Years ago a dear pastor / mentor of mine gave me some advice which I have never forgot. He told me:
1) Never stray far from the "red letters" of Jesus
2) Never go long without coming back to repentance because people always need to repent!
I've never found anything in my years since then to counter that adage. Although, God can certainly act unilaterally (and does) the pattern we often see in the Bible is God’s people repenting and then He acts. Jesus Christ himself received a baptism of repentance (although he did nothing to repent of, he went through the form as an example for us to follow) before he began to move in Spirit led power and ministry.
Because of this, I was excited to see the focus on repentance during last Saturday’s Global Day of Prayer. The GDoP had originally started as a local prayer event in South Africa back in 2000. Since then it has expanded to over 220 nations that participated in this year’s event.
Many countries were divided up into smaller regions and according to a news article:
"Participants in each venue worldwide are being asked to recite a written prayer of praise, repentance and salvation during their GDOP services. "Come and finish Your work in our cities, our peoples and our nations," the prayer reads. "We lift our voices in unison with believers from Africa and Asia, from the Middle East and Europe, from North and South America, and from Australia and the Pacific Islands-together we cry."
In addition to global focus and repentance, the various regions also directed prayer into local matters and issues of social justice.
Unfortunately living in Qingdao I was not aware of any activities here that I could have got involved in but I was happy to read about the various testimonies and stories coming out of different cities around the world.
I have always promoted Christians gathering together on global events such as this. When we work side by side with Christians from different churches and even different streams of Christianity, it helps us to see that we are all only a “part” of the body of Christ.
I’m also quick to jump on any corporate initiative that has repentance as its focus. Not only on a personal level but on a church and nation level, there are more than a few things we need to stand before God and say, “We’re sorry” for.
Repentance is a powerful way of connecting to God. It humbles us. It shows a submission to the Father and His ways over our own. This goes against the current trend in the world today where we like to dictate to God what He will like and dislike. He creates us in His image and we attempt to return the favour.
I’ll leave you with a verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14 which is one of the theme verses for the global day of prayer:
"If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."