating on religion being the root of all division and hatred. She quoted the Quran and the Bible. She put chapter and verse to her comments – except those verses don’t say anything of what she had written. Not in interpretation either – she had mentioned rape and death being ordained by God- it was simply a completely different story of events with Elisha. The verses actually were, “My Father, My Father the chariots of and horsemen of Israel.”
You can read the whole story in 2 Kings 2 but here’s how I’m feeling led to pray:-
- It’s a time for us to press in and keep following the things of God. Elijah was the prophet and Elisha had been serving him. Elijah had tested him by saying to him 3 times ‘please stay here’. 3 times he gave him the opportunity to deny the call on his life. Sounds familiar to Peter being asked 3 times did he know Jesus? Elisha’s reply is always, “As the lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” No matter how hard things are in circumstances or how much we want to remain in a comfortable situation we have to press in. God lives and we need to be using our words to keep declaring in situations that God lives – which means I can live and you can live. There is hope to be spoken. An assured hope. In France right now and in lesser degrees in our own communities there are circumstances of shock and confusion but we need to press in to find God in it. We can declare the hope that He lives and is very present. It’s not a time to hide or remain silent about our faith in the Person of Jesus but speak it out and pursue it wholeheartedly as the only real answer to what is faced.
- Don’t be distracted by the voices of fear. A school of prophets rightly tell Elisha that his master will die but Elisha ignores it. There are people around, and the media, who predict with doom and gloom how present death and destruction is and whilst it can be accurate, the interruption of it need not bring fear. This is a time not to be distracted by the voice of fear but to press into the things of God even more. Elisha was not distracted by the other prophets warning: he did not change course but kept following, trusting and understanding, perhaps deeper, than you don’t change anything by being frozen in fear or living reacting to it. Life happens and death is part of it but God is present in everything and will remain focused on bringing LIFE. We need to pray that people in Nice and in our own communities come together in times of difficult and confront it head on, standing together so that the situation doesn’t divide us but unites us. Compassion does that. it means ‘suffering with’ we don’t ignore it or ‘not go there’ we take Jesus with us into it and find He is already there working.
- It’s time to speak relationship not religion. Elijah dies and is taken up in a whirlwind and at this moment Elisha says ‘ My father , my father the chariots and horsemen of Israel.’ In this moment Elisha has eyes to see what is happening in the spiritual realm not what is happening in the earthly one. Oh how we need to ask for clear vision to see the things of God happening in France, and our own communities, and not the earthly visible one. We have to look for the invisible things of God and call them forth into reality. If we see them in our spirit then we can pray and partner with God to establish them. We can pray that God will rise up people who will see clearly and then speak as God’s ambassador into the individual lives; that the right people come along side the families who have lost loved one; that the believers in the town will rise up and speak words of hope and comfort and of Jesus’ Life as they rebuild theirs. We can pray that, like Elisha, they begin to say my Father and that thoughts about a ‘religion’ that has to master you will change to an intimate relationship connected to the Father. We can pray they have a double portion – My Father My Father-where the Spirit of sonship rest on them to bring security and comfort.
- Find the courage to move on to new Life. Elisha had to pick up the cloak and move on with his life. Life was going to be different now. After such a life changing event we need to pray for strength for the individuals and the town ( including our own with the changes we face) to have strength to move forward. But it’s strength to move on in God not our own . Elisha walked on to Jericho, a place known for defeat and miscarriages. In other words there was a lack of life there. He salted the water and the town was restored. A well of life sprung up with refreshment and hope for a future. This isn’t just a prayer for Nice and the rest of France. It’s a prayer for us to press into for all communities where ever we live. We can pray that the source of the living water springs up and transforms dead end defeated situations back to Life. We believe in resurrection and God loves nothing more than making that a reality in situation here on earth rather than us just surviving our time to get to a resurrected life in eternity. Father, let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Establish it here now in the barren places transform lives, communities and countries because the water they drink is from you- living water.
So join me to pray. Pray these things over Nice- Pray them over France and our own communities. Pray them to silence the voices of fear. Our God ALWAYS triumphant over death.
If you’d like to read more about Alan’s mission trips you can find it here. https://crossthenations.wordpress.com/