Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches!
Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord!
Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.

Lamentations 2:19 ESV

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Shoulder to Shoulder

A “Bing Homepage Quiz” recently showed a photo of three lionesses, shoulder to shoulder, with the question, “What do these lionesses do together?”
The options were:
A.    Keep the males in check
B.     Hunt
C.     Everything
The answer? Everything!
Lionesses, often siblings, form the core of any given pride. And to keep the group functioning, they coordinate everything from rearing cubs, to hunting, to protecting the pride. (Bing)
Hmm. Does that sound familiar, moms?
So, did you notice one thing I described about the photo? They were shoulder to shoulder. They weren't doing it alone.
Zephaniah 3:9 (NASB), speaks of the Lord’s people serving Him shoulder to shoulder, in one accord, of one consent. Matthew Henry wrote that the word alludes to oxen in a yoke. Benson’s Commentary agrees, noting that it is a metaphor “taken from beasts drawing together in one yoke, or men setting their shoulders together to one burden.” Or, to say it another way, “helping one another with conjoint effort.” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)
This is a perfect picture of one accord prayer, the kind of prayer the ministry of Moms in Prayer disciples women to do for their children and schools. Moms are taught to “join shoulder to shoulder in carrying great burdens.” (Matthew Poole’s Commentary) In fact, that is quite what Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible writes: Believers “should join in fellowship with one another, and sing the praises of God together; agree in prayer to ask of God the same things…”
I’ve found that one accord prayer helps accomplish the melding of the members Christ’s Body together to act like the body we should be as opposed to individuals. In Moms in Prayer, this even crosses “church” boundaries.
As Christ’s return draws near, the enemy’s attacks will strengthen. We need each other’s shoulders to help us stand firm, to persevere in faith until the end. This is the community—shoulder to shoulder—that the early church described in the Book of Acts experienced that resulted in great power, great grace and growth amidst trial and tribulation. THIS is what Christ’s Body needs today.
In fact, it’s what Jesus prayed for us that night in the Garden (John 17:11, 20-23 NASB):
I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. … I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
Like lionesses, moms, we need to do everything together, shoulder-to-shoulder, to be strong and stand firm as we rear our cubs and protect our pride. Take a risk. Trust the Body. Don’t go it alone.