Overcoming barriers

Date: Friday, September 5

ScriptureJoshua 6:1-15, 20

Verse: Then the people shouted. They blew the trumpets. As soon as the people heard the trumpet blast, they shouted a loud war cry. Then the wall collapsed. The people went up against the city, attacking straight ahead. They captured the city. (Joshua 6:20)

Pope Francis praying at Israel’s separation barrier on May 25, 2014 after he made an unscheduled stop at the security wall drawing attention to the towering eight-metre (26-foot) high concrete wall topped by a guard tower. (Photo Credit: AFP Photo/ Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis praying at Israel’s separation barrier on May 25, 2014 after he made an unscheduled stop at the security wall drawing attention to the towering 26-foot high concrete wall topped by a guard tower. (Photo Credit: AFP Photo/ Osservatore Romano)

Sometimes we have a crystal clear vision of what God wants. We can see it. We know moving in that direction would be participation in the Kingdom of God. Yet, there is barrier after barrier between us and that goal. We know we are called to that career, but we don’t have the education. We know God wants our marriage to succeed, but there is little time to work at it. We know God wants our friendships restored, but we can’t seem to get past those old hurts. You could probably add several to this list. Often there are barriers between us and what God wants for us.

In his book The Circle Maker Mark Batterson uses today’s scripture as the Bible illustration of what it means to circle things in prayer. God was giving the land of Jericho to the people of Israel. They knew it. But there was a wall around the city that seemed an insurmountable barrier. Rather than fight it and literally or figuratively pound their head up against the wall, Joshua leads the people on a prayer journey. Every day for seven days, they circle the barrier in prayer. On the seventh day, the barrier miraculously comes down.

We often underestimate the power of prayer in our lives. We don’t expect prayer to bring walls down — that’s what explosives are for — but prayer is far more effective. You can try to fix the career, the marriage, the friendship, and whatever else you added, with firepower, but that typically just causes the barrier to be rebuilt even stronger. Instead, try circling the barrier in prayer. Pray for the education to come, for the heart of the other to be softened, for God to bring a miracle into your life. Barriers will fall, and new life will begin.

Prayer: Thank you God, for taking down barriers in my life. Amen.

Action: Begin to circle in prayer whatever barriers there are between you and God’s will.

Respond: What barriers has God removed for you? Or, when have you tried dynamite and only made things worse?

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About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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