Dear Prayer Partners,
In the Gospel of Luke, we find a beautiful and holy act of prayer, where the supernatural power and dimension of prayer comes into focus as well.
Zacharias was a priest at the Temple in Jerusalem and a descendant of Aaron, the High Priest. While he was performing his priestly service in the appointed order of his division, he was chosen by lot to enter the Temple of the Lord and burn incense. This meant Zacharias was now chosen to go and pray to God in the holy place.
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Prayer Points: MAY 2013
The next global day of prayer and fasting in our Isaiah 62 Prayer Campaign will be on Wednesday, 1 May 2013.
Prayers for Israel
Prayers for the Region
Prayer for the ICEJ
In the holy place, in front of the veil to the Holy of Holies, was a golden altar of incense and on it Zacharias was to burn sweet, fragrant incense. The Lord had commanded that a perpetual trail of burning incense was to rise before Him throughout all generations, so every morning and every evening this sweet aroma went up to God in the Temple (Exodus 30:1-10).
So Zacharias now had the great honour to perform this duty of offering the daily incense – he was the one to offer the prayer to the Most High God. And he went in to pray.
Yet while he was praying and the fragrant incense went up to God, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and suddenly his communication with the Almighty God became very, very real! The angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John” (Luke 1:13).
Thus was the birth of John the Baptist announced! Zacharias, together with his wife, had prayed for a child for years and now the time had come for their petition to be heard from Heaven. God had His plan and Zacharias was a very essential part in it and now His purposes were finally being revealed.
Zacharias, however, did not believe his own prayers were being answered! He was in the presence of the Lord, in the holy place, hearing an angel speaking a personal message to him – and yet he was deaf to the words of the Lord in the mouth of an angel! But the gracious Lord did not give up on him!
The angel Gabriel rebuked Zacharias for not receiving by faith the glad tidings from Heaven and said as a result he would now become mute until the child was born (Luke 1:19-20). In other words, the Lord would put a sign in his very mouth that God’s words which He speaks always will come true! Zacharias and others around him would never forget this (Luke 1:64-66)! He was deaf to the words of the Lord when he entered the Temple, and mute when he came out! But only for a season...
The priest was supposed to bless the people of Israel with the Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:24-26) after coming out again from burning the incense and after the prayers in the holy place – but this time the blessing was not pronounced. The priest was mute because of his unbelief. The spiritual leaders of God’s people who do not believe God’s word, rob blessings from their flock! But it does not have to stay that way!
Today, by faith in Jesus our High Priest we as children of God have free access in prayer to enter the very throne room of God, even the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 10:19-23). God has become our Father. In Jesus’ name we are to intercede on behalf of the people, offer our praise and prayers always and in all things to Him, and thus a sweet and fragrant aroma constantly ascends to our heavenly Father (Revelation 8:3-4).
We are to be people who offer up to God spiritual sacrifices, the fruit of our lips; a people who give thanks to His name; a praying people! (1 Peter 2:5, Hebrews 13:15)
And after we have prayed and come out of our prayer rooms, we are to believe the word of God and pronounce blessings in faith on the people, blessings empowered and backed up by the spirit of prayer.
So be a true and committed priest to God our Father! Burn the incense of your prayers constantly before Him and may the sweet and fragrant aroma of intercessory prayer always go up from your spirit to God. Be a delight to your Father!
In prayer together with you,
Rev. Juha Ketola
ICEJ International Director
ICEJ International Director
This is a crucial hour for Israel and the Jewish people worldwide and they need our help. Over the last three decades the ICEJ has developed projects and tools for concerned Christians to support Israel effectively.
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