Praying the Magnificat 6

Praying the Magnificat 6

Luke 1: 51 “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts” (ESV)

Who were the proud that Mary was thinking of? Was it the neighbourhood gossiping about Elizabeth? Was it the Gentiles? Was it those in power? The Pharisees? Caesar? Herod? Even if it was, would they be concerned of a little unknown girl prophesying from a backwater of Judea?

The story at Christmas is an off the radar story. Bypassing the rich and famous, the pride and pomp, the prestige and palace of the upper class.

Who has He strengthened? Mary herself? Elizabeth? The poor all around? I think all those and more.

This statement is an echo of the ministry of Jesus that was to come.

We see Jesus choose the uneducated and broken people of the world as his disciples and future leaders of the church. He challenges the religious as hypocrites and lifts up the rejected women who are no more than second class. He calls Herod a fox and overturns the tables of the money-changers. He totally offends those who think they know the Scriptures better than anyone else. At the same time he picks up the children and blesses them, he touches the leper and the dead making him unclean but leaving them transformed.

How do we relate to those who are proud with all they have achieved and their grand plans for the future and those who think they haven’t done a thing and have got nothing to contribute?

The proud and the poor are all around us. Who do we sit down with the most?

 

Prayer

God of strength who has lifted me and made me stronger.

Teach me how to walk in humility.

I choose to sit with the poor because you are with the poor not the proud. You are with the humble and the humiliated not the holier-than-thou and the haughty. You are with the hungry not those who are full.

Teach me your ways.

I host your presence.

Amen

Praying the Magnificat 5

Praying the Magnificat 5

Luke 1: 50 “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.”

 

When Gabriel appeared the first words were always “Do not be afraid!” He said it to Mary. Angels appearing meant only one thing, trouble. God was a frightening God, one who would punish the wrongdoing. It is still true today, we are sinners in the hands of an angry God said Jonathan Edwards and centuries later we are trying to avoid those big hands of God. The stance is to fear Him from a distance, lest He notice us and beats us.

I have a Minister in Training in my region who every Sunday evening he and his wife invite the LGBTQI+ people together into their home for a bible study. This is not part of the church programme, it is part of their heart of love for the estate where they live. How wonderful! Gathering the people that some churches would be angry towards (because God is angry) to study God in the Bible!

What kind of God do you worship? An angry one? One to be feared? Does this fear make you think He punishes you and others? Is He a dormant volcano ready to explode?

This song bursting out of young Mary’s soul now moves from what God has done for her to what He will do for the world to come. She has understood and probably knew that when God moves it is not only for now but for the future.

Genesis 17:7 “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”

Just as Mary had to be told not to dread some punishment coming on her by Gabriels appearance so too we must not dread something bad will happen. That is not the fear which matters. Mary says in the next generation to come and the ones beyond there must be fear. So what is that fear? It is a fear that we might ignore the covenant of God, we might not know His plans and purposes for our lives. A fear that we might miss His presence. A fear that says if we don’t host His presence we have nothing.

And in His presence there is mercy. And yes we need that!

 

Prayer

Generations have come and gone and here I am, Merciful God, waiting on you, fearing you, in awe of who you are and the wonder of all that I still do not know. I do not want to let my life be caught up with other good things that I miss the best thing of your presence.

Thank you for your covenant to me. Thank you for the plans and purposes for my life.

I know they will be active and bear fruit. I just need to stay in your presence.

I host you in my generation. Here, now.

Amen

Praying the Magnificat 4

Praying the Magnificat 4

Luke 1: 49 “for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.”

“For me, this unknown ordinary and insignificant girl!”

This is not for the high powers, the political rulers, the religious know-it-alls.

The King of Kings, the Creator and Sustainer of ell things came into the world and would fall on the side of the weak and the vulnerable.

Let us not forget who came. His name is holy.

This causes us to flee or run to Him. Mary doesn’t announce her planned strategy for what is now coming through her. Vision statements, mission statements, business plans, project proposals, strategy developments are now all found in the church as a given way we must do things. It is all good, don’t worry. But it is not the most important.

What is?

It is the acknowledgment that God has done great things in our lives. Look back and see. Don’t forget how He carried you, provided for you and made a way for you. And today we must return to Him for He is holy. His holiness calls to apathy and duty and our stale and stubborn discipleship to return to the significant and all-consuming influence of His presence. This pull of desire must increase in us and our churches. It has to go beyond the 20 minute songs we sing and the 90 minute services we attend. It has to invade our lives to the point that as the Jews of Mary’s day we yearn for His coming. We need Him. We need His return. And as we wait longingly the Holy Spirit hovers and lands and moves and fills and we are in the Holy presence. We are thankful and we change our lives to accommodate Him.

 

Prayer

Almighty God, I am thankful.

You have done great things for me and I am thankful.

Thank you for …

You have come to me and for me. I cannot fathom why it was me you have shown grace and mercy to. I no way deserve this love.

But you have come and you are coming again.

And in my waiting I long for you. I desire your presence more than anything.

I return to you. To your holiness. To live holy.

I choose to host your presence.

Amen

Praying the Magnificat 3

Praying the Magnificat 3

Luke 1: 48 “For he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed”

 

Who are you today? Are you like Noah being ridiculed for your obedience to God? Are you like Moses with a deep sense of inadequacy and not a great public speaker? Are you like Caleb, the best years look like they have come and gone? Are you like David who did not come from a supportive family? Are you like Jeremiah who was criticised and was very unpopular? Are you like Daniel, in exile, not where you should be? The list of names goes on and on throughout Bible history. Then we come to this less than ordinary girl. She is from Nazareth. Nothing good came from there. It had no religious significance. Her fiancé was not a wealthy trader, he was just a carpenter. Yet she along with the rest was on the mind of God and He chose them. It is what God does. He shames the wise and those who are lofty by using the foolish and lowly. How encouraging for you and me who are just ordinary also!

Elizabeth had called her blessed among women and that she was blessed because she believed the promise.

Mary steps into this blessing. From now on …

Jeremiah tells God’s people that they have heard in the past of all God has done and said. But “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.” Isaiah 48:6.

Paul would change his course of direction when all he faced was a brick wall from the Jews. Acts 18:6 “But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Do you need to announce From now on? Do you need to step from obscurity and the hidden place and take the opportunity set before you? Do you need to change course and announce a new moment?

Mary from now on steps into her blessing and it will be the next 3 decades that remind her constantly of what that blessing means entails.

One day a woman from the crowd interrupted Jesus’ teaching shouting, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:27-28).

Mary would learn that being blessed meant she would have to learn to obey the child within her.

She would have to learn that Jesus was her Lord not her son.

It would culminate in being the mother knelt down at the foot of the cross with her heart torn realising to be blessed means it will cost you everything.

Prayer

Almighty God, You bless me beyond my understanding!

In my ordinary state. In this place of difficulty where I face many times the challenge of giving up and walking away, I choose to stay. I remain in this place of lowliness. It is where you found me. It was here in the dust of the earth that you found me and you formed me. You created something new from my ashes. And now … I am blessed!

I step into my blessing today. I choose blessing, joy and life.

From now on I walk in your path, wherever you take me, however you lead I will follow. To the cross I come. To my cross of surrender. For within this pain lies the treasure of blessing.

May others see what blessing truly is.

I host your presence.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Praying the Magnificat 2

Praying the Magnificat 2

Luke 1:47 “and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!

Mary, a young girl, standing with Elizabeth her much older relative has just walked nearly 100 miles to get to her home. Gabriel had set them up. He had already visited Zechariah with news of the miracle and now he had visited Mary with her news too. It was so comforting for Mary to be in this home and she was happy to be there. However, their stories were very different. Elizabeth’s was a ‘nice’ miracle and Mary’s was anything but!

Mary knew she would be known as a law-breaker. She had become a sinner.

Mary would be accused of being an adulterer. Hers was a ‘dirty’ miracle.

Her divorce was looming even before it had culminated in the marriage ceremony.

Most people long for miracles but many don’t realise that some miracles change everything. There are people who would rather not have a miracle than change their life.

Elizabeth’s response to Mary was overwhelming and the declaration was praise-filled to God and honouring of her.

The atmosphere of praise and honour cultivate faith.

The Magnificat burst out of Mary, “My soul magnifies the Lord!”

This Jewish girl had been raised well to believe what every Jew believed that no matter how bad life gets God has the last word. That even if life looks dead we can rejoice because God can rescue. He can make all things beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines … and though I am just an ordinary, weak girl, who has now lost many friends, most of all probably Joseph …

Though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food … and though I have kept myself pure, apart from Elizabeth and Zechariah there will be only one interpretation for what has happened to me …

Though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls … and though I know that my life in human terms is now going to be as a refugee, alone, struggling …

YET!

I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour … my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!

(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Mary doesn’t rejoice in God, but God her Saviour!

He is not a Saviour, but hers!

He is my Saviour. Your Saviour today. He is a saving God!

Yesterday I was told of how someone with chronic anxiety for over 60 years had been saved by God, her storm-tossed mind now at peace! Last Sunday not realising at the time, I prayed for a lady that God would wash away all the pain of her past, whatever she had done and whatever had been done to her. After the service she made a commitment to Christ to become his follower for the very first time! He continues to be the Saviour every day in every corner of the world!

 

Prayer

Almighty God, you are my Saviour!

Thank you that throughout my life you have been saving me. Even as I follow you, I need saving. Save me today.

I do not rejoice in the circumstances of my life. I look at them and they are either fading in their weakness or they are a frightening shadow. They are just circumstances. That is all. They are not God. They are not you.

So I rejoice in you. In God my Saviour.

This is not a performance. This is a deep and real river bursting its banks of my spirit. I am chosen by you. You have come to me. You know my name. You have placed me here, right now, in this situation at this time. I am not here by chance and whatever I am facing isn’t by accident. You are here with me and even if I pass through the waters you will be with me and if I go through the rivers I will not be overwhelmed and if I have to walk through the fire I will not be scorched nor set ablaze for I know you are with me and I know who you are. I know your name. You are God my Saviour.

May others see the Saviour in my life.

I host your presence.

Amen

Praying the Magnificat 1.

Praying the Magnificat 1.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!

And it is then that it all comes together for Mary. Since being a small child she has known the stories of the coming Messiah. Now not even an adult and she has encountered a frightening angel who tells her an even more frightening message. There was only one place she could go to and it was the person who had also been given a miracle, Elizabeth. She is immediately welcomed and blessed and prophesied over. It is overwhelming. Out of the depths of her heart come a song. It is a song of God coming to His people. A song of hope and power. A song of courage to believe that His presence is everything. It is often known as the Magnificat which is the Latin translation of the first word ‘magnifies’.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum

 

Luke 1: 46 “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord …”

NKJV And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord …”

How we need this song more than ever! I am hearing every week from Pastors that say their biggest challenge is the discipling of their church. Christians consider themselves members of churches and only now go to church services twice a month, some less. Leaders have disappointments and hurts to get over and it is not just the past they are living through nightmares right now. Vision cast years ago has gathered dust. Surely He is coming soon, isn’t He? The world has changed since we first began and the pressures on the church have increased as mankind tries to find its ‘saviour’. We are in a war like never before, strongholds have gathered to take down the Church, to belittle every Christian who thinks the best is yet to be.

Elizabeth was much maligned. She had been childless all her life, it was shame and her righteousness highly questionable with her not being blessed. Now she lives with the fact that the gossipers are doing their best, “have you heard?” “Elizabeth she is pregnant! How will she give birth without dying?!” Then there was the fact that her husband was now unable to speak. They were the talk of the town.

In the midst of such weakness, foolishness, heartache, fears, tiredness and pain. The list goes on and on. In the midst of an emotional rollercoaster comes a song, the Magnificat.

Prayer:

Almighty God, there is none who can compare with you.

I am surrounded by so many enemies. Some look like friends but their voices weary the hope within. Some are enemies who want to destroy the hope that I carry, they wage war against my soul.

With all the effort I can gather I burst out a song of praise to you today. I shout it louder than all the voices: My soul magnifies the Lord! My soul glorifies the Lord! With all my heart I praise the Lord! My heart praises the Lord! My soul exalts the Lord! My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! Yes, my soul magnifies the Lord!

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You!

My enemies may be pressing in, my body may be weak, my mind may be anxious, my circumstances may be impossible, but MY SOUL MAGNIFIES THE LORD! I cannot make you bigger but I can choose to see you as big as you really are! I choose through my thoughts, words and actions to make you as great as you really are!

May others see the incomparable, superior, almighty Jesus in my life.

I host your presence.

Amen.

 

The power of blessing

The power of blessing

Luke 1: 42-45 “In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”

Elizabeth blesses Mary. As soon as Mary greets her with ‘Shalom!’ out of her

mouth comes blessing. This is not a feeling but a state of being favoured by

God. She didn’t say ‘Like me, you are blessed among women!’ She lavishes

honour and blessing on Mary.

Thought: I live in a culture where even with our close friends we playfully

plague and belittle each other. We seem incapable of honour unless it is on a big stage. We must bless more in private.

 

Elizabeth blesses Mary’s miracle. Filled with the Spirit she prophecies about

‘my Lord’. Mary receives her first confirmation of what Gabriel had said to her.

Thought: To bless is to protect the miracle in another person’s life. How many

have lost their dreams through someone’s words!

 

 

Elizabeth blesses Mary’s faith. Mary had been greatly troubled perhaps she is

now only slightly anxious! Was this a dream? Had she made the whole thing up?

What will Joseph say? Many questions swarm her mind but Elizabeth stills it.

Thought: Not everyone is as sure as they make out. Their faith may be very

small and yet their miracle can be huge. We must bless one another’s attempt at believing God will deliver on time all He has said.

The impact on others with Jesus in your life.

The impact on others with Jesus in your life.

Luke 1: 41   “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”

 

  1. The presence of Jesus in Mary caused the miracle in Elizabeth to leap with joy announcing that this amazing story for Elizabeth and Zechariah was still very much alive.

Lesson: The presence of Jesus in you will powerfully disturb miracles that are laying inside others.

  1. The presence of Jesus in Mary caused the miracle in Elizabeth to “be filled with the Holy Spiriteven before he is born” (1:15). When the Holy Spirit fills you then all that you are carrying is also filled.

Lesson: The presence of Jesus in you will bring an encounter of the Holy Spirit for others.

  1. The presence of Jesus was heard. We don’t know how Mary spoke, but however she chose to bring the greeting it caused an amazing effect and prophetic release upon Elizabeth.

Lesson: The presence of Jesus in you is experienced by the words you use which will then release the prophetic in others.

What do you do in the waiting period?

What do you do in the waiting period?

Luke 1: 39-40

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.”

  1. Strengthen your faith.

Tell someone that will help your faith.

Mary had been told Elizabeth had also received a miracle promise and she only had 3 months left of her own pregnancy. Do you have someone who is ahead of you in the faith path? Be with them.

(In order to be strengthened you may need to address the weakness. Yesterday I prayed for a leader who would be returning to someone who had deeply hurt him in his past in order to clear it out of his heart. It will not be an easy journey for him. But he needs to do it in order to strengthen his faith).

  1. Choose wisely who you wait with.

When hosting His presence in your life don’t sit with the mockers. Don’t fellowship with the bitter and the cynical they will abort your dream. Wisdom is knowing who to leave behind.

Mary chooses Elizabeth before Joseph. She leaves her future husband to God. She takes a holiday from her fiancé.

  1. Don’t dawdle.

Time is of the essence. The translators use the words hurried and in haste she travelled to Elizabeth. She is eager and enthusiastic and in her excitement I can visualise her running the 100 mile journey to Judea! Less haste more speed is common sense but not here. When you are waiting for your miracle and when you are hosting you cannot afford the luxury of taking it easy. You have to be focused continually. You have to become fanatical and everything else falls into insignificance. Other responsibilities take a back-seat to what you know you have to do.

When all goes quiet …

When all goes quiet …

Luke 1: 38 ““I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”

Heaven leaves. The angels work is done. Mary is left alone.

The conference is over. The event has finished. The intercessors, worshippers and followers dispersed. And it is you left on centre stage with the hope of a miracle.

What will you do now?

It takes courage to remain when everyone has left.

It is a little easier to believe when Gabriel is in front of you.

Surrounded by the divine we can all submit to the plans of God.

When all you have is you then it is not so easy.

If this had happened in other times or places Mary was definitely holding her own death warrant. Maybe she feared of the possibility of a stoning returning. She knew at least she would be slandered, scorned and maligned. But she definitely held the divorce papers. Gabriel had said nothing about Joseph. She had tried to raise the issue when saying she was a virgin but she surrendered without knowing how Gabriel thought Joseph would be with this. “Why didn’t I ask?” “I should have got that sorted!”

Gabriel leaves. But actually we read it wrong. It is an assumption that Mary is alone. Just because we cannot see any more characters doesn’t mean there isn’t the important one there with Mary.

Gabriel had spoken of the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary and the power of the Most High overshadowing her. I like to believe this happened at the time of Mary’s AMEN.

For those who are friends of Jesus, we will never wake to a new day alone! When everyone has left, when the music fades, when all is gone, we have all we need, we have HIM.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.

That’s all we need when the angel leaves.