Influenced by Whom?

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7

Ahaz inherited the throne and responsibility to lead and govern Judah at the age of 20 (see 2 Chronciles 28). His father, Jotham, had desired to follow God but had held back from truly serving and was remembered for not ever entering the Temple. His father, Uzziah, had served God passionately for many years but his downfall had been power and pride. I wonder what Ahaz had learnt or not learnt from his father and grandfather before him. Whom would he allow to influence him the most in his decision making?

Ahaz was a people pleaser and the people he wanted to please were the Assyrians. He accommodated and welcomed their practices. He welcomed their aid and ensured the idols they worshipped were promoted throughout the land. This included sacrificing children (his own included) on their alters. He defined himself as being religious and accommodating. Interestingly, Ahaz started in small steps such as only practicing his convictions for his own private worship, but when this was not challenged he expanded and then directly usurped the place of God in the land.

How would we have responded to this had we been living in this time?

Uriah the priest responded by doing as he was told by Ahaz.

The impact of all of this evil and self-centred leadership brought disaster on the people of Judah.

Hezekiah, Ahaz’s son, took over and was dramatic in his response to his father’s leadership. He recognised the failings and repented. (2 Chronicles 29:5-10) and refreshed the Covenant with God. In a time when speaking well of your family and ancestors was a cultural imperative, to admit that your father had sinned would have been shocking! By acknowledging the sins of the past and confronting them, and then committing a fresh to follow God, Hezekiah illustrates the vital importance of breaking the curse and impact of the sins and mistakes of the past. He further demonstrates that tradition and religious rites should not restrict people in coming to the Lord – that the most important aspect is a heart that is committed to God (2 Chronicles 30:18-19) Hezekiah intercedes on behalf of his people.

As we gather to pray together this week in the midst of so much turmoil in in good governance, leadership issues, corruption, climate changes and worldly influences that could lead us away from God, let’s reflectively and prayerful consider:

What influences have my / our ancestors had on me / us and how I/we live now? Like Hezekiah we need to acknowledge the good and the bad and repent to break any hold this may have.

Who is influencing whom? Who do we accommodate and seek to please and for what reasons? Challenge oneself to commit a fresh to follow God. Ask God to open our eyes to the lies and traps that exist that would snare us and lead us to simply conform as Uriah did, without questioning or challenging.

 Our desire is to see godly authentic leaders, nations who turn to God; communities that stand for peace and justice. How can we prophetically influence and speak into situations in our communities and nations to promote this?

True love does not hide its head in the sand, rather it enables us to look facts squarely in the face and act. Lord help us to love, not with sentimentality but with wisdom and authority to speak out for what is right, and walk in the light.

International Day of Prayer: 13th November 2011

Prayer Focus is the Persecuted Church
“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry Psalm 10:17

There are many countries in the world today where Christians are persecuted for their faith. Believers in some Islamic countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan face death threats; Christians in and many other countries all around the world face violence, imprisonment, discrimination and even death. There are thousands of Christians who have fled their homes and countries due to persecution and there are other places in the world such as North Korea where acts of persecution take place, but little is known to the outside world.

International Day of Prayer is set apart for us to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters such as these from around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

Pray for all who have to face this challenge daily, pray that they may stand and be encouraged and strengthened in the Lord. Ask God how you can play a part in supporting them and how you too can learn to take courage and stand for your faith.

For more information:

Hope for Creation

A Day of Prayer and Action on Climate Change – 6th November 2011

Tom Baker from Tearfund encourages us to pray:

Give thanks for the churches globally seeking to challenge the injustice of climate change.

For real change in the lives of individuals across the world as they respond personally to the changing climate and actions we can take to reduce our impact on the environment.

For Governments to make commitments to reduce global emissions and provide money to the poorest and most vulnerable people who are hit hardest.

For God to move in power at the UN climate talks this December– bringing truth and justice into negotiations and decisions that empower poor countries to respond to climate change


Be challenge and be active as you pray – you could sign the statement that is going to political leaders on Care of Creation

For more information:


Bishop Jeremiah has asked us to spend time this month focusing on Liberia. The prayer requests he highlights are as follows:

1. Run off elections scheduled for the 8th November 2012
 - Pray for a peace full non violent election
 - Pray for their national election commission chairman that they may be able to consult and oversee these elections in a better way than before, which brought confusion and violence.
- Pray for the parties contending the elections – pray that God would reveal the right group for people to discern and vote for
 - Pray for a godly leader  for Liberia and the new government that will lead Liberia – pray for integrity and wisdom.

2. Person prayer requests from Bishop Jeremiah
• Pray for his family and wife Roseline – for health and safety and a strong and firm faith
• For their ministry in running and expanding the orphanage and all the logistical issues that involves.

Let us also pray for Ellen Johnson Sileaf the current president of Liberia, who at 72 years has played a positive role in helping Liberia develop and overcome years of war.

Brief Prayer Points

Rev Ullash Kar from India asks us for prayer for his daughter who is currently will with malaria and typhoid.

Pastor Syam Kumar Dasari from Open Arms Ministry in India asks us to pray fro a programme meeting they are running this month called “Homeless Children Gatherings”. In particular he asks us to pray for the safety of volunteers and your travelling and participating in this and that the ministry will have a significant impact.

Bashir Swarup from India asks us to stand with him and his family as they and members of their church family, face threats and persecution in their ministries. In particular he asks us to pray that the God would further the Gospel in their community and that local authorities would be fair and just and protect all concerned.

Zambia: the integral mission conversation and reconciliation workshop is from the 15th to 17th November. Please pray for all who gather that God will guide us, heal us and restore us to be change agents for Him.

Argentina: "Believing is also to create: Meeting of Art and Mission". Please pray for all those involved in the conversation from the 3rd to 5th November

Peru: "Integral Mission and the Church. Responding with compassion to the reality of the indigenous people of southern Peru." Please pray for this conversation that will take place from the 16th to 18th November