'And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that ‘they' get justice, and quickly.'
‘Shout it aloud, do not hold back!' Isaiah 58:1.
‘This is no time to speak softly. The risks are too high!' Isaiah 58:1 (paraphrased).
But what is it we will shout out? Will there be consistency between our shouting and our actions? What needs to be shouted out?
Justice is a central theme in the Bible; it is evident in the very character of God. It is reflected throughout God's laws, heard in the words of the prophets and lived out in the life of Jesus Christ, God's Son.
We must be a voice for justice. An advocate. A justice that begins with my personal life choices, that engages the world as the child of a just God.
‘When we limit the attention we give to Jesus as a justice advocate for people who are poor, vulnerable, and excluded, we are at risk of dwarfing Jesus' mission mandate in our own time.'*
When we limit our own actions as a justice advocate for people who are poor, vulnerable, and excluded, we limit the mission of The Salvation Army. We need to find our voice, suit our actions to Jesus' mandate, and be a people for justice.
‘Lord, we come to you again, thanking you for the modern prophets (musicians, politicians, religious leaders, benefactors) who have raised their voices on behalf of the poor. They are your advocates - your voices. In the midst of their appeals, we want to cry out that "charity" is not poor people's greatest need. The needs of the poor are the same as the privileged: good government, access to education, healthcare and social services, spiritual wellbeing, employment, a reliable judiciary, peace within their borders and choices that can lead to sustainability. God, equip us to engage in acts of compassion that result in sustainable justice. Amen.'*
‘Gracious God, in these times, may the world not grow tired of feeding the hungry, treating the sick and tutoring the illiterate. May those with resources design social programs that focus on cures instead of symptoms only. May those with political power implement strategic policies that alleviate the consequences of poverty while also eliminating its causes. The challenge is great. The progress is sporadic. The timelines are long. God help us. Amen.'*
Add your specific prayer, asking for a voice and actions for justice.
‘But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what GOD is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously. Attention! God calls out to the city! If you know what's good for you, you'll listen. So listen, all of you! This is serious business.' Micah 6:8 The Message.
‘Lord, you have used The Salvation Army as your voice, as your hands - please give us a heart and a hope for justice that translates into every Salvationist, adherent member, and friend fully alive to a knowledge of personal forgiveness and mercy that translates into a hunger to serve and to seek justice for all your children.'
*When Justice is the Measure, Macmillan, Read, and Posterski, ISJC, June 2012.
You can also read the Prayer Focus in French, German, English, Spanish or Portuguese.