Prayer

A Christian is not without contact with God.  Prayer in its various forms is the normal contact with the transcendent reality, whatever name we place on it.  The ceremony of all religions is the point of contact with the divine.  Prayer can and should be both personal and public.  Thus, the Christian never forgets the admonition to pray always.  He or she remembers the great prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven.”  The importance of prayer is like good communication.  Take time to pray.  Develop a personal prayer life.  Faith without prayer is impossible.  Request, give honor, praise, thank, listen, and share verbal and non-verbal prayer.  Prayer is the breath of the Christian spiritual life.  If we stop praying, it is like as if we stop breathing.  Your spiritual life will die without prayer.

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No more disasters (Zeph 3:18-3:19)

“I will remove disaster

From you,

So that you will not bear

Reproach for it.

I will deal

With all your oppressors

At that time.

I will save the lame.

I will gather the outcast.

I will change their shame

Into praise.

I will make them

Renown in all the earth.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, would remove all the disasters from the Israelites.  They would not have to bear any reproach.  Yahweh was going to deal with all their oppressors.  He was going to save the lame and gather the outcasts, so that their shame would be turned to praise.  The Israelites would be known throughout the whole world.

Divine appeal (Mic 7:18-7:20)

“Who is a God

Like you?

You pardon iniquity.

You pass over

The transgressions

Of the remnant

Of your possessions.

He does not retain

His anger forever,

Because he delights

In showing clemency.

He will again have compassion

Upon us.

He will tread

Our iniquities

Under foot.

You will cast all our sins

Into the depths of the sea.

You will show faithfulness

To Jacob.

You will show

Unswerving loyalty

To Abraham,

As you have sworn

To our ancestors,

From the days of old.”

This Book of Micah ends with this psalm of praise to Yahweh, while asking for his mercy.  There is no other God like Yahweh, who has pardoned iniquity.  He has let go of the transgressions of his people.  His anger was short lived, because he delighted in granting clemency, since he had compassion for them.  He has stamped on and thrown out all their sins.  He has shown faithfulness and loyalty to Jacob and Abraham, just as he did to all their ancestors in the good old days.  Notice the change from the descriptive “he” to the more intimate “you”.

The cosmic power of Yahweh (Am 5:8-5:9)

“He made

The Pleiades,

The Orion.

He turns deep darkness

Into the morning.

He darkens the day

Into night.

He calls for the waters

Of the sea.

He pours them out

On the surface

Of the earth.

Yahweh is his name.

He makes destruction

Flash out

Against the strong.

Thus destruction

Comes upon the fortress.”

Once again, Amos has a praise for the all-powerful cosmic God, Yahweh, as in chapter 4. Yahweh has made the star constellations of the Pleiades, or 7 stars, as well as the Orion, the hunter star constellation. Notice that these ancient prophets were aware of the night sky. Yahweh was able to turn darkness into morning light. At the same time, he was able to darken the day until it became night. Clearly, Yahweh or God controlled the day and night lights. Yahweh also controlled the waters of the sea that could be poured out on the earth. He also was able to bring destruction to the strongest fortresses that they had. Yahweh was a truly powerful cosmic God.

Yahweh is his name (Am 4:13-4:13)

“For lo!

The one who forms the mountains!

The one who creates the wind!

The one who reveals

His thoughts to mortals!

The one who makes

The morning darkness!

The one who treads

On the heights

Of the earth!

Yahweh is his name!

The God of hosts!”

In a great show of force and praise. Amos revealed that it was Yahweh who formed the mountains. Yahweh has created the wind. He has revealed his thoughts to mortals. He has made the morning darkness. He has walked on the heights of the earth. It is of course Yahweh, the God of heavenly hosts. Yahweh is his name.

Daniel is safe (Dan 14:40-14:42)

“On the seventh day,

The king came

To mourn

For Daniel.

When he came

To the den,

He looked in.

There sat Daniel.

The king shouted

With a loud voice.

‘You are great!

O Lord!

God of Daniel!

There is no other

Besides you!’

Then he pulled

Daniel out.

He threw into the den

Those who had attempted

His destruction.

They were instantly eaten

Before his eyes.”

Thus, ends the great story of Daniel. On the 7th day, the king came to mourn the death of Daniel. Instead, he was surprised to see Daniel sitting in the den of lions. Then the king shouted out his praise for the God of Daniel, the Lord. There were no other gods like him. Next, he pulled Daniel out of the den. Finally, he threw those who had attempted the destruction of Daniel into the lion’s den. The lions immediately ate these men right before the eyes of the king.

Praise of the Most High God (Dan 4:2-4:3)

“I am pleased

To recount The signs,

The wonders,

That the Most High God

Has worked for me.

How great

Are his signs!

How mighty

His wonders!

His kingdom is

An everlasting kingdom!

His sovereignty is

From generation to generation.”

King Nebuchadnezzar now praised the Most High God that the 3 Judeans had worshipped. This most high God had worked signs and wonders for them and him. He was eager to let everyone know about them. He insisted that God’s signs were great and his wonders were mighty. The Most High God ruled an everlasting kingdom that has and will last for generations. This king almost sounds like one of the prophets in his praise of the Israelite God. This looks like a complete conversion for King Nebuchadnezzar.