Pray for:
Compassion
16

1 John 3:17-18 -"But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

There are probably a lot of things and people you are feeling compassion towards at the moment. Today we want to encourage you to lean into that in prayer.

Compassion alludes to kindness and sympathy, but there is something deeper, something even more profoundly powerful, in its meaning.

The origin of the word helps us grasp the true breadth and significance of compassion. Compassion, originating from compati, literally means to suffer with. Compassion means someone else’s heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Another’s suffering becomes your suffering. True compassion changes the way we live.

The Gospel compels us to live out this kind of compassion with some pretty big principles: Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, forgive others as God forgives us, do not judge, love your neighbour as yourself and so on.

Then when we read the Gospel stories, we discover a compassionate Jesus who took great interest and concern in the needs of others. He extended justice, kindness and love to all He encountered. He reached out to the despised tax collectors, healed lepers, and forgave a woman caught in adultery — extending His mercy to Gentiles as well. He repeatedly demonstrated His compassion to all.

The Gospels use the phrase "Jesus was moved with compassion" many times…

Matthew 14:14 - “And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.”

Mark 6:34 - “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them.”

Why did Jesus heal the sick? He was moved with compassion for them. Why did He teach the multitudes? He was moved with compassion for them. His whole ministry was motivated by an abundant compassion that flowed out of Him to those around Him. Jesus was not driven by selfish ambition, a desire for power, or an aspiration to be famous. He was compelled by love.

We need to accept this compassion from Christ ourselves, and then we need to offer it to others.

There is this great scripture that reveals the heart of Jesus…

Matthew 9:36“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Where are you seeing harassed and helpless people?

Whatever their needs, God calls us to be the compassion of God to the world. He expects us to have a heart for those who are harassed and helpless.

One of the things we need to pray for today is that God would soften our hearts with His compassion for those who are lost and far from Him. There is the danger that we become immune to the needs of those around us, and harden our hearts to the need.

You are on God’s team. You have known and experienced the love and compassion of God. You are equally able to share with those who are harassed and helpless, helping them in their physical needs and sharing with them the Gospel and what Jesus means to you. There are so many who are floundering in life and they are looking for help. You may be the only one who has a consciousness of God's compassion in the places where you live and work. God needs you to represent the length and breadth and height and depth of His compassion in that place.

God sees in you more potential than you see in yourself.
God can take the experiences that you have had in life and use those to help others.
God wants you to learn to lean on Him and let the Holy Spirit use you to help the harassed and helpless.

Jesus seems to get great joy in taking ordinary, everyday people, people who don’t have any qualifications or credentials, and selecting them to be his disciples (this is exactly what he did when choosing his 12 disciples). He promises us that he will give us what we need to be his disciples. And then he sends us out into the world, to the harassed and helpless, to share with a dying world a word of salvation, and to offer healing for a broken people.

People and their needs matter to God. During this fast we need to pray that God would increase our heart to feel as His heart does. We need to allow time for the Holy Spirit to speak to us and override our tendency to judge. Ask the Holy Spirit to move you with compassion.