REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional, provided by Emerson Lin, was first posted on December 2, 2016. Emerson, a graduate of University of California (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), serves as a missionary in E. Asia (along with his wife Annie).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Examining Our Hearts”
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Growing up, I was a typical rebellious teenager in high school and would often fight with my parents. Thinking they were being too hard on me, I decided that I had enough of their “parenting.” One day, I told my parents I could not live with them anymore and made a decision to leave the house. I packed my bags and walked out the door and disappeared for a whole week, without any contact. After a week, my friend’s mom drove me home. Looking back, the whole ordeal was quite comical.
In college, when I asked my parents what their thoughts were during that situation, they said that while they were worried, they understood that I needed some space. However, for a whole week, they knelt by my bed and interceded for me – asking the Lord to bring me home safely.
In this passage, the author of Hebrews concludes this letter with fourteen exhortations. In one of the exhortations, the author encourages the readers to remember those in prison as if they were together with them in prison. The people who were put in prison and mistreated were, most likely, those who were persecuted for their faith. I believe that the author was encouraging the readers to not only remember them, but more importantly, to intercede on behalf of them.
Many of us – including myself—struggle with the exhortation to intercede for other believers. We struggle because of the individualistic society we live in today. Even the rhetoric we use indicates how we view our faith, “Our personal Lord and Savior.” Sometimes we are so focused on our own faith that we forget that we belong to the body of Christ. Because we constantly forget, the author of Hebrews encourages us with the word “continue” to remind us that it is an ongoing process, and that we should not cease remembering the community of believers
While it is not wrong to have personal requests, the Bible does remind us, quite often, to pray for all believers. Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Also, 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people.” This is God’s command to us!
I want to encourage you to examine your heart. Do you intercede on behalf of your brothers and sisters? Do you pray more for yourself or for others? If you pray for yourself more, why?
Prayer: Lord, please continue to remind me to intercede for saints around me, as well as, those who are suffering in other nations. I do not want my faith to be so inward focused, but to be outward focused for the sake of the body of Christ. Amen.
Bible reading for Today: Ecclesiastes 5
Lunch Break Study
Read John 17:20-6: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Questions to Consider
- What is Jesus’ prayer for all believers?
- Why is complete unity important for believers? How does this encourage you to strive for unity?
- Verse 26 says, “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them.” In what areas of your life do you see the fruit of the Father’s love?
- Jesus’ prayer is that there may be unity among all believers, just as the Father and the Son are one.
- The purpose of our unity is so that the world will know that the Father has sent Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and our unity points to that. The body of Christ is like a lighthouse that displays the love of Christ for the lost. If the world sees the Father’s love through the body of Christ, then it places a greater responsibility for us to love our brothers and sisters as best as we can.
- Spend some time in personal reflection.
In view of today’s theme of intercession this morning, how did this impact you? Were you reminded of someone that you could pray for? Review your day here.