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Prayer Letter for May 2021

Isaiah 62 Prayer Campaign

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Isaiah 62 Prayer Letter - May 2021

Dear prayer partners,

Soon we will celebrate Pentecost, one of the three major pilgrimage feasts in the Bible. A unique characteristic of this festival is its strong connection to Passover. Jesus died and rose from the dead during Passover, fulfilling the prophetic purpose of that feast as the perfect sacrifice. He became the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He appeared to His disciples, walked the earth for forty days, and then ascended to Heaven. Ten days later, the festival of Shavuot, or Pentecost, arrived.

The Bible makes a clear connection between the two feasts: “Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; … Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 23:16, Deuteronomy 16:10)

These seven weeks of counting represent a waiting period. Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the promised Helper comes (Luke 24:49). Waiting is a time for preparation. Let us use this time period to get ready for whatever God wants to show us.

This waiting period also is a good opportunity to take a closer look at the biblical concept of sacrifice and its meaning for us today. The word “sacrifice” usually contains the idea of losing something, perhaps of giving up money or even life for a noble cause. Parents sacrifice to enable their children to study. A hero sacrifices his life to save others. There is a sense of loss, suffering, surrender.

However, in Hebrew, the word for sacrifice, korban, conveys a general idea of closeness, nearness. In biblical thinking, a sacrifice is something you do that brings you closer to God. The question is whether it is only an Old Testament concept, which has become obsolete through Jesus’ sacrifice, or can it be relevant also for us today?

In the beginning of the book of Leviticus, two types of sacrifices are distinguished: sacrifice for sin, and voluntary sacrifice. The former can be termed “compulsory”. Blood must be shed for forgiveness of sins. The book of Hebrews explains that “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4) and, therefore, sacrifices had to be brought over and over again. But Jesus offered His body as a sacrifice for sins once for all. “Now where there is remission of sins, there is no longer an offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:18). Jesus’ korban brings us closer to God.

Then there is another type of sacrifice repeatedly described in the Book of Leviticus as “a sweet aroma to the Lord”. This type of sacrifice or offering is something that the person does out of his own initiative, and the Lord gladly accepts it as a sweet aroma to Him, plus – just as the word korban signals – it also brings the person closer to Him. It is interesting to note that several New Testament scriptures exhort us to bring sacrifices:

“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

We are called a holy priesthood, and the task of the priest is to offer sacrifices. Since we know that we cannot offer sacrifice for sin, what remains is the voluntary korban, a sweet aroma to God. In Revelation 5:8 we read about golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. So even the prayers of the saints are a sweet aroma to the Lord.

The book of Hebrews 13:15-16 describes such acceptable sacrifices as follows: “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

Note the concept of God being pleased at something we do. It is a sweet aroma to Him when we offer praise, give thanks, or offer the fruit of our lips. It also brings us closer to Him. And do not forget to be practical: do good and share. It has the same power in the eyes of God as worship and prayer.

Another aspect of sacrifice can be found in Romans 12:1

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

When we offer our bodies, it is a sweet aroma to God. What we do with our body is important. Here we see the importance of fasting as a regular discipline. It brings us closer to God, and He is pleased with it.

To sum it up, we are called to bring certain types of sacrifices as priests to God: offering prayer, praise and worship; giving to the needy; and offering our bodies. Such things bring us closer to God, they are true korbanot, and they are pleasing to Him – a sweet aroma. Let us practice such spiritual sacrifices and get ready for the Holy Spirit to fill us again.

In Christ!

Mojmir Kallus
Vice President – International Affairs  
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

PS: Our first day of prayer for the Isaiah 62 Prayer Campaign this month will be on Wednesday, 5 May 2021. That same day, we also will be hosting our online Global Prayer Gathering, at 4:00 PM (Israel time). Please join us there at on.icej.org/ICEJGlobalPrayer

And let us hear from you about your needs and how God has answered your prayers! Send a short email to prayer@icej.org to let us know you are praying and fasting with us.

 

The next day of prayer and fasting in our Isaiah 62 Global Prayer Campaign will be

Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Please join us!

 


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This Month's Prayer Points

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