I spent the latter part of last week and the weekend attending my first International Justice Mission (IJM) Global Prayer gathering. IJM is an organization of Christian leaders who are confronting the problem of violence that daily impacts the lives of those living in extreme poverty. In response to this problem, IJM works to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. This organization is able to thrive on behalf of the poor because they believe God’s Word and accept God’s call for those who are righteous to respond justly. God cares about how we live our personal lives and he cares about how we treat others.
When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
Even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.
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!
Encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
Do our prayers matter? Will God listen when we cry out to him for help? This passage and others like it leads us to believe that whether or not God hears the prayers of his children, and answers them is somehow connected to our righteous responses in a world that is evil and filled with oppression towards those who are vulnerable.
Our prayers can encourage us towards right responses. We can seek justice, and in the scripture theme for this year’s gathering, only then will “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. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here I am (Is. 58:8-9).”
I was so humbled and broken by the presence of the 1200 brothers and sisters from all across the world who joined in prayerful intercession at last week’s gathering and I trust that God was and is still breaking the chains and yokes of oppression because he hears the faithful cries of his children who call to him in truth (Ps 145:18).
MAKE DARKNESS LIGHT
You can register for next year’s prayer gathering on April 16-18, 2015 IN Washington, DC at www.ijm.org/GPG. You can also view IJM’s President and CEO, Gary Haugen’s message there. Gary challenged us to offer bold prayers of intercession that shrink the shadows, dispel the darkness, melt the mountains, call forth healing, and persevere to the dawn. You too can join in this work by becoming an IJM prayer partner.
Prayers and Righteous Actions:
You can also join us at the IJM Advocacy Summit on June 9-10, 2014 in Washington DC. Register to be a force for freedom!
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014