LENTEN CONNECTIONS 2015: Increase My Faith

Lent:  A Time to Prepare

“Increase my faith. That’s my prayer.”

As I read the scriptures and look to the witness of other Christ followers, I am convinced that apart from prayers of repentance and praise, this is the prayer I need the most.

I entered this Lenten season with the image of the 21 Christians kneeling before our God, flanked by the presence of evil in the form of ISIS.  The image is horrifying but as I pondered it further, I was moved to gratitude for their faithfulness.  Witnesses report that the men breathed their last breath “with Jesus on their lips.”  I want that kind of faith.  I want a faith that has Jesus on my lips at all times.

The prayer to increase my faith was borne out of another prayer that I prayed a few years ago:  No fear.  I read it on my son’s t-shirt and it resonated with me.  Imagine a life with no fear.  What a difference that would make!  God answered my prayer with a missions trip to Cambodia.  In preparation for the trip, our team embraced two verses written by David, recorded in Psalm 28:7, 8:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.  The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

In the New Testament, we are introduced to Jesus, and a form of salvation that applies to our eternal future.  David isn’t talking about a need that will present itself at the end of his life on earth.  He is calling on God to save and protect him NOW.  David doesn’t pray this kind of prayer in a moment of victorious living.  He prays these prayers when he and his people are under attack by enemies who seek to kill them.

Every day in Cambodia we experienced The Lord as our strength and our shield, a fortress of salvation, and the God who envelops us.  I did not experience fear even though most of our days were spent engaging in risky behaviours (the food and water, walking through E. coli infested puddles, passing potentially rabid dogs, mosquitoes carrying malaria, every form of transportation that we used . . . for the mercy of the mothers who send their children on missions trips, I will stop now).  I experienced salvation NOW, as David called for in Psalm 28, as I put my arm through the door of a subway train in Shanghai and failed to have the rest of my body enter before the door shut in preparation for departure.  Mercy!!

The closest that I came to fear was in a moment on the street in Phnom Penh when I had gone for a walk with one of our group members.  It was raining heavily when we left, the kind of monsoon rain that comes from every side, completely mocking our use of umbrellas.  We stopped about four blocks from the hotel and were talking about life with God when my eye caught the walk of two men coming toward us.  My “spidey senses” started tingling as I realized that I hadn’t engaged any of my street smarts.  I didn’t know where we were, or where we might retreat to if a threat appeared.  In a brief moment of panic, I scanned left and right, and registered that we were bordered by two busy streets, a construction zone, and the alley that we had entered by.  As the men neared, I spun around as I really sensed the need to flee.  As I did, a uniformed, armed guard stepped out the shadows of the construction site, smiled at me, and planted himself about 4 feet behind us.  I looked back at the other two men and noted that they had altered their course.  This all happened so quickly that the other team member hadn’t noticed.  For me, it was a vivid example of the fortress of salvation God had promised us.

Let’s pray….. Search us, God.  You know our hearts.  You know what happens when we read the headlines or watch the news.  You know what happens when sickness comes our way, or our responsibilities threaten to overwhelm us.  Forgive us for our unbelief.  Fear was defeated at the cross!  Increase our faith!  We can have the courage of those Christians in Libya who left this earth and entered into heaven with Jesus on their lips.  Thank you that you are always by our side.

Take action: Memorize the scriptures above and seek out the scriptures that Chris Tomlin used in his song.
Read: Find out more about the faith of those who knew the Christians beheaded in Libya and how God has increased their faith.

 

Submitted by Corinne Webb—Christ follower, wife, mother, teacher, scientist, explorer

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