Praying Biblical Prayers – 14. Stephen

 

What would it look like for you to join some of your favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures? As you ponder the great prayers of God’s people, give yourself permission to personalize the words and make them your own prayer too. For example, when Moses prayed very simply “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” (Exodus 33:13), simply join Moses and pray for God’s favor over your own life today. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul.

 

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I so admire the wisdom the Spirit of God gave to Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power. He stood up against the leaders of his day and proclaimed the truth about Jesus. His bold proclamation of the gospel irritated the opposition they could hardly tolerate Stephen. But, they simply could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. When he was brought before the Sanhedrin, all who were sitting there looked intently at Stephen “and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel” (Acts 6:10, 15).  His speech to the Sanhedrin (Acts 7) was stunning and worth rereading to bolster your faith in the glory and truth of God. From the story of Moses to the time of David, inserting the prophet Isaiah’s stunning words, Stephen recounts how the people have resisted the Holy Spirit and for generations have been a stiff-necked people.

 

When the Sanhedrin heard all that Stephen said, they were furious and they gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen kept his eyes on the Lord…and this enraged them all the more. They rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. He died a martyr’s death on that day. Persecution continued to mount against the Church and it became harder and all the more challenging to follow Jesus from that time forward as believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

 

Today…

 

Join Stephen in his simple prayer of faithful perseverance and forgiving grace amidst those who were intolerant of his proclamation of the gospel, even as you consider those who are against what you stand for today as a follower of Jesus (Acts 7: 54-60)

 

“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (vs. 56)

 

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (vs. 59)

 

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (vs. 60)

 

When he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul approved of their killing him.

 

 

Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.

 

 

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.