Prayer Focus Day TEN: Forgiveness

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  ‘Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the Lord. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lordyour God.  For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.’” (Leviticus 23:26-32)

Forgiveness – a word by which Yom Kippur can be defined. The Bible sites it was on this day the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the souls of Israel. Leviticus 17 gives details about this sacrificial ceremony meant to atone for sins. The most important theme throughout Scripture is the forgiveness of sins in God’s established way. So, how is forgiveness offered now that there is no Temple in which to perform the sacrifices?

Rabbi’s would argue it is through Tefilah (prayer), Teshuvah (repentence) and Tzedakah (charity). But what about the verse found in Leviticus 17:11?

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” 

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are beautiful reminders of the sacrifice of our Jewish Messiah, Yeshua. Many of our Jewish friends come away from the High Holy Days with no assurance of salvation or atonement. We thank God that He offers forgiveness from sin. As those who trust in Yeshua, we believe through repentance of our sins and faith and trust in a Messiah who died and rose again, we are completely cleansed. We have crossed from darkness to light, from death to life and from hopeless judgment to incredible spiritual blessings. 

This Cleansing From Sin That Messiah Yeshua Provides Is Not Based On Any Work We Have Done But By Faith In What Messiah Yeshua Has Done.

Today, on Yom Kippur, rest in the knowledge that you are redeemed and forgiven. Pray for those in your life who don't have this assurance. Pray for Jewish friends and family to understand the most important theme in the Bible, true forgiveness through Jesus. 

Prayer Focus Day NINE: Kol Nidre

At sundown today, the Kol Nidre prayer will be recited in synagogues around the world, marking the beginning of Yom Kippur. (Listen here.)  A very specific request is made during this prayer: forgiveness from any vows or promises made falsely.

Why is this a focal point? Why is the entire prayer devoted to the forgiveness of unintentional vows? The answer is one that dates back to the Inquisition and the strong persecutions of the Jewish people in Medieval Europe, when many were forcibly converted to Christianity or Islam. This prayer provided reassurance that God would forgive those who denounced Judaism in order to live.

The history of anti-Semitic acts toward the Jewish community has been bloodied by many who claimed to love Jesus. Our Video Letter to our Jewish Friends gives our response to the rising anti-Semitism we see today. Please pray against the growing hatred of Israel and the Jewish community around the world. Pray for more followers of Jesus to stand against anti-Semitism. And lastly, pray for the salvation of Jewish friends and family during this holiday. 

Prayer Focus Day EIGHT: Unveiled Face 

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" 2 Corinthians 3:17.

It seems difficult when so much of life creates heavy burdens and deep wounds to remember the freedom offered through Jesus. What a beautiful gift!

 Are you feeling chained by stress, anger, envy, sorrow? Perhaps a close friend or family member comes to mind as a person in need of the freedom only Messiah can bring? 

In 2 Corinthians 3:15-16, Paul writes regarding those who have not yet come to a knowledge of Messiah as Savior: "Yes, till today, whenever Moshe is read, a veil lies over their heart. 'But,' says the Torah, 'whenever someone turns to Adonai, the veil is taken away'" (Complete Jewish Bible).

Ask the Lord to remove the spiritual veil from your eyes. Ask Him to remove the veil from the eyes of loved ones. Lift up your unveiled face to the glory of our God with confidence, knowing those who turn to the Lord are set free from sin. 

Prayer Focus Day SEVEN: To Make Them Jealous 

"I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous." Romans 11:11 

Has the rejection of Yeshua as Messiah by a majority of Israel caused God to exclude them from His promises? Has national rejection of Jesus caused God to abandon the Jewish people or exclude them from salvation? Paul answers that question with an emphatic, "May it never be!" The idea is unthinkable! 

So what does this verse communicate? 

In reality, this verse communicates wonderful truths for all of humanity. By means of Israel's rejection (stumbling over Jesus), salvation has come to the Gentiles. This is great news in itself. 

However, Romans 11:11 doesn't conclude with this blessing for Gentiles. Paul continues, sharing his motivation: "to make them the Jewish people jealous" (Romans 11:11).  

Romans 11:11 is called "the Second Great Commission" for a reason. Just as God used Israel's rejection of the gospel as a means to bring Gentiles into salvation, He is now using the Gentiles’s deliverance to provoke Israel to jealousy. Truly, salvation is found only in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. But for many (Jews and Gentiles) Yeshua has been separated from His identity as Israel’s rightful King and Redeemer.

Today, let's pray many of our Jewish friends would long for the salvation found in Messiah. Pray also that Jewish and Gentile believers would represent the Savior in such a way as to provoke our Jewish friends to jealousy.”We have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets speak!”

Prayer Focus Day SIX: Pay Careful Attention 

"Therefore, pay careful attention to how you conduct your life — live wisely, not unwisely. Use your time well, for these are evil days. So don’t be foolish, but try to understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Life is brief. The older we get, the more this reality settles in. God gives each of us the gift of time and the ability to choose how we use that gift. Paul exhorts the church in Ephesus to spend their time wisely and to use it well. He encourages the readers to not be foolish, but to try to understand the will of the Lord. How are you doing with this exhortation? How are you spending your time in light of eternity? Are the areas you're giving life toward worth it? 

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). 

Ask the Lord to show you how He would have you spend your time. Take time to seek God's will for you. Pray for wisdom in knowing how to spend your days well. 

Prayer Focus Day FIVE: The Value of Wisdom 

"How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver." Proverbs 16:16

Anyone who has read even a few verses from the book of Proverbs knows the value placed on wisdom. Proverbs 20:15 even states, "There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel." The Godly wisdom spoken of in Scripture goes far beyond practical guidance. Those who run after the divine wisdom the Lord so clearly encourages we seek are given opportunity for God to make Himself known. How do you view wisdom? Do you seek it as much as Proverbs suggests? Today, spend some time reading through the book of Proverbs. Pray and ask the Lord to bless you with wisdom. 

Prayer Focus Day FOUR: Body of Messiah 

“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 

A single flame is quickly snuffed out with the smallest of winds, but a forest fire requires great strength to extinguish. Are you feeling like a single flame or are you part of a forest fire?  The writer of Hebrews encourages us to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together…” Have you ever experienced the blessing of community? Today, let’s focus on praying for the body of Messiah. Ask the Lord how you can better encourage your brothers and sisters in their pursuit of following in Messiah’s footsteps. Perhaps you are seeking community for yourself? Pray for strength and encouragement for the local and global body of Messiah. Pray the “forest fire” would continue to grow.

Prayer Focus Day THREE: Share the Love 

As we move closer to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we want to remember the greatest example of love: the sacrifice of Messiah on behalf of both Jews and Gentiles. Today - let us focus on loving others the way Yeshua loves us. At Life in Messiah, we strive to point people upward - to encourage others to remember the immense compassion and care our Heavenly Father extends to those who call upon His name. “We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)” Think about this - who do you know that needs to be loved? Who do you struggle to love? Remember, “Messiah died on our behalf while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)” 

Keeping this in mind, we encourage you to pray for that person you most struggle to love. Ask the Lord to help you offer them the same kind of love He so freely offers you - even in your messiest of sin. Confess your shortcomings to love others the way you should. May you be encouraged you are not alone in your fight to love well. May you find the minutes you spend in prayer to be a time that strengthens your connection to the God of the Universe whose love is strong. 

Prayer Focus Day TWO: New Beginnings 

Rosh Hashanah allows us opportunity to focus on fresh starts. It’s a time to think about new beginnings and the weighty relief “starting over” can bring. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 gives us a refreshing truth, “Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation — the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!” 

Let’s focus on new beginnings and fresh starts today. We all know someone who could use a “re-do” or the chance to start over. Perhaps that person is you? Join us in thanking Messiah as He offers each of us a chance to become a new creation. Pray for others in your life who haven’t yet experienced the fresh start that comes with unity in Messiah. Be encouraged that Yeshua is capable of helping you shed your burdens and past failures. 

Prayer Focus Day ONE: White as Snow 

White is a common color throughout the High Holy Days. Many choose to wear white clothing during this time to represent God's promise to turn our scarlet sins as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). For believers in Messiah Yeshua, this is a stunning declaration of our salvation and cleansing from sin through His death and resurrection! 

Given the theme of Rosh Hashana is repentance, it’s fitting the prayer focus for today revolves around confession.  Scripture says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

As followers of Yeshua, we have the assurance that our God is a gracious and forgiving God.  While we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us.  This cleansing from sin that Messiah Yeshua provides is not based on any work we have done but by faith in what Messiah has done. May all who read this be encouraged to confess sin before the Lord and know the forgiveness offered through Yeshua. 

For I know my transgressions, 

and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned

    and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you may be justified in your words

    and blameless in your judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

    and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,

    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

    and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

    and renew a right spirit within me.

                               - Psalm 51:3-10