Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Praying in "Tortoise Formation"

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

Before going into battle, soldiers must have a strategy. The Roman military had a strategy of working together using a formation called “the tortoise”. In this formation, rows of soldiers closed all gaps between each other and held their shields (which were four feet long and three feet wide) at the edges. The first row put their shields in front of them to protect the front of the formation, while soldiers on the flanks held their shields by their sides. The troops in the middle balanced their shields on their helmets, overlapping them and protecting “the tortoise” from above (like a shell protects a tortoise). If they remained together in this formation, they were almost unbeatable. (This information came from a pamphlet called "The Armor of God".)

In a similar way, our faith is designed to blend with the faith of other Christians, drawing us together and strengthening us to care for one another. When we resolve to stay close to each other, when we stand in agreement, we will be powerful. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)

As MPs, we mothers have a common purpose: prayer for ourselves and our families. Our specific concern is for our prodigals, and in that we have the power of agreement. Using, the word “agreement” ranges in meaning from mutual understanding to binding obligation. I believe we are agreeing MPs. Jesus is saying to us in Matthew 18:19-20 (NJKV): “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

In this Scripture, the word “agree” is rooted in a Greek word from which we get the English word “symphony”. It means “to be in accord or in harmony” or “to make one mind”. Reading that information reminded me of another Scripture from Philippians 2:1-2 (NKJV): Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Jesus was in agreement or harmony with His Father. He never set out on any mission without first consulting with His Father in prayer. Jesus and the Father were one, and Jesus prayed that all believers would be one with them - John 17:20-21. We need to agree in prayer with God and each other. And remember - when we don’t know what to pray, Jesus intercedes for us - Romans 8:26-27.

God has given us MPs three very special Scripture verses full of promise. Read them and believe.

1) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NKJV)

2) Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:5-7 (NIV)

3) This is what the LORD says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,”declares the LORD.
“They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your future,” declares the LORD. “Your children will return to their own land. Jeremiah 31:16-17 (NIV)

He has also put us together to pray and even though we may be miles apart, I believe God honors our agreement in prayer. SO get in “tortoise formation”, pray with boldness (Proverbs 28:1), be persistent (Luke 11:5-8), remain steadfast (Hebrews 6:19), and stand firm (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Allow the following Scriptures to strengthen your soul and your prayers. Pray until victory is accomplished. Believe in the victory because God is faithful to His promises. He will do it!
  • Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. Exodus 14:13 (NIV)
  • Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. Leviticus 26:8 (NIV)
  • “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17
  • After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14 (NIV)
  • ...but the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God]. Daniel 11:32 (AMP)
  • Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.....Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Chronicles 15:58, 16:13 (NIV)
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
  • He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:10-11a (NIV)
  • About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. Acts 16:25-26 (NIV)

Prayer and praise go hand in hand. Remember that the word “agree” is rooted in our word “symphony”. As we commit to pray together, let’s also agree and sing in harmony “Standing on the Promises” with belief in the promises.

1. Standing on the promises of Christ my King, Thro’ eternal ages let His praises ring; Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, Standing on the promises of God.

Refrain: Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.

2. Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.

3. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord, Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, Standing on the promises of God.

4. Standing on the promises I cannot fall, List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call, Resting in my Savior as my all in all, Standing on the promises of God. AMEN.

(written by Russell K. Carter)

Heavenly Father, You know our hearts. We cry out to You for our families. For those that know You, we ask that their faith be strengthened. For those that have drifted from You, we pray in one accord, believing in Your promises, boldly asking You to bring our prodigals home. Cause them to return to their senses and turn their hearts to You. We stand firm, watching and waiting for victory! In the mighty name of Jesus we pray. AMEN.

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