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Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Ezekiel Prayer





"Ezekiel's First Vision" Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872)

 My Ezekiel Prayer


Ezekiel was one of the captives of Judah who had been taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  His name means “God Strengthens.”
He was the son of a priest and was himself a priest. But since he was exiled from his homeland, he was jobless, for in Babylon he had no temple to take care of.
Yet God still had a job for Ezekiel to do. Though it was not what he’d trained all his life to do for the Lord, nevertheless, it was what God had created him to do. He called Ezekiel to be His prophet to speak to a nation that had broken faith with Him. The Lord wanted to use Ezekiel to vindicate the “holiness of His great name.”
When Ezekiel was around thirty years old, as he sat with the other captives by the  Kebar river, he wrote, “The heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1)


Nuremberg (1702) "Ezekiel's Vision" Wikipedia Commons
If you are a highly visual person like me and read Ezekiel’s visions you may long for an illustrated bible because they are quite surreal. But even if we have a literal picture of these visions right before us we soon realize that, just like a website without the correct password is impossible to enter, so is a vision without the right interpretation.
God has a very good reason for everything He does. He chooses to speak to us in certain ways based on what He is going to do in our lives and how He wants to use us for the work He is calling us to carry out for Him. He chose to speak to Ezekiel in visions.  In fact, they play a very prominent role throughout his book.
Typically, visions from God are not meant to be taken literally. They are visual metaphors illustrating spiritual realities. They are a kind of picture language from God sent to tell us something very important or to reflect obliquely future glories that await us to encourage our faith.
When Paul, who had been taken in a vision up into what he called “the third heaven” wrote about spiritual things He said, For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
If we try to understand Ezekiel’s vision literally we may as well knock our heads together. Jesus said to those who would try to understand spiritual things in a literal way, It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
God gave Ezekiel this amazing inaugural vision to prepare him for a very difficult calling. When we read the succeeding chapters of his book we understand just how challenging his work for God would be.
Ezekiel was asked to shut himself inside his house, isolate himself from his community, he would be bound with cords; was afflicted by God so that he could not speak temporarily, he had to lie on one side for 390 days and then the other for 40 more days and cook his food over a dung pile.
How many of us would think it was God’s voice we were hearing if the Lord asked us to cook our food over a pile of feces every day for 390 days?  Uh huh..I am confessing right now that I would probably rebuke "that voice" in Jesus’ name. Alas. I just wonder sometimes how many times a day the Lord gets rebuked in His own name because we just don’t recognize His voice as we should. And I wonder how often He gets exasperated with His own sheep who are supposed to know their Good Shepherd’s voice!
You might think to yourself, “Well, that was in the bible days, God would never ask us to do anything like that in this day and age!”
Don’t ever think that God is any different now than He was in Ezekiel’s day because His word says, For I am the Lord, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6)
And Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
It often occurs to me after studying the bible that God does not usually ask His servants to do what is convenient, comfortable, or easy. In fact, Jesus said we must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him.
I believe God spoke to Ezekiel in visions, (symbolic language) because He was going to make Ezekiel’s life a living metaphor to communicate His Truth to His people. Everything God asked Ezekiel to do was like a living illustration to His people, a picture of His message to go along with the words the prophet was asked to communicate.
I have studied and prayed over Ezekiel’s vision and made it into a prayer in the hopes that the Lord will use it somehow to transform my life the way He did Ezekiel’s into a person who could fearlessly communicate His truths to our world without complaining about the cost. (And when I do fuss about the cross the Lord has asked me to bear, I pray He will remind me that at least He has never asked me to cook my food over a dung pile and to help me to be thankful!) 

Artist Jim Padgett: "Ezekiel's Vision"
My Ezekiel Prayer
(Inspired by Ezekiel’s Vision & Matthew Henry’s Interpretation)

Heavenly Father, I pray for divine wisdom and understanding,
To excel in strength and boldness like that of a lion, even as the angels who serve You and who are never afraid;
I ask that You help me to excel in diligence and patience like an ox, and to be unwearied in the discharge of the work You give me to do for You, even as those angels are who serve In Your holy court.
I ask for quick and piercing insight, like that of an eagle's sight, to soar high even as the angels who serve You soar, spiritually close to You, quick to hear Your voice in my heart, quick to respond obediently to do all You ask of me without complaining; and always thankful, always humble.
I ask for willing hands and feet to do Your will, to walk Your paths wherever You call me to go, whatever You ask me to do.

Help me go straight forward like Your angels who serve in Your holy courts, with one heart, one soul, one mind, one purpose: to love You with ALL MY HEART, ALL MY SOUL, ALL MY MIND, ALL MY BEING.
Lord, like Your angels, let me turn not back, nor aside from serving You. Help me keep my eyes focused firmly on You. Let me not turn from my work to trifle with what is not Your will for me.
 Help me go wherever Your Holy Spirit would have me go, to accomplish whatever You have chosen for me to do.
Oh dearest Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, though I am no angel, please fill my heart with a burning zeal to serve You as those angels at Your court must have. Fill my heart with a burning love, a holy passion that grows only more intense for You like a flame that is eternal and grows deeper and higher and hotter day by day.
Let my love for You be like the eternal flame in the lamps of the temple of old Jerusalem; may it never wane, may it never die, but grow stronger and brighter each moment day by day by the power of Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, thank You, I love You, Lord.

Ezekiel Prayer: Copyright 2013 S.D. Harden, All Rights Reserved.
Illustration Credits: Source: Internet; Copyright Status; Public Domain 

4 comments:

  1. Suzanne your prayer's use of the appearance and attributes of the four creatures is stunning! I heard a preacher once say that no one could possibly pin down the import of Ezekiel's vision. There would be parts of it for the general public and parts of it specifically for God's servant in the midst of his needs and commission.
    http://justhappeneduponthis.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/wheel-a-rollin/

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  2. Thanks for sharing your encouraging comment and wonderful insight about Ezekiel's vision.~ God bless you! :)

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  3. That is beautiful, dear Suzanne. You are very talented, and the Lord is using you for His glory. Thank you, precious sister.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Cathy, for your kind, encouraging words! You are such a blessing always! Love you! {{{Hugs}}}

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