It’s that time again. Time to pray.
The 10 Days of Prayer is now an annual event (officially adopted by the world church since 2010). It is of interest that Pope Francis is also calling for all faiths to come together in prayer for peace and justice, confessing a common belief in love.
This year the SDA 10 Days of Prayer has been scheduled for January 6 to 16. The attractiveness of these two numbers is that they not only both have 6 in them, and the span of actually 11 days ends on a Sabbath, but the ending date also nicely matches this year, 2016. Last year it was Jan 7 to 17.
I remember when I first encountered this exercise in 2007 while watching 3ABN one morning. Back then it was called “Operation Global Rain,” and the timing was even more auspicious, ending its 10 day stretch on July, 7. Yes, that’s right: 7-7-07. And it was a Sabbath, too.
So this year the start to finish dating is an interesting 6-16-16, eleven days notwithstanding. And there is another element that still is being perpetuated in these annual ten day events.
When I saw the 3ABN ad for Operation Global Rain in 2007 and suddenly realized the stark significance of the date (at that time intersecting with Pentecost and the Ten Commandment Weekend), goose bumps popped out all over. Just imagine the potential of Adventists around the world forming a critical mass as they simultaneously pray for the Latter Rain!
When I downloaded all the promotional and support material, now over 8 years ago, I remember the puzzled feeling I got in reading in the Leader’s Insturctions that we were to “Ask the Holy Spirit how and who we should pray for.” That struck me as odd. I had never heard anyone pray to the Holy Spirit. Didn’t recall ever reading about anyone in the Bible doing that. The uncertaintly of this proposition sent me on a Strong’s Concordance quest for all things Spirit. That personal Bible study was not just a game changer, it changed my life.
What had been a fuzzy notion became a vivid reality. The Spirit of truth is, joy of all joys, Him who is the truth! (John 14:17,6) Who is also the only way to the Father. There is only one Spirit “who preceedeth forth from the Father” John 15:26, the “Spirit of His Son crying, Abba, Father!” Gal 4:6. The Spirit of truth is also the Comforter, whom the Father would send. And the Comforter (Greek parakletos) is also our Advocate (parakletos) “with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” 1John 2:1. “There is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1Tim 2:5. He interceeds for us (Isa 53:12; Rom 8:26; Heb 7:25), helps and bears our infirmities (Matt 8:17; Luke 7:21; Rom 8:26; Heb 4:15). He is the Spirit that speaks to the churches (Rev 2:1,7; 2:8,11; 2:12,17; 2:18,29; 3:1,6; 3:7,13; 3:14,22). In fact, it is the Son of God (Rev 2:18) Who HAS the seven Spirits of God (Rev 3:1; 5:6) because His Father has given Him the Spirit without measure (John 3:34) along with all things (vs 35) including the Father’s own life (John 5:26).
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Holy One (Ps 16:10; Acts 2:27; 3:14; 13:35; Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34), the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9), so that Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20), just as He promised (John 14:18,20).
But 8 years later, things haven’t changed. I downloaded the latest materials for the updated “10 Days of Prayer” and read through the “Leader’s Guide.” There on page four under the Holy Spirit section are the same directions: “Be sure to ask the Holy Spirit to show you how or what you should pray for” and “Ask the Holy Spirit to show you whom to pray for”.
If you doubt that this is being actually taught in our churches today, you can hear it for yourself as Pastor Rick Ice explains in this 2 minute clip delivered in August, 2014.
When Jesus breathed on the disciples in the upper room and said, Receive the Holy Spirit, they knew Who it was that was giving them this Spirit, and Whose Spirit it was. His parting promise was, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matt 28:20.
“Then shall we know, [if] we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter [and] former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:3.
Grace and peace be unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the Father in truth and love. 2 John 3