The African Forum on Religion and Government (AFReG) calls on all Christians to increase our prayers in this era of COVID-19. “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5: 16). We trust that everyone is praying. Starting this Tuesday let us set aside some time to pray. Every week on Monday a devotional and some prayer points will be posted, so that on Tuesday, we can use them as resources to unite our hearts in prayer.
This week, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, our theme is “God-Centeredness”.
Please read Colossians 1: 15 – 20 and Psalm 23: 1 – 6
Colossians 1: 15 – 20
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
We worship God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Without Him we are nothing. St. Paul reminds us in this letter that God is all in all. ALL things on earth and in heaven, no matter how powerful or precious are subject to God. In coming to be with us in human form, God in Christ is that full embodiment of God, reconciling us back to Himself.
Our lives and everything about us and everything we do ought to be about God. However, far too many times, human beings think it is about us. When we are healthy and strong, we often take God for granted. Yes, we may express our gratitude to God for giving us good health, but more often we tend to credit the healthy lifestyle we have, our regular medical check-up, how good our doctors are, etc. more than we make it about God. When we can organize our week in the way our parents did it and we are doing it now: Day of Worship we all congregate and worship together, then during the weekdays we are at work or in school, or usefully engaged in our daily work, there is a tendency to take it for granted and feel it is our talents and abilities. When we can get up and travel anywhere we would like to in our own country or even outside our country whenever we want, it is easy to take things for granted and focus on ourselves and our abilities. These last few weeks have taught us that we cannot take things for granted. Every routine we have counted on has been challenged.
God, who created us and who created everything is the only CONSTANT. We do well to keep our focus on Him. The Father has created us for a purpose. We need to live only for that purpose. The Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us was the height of God’s love for us. He is alive and He is Lord of our lives. The Holy Spirit in us is our Comforter, Counsellor and Guide – always with us empowering us and leading us into all truths. That’s the only thing that counts. If we center on God instead of on ourselves, we are in a safe place.
When we bring this to our daily lives, that old familiar Psalm reminds us that when our lives are God-centered, we are in a safe place and all will be well. The Lord is our Shepherd. Therefore, we shall not want. We shall not lack anything spiritual or physical because the Great Shepherd is taking care of us. He takes care of leading us in the best places (green pastures, still waters, paths of righteousness) all because of His name’s sake – not because of our goodness or appearance, or power or skills. He does that because of His love for us. Even when we walk through difficult times that feel like we are walking in the shadow of death, such as through these months of COVID-19, we cannot be afraid. We can bring our fears to God. COVID-19 is no match for God. He is with us and He protects us both with His leadership staff and with His guiding rod which keeps us safe in the right paths so that we do not stray off and do things that are dangerous for us. God provides for us our food, health and everything we need, even in the presence of our enemies, to the point that the receptacles we hold out to receive His blessings are overflowing. Surely as we center our lives on God, goodness and mercy shall follow us all our days in this world, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord in this world and in eternity. It is all about God.
Let us recommit ourselves to God and let our orientation be God-centered even as we pray this week.
Worship God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. ALL things on earth and in heaven, no matter how powerful or precious are subject to Him. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1: 16).
Therefore, He worthy of all praise and glory. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!
Where our lives and everything has been about us and not been about Him. Where we have taken credit for what we are and what we do.
Where we have not sought our sufficiency in Him and sought help elsewhere.
Where we have not pointed others toward God, the author of all of life.
Where we have not been thankful as a people of God; individuals, families, communities, nations, and as a continent.
That He is sovereign over all creation.
That He is working everything after the counsel of His will.
That as our Shepherd, He sufficiently provides, protects, guides and comforts us.
That His goodness and mercy follow us throughout our lives. He holds our past, our present and our future and therefore, we have no need to fear.
Decree an end to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Job 22: 28).
Healing for the sick and dying (1 Peter 2: 23-25).
Protection for the frontline workers and their families – medical staff, hospital chaplains, essential service providers in high risk areas.
Comfort for those who have lost loved ones (2 Corinthians 1: 3, 4).
Leadership in this crisis and decisions being made that should not be unfavorable to the advancement of the Kingdom of God (Psalm 21:1-3). Against the agenda of the kingdom of darkness and the schemes of the enemy.
The Church to arise at this time and take every opportunity to engage in the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment. (Ephesians 5: 16, Mathew 28: 18-20, Luke 10: 25-37). Thy Kingdom come Oh Lord and Thy will be done in and through your Church as it is in heaven.
The recovery of the continent of Africa post COVID-19 Pandemic; that we would indeed ARISE.
We declare that Africa walks in God-Centeredness and thus:
WE FULFILL OUR DIVINE MANDATE IN GOD FOR THIS GENERATION.
WE WALK IN FEARLESS BOLDNESS, PROCLAIMING HIM AS LORD OF ALL, KING OVER ALL CREATION.
IN EVERYTHING, WE LOOK TO GOD ALONE WHO MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH. OUR SUFFICIENCY IS IN HIS INFINITY.
WE EXPERIENCE THE FULLNESS OF GOD IN OUR LIVES, FAMILIES, COMMUNITY AND IN THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA.