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DAYS THREE TO FIVE

We will be examining women who moved the heart and the hands of God to change the cause of nature to respond to their plea. Their prayers made the impossible to become possible. These women can be our mentors.

Day Three

Topic:  Praying Like Esther – “If I Perish I Perish.”
Text: Ezekiel 22:30-31 & Esther, 4-7.

Aim:  To Lead Daughters of Zion to Sacrifice their lives, resources and time to pray in order to arrest God’s anger upon us and to save our Convention and our society.

Introduction: In Genesis 12:2-3 God said to Abraham,
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
God also gave the children of Israel the choice to make in their walk with him (Deuteronomy 28-30) – the choice to be blessed or to operate under a curse. God is a Jealous God and He cannot share His glory with someone. He demands full devotion and loyalty.  God demands total obedience, and He rewards obedience. However despite the knowledge of God’s expectation His children kept on failing him. As a result, God was angry with His chosen people and subjected them to various forms of hardship ranging from defeat, slavery, destruction of their fame and scorn by other nations.  
Yet our God is compassionate, full of love and mercy. He who is a covenant keeper, who will not fail in His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, looked for ways to restore His people to Himself despite their stubbornness and rebellious attitude. In Ezekiel 22:30-31 we find God Himself seeking for someone who will stand in the gap in order that He will not destroy Jerusalem because of their sins.  Verse 31 states “But I found none.” God is still looking for some one to stand in the gap!
Cameroon Baptist Convention is a blessed church in our nation. We are chosen, and God is ready to use us if we can maintain our identity.  We need this identity restored - People who are devoted only to: One God, One Faith and One Baptism; People who hold only to the Scripture as our compass, the final authority in all matters of Faith and Practice.  These are people who Jehovah wants to identify with.  God is calling us back.  Can you be that person God is looking for to bring us back?
In Esther chapters 4-7, the Children of Israel were sold out for destruction - Esther 4:8-14. King Xerxes was deceived to sign a decree without knowing the hidden agenda of Haman.  We have many Hamans around in our Convention as well as in our Nation. Mordecai knew his identity as a Jew and did not change it because of fear, personal comfort and/or gratification. 
1.    Did I hear you say, “I would have bowed.  After all, God says ‘Respect those in Authority’.”?
2.    Did I hear you say, “I will not disrespect our culture and have problems with my people.  Let me do it just for now. I can repent later.”?
3.    Did I hear you say, “How can I accept to die?  Who will take care of my family?”
4.    Did I hear you say, “Am I the only one doing it?”
5.    Did I hear you say, “God understands.”?
God is looking for the Mordecais! 
Mordecai called for Esther to help.  Esther had excuses. Where are the Esthers? Surely you have excuses, of course!  Daughter of Zion, remember Esther 4:13 & 14.  God is ready to raise others to save the Cameroon Baptist Convention and our nation. Yet who knows if God has made you available for such a time like this?

Let us examine the actions and the character of Esther:
1.    She was very secretive. Her uncle told her not to disclose her identity and she obeyed (Esther 2:10 & 22).  An intercessor is supposed to keep secrets. There are issues that you need to discuss with God in prayer and finish them only with Him.
2.    She was self controlled and mature (Esther 4:4-5, 10-11). We need to handle provocative, urgent and painful issues with self control which is a sign of maturity.  Mordecai was not convinced.  He put more pressure on Esther (verses 13-14).
3.    She was loyal, patriotic and sacrificial. She was also a woman with Authority Verses 15-16. She told Mordecai what to do. She ordered her maids to do the same. It was not a matter of choice or opinion. There was urgency. She identified with the need of her people. She was ready to die for that cause.
4.    Esther was beautiful (Esther 2:7b).  Just as she was beautiful physically, so was she also in character. I Peter 3.1-6 talks to us about true beauty. It is character. An intercessor needs to posses a good character. It is not too late sister; God is at work in you even now.
5.    She was bold.  Esther knew her God, so she prayed with expectancy. She dressed and moved into action (Esther 5:1).  Ephesians 6:10 says, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.”  Verse 11 says, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”  In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, “For God did not give us the spirit of timidity or fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline.” Those who know their God and His Word are as bold as a lion.
6.  She was tactful and persistent.  (Esther 5:4 & 7; 7:3).  The Bible says in Matthew 10:16, “Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.”
7.  Esther was courageous. (Esther 7:6).  When face to face with the enemy of the Jews, she spoke.  We do not need to be afraid of the devil nor of his strategies. God expects us to be courageous. Greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world.
8.    Esther was prayerful and watchful. She followed up each step to the overthrow of Haman and the enthronement of Mordecai and the total deliverance and restoration of the Jews. The Bible says, “Watch and pray.” How do we watch?  We watch by finding out how things are moving as we refer or verify on the issues or the persons we are praying for. It includes evaluating what you have prayed for and knowing how to pray next: Should we persist? Should we address some areas of blockage? Should we start thanking instead of asking? Should we fast? Etc.

Questions:-
1.    Why were the Israelites a chosen nation?
2.    Why is the Cameroon Baptist Convention a blessed church in this nation?
3.    What can we do to be restored to our identity?
4.    What lessons can we learn from Esther’s kind of prayer
5.    Discuss five character traits or attitude of Esther.

Prayer time.

Tomorrow we will spend more time to pray for our Convention and the nation.


Day Four
Text:  Lamentations 2:18, 11 Chronicles 7:14, 15:12&15, Esther 4:15-16.

Aim:  To lead the Daughters of Zion to pray and to continue praying.
(We will spend our meeting of today mainly in praying. We will divide our prayer time into four sections.)

First fifteen minutes: Worshiping in Praying and Singing.
Worship Him for He is Holy, He is faithful, He is true, He keeps His promises, He is a covenant keeping God. He is compassionate, Loving, Merciful, forgiving, Able, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, He is our healer, Our deliverer, Our battle axe, our weapon of warfare. He is Majestic, He is our banner, He is our Justifier, He is our Jireh - the provider, He is our Rapha - our healer, He is our Shalom - our peace. Add many other attributes of our God that you know. Just worship him.

Second fifteen minutes in confession.
          In confession we are going to confess as in Daniel and Nehemiah. Daniel, 9:1-19 and Nehemiah 1:3-10. These two people knew their God; they knew their history and their inheritance. They identified with their nation and pleaded for mercy. Daughters of Zion, we are not going to blame our ancestors, our leaders our predecessors.   We are going to identify with them as having committed the sin together. We are going to plead repentance and mercy.  Call our sin by name:
Idolatry, double standards, immorality - mention the different types of immorality, occultism, Witchcraft, corruption, oppression, division, lying, stealing, backbiting, murder, bribery, cowardice, gossip. Please mention many more that you know. Cry out to God for our Convention and our nation. When we pray for our Convention we are praying for our churches, our Associations and our Fields.

The next forty five minutes to one hour we are going to intercede for our Convention and our nation.
(The Leader should remember to make a prayer list for the Convention and the nation.)
          Pray for the Convention leaders: The General Secretary, The President and the Vice, the Director of Missions and Evangelism, the Education Secretary and the Director of Health Services.  Pray for the different departments of the Convention. Pray for our churches and the pastors. Dwell and pray for your church pastors and leaders, our Associations and Fields.  Pray for the restoration of our identity.  Pray for Unity of Vision.  Pray for Purity and Discipline to be observed in our churches. Pray for openness to the Scriptures and to prayers - that our churches and leaders will be prayerful.  Pray for a spirit of stewardship and accountability. Pray for respect and submission. Pull down the stronghold or pray against the spirit of religion, rebellion, intellectualisms, pride, disunity, disagreement, suspicion, complex, negative criticisms, enmity and unforgiveness.

Pray for our Nation.
          Daughters of Zion, if we have been sleeping before, now is the time to wake up and pray more for the nation.  God has decided to throw the challenge of this nation into our hands. Pray for this nation on minute to minute basis. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, God has called us to pray for those in Authority. Sister we have accused, point fingers and complained in the past. The scripture says James 3: 9-11. Our mouth is meant for blessing not cursing. Let us stop using our tongue to complain but now to pray and bless our leaders. They were all created in the image of God.
          Pray for President Paul Biya and his wife.  Love them with all our heart. Pray for the Prime Minster, Mr. Philemon Yang and his wife, for wisdom strength good health and favor in God’s sight as he directs the Government of this nation. Pray for the Director of Cabinet at the Prime Ministry, Doctor Paul Ghogomu and his wife. Pray for God’s special grace as He directs the affairs of the Cabinet. Pray for their wives that they will have the character of Esther and other virtuous women in the scripture. Pray for His Excellency Ngafeesson Emmanuel and his wife, as he handles the Prison Services in Cameroon. We have many Baptist and believers that are in Government and in business that we need to pray for. Please whatever position of leadership the people of God occupy pray for them. If you are not sure of their salvation, pray for their salvation, integrity, protection and obedience to Jesus Christ.
    Make a list and during each prayer meeting or all night wail for them.  Always update your list. And pray more. They need to present a testimony of identifying with the church of God.  Things changed in Persia and Media because Esther prayed. Things will change in Cameroon and in our Convention because you will be praying.
   

Day Five.

Topic: Praying like Hannah.
Text: 1 Samuel 1:1-28; 2:1-5c. Romans8:15 & 26.

Aim:
1.    To lead the Daughters of Zion to groan like Hannah,
2.    To lead them to pray in the spirit and in accordance to God’s Will.

Introduction: Hannah was in a polygamous home. In 1 Samuel 1:2 her name came first. It is probable that she was the first wife, and up to that point she had not put to birth. From verses 4-7 we realize that it was God who closed the womb of Hannah. Elkanah is a man of prayer and he takes his wives and children to Shiloh, a place of prayer, to meet with God. He loved his wives but he loved Hannah much more. However, she was not a happy woman because she went through persistent mockery from Peninnah her mate due to her inability to have kids. Her life was filled with pain and bitterness. 
    Elkanah her husband asked her, “Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”  Yes, that was comforting enough. I am sure some might have said, “Hannah, may be it is not God’s will for you to have children, why don’t you forget it and accept the situation like that.” But even Eli’s comment could not discourage her.  I, the writer also was told that.  But Hannah knew her God. She was connected to Him. She had her conviction.  She rejected her situation and people’s verdict. She turned to the One who created her.  She believed that He planned her life, knew what was going on with her, and He had the answer as in Jeremiah 29:11.

Daughter of Zion, I do not know the kind of barrenness you are in presently.
Is it infertility, spiritual unfruitfulness, financial poverty or bleakness in your home or marriage? Is it desolation or unhappiness? Is it as a result of the state of your church or your relationships? The God of Hannah is still there for you.   


Let us examine some special features in Hannah’s situation.
Hannah had two kinds of environment - Hostile and Loving. These environments can be persons or situations. Let us identify them and examine what influence each had on her, and her responses:
1.    A polygamous marriage -
2.    Peninah and her children -
3.    Shiloh.  “Shiloh means a place of prayer.” -
4.    Elkanah her husband -
5.    Eli the priest -
6.    Hannah’s state of mind when in pain –

Daughters of the Most High, God has called us to have dominion over our environment right from the Garden of Eden. Our ministry is that of dominion. Do you know that?
·    Genesis 1:28b&c reads, “Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 
·    Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
·    Philippians 4:6-7 assures us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
          I have learnt from my life and a recent television programme that worry is a normal characteristic of a woman’s life. Daughters of Zion let us repent from that because it is sin. It makes us allow our environment to dominate us instead of us dominating it.

Questions:
1.    Who are your Peninnahs?
2.    Do you spend time in pain and bitterness of heart at Peninnah?
3.    Do you feel that you don’t even have Elkanah? Is it true?
4.    Do you have a Shiloh in your home or anywhere that you can identify with?
5.    How often are you at Shiloh?
 
Let us examine how Hannah prayed.
1.    1 Samuel 1:9 says that she went to the Tabernacle. Hannah did not stay to be looking at Elkanah’s face to sympathize with her and to quarrel with Peninnah on behalf of his beloved wife.
2.    Hannah was sincere and open to God. Verse 10. How about you?
3.    She was mature in her expressions. Verse 11 - She made a vow. Many of us want things from God but we are not ready to make a vow. “Unwillingness of a Christian to make a vow is a sign of immaturity.” We must be willing to take responsibility.
4.    Hannah was focused. Verses 12 & 13 - Eli’s presence could not distract her or entice her. She did not even say “Let me go to the man of God even though we can still go to our Pastors for prayers.”  Of course, many of us have seen God in other people not in our lives.  So we have run from one crusade to another, one prayer house to another and from church to church in search of a solution to our problems from a special man of God. Daughter of Zion stop it!! Take back your birth right and call him ABBA FATHER. Pray in the spirit. I mean be connected to God. Let the Spirit pray for you (Rom 8:26-27). Lie in His presence and weep. He understands. This situation he has allowed in your life is for His glorification. He will give you a hope and a future.
5.    Hannah was humble and sincere to Eli the priest. Verse 15-16. How do you respond to insults, even from your Pastor or your closest Christian Sister?  Do you allow pride to dominate?
6.    Hannah was persistent and that changed the pattern of her prayer. The Bible tells us that every year they traveled to Shiloh. Hannah surely had been praying, but that year she changed her way of praying.  Have you given up?
7.    Hannah received what she asked for and she thanked Him. She waited to prepare her only child for Shiloh. She took him to Shiloh in fulfillment of her vow.
8.    Hannah later became a mother of seven children - 1Samuel 2:1-5.

Daughters of Zion take time now and pray for yourself. Ask the Lord to open your eyes and help you know your environment and His purposes for giving you such an environment. Ask him to give you the right attitude of Hannah. Identify your Shiloh and start praying like Hannah.

God bless you as you let him change your prayer life.