Psalm 121:1&2: ‘I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Prayer: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, please help us when we have to face difficult situations. Help us to turn to you and thank you as we remember your promise to bless us as you guide us and provide for our needs. Thank you for the gift of faith which enables us to have confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Amen
It would be fair to say that we are being forced to face difficult situations. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews recognizes the need for faith to be able to cope. In Chapter 11 he reminds his readers ‘This is what the ancients were commended for’ and proceeds to recall 17 people who inspired him by their attitude and actions.
Let us consider just 3 of them, we can identify their situation, their resolve, and the outcome.
Hebrews Chapter 11: 1,2,7, 11&12 and 22
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see
2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.
12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
For Noah (v 7), his situation was preparing for a future event. He needed faith because he was planning for a better time, but it was a long way off. When we are anxious Noah’s life speaks to us: ‘Patience! I had to wait 120 years to see God’s plan fulfilled in my life; a few more weeks (months) of waiting will do you good!’
For Sarah (v11&12), she was facing the situation of believing in a promise that seemed impossible to achieve. When we run the race and begin to doubt, Sarah shouts, ‘Keep going! God is able to do the impossible!’
For Joseph(v22), his situation was one of experiencing one hardship after another. Sold into slavery by his brothers, imprisoned on false charges, forgotten by those he helped. His life cries out to us ‘Trust God despite your circumstances.
In faith Noah, Sarah and Joseph worked, waited, and watched expectantly and eventually they were rewarded, there are many others who are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, whose lives testify to us today. With one voice they cry out to us, ‘God is faithful! Trust him, and do not give up! He will see you through, or to put it another way,’ Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’.
Having a thankful heart can change your entire perspective and outlook on life. One of the best ways to experience the power of thanksgiving is through prayer. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – with job loss, sickness, and loss, we can experience blessings. When we offer a prayer of thanks to God, our focus shifts from our problems to our blessings. And that’s the beauty of faith – we can experience gratitude and give thanks despite the circumstances and storms that surround us.
We have a choice every day to give him thanks. Start giving thanks to God today for His faithfulness and love in your life. Thank God for his sovereign control over your life. Thank God for the hope and joy that we have regardless of how we may be feeling in the moment. Let him change your heart to strengthen you with His peace. The best way to defeat Satan’s attacks of disappointment, fear, worry is through a grateful heart! We surely have so much to be thankful for because of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and the peace He offers. Let’s learn to thank God for all seasons of life.
As well as offering thankful prayers, we need to pray with compassion, in intercession for the world
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father,
It saddens our hearts to see the great suffering in the world.
We bring to mind all those in our locality who find themselves in a hard place.
We especially pray for those who suffer physically with illness or mentally with depression or anxiety.
Lord, come breathe on these people by your Holy Spirit and bring great love, hope and joy through us your church. Help us to minister to others in the strength of your Spirit and to work in unity together. May we shine your glorious light into the darkness and remain steadfast and true to you.
Lord, it disturbs us when we see world leaders embracing division instead of unity, pursuing wealth instead justice and concealing lies instead of speaking out the truth. We lift all those in significant leadership to you. Come guide their thoughts, cover their actions, and renew their minds. Protect them from the influence of the realms of darkness and sweep away any corruption. We pray that you would lay out new paths of righteousness in troubled nations and lands. Father, it is disturbing to see the difference between rich and poor widening. We lift all those in poverty to you. Come bring miracles of provision, healing, and restoration. Speak into our lives so that we might play our part in changing the world. We ask all this in the wonderful name of Jesus. Amen.