Thursday, May 2 nd , 2024
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Wonderful Are Your Works

"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You." Psalm 139:13-18

As we continue to focus on praying for Education throughout the month of August, please remember that we pray for people not just the places, children not just campuses, educators and decision makers, curriculum writers and every soul that touches the sphere of Education. I emphasize “every” because we tend to pray for the people we know and the people we like or agree with, but if we are honest, we generally do not spend a lot of time praying for our “enemies” or people we have never met before. Prayer has the extraordinary power to touch the lives of people you will never lay eyes on. It is amazing to think about how our prayers move the heart and hands that made and move the universe. Remember, the fervent prayers of the righteous person avail much! Your prayers accomplish so much more than you can imagine or accomplish in your own strength, wisdom, influence, and resources. That should compel us to pray more and more each day.
As you read and reread the verses from Psalm 139, they may be very familiar to you but unfortunately, they are completely unfamiliar to many people. It is vital to make sure everyone we know and love, knows all of the truth that is spelled out in these verses. EVERY person is fearfully and wonderfully created by God. God does not make mistakes; every person is a wonderful work of God, and like the psalmist, every soul needs to know that “very well.” Every soul needs to know that God has had His eyes on them since before they were born; not angry eyes watching for them to mess up so He can unleash His wrath on them, but loving, watchful eyes like parents watching their baby sleep or the way we watch a sunset or some awe-filled splendor of beauty or kindness that we don’t want to blink and miss a moment, but fills our heart with delight.
God not only created us, He prepared and planned for us. Since the beginning of time, we were assigned to this time, place, and Kingdom plans and purposes. No one is worthless. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…" God’s gift was to the world, not the worthy. God treats us in the unchanging character of His love, not as our earthly deeds deserve, but in the grace our faith has the opportunity to embrace right up to our last breath on earth. No one is a lost cause. As long as someone has breath in their lungs they can cry out to the Lord and be saved, so who am I to write someone off or leave them off my prayer list? The question really should be, “are they on the top of my prayer list?”
I had the very painful experience of learning this lesson from my son when he was in middle school. You might want to read that sentence again, yes, I said middle school son. It was a frustrating and frightening time for us because he was being bullied by young gang members at his school. It is a long story and I will spare you all the details, but the school staff was afraid of the families and fellow-gang members of these students and somehow believed they could ignore the situation because they believed our son’s gifts, influence and opportunities would “in the end make everything okay.” Our son knew that none of those things, nor the leadership at his school would make things “okay” but He had faith in God and so he prayed fervently for the bullies as we drove to school each day. He prayed that they had all they needed to eat for dinner and breakfast, that they slept safely and had someone that could give them help with homework and a hug when they needed it. He prayed they had someone who really loved them at home and that God would reveal Himself and His love to them. He prayed that church would become their family instead of a gang and that they would live in safety.
Every day our son had more to pour out to God even though every day the bullying got worse until the day came when one of them licked a fork then and stabbed him in the arm at lunch. Sadly, there was no justice or protection for our son. We were told his safest path was to move him quickly and quietly to another school, even though it meant leaving the gifted program he was in that was a path to great academic success and opportunities. We were told if we sought punishment against the one who stabbed him, our family would live in danger of harm from the gang he belonged to and in that moment our son, again, chose to pray for all of those who wronged him. It was a lesson I will never forget, and I pray an example I will always follow. Our son knew that God was His help and hope as well as the help and hope of every person involved in this situation.
Who has hurt you? Who turned their back on you when they should have stood up for you? Who do you dislike, disagree with, or even complain about whenever you hear their name? Are you holding anger, bitterness, or unforgiveness in your heart? Would you be willing to join me in prayer for them now?
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Thank you for the forgiveness You have given to me, the patience, and gentleness You have shown me, and Your blood that was shed for me. Please forgive me for my thoughts, words, and deeds that have not expressed to others the blessings and benefits You have extended to me. Help me to remember Your blood was shed for them; that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by You, for You, and that I don’t know their whole story, but I am called to pray Your glory in their lives. Reveal Yourself to them and use me whenever possible to speak and show Your love to them. Holy Spirit, prompt me to pray for them and share Your Word with them. They are Your wonderful works, help me and them to know that “very well.” In the precious and powerful name of Jesus we always pray, Amen!
Serving Him with gladness,
Kathy Branzell