The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants,
so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. (Deut. 30:6)
We are used to associating the word ‘circumscribe’ with restricting or constricting, and we find ourselves now in highly circumscribed times. Panorama sent out a programme entitled, ‘The Week that changed Britain’ – and right across the world these weeks have changed and redefined everything.
In geometry, to circumscribe means to draw (a figure) round another, touching it at points but not cutting it. How the Lord wants to use these days to surround and embrace people, to impact in every way with the things that really matter for life and eternity.
For some the changes have been manageable: income has been guaranteed and they are looking at little more than major lifestyle adjustment changes. It is an altogether different story for those whose whole flow of life has been abruptly cut off midstream.
So this is my prayer for these circumscribed times, for people at both ends of the spectrum: those for whom this is merely an inconvenience and those for whom these days are truly critical.
Father, we are asking You to be deeply at work in our hearts in such a way that we come to re-evaluate our priorities and their relationships. We know that tensions will break out in many homes as all previous norms are overthrown and foundations are exposed. Make it clear where our heart is up to, whether for good and for generosity, or for meanness and hostility.
Thank you for all that You are drawing communities together at this time. May this work continue and endure beyond the immediate crisis.
We ask that You will be at work by any and all means to make Your word heard afresh in our hearts and to imprint Your ways and Your character on the hearts of many. Quicken and bring to life all that we have known and understood of You; overcome our glib excuses and philosophies that would rail against You.
You call us to be earnest in appraising our lives and in seeking You. As the novelty wears off and more and more of us are directly touched by what is going on, may we all experience profound encounters with the King of Kings.
Draw us on beyond the glib and the glamorous and meet with us in the secret places of the heart. Let the fear of God rather than the fear of coronavirus be the spirit that prevails. Be our Provider in these days when the prayer, ‘Give us this day our day bread,’ has never before been so significant.
You say that it is when we seek You with all our heart that we will find You (Jer. 29:13). We have never known such a wake-up call before. May the echo of this call resonate long and loud we pray. May we not miss anything of the things that You would do in our hearts during these days, we pray.
May we work, walk and live well together with those with whom You have called us to live together in lock step! In Jesus’ name.