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A Prayer of 2014 Liberation

     He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:”The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:16-18

     Dear Lord Jesus, I’ll never tire of meditating on this incredible passage, for I remain in constant need of its promise, provision, and hope.

Jesus, I’m one of the spiritually impoverished, no, bankrupt people for whom you came; and, likewise, I am one of the ill-deserving people upon whom you have lavished the riches of the gospel. Hallelujah, I shout, many times over.

Jesus, I’m one of the prisoners, whose home was the hoosegow and morgue of sin and death, until you raised me from the dead and set me eternally free. I praise, bless and adore you, for so great a salvation. May the liberating power of grace expand its transforming dominion, in every sphere, relationship, nook and cranny of my life.

Jesus, I’m one of the blind people to whom you came to give sight. Continue to heal the astigmatism and myopia of my heart. Let me see more of you and see you more clearly, that I might see everything and everyone else through the lens of the gospel.

Jesus, I’m one of the oppressed and oppressors you came to set free. On the cross, you have exhausted the judgment I deserve. I am no longer guilty before the face of my thrice-holy God… hallelujah, many more times over.

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Scotty Smith

by SCOTTY SMITH

A Prayer on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

     I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Rev. 21:1-3

Most loving Lord Jesus, your loud voice and tear wiping hand, together, give us the courage and compassion we need to live as faithful advocates for human life—in all its expressions. How we long for the Day when “death shall be no more”—when life will flourish in the new heaven and new earth.

Today we especially think about the lives of unborn children and the constant threat to those lives—even as we cry out to you on behalf of all kinds of women in all kinds of situations who are carrying those children in their wombs.

All of your promises are “trustworthy and true,” so we will neither despair nor retreat in the face of unconscionable evil and overwhelming need. Jesus, give us gospel courage to contend against the dark oxymoron called “legal abortion.” Those two words simply do not belong together. Because you are making “all things new,” we will continue to fight the good fight of faith for children who are still being knit together in their mother’s womb.

There is a Day coming when abortion will be no more. In light of that Day, give us wisdom. Give us strength. Give us fire. Give us perseverance. Give us the sufficient grace we need to advocate for unborn children in this day—in our communities and among the nations of the world.

We also cry out for gospel compassion. Jesus, show us how to love and care for women and men whose stories are marked by abortion—either as victims or agents. Only the gospel is sufficient for the guilt. Only the gospel can bring healing. Only the gospel can transform an agent of wrong into a warrior for justice and mercy.

Jesus, we don’t just long for the Day of no more abortions. We also long for the Day of no more miscarriages. Sin and death have violated every domain of shalom, including the realm of birthing. Our hearts break for those families who would love a child to your glory, but must endure the pain of giving up their children before birth. Show us how to love and serve them well. Extend your tear-wiping hand through us.

How long, Jesus, before the last abortion and the last miscarriage? How long, O Lord?

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