This week leading up to the Unified Cincy Prayer Walk we want to prepare our hearts and minds. So each day, beginning today thru Friday, we will offer a short scripture reading and a prayer prompt.
DAY 1: Hope for the Future
READ: Isaiah 65:17-25
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem (Cincinnati) to be a delight and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem (Cincinnati) and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people, my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,”says the Lord.
PRAY AND LISTEN
This is a picture of what God intends to create on this earth for His people. This is what God longs to do, it is in His heart. So this week, as we prepare to unify as the Church of Cincinnati, let’s first of all stop and spend time thanking him for what is in His heart for our city and our world.
Second, Jesus taught us to pray that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Praying through scripture is a powerful weapon against the enemy. Since we can see by reading the above scripture in Isaiah, what is God’s will, now let’s take time praying God will be done. Go through every line above and pray into it. For example you might begin by praying: “Thank you God for creating Cincinnati to be a delight and its people a joy. Lord, make it so that there will be no more weeping or crying. Let each infant born here in our city be born healthy and every man and woman live a full, long life….”
As you pray, take time to pause throughout your prayer and listen to anything God might want to speak to you about our city and the people of our city. Write those things down and continue to pray into them throughout the week.
DAY 2: God’s Heart for Justice
Today, let’s agree with God that our thoughts are not always His thoughts, nor our ways His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). As we read through scripture regarding God’s heart for justice, let’s ask God to change our thoughts and actions so we might more accurately reflect his thoughts and ways.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.
The Lord has shown you what is good.
He has told you what he requires of you.
You must act with justice.
You must love to show mercy.
And you must be humble as you live in the sight of your God
PRAY AND LISTEN
As you read through the scriptures above, ask God the following questions and then listen to what He might want to say to you.
Lord, how would you want me to speak up for those who are defenseless and cannot speak up for themselves?
How would you like me to be an instrument of compassion and justice for the people in our city?
Invite God to give you His heart regarding justice, mercy and humility.
DAY 3: God’s Kind of Fast
When we think about fasting, we usually think about fasting from food or social media. But this passage of scripture in Isaiah might surprise you about the kind of fasting God chooses. As you read this passage ask Him to reveal to you His concept of fasting and how He would desire you to respond.
READ: Isaiah 58:6-11
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
PRAY AND LISTEN
As you read this passage of scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to highlight a word or phrase He wants to reveal to you. Write down the word or phrase.
Read the passage of scripture a second time. As you read it ask God what He wants you to hear from this passage. Write it down.
Read the passage of scripture a third time. This time ask the Holy Spirit what it is that He is inviting you to do or to be—contained within this passage of scripture. Write it down and then share it with a trusted friend or family member.
DAY 4: Healing begins with Repentance
When you study great moves of God in the past, there are always two components that exist: prayer and repentance. In the passage below, Daniel is doing both...he is pleading with God as well as asking for God’s forgiveness.
READ: Daniel 9:4-5,17-19
“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations.”...
O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary. “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”
PRAY AND LISTEN
Repentance can come in two forms, personal repentance and identificational repentance. The first kind is when we repent of our own sins. The second is when we ask forgiveness for the sins of those around us (which we may or may not be part of). Daniel does both in Chapter 9.
In order for healing to come to our city, our nation and our world, repentance must come first. We want nothing to come between us and the healing God longs to bring to us all.
Let repentance and healing begin today with us...individually and as a community. Invite the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and see if there might be any offensive way in us. (Psalms 139:24)
“Lord, I repent of...” (write down anything the Holy Spirit brings to mind)
“Lord, we repent of...”
"Lord, forgive our sin and heal our land"
DAY 5: God, use me!
As we prepare for tomorrow’s Unified Cincy Prayer Walk, let’s offer our bodies as living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1). Often as we do that, we become aware of how undeserving we are to be used by God. But God, in his great mercy, chooses to remove our guilt, forgive our sins and in spite of it all, use us! As we offer ourselves to be used by Him, He does in us what He did with the prophet Isaiah.
READ: Isaiah 6:5-8
Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
PRAY AND LISTEN
Because Isaiah was willing to receive God’s forgiveness and made himself available to be used by Him, God used Isaiah in a powerful way to bring the Kingdom of God to his community.
Today, do two things:
Write a response to God thanking Him and receiving His forgiveness.
Offer yourself to God to be used for His purposes during this season to bring healing, justice and revival to our city.