October 16, Friday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from October 12-18 are provided by Cami King of Journey Community Church.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Ezra 6:1-6

So Darius the king issued orders, and they searched in the archives of the treasury which were deposited there in Babylon. 2 A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana which is in the province of Media, and it was inscribed as follows: “Memorandum: 3 In the first year of his reign, King Cyrus gave orders concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: ‘Let the temple be rebuilt as a place where sacrifices are offered. Let its foundations be set in place. Its height is to be ninety feet and its width ninety feet, 4 with three layers of large stones and one layer of timber. The expense is to be subsidized by the royal treasury. 5 Furthermore let the gold and silver vessels of the temple of God,  which  Nebuchadnezzar brought from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon, be returned and brought to their proper place in the temple in Jerusalem. Let them be deposited in the temple of God.’ 6 “Now Tattenai governor of Trans-Euphrates, Shethar Bozenai, and their colleagues, the officials of Trans-Euphrates – all of you stay faraway from there! 7 Leave the work on this temple of God alone. Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this temple of God in its proper place.

16“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil…” (E.M. Bounds)

When was the last time you prayed for your nation? More specifically, for the leaders of your nation? We all know the importance of prayer, but how often do we extend that conviction to praying for the people who hold the most power and influence in the world?

Today’s passage isn’t one about prayer. But it is one that reminds us how God can use the rulers over us to accomplish His good purposes. We know that every authority is somehow established by God (see Romans 13:1). Yesterday we saw King Nebuchadnezzar (Babylonian empire) was used by God to chasten His people. In today’s passage we see King Darius used by God to aid His people. Simply put: God can use those in power to His own ends and purposes (oftentimes without them even knowing it!).

When Israel was questioned regarding their attempts to rebuild the temple, the king ultimately held the power to support or thwart their mission. King Darius was a man of integrity, and because there was documentation from a previous king giving permission for the building of the temple, Darius supported their work. A lesser king may have made a different choice. God used King Darius (and the previous king as well) as instruments for His good purposes regarding the building of His temple.

As believers, we have the burden to pray for the world around us. We are those called to stand in the gap and call upon the name of the Lord for the salvation of humanity and the redemption of the world. When we pray for our leaders – that they be people of integrity, courage, compassion, with strong morals, God-honoring convictions, and the like – we serve our nation in a powerful way. And this has nothing to do with choosing political sides. Regardless of who is in power, we can pray that God uses them for His good purposes and ultimately for His glory.

Prayer: Sovereign Lord, thank You for the rulers and authorities You’ve established in my nation. Thank You for the ways You intend to work through them to accomplish Your good purposes. Stir in my heart a burden for my community, my nation, and the world. Teach me to pray for those in power to be used as instruments in Your hands for the blessing to the people under their authority and to the glory of Your name.

Bible Reading for Today: Lamentations 1

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Lunch Break Study

1 Timothy 2:1-5
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why does Paul begin his instructions on prayer with “First of all…”?
  2. How (or for whom) does Paul instruct us to pray? What names and faces come to mind as you reflect on Paul’s words?
  3. Why does Paul say it’s important that we pray in these ways?

Notes

  1. Paul is not merely saying that prayer should be the very first thing we do whenever we gather together (although that is not a bad practice). What he is stressing is that prayer is of chief importance in the life of the believer. “The ministry of prayer is the most important service that the Church of Christ can engage in… It is the most dynamic work which God has entrusted to His saints, but it is also the most neglected ministry open to the believer.” (D. Edmond Hiebert)
  2. (1) For all people – we should not only pray for those around us, but for those around the world; (2) kings and all in high positions – as we learned this morning, it is important for us to pray for those in positions of power.
  3. This kind of prayer is pleasing to God because His desire is that all be saved and to know His truth. As evangelicals, we know that God wants people to be saved and that we play a part in that. But the first step in our role is to pray for all people (then to speak and to act as the Holy Spirit leads – both prayer and action are necessary).

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Evening Reflection

Spend some time praying for your community (local), your country (national), and the world (global). Pray for those in positions of authority, that God would use them for His good purposes. Pray for the Christians in these areas, that they would be light in darkness. Pray for those who have not yet come to know God, and that He would continue to pursue them and draw them unto Himself. Ask God to lead you as you pray for specific topics and people groups and even names through His Holy Spirit. End in thanksgiving for all God will do through your prayers.

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