O Lord is the second of the O Antiphons, a traditional prayer of many centuries duration. Of course, "Lord" or "Adonai" is used throughout the Old Testament and is not in any way unique to Isaiah. But the reference used in Isaiah in conjunction with this antiphon is 33:22. "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King; it is he who will save us."
Like much of Isaiah the verse looks both backward and forward. God gave the law on Mount Sinai; he was King of Israel; he saved them from Pharaoh and slavery in the Exodus and continued to save them from their enemies. Looking forward from Isaiah, Jesus gave a fuller interpretation of the law (Matthew 5); he is King of Kings and will return to judge; he saved us from slavery to our sins.
For reflection: Let us, again, use the verse from Isaiah as a starting point of praise to our God.
Let us pray. O Lord, you are our just judge and righteous lawgiver, you are our King, you are the one who saves us.
In the Catholic Church we have a tradition called the "O Antiphons". Although these are usually prayed during the time before Christmas, they provide an excellent way to reflect and pray during the Christmas season. The antiphons give seven titles for the Savior and relate to seven prophecies in Isaiah. They are O Wisdom, O Lord, O Flower of Jesse's Stem, O Key of David, O Radiant Dawn, O King of All the Nations, O Emmanuel.
Wisdom, of course, is a common title for God in the Old Testament. In Isaiah we find it among the gifts of the Spirit in 11:2-3. "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord - and he will delight in the fear of the Lord."
For Reflection: Many people tell me they have trouble praising God. To praise someone is to compliment them on their good traits or good deeds. So let's use just these two verses from Isaiah to praise God.
Let us pray. Jesus, you are wise and understanding, you are powerful and have all knowledge, you give sound counsel and you delight in the fear of God.
This Christmas season I am remembering in prayer all those who read the blog every week. I appreciate your faithfulness in tuning in. Perhaps in the coming year you will post more comments. They are always welcome. In fact, I wouldn't mind if the posts became more of a conversation.
I encourage you to keep knocking on Jesus' door through prayer and see what happens. His desire is for us to be whole and healthy, and he wants everyone to be saved. There is more than enough manna to go around.
There are three parts to Manna Prayer: the email requests, the phone calls, and the blog and other prayer resources on the website. People who email Manna Prayer hail from around the world – from the United Kingdom to the United Arab Emirates, from Kenya to Kuala Lumpur and from Pakistan to the Philippines.
Who calls Manna Prayer? People who know me call; and people who don't know me call. Some who call, call only once for a specific need, others call regularly for prayer for long-term illnesses, ongoing situations, or for a job. Thanks to our merciful Father, people are being healed, set free and having their lives changed.
Surprisingly to me, the blog is the most popular part of Manna Prayer. It is available on both Facebook (www.facebook.com/MannaPrayerMinistries) and Twitter (@alicenoe1). There have been over 10,000 hits on the blog. If you have only experienced Manna Prayer through one portal, I invite you to explore the entire website. Also, there is now a donation option on the home page through PayPal.
This blog post comes with a prayer for you. May God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you all the days of your life. May your relationship with Jesus grow stronger every day.
He is our Peace.
Jesus, God, chose to be born as a human being. He chose to be born as a baby, not arrive as a full-grown man. He chose to be born into an average family, not one of wealth, position or prestige. He chose to learn and take on the family business. He chose to follow in the footsteps of the prophets his Father had sent before him.
Jesus chose to speak to the people, to speak to the religious leaders, to speak to the governmental leaders. He chose to love, to heal, to rejoice, to weep, to preach and to pray. Jesus chose to die. Jesus chose to rise. Jesus chose us.
How hard was it for Joseph to believe the angel who told him Mary was innocent? It is an incredible thing to believe - that Mary is having a child by the Holy Spirit. Even today it is one of the hardest things to credit that God became man through a woman. And yet it is a founding pillar of Christianity.
It helps that it had been foretold that God would send a Messiah, a Savior. More specifically, Isaiah prophesied that "The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Did Joseph remember that prophecy? Did he ever doubt?
For reflection: When I have doubts, do I turn to God for answers and reassurance?
Let us pray. "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. . . . Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior" (Psalm 25:1-2, 4-5).
Joseph gets no respect. Sometimes I think he is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Scriptures. Little is known about him. He has no speaking lines. After the early years of Jesus' life, he simply disappears from the story.
But Joseph is a man open to hearing God's instructions in a dream and following through on them. He bases a life-long decision on that dream. And, like Mary, Joseph too says "Yes" to a sticky situation. As a man of integrity he keeps his word until the end of his life (Matthew 1:18-25).
For reflection: Do I hear God in dreams? When I hear God's instructions, do I make a complete commitment to following them?
Let us pray. Jesus, I don't know how many times it says in the Scriptures, "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts", but I know it is repeated over and over. I make a commitment to you today. If today I hear your voice, I will not harden my heart.
"Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you" (Isaiah 35:4). So often we read these words as part of a section describing the Kingdom and we don't necessarily concentrate on the meaning of "vindication" and "recompense."
If we are vindicated for a crime, we are found not guilty. We are innocent. God sent his son Jesus to die for us that we might be declared not guilty, justified, innocent. As those who believe in Jesus and who appropriate for ourselves what he accomplished, we are vindicated, not guilty. The divine recompense was the death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. The debt owed because of our sins has been paid. There is no mortgage on our lives.
That's not to say that we don't need to be sorry for our sins against God and others. Repentance is still necessary. But what we owed God, the amount due, was paid in advance. Jesus "picked up the check."
For reflection: Have I been thankful for this great gift of vindication? Is there someone in my life who needs to hear "not guilty" from me?
Let us pray. I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth" (Psalm 108:3-5).
"Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you" (Isaiah 35:3-4; cf. Hebrews 12:12).
As we look back and forth between the Old Testament and the New Testament at these descriptions of the Kingdom of God we see that there is really no difference between them. Isaiah and the other visionary prophets got it right. Jesus and his disciples proclaim the same coming Kingdom. It's a kingdom where the righteous are rewarded, where all illnesses are healed, every tear wiped away. Hang in there. God is coming. There is hope.
For reflection: Where am I flagging? What about me needs to be strengthened? Where am I lacking hope?
Let us pray. Jesus, I know you hold me in your hands but the Kingdom seems a long time coming. Be with me today. Give me strength. Give me hope in exchange for my fear.
Isaiah's vision of the Kingdom of God is one of beauty, of lushness, of perfection. It is the return of the Garden of Eden, the return of a time and place before sin. It is a return to original holiness. Not just people, but all creation will give praise to the King.
"The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy" (Isaiah 35:1-2). As it says in Romans, "creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay" (Romans 8:21). All of creation will be set free from the effects of sin and death.
For reflection: What causes me to praise God today?
Let us pray. Lord God, you are King of the Universe, King of Heaven, King of Kings, King of Creation. All creation gives you praise.
In the last year and half Manna Prayer has been contacted by people from around the world - from India and Pakistan, Kenya and South Africa, to Argentina, Malaysia and the Philippines.
We thank all of you who have spread the word about Manna Prayer. Great things are happening. People are being healed and set free from their afflictions. God is on the move.
Many people follow the blog and don't look at the rest of the website for Manna Prayer Ministries. We suggest you roam through the full site for yourself and recommend it to others who might find it useful. On the home page there is a phone number for calls for one-on-one prayer. The phone is not covered quite 24/7, but close. (If you live in Canada or Puerto Rico, we can call you at no cost. Just email your phone number to us and what time to call.) All emails are answered with a prayer specific to the request.
If you appreciate the blog or other aspects of Manna Prayer, I hope you will take a moment to make a donation. It is tax-deductible in the U.S.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.