“Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah. ‘As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings, and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster.'”
– Jeremiah 44:15–17
I don’t know if you were able to follow all of that, but basically the people of God, in the middle of experiencing judgment for their sin, say, “We’re still not going to listen to the voice of the Lord. We’re still not going to listen to God’s word through you, Jeremiah.
We’re going to trust in ourselves instead of God.” And I read this and I am just reminded we are taught that repentance, turning from sin, in and of itself is a gift of God’s grace, that we need God’s grace for our eyes to be open to our sin, for us to turn from it, run from it, that left to ourselves we actually just go deeper and deeper and deeper into sin. And there’s all kinds of implications for this, certainly, in our own lives when we think about our need for God to convict us daily of sin, to guard us from blind spots in our lives and unwillingness to see sin in us and to turn from it.
Led to Examine Our Hearts
We need to seriously examine our hearts and ask for God’s help in that on a daily basis. And then when we think about sharing the gospel with other people, only God in his grace can open people’s eyes to their need for Jesus, and to bring people to trust in Jesus, which means we need to be praying continually for God to do this work in the hearts of people around us, people we share the gospel with in our families or in our friendships or the places where we work, wherever we live.
And then when we pray like we do all the time on this podcast for unreached people, we need to pray that God would do what only he can do, that he would open eyes to his salvation by his grace.
Jeremiah 44:15–17 Opens Our Eyes to Sin
So we pray according to Jeremiah 44:15–17. God, we need your grace in our lives. Please open each of our eyes to sin in our lives and help us to turn from it. God, repentance is a gift of your grace in our lives that we need. We pray for contrition and sorrow over sin and a turning from it, especially as we see this picture in Jeremiah of people not doing that.
God, please do that in our lives. Left to ourselves, we plunge ourselves into more ruin. We need your grace and we praise you for your promise to give it to us when we ask. So we pray for this kind of heart for repentance and humility before you in our own lives. And God, we pray for this in the lives of people around us. We pray that as we share the gospel with family members and friends and co-workers and neighbors and others whom we live and others around whom we live.
Praying for Spiritual Awakening
God, we pray that you would open eyes, you would do what only you can do. We pray for spiritual awakening in the hearts of people around us, that they might be humble before you, that they might see their need for Jesus and that they might turn and trust in him. God, please do that. We think about people we’ve been sharing the gospel with for years. God, please, please, please do that, we pray.
And God, we pray that you would do this among these people groups that we pray for continually on this podcast, Lord, today for the Chakma people of India, 258,000 of them, 0% followers of Jesus. God, we know none of them will be saved apart from your grace.
Jeremiah 44:15–17 Leads Us to Proclaim the Gospel
God, we pray, show your power, cause your word to go to them. Raise up laborers to spread the gospel to them, proclaim the good news of Jesus’ love. And when that happens, God, we pray that you would open eyes to believe among the Chakma people. Bring in the harvest among the Chakma people.
God, only you can do these things. We need your mercy. Others need your mercy near us, far from us. We pray for it. And we pray that he would use even our prayers right now, as a means by which your mercy is distributed in our lives and others’ lives around us today, that you might give us the opportunity to lead somebody to Jesus today by your grace and the work of your Spirit. And God, we pray for that among the Chakma people of India. In Jesus’ name, we pray according to your word in Jeremiah. Amen.