Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Words Of Love, Words Of Hope (prayers based on the book of Hosea)

Hosea 1:1-3:5
‘Hosea’ means ‘salvation’. Married to ‘an adulterous wife’, Hosea spoke with great compassion to ‘the land’ which was ‘guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord’ (Hosea 1:2). We thank You, Lord, that Hosea brought Your Word of love to the people: ‘I will show My love to the one I called, “Not My loved one”’. He spoke to them of the life-changing power of God’s love: ‘I will say to those called, “Not My people”, and they will say, “You are My God”’ (Hosea 2:23). We thank You that He brought a Word of hope to Your people: ‘The Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God... They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days’ (Hosea 3:5). We thank You that Hosea's words of hope point us to our Saviour, Jesus Christ - ‘In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son’ (Hebrews 1:2).
Hosea 4:1-5:14
We read, Lord, about Israel’s rebellion against You: ‘A spirit of prostitution leads them astray. They are unfaithful to their God... A spirit of prostitution is in their heart. They do not acknowledge the Lord’ (Hosea 4:12; 5:4). You, Lord, are not pleased with them. You speak Your Word of ‘judgment against’ them (Hosea 5:1). Help us, Lord, to look closely at our lives. What kind of people are we becoming? Are we becoming ‘slaves of sin’? You're calling us to be changed by Your love and power: ‘Now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap is holiness, and the result is eternal life’ (Romans 6:16,22). May Your love show us that You have not abandoned us because of our sin. May Your power assure each one of us that You can make us ‘a new person’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Hosea 5:15-7:16
Teach us, Lord, to leave the old way of sinful disobedience and follow the new way of faith and obedience: ‘Come, let us return to the Lord... Let us press on to know the Lord.’ As we return to You, pressing on to know You, Your blessing returns to us. You lead us in the way of fruitfulness: ‘He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth’ (Hosea 6:1,3). Help us not to be like those who react to Your Word with ‘pride’: ‘They do not return to the Lord their God’. God longs to ‘redeem’ them, yet they ‘rebel against’ Him: ‘They do not turn to the Most High God’ (Hosea 7:10,13,16). May our ‘love’ for You not be ‘like the early dew that disappears.’ Teach us to ‘acknowledge our guilt and seek Your face.’ May we love You with a ‘steadfast love’ (Hosea 5:15; Hosea 6:4,6).
Hosea 8:1-9:17
‘Israel’ had ‘forgotten’ and ‘forsaken’ the Lord (Hosea 8:14). Lord, we have not remembered You. We have turned away from You. We have forgotten You. We have been ‘unfaithful’ to You. This is the sad story of our life - a story of forgetting and forsaking You. You, Lord, are very different from us. You have not forgotten us. You have not forsaken us. You have ‘remembered’ us. You have been ‘faithful’ to us. You have shown us Your ‘salvation’ (Psalm 98:3). How do we know that You remember us? How do we know that You are faithful to us? - ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’; ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8). ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot be false to Himself’ (2 Timothy 2:13).
Hosea 10:1-12:9
We thank You, Lord, that Your love for us is much greater than our love for You. So often, we are like ‘Israel’ - ‘they did not fear the Lord.’ Our love for You grows weak. Your love for us remains strong. You refuse to give up on us. We wander away from You. You call us back to Yourself - ‘It is time to seek the Lord’; ‘You must return to your God’ (Hosea 10:3,12; Hosea 11:1,8; Hosea 12:6). When we return to You, Lord, You lead us in the way of Your ‘love.’ You teach us to ‘walk in the Spirit.’ You produce in us ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Hosea 10:1; Hosea 11:3-4; Galatians 5:16-18,22-25). Help us to grow strong in our love for You - ‘the Spirit helps us in our weakness.' Help us ‘not to quench the Spirit.’ Help us ‘not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God’ (Romans 8:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30).
Hosea 12:10-14:9
We thank You, Lord, that You love us. You invite us to come to ‘know’ You as our ‘Saviour.’ Teach us to ‘return’ to You and receive the blessings of Your salvation. You ‘forgive all our sins.’ You lead us in the way of ‘fruitfulness.’ You give us eternal life - ‘I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death ...’ (Hosea 13:4,14; Hosea 14:1-2,4,8). Your call to receive salvation from the Lord is a call to choose which way we will live. Help us to choose to be ‘righteous’ rather than ‘rebellious.’ Teach us to acknowledge that ‘the ways of the Lord are right.’ May we choose the way of ‘the righteous’ who ‘walk in the Lord’s ways.’ Help us to reject the way of ‘the rebellious’ who ‘stumble over the Lord’s ways.’ Teach us to 'walk in the light of the Lord’ (Hosea 14:9; Isaiah 2:5).

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