Ezra 1:1 During the first year of King Cyrus of Persia’s reign in 539 B. C., the Eternal One influenced the spirit of the Persian king to send a proclamation and written letter throughout his empire, fulfilling the Eternal’s earlier message through the prophet Jeremiah. (VOICE – Emphasis mine)
For years I’ve prayed for my mentally ill stepson to be able to see how his behavior needs to be changed, that he’d be able to make good choices, and that I’d be able to exhibit a Christ-like attitude toward him. But since reading this verse my prayers have changed for him and for myself.
It’s a small change, but a powerful one.
This verse amazes me because King Cyrus was not Jewish and yet God was able to use him to fulfill God’s purposes for His people. Jerusalem had lay in ruins for many years while God’s people had been in exile. But Cyrus not only made it known that they could go back to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, but also provided whatever they needed to do it.
If God can move the heart of a pagan king, He can work in the hearts of those for whom I am praying. The Lord can penetrate the spirit in ways I can’t with logic or argument.
Just look at the 180 degree change in Paul, who went from persecuting Christians to being an outspoken and fiercely courageous leader of the early Christian church.
So now I pray, “Lord, influence his spirit,” when I pray for my stepson. You can’t always reason with someone who’s agitated from the confusion of mental illness. But God can speak to the spirit when words can’t speak to the intellect.