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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Praying Freedom for the Captives | Pray for Life

When Jesus stated that he came ‘to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45), he was using the business language of the day where a ransom could be paid for a relative who had sold themselves into slavery.

The release Jesus refers to is not from physical imprisonment but bondage to sin and its effects: ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin’ (John 8:34). As Paul later explains ‘At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures’ (Titus 3:3). Those without Christ are pictured as being imprisoned by passions, pleasures (which can include addictions) and sin as surely as if they were behind physical bars.

The good news is that the price for their release has been paid! In The Cross of Christ, John Stott explains

‘that we are held in a captivity from which only the payment of a ransom can set us free, and that the ransom is nothing less than the Messiah’s own life.’

Although, to continue the analogy, the prison cell can be unlocked and people given the freedom to leave their captivity through Christ’s death on the cross, many remain in bondage. Some are willing prisoners to their passions and pleasures whereas others are unaware that freedom from all that holds them captive is possible. The story of the lost son in Luke 15 portrays a young man keen to escape the seeming restrictions of his father’s household in favour of the imagined ‘freedom’ of wild living. It was only when the money ran out and ‘he came to his senses’ that he realised that true freedom is in restored relationship with his father.

Prayer points

  • Thank Jesus for paying the ‘ransom for many’.
  • Pray that any addictions will be broken.
  • Pray for people to ‘come to their senses’.
  • Pray that people will desire true freedom.
  • Praise God that freedom is possible!
  • Pray that whatever passions and pleasures are holding people captive will lose their appeal.