Lent day 33: Who is Shelah?
Luke 3 v 35 “the son of Shelah”
This name means ‘missile’ and also ‘prayer’.
2 Corinthians 10: 4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds”
Ephesians 6: 12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
I led 2 Churches over 21 years with Prayer and Action being crucial to growth and influence. The 5 principles I held to can be summarised in this way:
- Prayer positions the Church so that it can be commissioned.
- Prayer changes the Church in order to bring change.
- Prayer enlightens the Church to know how to go into the world.
- Prayer refreshes the Church as it does the work of God.
- Prayer empowers the Church to defeat the power of the enemy.
SHELAH is the prayer of war.
- M. Bounds (1835-1913) the great Church leader and author who wrote 9 out of 11 books on prayer said this regarding the Weapon of Prayer:
“In many places an alarming state of things has come to pass, in that the many who are enrolled in our churches are not praying men and women. Many of those occupying prominent positions in church life are not people who pray. It is greatly to be feared that much of the work of the Church is being done by those who are perfect strangers to the closet. Small wonder that the work does not succeed. While it may be true that many in the Church say prayers, it is equally true that their praying is of the stereotyped order. Their prayers may be charged with sentiment, but they are tame, timid, and without fire or force. This fact is similar to the crisis which would be created were a country to have to admit in the face of an invading foe that it cannot fight and have no knowledge of the weapons whereby war is to be waged. Prayer is the genius and mainspring of life. We pray as we live; we live as we pray. Life will never be finer than the quality of the closet. The mercury of life will rise only by the warmth of the closet. Persistent non-praying eventually will depress life below zero.”
The battle is no greater demonstrated than the battle for our children. They are growing in a generation that is attacking the very value system of Christianity. We must pray for our children!
In the 16th century a mystic Jewish Rabbi, Isaiah ben Abraham Horowitz, wrote a special prayer for the welfare of children, it is still used today and is known as the Shelah’s Prayer. Here is an extract:
You are Hashem (meaning NAME), our G-d, before You created the world and You are Hashem, our G-d, after Your created the world… You wrote in Your Torah: Be fruitful and multiply, and You wrote in Your Torah: And you shall teach them your children, and the meaning of both of them is one and the same.
You did not create the world in vain but to be inhabited, and for Your honour You created, You formed and You also made so that we, our children and the children of all Your people Israel will know Your Name and learn Your Torah.
Therefore, Hashem, King of kings of kings, I will come to You and will beg You, my eyes raised to You, to have compassion and hear my prayer and bestow on me sons and daughters that they shall too shall be fruitful and multiply, they, their children and their children’s children, until the end of all generations, so that they and I, and we all should engage in the study of Your holy Torah
to learn and teach, to guard, to do, and to fulfil all the words of study of Torah with love.
May they be masters of Torah, masters of the written Law, masters of Mishna, masters of Talmud, masters of kabbala, masters of mitzvot, masters of hessed, masters of noble character,
and may they serve You with love and true fear, not with false fear. Grant each one of them all that he needs with honour, give them health, honour and strength, give them stature, beauty, grace and kindness. May there be love, brotherhood and peace between them.
It is a beautiful prayer and one that parents, grandparents, godparents, the whole family and Church should be thinking about. We need to increase our prayer for our children in this war for their mind and heart that they may grow to become men and women of God.
Focus on the family have prayers published that can be used. Prayers such as:
Help our children to stand for what’s right instead of what’s easy but wrong.
Give them enough success to be certain of Your love for them, enough favour to be aware of Your kindness, but enough humility to know that they can do nothing worthwhile without You.
Show them Your holiness, and give them the power to live in a way that honours You.
We can all be Shelah people today as we go to Church and see the children who are there to worship a God who has special attention for them.