This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from the Christian martyr Mehdi Dibaj (from Iran. Imprisoned for 9 years and released in early 1994, Mehdi Dibaj was murdered within 8 months of his release.); in these insights there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
In days of trouble, I have learned to pray--listen--praise.
'I sought the Lord, and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called and the Lord heard him. He saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and He delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good' (Psalm 34:4-8a).
A moment of introspection: In days of trouble, we have our Lord's assurance given to us in John 16:33 - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Here Christ speaks of the peace that He Himself possesses and dispenses--that peace that the world cannot understand (Philippians 4:7); the more vital and vibrant our prayer life, the more open the lines of communication are between us and God, the more we can rest in this assurance--that though the tempest may blow and we feel we may be sinking, God is in control. PRAY.
In our prayer, let us remember that open communication is a two-way process. We pray to God, and He speaks to us through His Word, the Holy Scriptures. Let us not only listen, as we pray, but also be open to God's communication through His living Word. I have led our House Of Prayer participants in praying the Scriptures for the persecuted Christians for whom we go to our knees each month. In this exercise, we first listened to God in telling us which Scriptures to use for our prayers. Then we listened to God, in seeking His heart within the selected Scriptures. Listening to the Word is so very important. God wants us to use the Word to glorify Him, and He will direct us to select the verse(s) He wants us to consider and to reveal Himself and His will while we pray. LISTEN...
How vital it is, to acknowledge the mighty hand of God at work in our midst! We see Him rescuing, empowering, protecting, showing compassion, instructing, leading, sustaining, providing... The list goes on, in reports from the field of suffering and persecution. God is mightily at work, and we receive instruction and example within the Holy Bible, to guide us in our praise: 1 Chronicles 29:13 "Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." We, His servants, respond to God's Word: 'Then a voice came from the throne, saying: "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!"' (Revelation 19:5) We recognize the King of Kings, the Sovereign Ruler of all, and we praise Him and His handiwork. PRAISE!
In these days of growing persecution around the world, even in our country, let us learn to pray, to listen, and to praise. On behalf of our persecuted family, also, let us remember to listen and to praise, amidst our intercessory work.