Morning Prayer Summary for    Thursday, July 20, 2023

Morning Chapel Prayer Playlist

Pastor Heather…

Father, we give you our heart… all of our heart today… every room in our heart belongs to you, Father. Even the rooms that need to be cleaned, need to be emptied, need to be refurnished. Father, we just welcome you into the house of our heart, every single room.

Examine your heart…

And so right now in this atmosphere, just examine your heart. Maybe there’s some rooms in your heart that you have closed off to God. And it can be subtle things. Or it could be obvious things. Maybe you’re hiding some shame from your past or just even from current things. Jesus wants to come into all of your heart, every room. There’s nothing that’s off limits to Him if you allow Him. But He is a gentleman. So He’s not going to force His way into your heart. You have to let Him in.

You don’t have to be ashamed…

And so as you welcome Him in, you don’t have to be ashamed. There might be some places of your heart that are dark. Places that are broken. Places that are hard. Places that you hide because you’re ashamed. Let Him into those places right now. And just say, “You can have my heart, all of it.” Even the pieces that maybe you’ve given to people or things that you shouldn’t have. Give those pieces to Him too. And He’ll heal those places in your heart. He’ll heal whatever it is in your heart that you’ve been maybe trying to cover, or you’ve been afraid to give to Him, or places that you’ve hardened over the years.

Maybe you’ve had some disappointments and you don’t understand why God didn’t do this or God didn’t do that. And that can create places of hardness in your heart. Just allow Him to come in and show you His love, His mercy, His tenderness. There’s nothing that we have to hide from Him. He’s so gracious. He’s so merciful. And He wants to go into those places in your heart and heal those places. He wants to bring His healing balm, His healing oil to those hard parts, those broken parts. Maybe there’s even parts where you think that could never be healed, that could never be fixed or restored. God can redeem anything and restore anything. Nothing is past His restoration and healing power. Nothing.

Create in me a clean heart, O God…

And so just examine your heart and let your heart cry today just be, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God.” And so we say that this morning, create in us a clean heart, God. We give our hearts to you. Help us to remove things in the thrones of our heart that should not be there. That throne is only for you, Father. Show us things that are sitting in your place. Show us rooms that some walls need to be broken down and some restoration needs to happen. Show us hard places where your healing power needs to come in, that we don’t have to cover that. We don’t have to be ashamed that you come in so lovingly, so gently, and you bring your love and your healing power, and you just cover that with your precious blood. Whatever that is, I know there’s some things that people are holding back, and I just believe that right now the blood of Jesus is going into those dark, dark places.

Allow Jesus into those places in your heart…

Maybe it’s things in your past… maybe it’s a broken heart… maybe it’s a damaged relationship with a loved one. Whatever that is, allow Jesus in that place. Allow Him in. You’ve been trying to fix it on your own, or you’ve been trying to hide it. You’ve been trying to act like everything’s okay. It’s okay if things are not okay. Because Jesus is here to turn that around. And so just allow Him into your heart right now.

So we do that, Father. We open our hearts to you now and we say let your healing power flow through every place in our hearts, through our affections, through our motives, through our desires, Father. You go into those places. You wash them with your presence, with your anointing, with your oil, with your Word, with your promise, and we say create in us a new heart, oh Lord. We give our heart to you. And in exchange, we take a new heart. A heart that beats for you, Father. We give you the throne of our heart and we say, this is your throne. This is your place to sit. You have all my affection. You have all my love. You are my desire. And we just clean out any desire that’s not of you, Father. We clean it out. We clean out those rooms. Maybe some of us have some closets full of some junk. Clean it out! We just get that all out today, Father.

We lay it at the altar…

We thank you for your anointing, and we just lay our hearts, our desires, our passions, the core of who we are. We lay it at the altar today and we say it’s yours. And that’s all that you ask of us, is that we just give you our hearts. Such a simple thing, but such a profound thing at the same time. Just who we are, that we give it to you and we surrender and we say, “Not our way, but your way, Father. Not my desires, but your desires, not my will, but your will.”

Make that the cry of your heart to Him this morning…

Thank you, Father, that you bring us back to our first love when our hearts were just fiery for you and everything was fresh and new. And we recall that right now when we stir up that flame. If there are flames that have died in our hearts, we just fan those flames for you. Take everything else away, create in us a clean heart. We just consecrate ourselves for your purpose. Let our heart be your heart. And we just declare that today over our hearts, in a busy world that’s always trying to get a piece of our heart, our attention, our desires, our time, our resources, we just remind ourselves today why you put us here. To worship you, to give you glory, to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim your good news, to set captives free.

Our purpose is to be a light…

And so we just remind our hearts of our purpose today to be a light, to be your love in this dark world, and that you equip us to do that. But before we can do that, we have to have a heart that beats only for you. And so we remind our hearts today that they’re safe, they’re held, they’re loved. We’re secure in His presence. We are never without help. We are never alone. We are never abandoned. We are never forsaken. We might be persecuted and crushed, but we are not broken.

The Pool of Bethesda

I want to share something real quick before we go into prayer. I just keep on hearing about the Pool of Bethesda. I like the story when Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to be well?” And so I’ve been studying this. Let’s read the story first. I’m reading it in the Passion translation. And this is John 5:1–9.

“From Galilee, Jesus returned to Jerusalem to observe one of the Jewish feasts. Inside the city, near the sheep gate, there is a pool called in Aramaic, ‘the house of loving kindness.’ First of all, I love that. Who wants to go to the house of loving kindness? Me, please. “Surrounded by five covered porches, hundreds of sick people were lying under the covered porches, the paralyzed, the blind, and the crippled, all of them waiting for their healing. For an angel of God periodically descended into the pool to stir the waters, and the first one who stepped into the pool after the water swirled would instantly be healed. Among the many sick people lying there, there was a man who had been disabled for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there, he knew that the man had been crippled for a long time. Jesus said to him, “Do you truly long to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there’s no way I can get healed, for I have no one to lower me into the water when the angel comes. As soon as I try to crawl to the edge of the pool, someone else jumps in ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up. Pick up your sleeping mat and you will walk.” Immediately, he stood up. He was healed. So he rolled up his mat and walked again. Now, Jesus worked this miracle on the Sabbath.”

Footnotes to the story…

So in the Passion translation, there’s some really amazing footnotes. The first thing that it states is the sheep gate. So that’s where the Pool of Bethesda was. It was through the sheep gate. And that literally means “the place of the sheep.” The word “gate” is not in the Greek text. The sick gathered at the pool were bruised, wounded sheep needing healing. So they’re walking in through that sheep gate, wounded, needing healing. And we know Jesus is our good shepherd.

Archeologists have discovered a deep double pool near St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem, surrounded by five porticos located near the sheep gate, confirming the validity of this biblical account. The pool was 360 feet long, 130 feet wide, and 75 feet deep. That is like two football fields. I don’t know why but in my mind when I read this story, I always thought of just a little pool, like a little fountain. No, it was like the size of two football fields. This was huge! So think of all these people just laying and waiting for their healing. That’s where they would go. The sheep gate is where the sacrificial animals were brought into the temple. This also points us to the Lamb of God whose cross and sacrifice brought us healing. There is a pool of mercy near the sheep gate. The five covered porches, that represents the five books of the Torah. The sick were under the covering of the law, the five books of the Torah. But the law cannot heal. It wounds and brings death. Christ is the healer, the living Torah.

So here they are. There’s these five covered porches and it represents the law, the five books of the Torah, like trying to cover them. But it wasn’t enough. We need the blood of Jesus.

Okay, so the man was 38 years old. Under the shelter of religion, there are sick and lame and blind who can’t be healed unless they do the work and step into the pool. They are helpless and hopeless, so near the sheep gate. But Jesus puts none of the law’s requirements upon us for our healing, only to believe in one who is greater than angels. This man had been sick for 38 years, the length of time Israel had wondered in the wilderness.

Jesus asked the big question…

And so then we get to the big question, right? Jesus comes up to the man and He says, “Do you want to be well?” And it seems like a silly question. This man was sick for 38 years. He probably went through a lot of trouble to get to this pool… if you’re lame. He couldn’t walk. He needed people to carry him. So think of the trouble he went through to get to this pool in hopes that he could be that first one in to receive his healing. And then Jesus comes up to him and says, “Do you want to be well?” And you think, “Well, duh, why am I here?” But there’s a reason why He asked him this.

So in the footnote on the Passion translation, it says, “Do you want to be well or are you convinced that you are already made whole? The Greek phrase ‘genus thigh’ (I don’t know if I’m saying that right), is actually not a future tense, ‘want to be healed,’ but an aorist middle infinitive that indicates something already accomplished. Jesus was asking the cripple man if he was ready to abandon how he saw himself and now receive faith for his healing. So when Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well,” He was literally saying, “Do you believe that you are already made whole?”

And think of that moment. How do you answer Jesus? And I love that He asked him, because sometimes there’s things we think we want or we think we’re believing for, and then sometimes Jesus comes into that moment, “Do you really want this?” Like, are you really going to do what it takes to get this? To have this thing that you say that you desire, that you say that you want?

And you know, back in those days, when people were lame, their profession was begging. They would just sit and beg because they didn’t have a profession. They weren’t trained for anything. They weren’t apprenticed to do a trade. And they usually weren’t educated either because it was like, “Well, they’re lame, so their job is going to be just to sit and beg for money.” And so when Jesus asked them, “Do you want to be made whole?” That’s also an opportunity of like “If I make you whole, your whole life is going to change and you won’t be sitting here begging for money anymore. You’re going to have to put some action behind this desire that you say that you have.”

And so sometimes that also just represents how… when Jesus asked him, he didn’t answer the question, did he? “Do you want to be made whole?” What did he do? He gave him the excuses of why he couldn’t get into the pool. And sometimes we’re like that too. And Jesus is like, “Do you really want Me?” Well, Lord, I want you, but first I have to… or I just need… or this is happening in my life. He didn’t answer the question: do you want to be made whole? Well, how can I? I don’t have anybody. That was the first thing too. I don’t have anybody.

How sad is that? This man had nobody to help him into the pool, help him to get in there first.

Let’s go back to his answer. There is no way I can get healed, for I have no one to lower me into the water when the angel comes. As soon as I try to crawl to the edge of the pool, someone else jumps in ahead of me. And so then what does Jesus do? Jesus gives him an action. Sometimes we can be all talk. We can be like, “I want this, I want this.” Jesus gives him an action. Stand up and take up your bed. Right? So now this man has a choice. Is he going to believe that what Jesus said he can do? Or is he going to give him another excuse? Because how many of us would be like, “Well, what do you mean stand up? Don’t you know, I’ve been crippled for 38 years. I can’t stand up.” But he did it! At that moment, he received what Jesus was offering him. He grabbed it and he did it.

The phrase “be well…”

And you know “be well.” We know a lot of times that phrase be well is “shalom,” which is nothing missing, nothing broken. And so that not only represents our physical wellness, our physical healing, but everything—body, soul, spirit. Jesus wants us to be well. And Jesus realizes that now this man even though he is healed, he’s going to have to go out into society and he’s going to have to get educated. He’s going to have to learn a trade. He’s going to have to get a job to begin doing something. So he realizes that this is a big step for this man. But He wants him to be whole, every part of him whole.

Loop Devotions…

So I get devotions from a lady called Jennifer Camp. She has a thing called Loop Devotions. And this was the devotion a couple days ago. It’s like everywhere I went, I’m hearing about the Pool of Bethesda. The Lord moves in me that way, like He makes it pretty obvious for me sometimes. Everywhere you go, you’re hearing a story or you’re hearing a thing. That’s the Holy Spirit.

Do you want to be made well?

I love how she put this. She said the name of the devotion was, “Do you want to be made well?”

It takes Jesus asking us questions sometimes and our willingness to listen and answer sincerely for our hearts to soften and be open to change. The simple question He asks us with a tender intensity, “Do you want to be made well? challenges the core of our faith. Do I believe in Jesus’ power to heal? If so, am I willing to take action toward that healing? Am I going to live like I believe Him? Do I believe He has given me everything to make me whole? Yes? Then what am I doing with what He gives me?

Come, let us sit by the pool where the angel stirs the waters. Will we do whatever it takes to jump in or will we remain right where we are full of excuses we carry deep inside our hearts? Let’s encounter Jesus’s truth today. Let’s engage with Him, for He is speaking. He is in love with you. He offers His hand and says, “You have me. You have everything you need.”

Don’t wait for somebody to pick you up…

And so it just made me start thinking about that. How many of us are just sitting around the pool and we’re waiting for somebody to carry us in. Let’s just put that in like a spiritual plane. How many of us are sitting around the pool of God’s presence, and we’re waiting for a man to pick us up and put us in? We’re waiting for somebody to stir the waters. We’re waiting for something to happen. And how many of us are just going to get up and just get into that pool and jump in all the way 75 feet deep? The presence of God. Don’t wait for somebody to pick you up and carry you in. Go!

Do you want to be made well?

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