Pray to Change the World

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many
to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”
(Daniel 12:3)

Do you want to shine as the brightness of the firmament, full of God’s glory? You will reap vast, eternal riches when you pray for nations. Perhaps you cannot personally go and minister God’s Word in the uttermost parts of the earth, but your prayers will touch the people who are there; and they can touch the people who bring the gospel into those countries.

God is even preparing the hearts of the people for whom He wants you to pray. Therefore, it is important for you to esteem His priorities and to pray for nations:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. (1 Timothy 2:1–2)

You may ask, “How do I do that?” You can obey this Scripture by praying each day for a nation and for that nation’s leader. Today is President’s Day in the United States, so you can begin by lifting up our president and his staff. Here are some guidelines that God has given us for effective prayer.

  1. Pray that decisions against the gospel will be brought to confusion. Psalm 109:29 says, “Let my accusers . . . cover themselves with their own disgrace as with a mantle.” We must put the devil’s work to confusion because a house divided against itself cannot stand.
  2. Pray that leaders who live in spiritual darkness will receive a personal message of God’s love and repent of their evil ways. Second Chronicles 33 tells about Manasseh, who was so evil that history says he had the prophet Isaiah sawed in half. After 55 years of wickedness, the Assyrians took Manasseh and his nation into captivity. While in prison, Manasseh sought God and repented of his evil. God restored Manasseh to the throne, and he led the entire nation to repentance! Likewise, we should never look at any ruler and say, “He will never change.”
  3. Pray that leaders will find knowledge and wisdom in God’s Word. I pray this Scripture for our president every day: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1). When you claim this verse for those in authority, you are loosing the power of God’s divine direction on their behalf.
  4. Pray that leaders in war-torn nations will grow weary of bloodshed. I believe that spirits of violence cause leaders to become power-hungry. Bind these powers, principalities, and rulers of darkness in the name of Jesus; exalt the name of Jesus over those nations (Ephesians 6:12). Pray that war-torn countries will find rest and peace in Jesus!
  5. Pray that leaders will know that their earthly kingdoms were given by God. Nebuchadnezzar ruled the greatest empire that the world had ever known (see Daniel 2). One day, he exalted himself and said, “Look at this great kingdom that I built!” Even history acknowledges that the man went stark-raving mad. Seven years later, he looked up to heaven, began praising the Lord, and his sanity returned! Fervently pray that rulers will praise God—not themselves!

By faith, you can decree salvation unto the uttermost parts of the earth (see Hebrews 11:33). Decree the salvation of nations by faith—your faith pleases the Lord. Dedicate yourself to pray for the nations in the uttermost parts of the earth. Your intercession can turn nations to eternal righteousness, and you will shine as the stars forever and ever!

This blog post is excerpted from Marilyn’s 101-day devotional, Beautiful Inheritance.

2024-02-14T11:08:28-07:00February 19th, 2024|

God’s Rx for Hurting Hearts

This week we celebrate Valentine’s Day here in the U.S. This day commemorates matters of the heart—mostly romantic love. However, many people suffer from hurting hearts. God is the only one who has the full prescription for healing this malady and His prescription is not experimental, it is guaranteed to work!

Everyone has experienced hurts, sorrows, disappointments, and failures, but isn’t it just like God to have one old-fashioned, heaven-sent remedy that will heal them all? He is so efficient, and His apothecary is absolutely within everyone’s price range: it’s free! His remedy is all-inclusive; it covers every imaginable pain. It doesn’t taste bitter; it tastes sweet, and by taking it you will “fulfill all your days” and increase your lifespan!

Is your curiosity aroused? Do you want to know what it is? It is Myrrh, a beautiful, aromatic spice with healing properties. I am going to show you where to find it and how and when to apply it. Get prepared to receive a bundle of blessings!!!

At the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus prophesied the end result of His mission by reading from the Book of Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,

Because the Lord has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

And the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn,

To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Is there anyone whom this prophecy doesn’t cover?

What do the brokenhearted, the captives, the imprisoned, and the mournful have in common? They all have deep hurts within their hearts that are in need of healing. Isn’t it wonderful that from the very beginning of His ministry, the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jesus with a special anointing to heal the hurting and the brokenhearted?

Have you ever had an emotional hurt? Well, God has a special anointing specifically designed to heal your heart when it hurts. Sometimes we mistakenly look to other Christians or to our spouses when we are hurting, but often they are not as sensitive to us as we need them to be. Actually, I think that their insensitivity can work for our good, because it will make us look to the only one to whom we should turn: Jesus! Through Jesus, we can draw from that anointing of healing that God planned for us to have.

Where are we supposed to go in order to learn where to find healing after our hearts have been wounded or broken? When we’re in a state like this, we need love.

Did you know that there is a beautiful story in the Bible that is full of illustrations of perfect love? That love story is the “Song of Solomon.” The “Song of Solomon” had always been a puzzling book to me until the Lord gave me a simple key, which unlocked the whole book. We have to see the book written as a bridegroom speaking to his bride. I had always read it and interpreted it in the light of seeing Jesus as my Savior, but God said, “Don’t read it like that! Instead of looking at me as your Savior, look at me as your Bridegroom. Then you will understand what I am saying to you.”

A sachet of myrrh is my lover,

like a tied-up bundle of myrrh resting over my heart. (Song of Songs 1:13 TPT)

This passage is saying that Jesus, my beloved (or in this version, “lover”) is myrrh to me, and He is lying upon my heart. I knew that I had to discover the spiritual signifi­cance of myrrh. What is myrrh? It’s a beautiful, aromatic fragrance. It can come in the form of sticks, crushed leaves, or oil. In order to discover the signifi­cance of myrrh, I began to look in Genesis, and my search took me through Revelation!

I found that myrrh is very expensive. When Jacob’s sons had to go into Egypt to get food, Jacob wanted to send Pharaoh an appropriate present. He chose myrrh because it was very costly. This illustration shows that when we begin to look at myrrh as a healing substance for the heart, we must realize that it is very, very expen­sive. It cost Jesus His life to heal your broken heart.

There are all kinds of hurting hearts. Someone is hurt because they have been rejected by a mate; someone else is hurt because they have had an emotional crisis in their childhood and never been set free from the pain; another is hurt because of a set-back in a career or the death of a loved one. Hurt comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but remember that Jesus is the precious, expensive balm that heals broken hearts.

In the Old Testament, I found that the sacrifices offered by the priests were mingled with myrrh. This was done to make the sacrifice have a sweet aroma. Can you imagine the smell of animals burning on the brazen altar? They burned the entire animal. The priests sprinkled the anointing oil, which was composed of a combination of myrrh and other aromatic spices, on the sacrifice for the purpose of making it smell more pleasant as it was burning.

Have you ever had to make a sacrifice, and it really hurt? Jesus can show you how to make your sacrifices smell good—how you can make it easier to bear. He will touch your heart, and whatever you have to give up will suddenly not matter to you anymore.

I had the opportunity to apply myrrh to a very dear sacrifice during the early days of my marriage. As a young bride, I had always wanted a home. Both Wally and I realized the importance of acquiring our first home as soon as possible, and we purchased it just as soon as we were financially able. Prior to marrying Wally, I had a sneaking suspicion that he might be called into the ministry, and I realized there were very few young couples in the ministry who were able to afford their own homes. Before I married my husband, I told him, “If you are considering the minis­try, I will never marry you.”

“Oh, I’m not called into the ministry,” he reassured me. Do you know what he did? He trapped me. After we were married, he was suddenly called into the ministry, and we had to give up our home. Oh, that hurt me so much! It was such a sacrifice for me. I moaned and groaned and griped and grumbled.

Then one day, the Lord just touched my heart, and it was as though that house meant nothing to me. By that time, we were in the ministry as traveling evangelists, and He put myrrh on my sacrifice, and it smelled so good to me. What’s a house? After that, I didn’t even want a house for a while.

Another characteristic of myrrh is that it is a preser­vative. When they took the body of Jesus down from the cross, they anointed His body and His burial clothes with myrrh. They wanted to take advantage of the natural preservative qualities of this spice.

If you don’t get your emotional and heart wounds healed, you can actually shorten your lifespan. Did you know that people die of broken hearts? But the healing myrrh of Jesus upon your heart will preserve you from a premature death, physical distress, and many things that can hurt you and make you physically sick all of your life. Some people are always sick because they are wounded emotionally. Jesus is myrrh to them if they’ll only turn to Him. He is a preservative to keep you from having a short lifespan.

Myrrh is also used as a disinfectant. I had to laugh about this, because my mother told me that when she was a little girl, her mother would put a little bag of camphor around her neck to keep her from getting colds. It was a kind of disinfectant. I thought, Jesus is a bundle of myrrh to us, and when we wear Him on our hearts, He keeps us from catching hurts and wounds. Some people are offended at every little thing. If you don’t look at them just the right way, they become all uptight, and you have to ask them, “What’s the matter now?” I have noticed that if I keep Jesus and the sweetness of His myrrh upon my heart, I’m not as easily offended nor am I so sensitive to the hurts that come my direction.

Queen Esther used myrrh to make herself beautiful (Esther 2:12). Myrrh upon your heart, a healed heart, a whole heart, is very beautiful. Do you know what people see? They see Jesus on your heart. People who do not have wounded spirits and are not always uptight about something have a lovely fragrance about their person. I believe that myrrh doesn’t just beautify and perfume the outside of an individual. The myrrh of Jesus on your heart will radiate from the inside of your being to the outer man. Jesus is Myrrh, and He desires to make you beautiful!

Did you know that prior to going in before King Ahasuerus, Esther had to go through a ritual of purification for one year? During six months of the year, she was anoint­ed with the oil of myrrh. This spice not only purified her, it covered her with a rich fragrance, and made her very beautiful. Can you imagine how beautiful you would look if you held Jesus on your heart and allowed His Word to purify you for the rest of your life if Esther was made beautiful after only six months?

Hegai, the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, was responsible for giving each woman who had an audience with the king, anything that they thought would make them more beautiful. When it was time for Esther’s turn to go in before the king, she asked for nothing; rather, she relied upon Hegai’s judgment. Undoubtedly, Hegai had faithfully served the king for years, and he was well aware of the king’s tastes. Just as Hegai carefully chose the things that would make Esther beautiful and find favor in the sight of the king, Jesus Christ will do the same for you. If you put His rich anointing of myrrh upon your heart, a supernatu­ral beauty will radiate from your inner being, and you will find favor with both God and man.

Priests were also anointed with myrrh. When they prepared to go into the temple for their priestly minis­try, they anointed themselves with special oil, which was partially made with myrrh. We are kings and priests, and we are sent to heal the brokenhearted. We are anointed with myrrh so we can be priests to people and minister to their broken hearts. I just love that!

One time when I was in the Chicago airport, a woman beside me was crying; she was very distressed and disturbed. Not long before my flight, she tapped me on the shoulder and asked for an aspirin. I told her that I didn’t have any, but she would be able to get one from the flight attendant on her flight. I asked her if she was sick, and because I was concerned, I asked if there was anything I could do.

She said, “I’m in terrible trouble, and I saw you reading your Bible.” (You should carry your Bible everywhere; it opens doors for ministering.) “I wondered if you are Orthodox,” she said.

“What’s Orthodox?” I questioned.

“I’m Russian Orthodox,” she said, “and I believe that Jesus is the way to the Father.”

I replied, “If that is the definition, then I’m Orthodox.”

She then told me that her husband had hijacked a plane in the United States and that he was in prison. She had come from Paris to visit him. “We’re in trouble, and he’s a political prisoner,” she said. I don’t know what we’re going to do, and I thought that since you have a Bible, you could possibly help me.”

I prayed, “Lord, how am I going to heal this woman? How am I going to help her?”

They were calling my flight, and I didn’t know what to do. Instantly, the Lord showed me the most unique thing to do. He said, “Just take her into your arms and hold her. My love will continue to flow from me into you, and it will flow from you into her.” Praise God! That was wonderful! I will never forget it as long as I live! We’re anointed to be priests. You have a healing anointing of myrrh residing in you as a believer—use it!

The priests also used myrrh when they prayed. Myrrh was placed on the altar of incense and as they prayed, their prayers would rise up to the Father as a sweet-smelling savor, and He would take delight in them. When we pray and intercede for the brokenhearted, I believe that an anointed fragrance of myrrh rises to the Father, and He takes delight in our sacrifices of prayer; and He heals our loved ones. Psalm 141:2 says: “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

I thought about Jesus and looked at the times He was involved with myrrh. At His birth, the wise men brought gifts to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is for a king, and Jesus is a King; frankin­cense is for a prophet, and Jesus is a Prophet; myrrh is for a priest, and Jesus is our “Great High Priest” and “He always lives to make intercession for [us](Hebrews 7:25). The myrrh was specifically brought for His anointing as a priest.

When Jesus was on the cross, we again see myrrh involved in His life. Myrrh has an anesthetic effect, and it deadens pain. Mark 15:23 tells us: “Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.” Why didn’t He take it? Wouldn’t you have taken it? If He had taken that wine, it would have deadened His pain. Instead, I believe Jesus was saying, “I won’t take any pain medication; I want to take all the pain of the cross so I can deaden yours.” That’s why He refused myrrh.

Here is an interesting side thought that will bless you. “New wine” is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, and often in Scripture, we see wine as a symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ. God the Father has mingled the myrrh of Jesus Christ with the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit together with the cleansing power of the earthly counterpart of wine and myrrh when He was on the cross, the Father graciously allows us to partake of the heavenly counterpart: the “new wine” of the Spirit that has been lovingly mingled with the healing myrrh of Jesus Christ and the cleansing power of His blood. Praise God! Isn’t that beautiful? The “new wine” of the Spirit and the blood and myrrh of Jesus will anesthetize, cleanse, and deaden every one of our hurts and pains.

There are times when our hurts are so very deep that simply deadening the pain of them and allow­ing them to heal naturally is not enough. Remember, Scripture says, “A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me” (Song of Solomon 1:13). He isn’t just a little bottle of oil, or a few crushed leaves; He’s a whole bundle. At times, you need a bundle because sometimes you have a bundle of hurts. He provided myrrh for each one of your hurts. He is not only a pain killer for the hurting heart, He is the healer of your hurting heart.

When Jesus was born, He was given myrrh; on the cross He was offered myrrh; and in His death He was anointed with myrrh. Why was He wrapped in myrrh at His burial? Because myrrh has a very sweet smell. “All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, Out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad” (Psalm 45:8).

Other than being resurrected, this was one of the very last prophecies Jesus had to fulfill. Jesus smells like myrrh; He smells so good! Why? Because He smells like healing. He smells as though He is everything I need. He is that beautiful, satisfying smell; the fragrance that makes our hearts glad. Let’s look again at Song of Solomon 1:13; it tells us when we are healed my beloved is a bundle of myrrh to me; He shall lie all night upon my heart.

There is also a beautiful verse in Psalms that ties in with the same thought. “It is vain for you to . . . eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2). Did you know that even while you are asleep Jesus is healing you? He wants you to be whole and at peace all the time. If you’ve been hurt and are out-of-it, tonight just go to sleep in Jesus. Allow that precious myrrh of Jesus to deaden and take away all the awful pain you’ve been bearing.

When you let Jesus heal your wounds, you begin to smell like He smells. Then you won’t need to go around saying, “If you’d been through what I’ve been through . . .” Have you ever been around people who have been through a trial and are still hurting from it? When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire, they didn’t even smell like smoke (Daniel 3:27)! When you’ve been with Jesus, you smell great. He always smells good. But when some of us come out of trials we smell like smoke! We still gripe and groan. If you’ll take a little myrrh, you’ll stop griping and groaning and you’ll smell like Jesus. You won’t smell like smoke! He will heal your broken heart.

This blog post is excerpted from Marilyn’s mini book, God’s Rx for a Hurting Heart

2024-02-07T13:19:33-07:00February 12th, 2024|
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