Day 17 — Working for Justice
#DETOX is designed to prioritize God in the new year as we allow him to cleanse and renew our souls (Psalm 51:10). Together, we are committing to 21 days of prayer and fasting so that we might come into greater alignment with God’s will, purposes and plans believing and trusting in His power alone to create lasting impact and change in our lives, our church and our world.
Over the course of our #DETOX journey, we will have a daily prayer focus that will help guide and unify us as a community in prayer as we seek God's heart together on a variety of topics. You can find an overview of our daily prayer focus topics here. The following post is meant to serve as a reminder and inspiration on what and how you might pray on today's prayer focus, but should not limit how God leads you in praying. Be sure to follow along daily at our #DETOX Daily Blog here.
Prayer Focus: Working for Justice
There is a reason this marketplace movement is called working for justice. Justice is hard work. In our lifetime, it will be tiring, never-ending work. But the good news is God is fighting alongside us, and in fact, He has already won! So why bother? Why care? Because by participating and persisting in the hard work, God’s glory and ability to finish the work is that much more awe-inspiring.
When I turned 21, I got a tattoo. I wanted to have Isaiah 6:8 forever on my foot to remember that God has sent me to not only share the Gospel, but to fight for justice wherever I was. As the cool, hip college kid that I was, I asked the tattoo artist for the numbers 6:8 in roman numerals. It looked so sweet, until it was later pointed out that rather than having VI:VIII, I had XI:XIII. Rather than 6:8, I now had 11:13 branded on my foot. Oh goodness.
I frantically flipped through every book of the Bible to see if there was any sort of redemption for this mistake! It turns out, there is only one 11:13 verse in the Bible that can stand on its own. Luke 11:13, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (NLT). On my 21st birthday, God taught me that working for justice was great, but it was not something for me to do on my own. I needed Him first and foremost.
A little later on, in Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells the parable of the Persistent Widow:
“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” 6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?””
There is so much to unpack here, I wish I had the space! Isn’t it interesting that Jesus uses this story of fighting for justice to teach about prayer? Justice without Jesus is not true justice. It becomes a manmade form of justice that is as broken as its makers. Therefore, when we step into the arena to fight, we need to ask Jesus to walk before us. We need to pray persistently for God’s help and, like a good Father, He’ll answer.
Not only is Jesus teaching us about the power of prayer, but He is showing us what seeking justice looks like in this world. Our leaders will not always be just, sometimes we will feel alone, and perhaps we will only see justice for one of our many issues. However, we must keep at it just as the widow does. Given the plethora of injustices in our world, what is the one that you will keep fighting for? Who are the people being hurt that you will keep praying for?
Prayer and justice walk hand-in-hand. So today I invite you to seek God’s heart for justice.
Thank God for sending Jesus who has justified us to Himself.
Ask God to bring his justice and reconciliation to our world.
ie. Reunification of children with families, those affected by the government shutdown, hostilities between groups of people, the environment, disease, etc.
Ask God how He invites you to participate in this work.
ie. Where are you already participating in areas of justice/injustice? How can you advocate for the poor and oppressed in your workplace, family, co-op, etc.? What are the talents you have been given to creatively utilize for the goodness of others? What intentional actions could He be calling you towards?
Pray that Marketplace would be a persistent advocate for justice in our surrounding communities.
ie. Strong and supportive relationships with community organizations such as Jubilee Reach, Sofia’s Way and Congregations for the Homeless; sharing of resources; continued generosity.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
— Lyanne A.