It’s Day 2 of the GDOP season of continual prayer. You can find the topic here: www.gdopusa.com/june-3-2011

The prayer points are all about the uppermost passion and purpose of God: That He would be known so that He can be loved. Ask God to do something great for His name in your city, in the lives of your friends/family, in the relationships and work of missionaries, and really, just about everywhere.

You’ll notice after the points that there is a selection from chapter 2 of Joel. A couple years ago, the circle of people giving leadership to the Global Day of Prayer in different parts of the world kept hearing about movements that the Holy Spirit had focused on Joel 2. So we put some things together from Joel 2 with the idea of praying our way toward a greater Pentecost. Remember that Joel 2 is the prophecy that Peter said was being fulfilled, in part, on the first Pentecost morning.

To make the best sense of the words we wrote about Joel, read all of the verses for the day (Joel 2:12-14), not just the verse that we had room to print in the prayer guide. Well, I guess I can make that easy for you today. Here it is:

From Joel 2:

[2:12] Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; [2:13] And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.
[2:14] Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, even a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?

May God bring about a “Yet even now” moment of turning for many. Repentance is a wondrous gift. It is not a ritual or procedure that produces automatic results. Verses 13-14 reveal the relational marvel of our God: He never fails to be gracious and abounding in love, but we cannot make Him out to be an automatic forgiveness machine. He chooses the times and ways of restoring His presence and the and magnitude of His fullness that He will bring. At least that’s how I read verse 14. You may wonder about the grain and drink offerings. What’s that all about? These kind of worship gifts were often offered to celebrate the abundance and blessing of God. So Joel is saying that God may go way beyond merely forgiving us. He may overwhelm us with fresh abundance that enables us to worship Him with abundant, unfettered joy of being near the One to whom we belong. When Joel says, “the LORD your God” it’s a reference to belonging to God in close bonds of covenant love. He’s not just the Lord. He’s the Lord your God. And we shall be near Him as His people. This reference goes back to Exodus 6:7, echoed in Leviticus 26:12 and many other places.

Yours in hope,

Steve Hawthorne

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