2000—Part 3
Encourage Someone Today
 Wherein Does My Value Lie?

Ed Corley

I'M LEARNING this simple and straightforward fact: THE Lord God has an inheritance in me. I yielded to being this valuable thing to Him when I received the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus, His Son. This gives Him certain rights in my life, and it gives me my greatest sense of worth.

Our guide to praying this month is along the line of our value to God. We take this from Ephesians 1:18, the continuation of what we were praying last month. We look at the larger passage as it begins with verse 15. Two prayers lead up to the one for which we are now ready.

Ephesians 1:15-19 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,
...and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,
according to the working of his mighty power,

Mine and Glenda's lives were changed immensely when, with a discipline, we took on the praying of these prayers. This was especially so with the number three prayer. Indeed, we have not been the same since we started this in 1982. When I took up this one, all I could do was quote the Scripture to God. I didn't have much understanding as to what I was praying. Paul's words were too lofty for me to grasp on my earthly level. One day, as I was praying for Glenda, I asked the Lord what I was actually asking of Him for her. He spoke to me, "You're praying she will know how valuable she is to me."

I was not aware of this, but from her youth Glenda struggled with a poor awareness of her worth. Having been miraculously healed and saved and called by the Lord to serve Him did not wipe out completely the deep feeling that she could only have value if she deserved it or earned it. This came over on her every relationship, especially with the Lord. Thus it touched the matter of faith and whether or not He would provide for her in the call He had placed on her. There was always the question: "Am I good enough for His blessing and provision?" This leaves room for a nagging question like, "Will He forsake me if I don't, or can't, perform things right?"

SOULS IN SPIRITUAL DARKNESS can never understand God's value system. Because of this, they can never understand the value He places on them as persons. They think, "I'm not important to the Lord," or, "He has no place for me in His Kingdom." But when light comes from the Holy Spirit, this changes.

Souls ignorant of how valuable they are to God often hold on to insecurity and fear. They think, "I am of so little value to God, He holds no concern for my needs." Many think, "If I could ever become good enough, He would love me." Besides worry, thoughts like these become seed beds for things to grow like discouragement and fear of failure. Pressed to their limit in some, they engender things like doubt, a lack of self-confidence, a light regard for life, sexual promiscuity, and rage.

Even in the face of these things, we learn to pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten souls who do not know their value to the Lord. The very idea that "God cares for me" can be born of the Holy Spirit in the heart of anyone. Sometimes this comes on suddenly, without awareness of the Spirit's presence. It may come like the gentle dawning of a new day. The understanding that God cares, made alive by the Holy Spirit, will come in answer to the supplication of some soul, somewhere. Think of it.

Intercessory prayer opens the path for God's mercy to travel. When intercessors hold wayward souls before the Lord, they begin seeing their failures. Their sorrow increases for a while, but with continued prayer, mercy intervenes. From the trash heap of failure begins coming beauty and purpose -- and a new sense of value.

Sometimes I have wondered why God's light shined so brightly in my soul, and why He caused me to know I had value to Him. It came early in life, while I was a teenager. It seemed to come in response to nothing in me and I couldn't understand what was happening. It was a quiet work. Quite simply, the Lord visited me and made me know He valued me. That changed my life.

But why did the Lord make me an object of His choice to serve in His Kingdom? I was a simple boy from the farm, with a lot of poverty and insecuritythough I didn't know about the poverty; it wasn't a big word back then. One day, after telling the Lord I would be a preacher, I told my mother what was happening. Then I found out why God had visited me. She had prayed. She asked Him to visit me and make known His calling upon my life.

I had a grandmother who died when I was five years old. After nearly forty years of serving the Lord, I had an older cousin visit me and tell me of her. She said I was the apple of her eye and that she would hold me and pray for me. She probably knew well that her son could not give me all the guidance I needed as a young man, so she overstepped him by presenting me to the Lord.

I don't think those two women knew how to pray the prayers we are learning from Paul. Maybe they did. But nonetheless, they prayed and a light came on in my soul.

I tell this because I know I am the result of people praying for me. I tell it to encourage prayer for others who are not yet aware how much God values them.

The knowledge of this has remained as a foundation in me for over fifty years and has been my support through many trials. But, for what lay ahead of Glenda and me from 1982 onward, there was still trash that needed to be cleared from our spirits. As the demands of God's calling became greater, we both had to see in greater measure how He cared for us. This care was not based upon our goodness or performance. It was based on His unconditional love for us, something we could not see clearly till the Holy Spirit opened our eyes to see it.

FOR SOMEONE LOOKING for deep revelation of prophetic insight, what we're saying may sound too simple a matter. But just know this: the day is already upon many a soul -- and it will come upon yet many more -- that brings with it the idea that God no longer cares. Hope of His mercy and deliverance will seem gone, even for some who have served Him long.

At this point the last two chapters of Acts are prophetic for us. In the midst of the storm, there was an Apostle, brought by the cruel hand of man into a situation that became sanctified by the presence of God. Through what seemed a combination of evil intention, wrong decision, and perilous circumstance, the writer said, All hope that we should be saved was then taken away (Acts 27:20). So, there will be many a dark circumstance at the end of this age. Evil intention against believers will increase. The freedom, or ability, to make right decisions will be taken away from us. But, it can be planted in the heart of everyone of us who is a believer that God cares and will never forsake us. We are His inheritance.

Thus, what we lay out in this article is prophetic. Let me state it again this way: as the age progresses, one of the tactics of the enemy will be to convince us God does not care and we have no value to Him. This is why we learn to pray one for the other. Even the simple prayer that someone will know how valuable he or she is to God will help settle that one into becoming an utterly believing believer in the face of the darkest storm. Then, when all hope of being saved is gone, the knowledge of the most Highon which the wicked look with contempt -- shall come to the fore and faith will do its wonderful work.

In the midst of turmoil and deprivation, a believer can say, with a burst of revelation, "I'm too valuable to the Lord for Him to forsake me! He paid too great a price for me!" In this, faith is born that reaches through darkness to find the light of His presence. Or maybe, it will be a faith that reaches through a crowd to touch His garment.

Glenda is continually ministering to people on a personal level. I do on a lesser basis. Over and over we find those whose trouble is based in the feeling they have no value to God, or, for that matter, to anyone, except to be used and, maybe, abused. There was the woman who, the first time I saw her, I perceived had value in ministering to others. But she was still ruled by the little girl in her whose father left her and her mother to care for another woman and her children. Early in life the idea was born in this dear woman that she, personally, had no real value to anyone. She just existed and let her life of oppression unfold. Her turning point revolved around the simple reception of the knowledge that she was valuable, at least, to the Lord, whether anyone else valued her or not.

There was the man still ruled by the little boy in him whose father cursed him and told him to get out of the house. There was the woman ruled by the little girl in her whose father did not have time to listen and whose mother was always angry. There was the man ruled by the little boy in him who was called "stupid." On we could go. I think you get the picture. What happens early in life sets the way for how persons think about themselves, and thus, how they think God feels about them.

Intercessors learn how to take stuff like this before the Throne. From behind the scenes, they pray prayers like this: "Father, cause him to know how much You love him and what value You have placed on him."

LET US TAKE time now to review this matter of our value to the Lord. We need to know there is no person anywhere who holds no value to Him. Any of us, if we but reach through the denials of this, and touch, as it were, His garment, can find His power and mercy.
At this point I want to think with you about the Scripture that tells of the ...woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any (Luke 8:43). When she came along, Jesus was busy giving His attention to a very important ruler of the synagogue whose daughter lay a dying. This woman saw Jesus going and got the idea that He could help her. But, she perceived He had no time for her. She may not have been very clean. She certainly was poor and had no gift to give. Her self-esteem and sense of worth had worn down to almost nothing. In her desperation, she had no natural hope. She saw that Jesus cared for some people and that He healed them, but could He possibly care enough for her to heal her? She thought she would not take any of His time, but just reach through the crowd and touch His garment. Immediately her issue of blood stanched.

At that point, the One Whom God ... hath appointed heir of all things, and by Whom also He made the worlds, stopped and said, Who touched Me?

He knew someone touched Him because virtue went out of Him. We learned before that this was dúnamisthe Greek word for "power, ability, virtue." It was the very kind of power that would pull off His resurrection. It was the kind of power that makes worlds runand it came from Him to her to heal her. How valuable she was!

Do you get the picture? There are many souls whose desperation has worn their faith thin. The idea that God cares for them has taken its flight -- only to wait for someone to care enough to pray that they will see Him and know He is ready to give His attention to them.

The seed of this knowledge that God cares will grow well in the dry soil of trouble, especially when planted there by some intercessor who becomes bold in praying.

Many souls have failed God and have soiled their lives. Yet, He values them and holds His arms open to receive them. He is ready to stop running worlds to give attention to the most lowly person on earth who will but simply wake up and reach through the crowd to touch Him. He holds open an unusual place of purpose for people like this in His Kingdom. This is because the foundation of His Kingdom is mercy and not sacrifice nor is it in performance. Only those who find mercy find the Kingdom. Often, it is those who need it most who find it in its greatest measure. Intercessors know this and cease not in holding souls before the Lord who have settled into their loss and whose sense of value is damaged.

Take time to pray for someone for whom you care that they will know, in a way that defies contradiction, that God loves them immensely and unconditionally. Even though they may be facing something so frightening and dark that no ray of hope breaks through anywhere, it can still be released in them that God is aware and He cares. In this knowledge a renewed kind of faith can be born.

BUT NOW, let us ask the question. What about THE person who has spoiled his or her value to God? By this we mean the one who has lightly regarded the redemption and has gone astray from the path of rightness. I think this may include, in some measure, all of us at one time or the other. With some of us, our attitudes and actions have become so chronically ill that we can only be a grief to God.

Does this mean He values those less who transgress?

No. The value upon us all remains the same. Our value is found in our redemption. It cost Him the same to redeem the most holy as the most profane. There is none who is good enough to effect his own salvation. There is none so bad that he is outside the reach of God's grace.
Paul clearly lays this out in Romans 3, which is the first New Testament passage to tell us clearly of the redemption that is ours in Christ Jesus. Before he tells us of it, however, we see this indictment upon the whole race: There is none righteous, no, not one3:10. Through ten verses Paul amplifies this till he comes to his conclusion in 3:19that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. So, there is not one good person on earth for God to redeem. Thus, there is the demand for grace if He will have a people for His Own. And, grace continues even after we receive the redemption. Intercessors know this and continue holding souls before the Lord even after they become believers.

After Paul lays out the enormity of sin, he introduces some words to describe what God's grace gives us in Christ Jesus. When we see and begin to understand these words, we begin to see the value God has placed upon us who are sinners. We see that we are ...justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins... (3:24,25).

We have looked at these words before and written about them. Justification means a straightening, a process that we find goes on even after receiving God's grace as a new believer. Redemption means release through payment of a ransom, a process that is set in order when one is willing to repent and believe. Propitiation means the removal of wrath, the realization of which often comes on slowly. Remission means forgiveness. The freedom of forgiveness is something that usually comes on like the gentle dawning of a new day, slowly at first only to burst bright when the sun is fully risen. Together, what these words describe wipes out our boasting before the Lord and brings us all to the common ground of His grace. This makes us all of equal value to Him and gives much fuel to the fire of supplication that intercessors make for believers who are still weak in the faith. This means we learn to pray on the basis of the hope these words present, even when we know of sin and weakness that is still present.

BUT NOW, back to that question: what about the person who spoils God's grace and defiles his value to Him? Does not grace change to judgment?

Without trying to answer this with theological discussion, let us know that every sin has within it the seed of its own judgment. Whether one might stand before the judgment seat or not, every sin that mankind can commit, believer or unbeliever, will bring down the person who commits it and sully his or her knowledge of God.

It is here an intercessor can step in. This is one who cares enough to hold some soul before the Lord till that one sees his condition and gives it up before the Lord. One of the greatest values in the Kingdom is the person who cares enough to make supplication for someone caught in a downward spiral till that one stops and turns himself to the Lord with repentance.

Persistence in praying is needed here, along with a skill that only the Holy Spirit can give. As we learn from Paul in Romans 8:26, sometimes we don't know how to pray. Neither do we know what to do in relationship with people whom we perceive are defiling God's inheritance.

One day in a meeting where she had ministered, Glenda observed a woman who had recently come to the community to prepare for missionary service with her husband. As Glenda saw her approach, she thought, "What an attractive lady!" But, immediately it came to her that she was immorally involved with several men. Having no ground on which to base this painful and disturbing knowledge, she knew she could discuss it with no one. The woman approached and they had some light conversation in which she said she had heard of Glenda and would like to become acquainted. They spoke of having coffee sometime, and that was it for the present.

As Glenda went from the meeting, a burden laid hold on her for that woman who apparently had some love for the Lord and wanted to serve Him. It came to her that this called for fasting, with prayer. Sometimes strong supplication is required. Intercessors learn to pay this price.

There came the day for coffee. As they talked privately, Glenda said, "I may be wrong, but this is what came to me the other day when I saw you. If I am wrong, please forgive me. It came to me that you are involved with someone other than your husband."

The woman was shocked, but then burst into an agony of tears. "Oh, God, I've been praying someone would know and help me!" Then she said, "I'm so bound I could tell no one." Her sordid story unfolded of sexual promiscuity, and how in her childhood she had been abused by her father and her grandfather.

Becoming a Christian, marrying a Christian man, and committing herself to service for the mission field did not wipe out that stronghold in her that she held value only as an object for sex.

Glenda said to her, "You need deliverance and healing."

Knowing ministry like this should not be undertaken alone, nor should it become public knowledge, she suggested to her that a couple of other persons with whom she felt comfortable could be asked to help. The woman agreed.

They determined a day and a place and came together for her deliverance. The precious woman was set free and along with her husband served the Lord effectively for many years.

NOT ALL INTERCESSORS feel they can take on so full a ministry. Nevertheless, they have value in God's Kingdom as those who care, and who will pray behind the scenes that healing and deliverance can be released in the land. This can come to those who have been redeemed but who still hold darkness in their bosoms -- and privately cry for someone to know and help.


Prayer Starter: My Value Lies in the Redemption

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