Light Prayers: 4. The Oppressed

Isaiah 58:10  NIV  … if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

This one is clearly conditional:  the little word “if” is a big, big word.

The three conditions are:

If you spend yourself

In behalf of the hungry

And satisfy the needs of the oppressed

Let’s explore the Hebrew a bit.

The AV renders the first one, “. . . if thou draw out thy soul . . . ”

The Hebrew for “draw out” is ambiguous.  The word and its root are used fewer than a dozen times with a variety of meanings attributed to them.  What sparkles though is the conjugation.  It is Hiphil imperfect form which means (loosely) that it is an incomplete action – an ongoing activity, a lifestyle, not just one stellar event.

The word translated soul is utterly unambiguous – nephesh.

Let’s try this paraphrase.  I have a custom, or habit, or lifestyle of emotionally engaging with others in a way that is costly to me emotionally.  This is not an occasional act of do-goodism.  It is not simply the overflow of my occasional emotionally good days.  It is a real life engagement of one person at a time, sufficiently intense and unguarded that the neediness of the other person creates a drain on my emotional reserves.

Good thing the Biblical authors were not as wordy as I am or we would need to move the Bible with a forklift!

Looking at the hunger piece next, in the context of the whole passage God was talking about people who had no food for their bellies.  No ambiguity there.

It is not the primary word for hunger however.  This is more representative of those having a famine.  A sustained hunger – deprivation for months or years due to drought or war.  It is used more for a large group of people who are victims of the decisions of others, than it is for an individual who is down on his luck.

Does it apply to me, literally?  Nope.  Oh, I have given $5 to a homeless person from time to time, but I am not a World Vision supporter, or much involved in mercy ministries at any level.  Never have been.

But if we stretched the text to apply to people who have been spiritually famished for a very long time, then there might be something of me here.  Is that taking liberties with the text, or is it a legitimate extension of a principle?

Yours to decide.

Finally, satisfied is a strong word.  It means to be satiated, like someone pushing back from the table when the hostess offers seconds on dessert.  They have all they can hold of the good food present.   Again, no mere tokenism here for a photo op.  No concert raising funds that never make it to Africa.

And it is the afflicted soul that is thus satiated.  No question that both preconditions have to do with the soul.

This one is a little harder to claim.  On the one hand, I have been known to serve up a 32 ounce Porterhouse steak for the spirit once in awhile.  Some people have not only gotten satiated, they have gotten a belly ache chawing on some of my dinner portions.

On the other hand, satiating a soul is a pretty formidable task.  I have certainly had my soul “drawn out” quite a few times to the point of MY exhaustion and depletion, only to have the other person make clear that my best was not good enough and they wanted mo’.

Quite frustrating for me on many occasions.  What does it take to satiate a starving soul?  Apparently more than I can bring to the table most of the time.

We will leave this one hanging.  Not a slam dunk description of me, but still, it is possibly worth putting into play.

So on the causal side of the equation, each one of you will have to decide before God whether I have, in my relationship with you, fulfilled one or more of the above three causes for the effect that follows.  Is there a check you can cash here?

I don’t need to know, but if you are an eye witness to any of the above in my life, feel free to explore the topic with the King.

Now the effect is fascinating to me.

Your light will rise

This is such a compelling picture to a son who has a passion for unpacking my treasures.  This is not God shining His light on the darkness outside me like He did for the Hebrews in the Red Sea so they could find their way.

No, this is God impacting the light He placed within me.  My spirit is light.  He pre-loaded my spirit with a bunch of software, apps and data when He designed me, and most of it has not been accessed yet.

So as a Father to a son, under the above conditions, He would “unlock” some apps that are already there in my spirit that have not been used yet.

Could be exciting.

In the darkness

I was totally caught off guard when I looked up this word.  How complex can darkness be?  If I have read the word study books correctly, this particular conjugation of the root word is used almost exclusively for darkness resulting from a curse.

So this is a stunningly redemptive picture.  I surely have large areas of my life that are still cursed with darkness which has rendered them inoperable, because I KNOW both I and my ancestors have been busy little sinners.  Who knows how many things I have not known needed to be confessed of their junk, and who knows how many things of my own misbehavior I have forgotten to confess just because I was so over-active in generating sin!

Now think through this issue.  Do you know how frustrating it is for a Bible student to be able to find answers for others, while his own questions go unanswered?  There are many keys to my life that I have looked for many times over the years and not found.  I assumed there were areas of vitality that simply would never be mine because of . . . who knows what.

And now, THIS promise!  That under certain circumstances, God will cause MY light to break out, to shine, to dominate in areas inside me, that matter to ME . . . not just more good stuff for you!

Now THAT rocks.

Your night

Surprised again.  This is a different root word than the darkness above and is most often translated as calamity or distress.  In other words, the first half of the verse dealt with the inner darkness.  My sin and my forefathers’ sin has conspired to create brain rot at a staggering level inside me.

But the darkness in this part of the verse is the outside consequences of the aforementioned sin.  My outside world has gotten twisted, broken, complicated and daunting, creating very measurable pain.

Again, a redemptive promise of immense significance.  Have you ever been through an inner healing process or a deliverance where you were magnificently transformed but you left the office to face the same twisted, broken world you were living in when you walked into the office with your wounds and critters an hour earlier?

Can you imagine what it would be like to have a prayer minister who could pray your outside world into alignment at the same time he fixes your inner world!

What a picture – having transformation inside and outside at the same time.

Will become like the noonday.

Again, an unexpected picture.  In the poetic usages of the word in other verses, it refers to extreme justice and security that removes the gloom of insecurity.

The verse is a matched pair.  The first phrase portrays the external world so broken it yanks you around emotionally.  The second half describes a world so stunningly repaired that you feel untouchable by the vicissitudes of life.

Wow.  I don’t even daydream about security in this wild and wacky world!

So let’s take it from the top.

-It is a conditional promise.  IF!

-There are three potential causes.

-Four potential effects.

If you try to cash some rubber checks, meaning your life does not really reflect the causes, your appeal to the Court will go nowhere.

BUT, if your life DOES reflect those causes, and you don’t cash the checks, it presumably also goes nowhere.

So let’s test the water.  If you don’t know me then you should opt out of this light prayer.  For this one, you need to bring firsthand, real time, personal history with me to the Court.

But, IF (always the killer word) you have personal examples of my fulfilling one or more of the three causes, I would love to have you ask the Righteous Judge of the Universe to release to me one or more of the four effects of light.

This could be intense!

Copyright January 2014 by Arthur Burk

From home at first, then finished at the Hub

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29 Responses to Light Prayers: 4. The Oppressed

  1. eva says:


  2. Nita Dibble says:

    Prayer is vital in my life. As you present the passage to apply to your self in the picture, you have essentially modeled the way for me to apply the same message for myself. I have a letter that Ann sent me years ago taped to my file cabinet that is a simple reminder to lift you up in prayer on a daily basis. Most of the time I can only bless you in agreement with the Lord that He is filtering out the stuff and enabling you to give from your spirit to all of us in the Body of Christ who have the privilege to see the Light He has given.
    My life today is full of challenges in which I needed to be reminded how much God wants me to trust Him and receive the blessings He has promised. I bless you.

  3. Jenny Richards says:

    Dear Arthur,
    What wonderful hope your exposition brings. Thanks for your obedience to do what the
    Father has given you to do for 2014.

  4. Sherry says:

    I’ve been hungry; I’ve been oppressed; I’ve had questions and have been confused; and I’ve found myself in the darkest of night. When I reached out to SLG you have spent yourself and you satisfied my need.
    You’ve answered my questions and concerns and you’ve shined some of your Light into my darkness. (either through your c.d.’s, UTube, emails, conference) And there are ripple effects of what you have shared with me, as it has been passed on to others.
    I have no doubt that, with a huge smile on His face, He will be unlocking some awesome apps for you this year. I’m excited for you, your family and team.
    And let me say, your best has been good enough! Thanks for sharing of yourself even when it wasn’t fun.

  5. eva says:

    You have been a significant factor in my deliverance over the years. I love that you provide me with informiaton that I can use and go hammering tooth, nail, hammer and claws at the multi-generational issues in my life. You have been a light and a blessing to me more than I will ever be able to articulate. Thanks Arthur.

  6. Irina Rivera says:

    I have a little story that I could share about a time when you drew out your soul for my son, Nicholas. I don’t have to share it publicly but it was so kind and tender. I have done as you’ve asked and gone to the Court in heaven. My spirit agreed with this promise on your behalf. Amen to the fulfillment!

  7. Arthur, I am reminded of the song we used to sing a lot, This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. The light is definitely shining from the Father to you and from you to me. I pray for you every morning for the Light to shine through you to us. Thanks for lighting the path for me.

  8. Diane - Canada says:

    I am just catching up on the January posts now. For the past year I have been working my way through the YouTube Birthright playlist. Funny that I have mentioned twice in the last 3 weeks that that series is like eating fine chocolate truffles – a satisfying extravagance in this seeming mundane season of life. I listen while doing the dishes or kitchen prep. Thank you for your spending on my behalf and I do ask that Father releases to you one or more effects of light.

  9. I pray for you to have more light so you can impart it to me. Perhaps that is a selfish prayer but I know you will give out what you get. I love your research and development. I wish I could have those electrodes on my head so I can see when the spirit is. I am still trying to find out my redemptive gift. Every time I listen to you, I recognize part of me. Today I am a teacher; yesterday I was a mercy; tomorrow I might be an exhorter. I listen, pray and cry. I sometimes feel like the 30 % that have no movement but I see God speaking “Let there be light” and “That light is the life of men” as one magnificent statement tying it all together. May it flood over you and immerse you inside and out. Kayleen

  10. Pamela says:

    I’ve been gleefully giggling with expectancy since this post published. I think I literally squealed when I read it. Couldn’t help myself- knowing that so many of us out there are asking G-d to pour out on our friend according to scripture’s promise. Are you kidding me?!?! I completely expect you glow in the dark even more than now. This OPPORTUNITY is a TREASURE, I can hardly wait to hear what it looks like unpacked!

  11. francyes says:

    I didn’t mean to be offensive with my first comment, I would love to participate because I could write a very thick book about how your teachings have changed my life. But I don’t qualify for this week, so I’m making like a cheerleader, on the sidelines. 🙂

  12. nancy says:

    Arthur, You have already satisfied the “if”. Allow yourself grace to now receive the pay-off. I know you will move forward, till the day you stand before the Throne, caring for others at the expense of yourself. You said, “Can you imagine what it would be like to have a prayer minister who could pray your outside world into alignment at the same time he fixes your inner world!. ” You have that in the Trinity! I don’t know of another person who has been able to tie together the external and internal (it’s a long list) better than you have. You have qadhash. God see’s you as perfect. Like the Father himself, your holiness and wholeness is not in what you do, it is in who, and whose you are.

    “I bless you with knowing deep in your spirit that your Father’s favor is upon you; He takes pleasure in who you are today, regardless of what you are doing or have done.” from Blessing Your Spirit

    With all this Light in and on you, I pray your greatest desires are met this year, especially the ones that bring you JOY!

    • SLG says:

      So we have an interesting theological tension here. As you can see from the votes for Barry’s comment and Ron’s, there is a very firm difference of opinion about the theological appropriateness of my last blog.

      First of all, no concerns. I rather anticipated I would ruffle some feathers.

      Second, let’s build that out.

      In the theology of the Body of Christ, we find two extremes. There are those who are so full of themselves, they order God and the angels around in a tone of voice I would not use for an errant puppy. On the other extreme, there are those who ask for little, and always frame it as a petition for mercy or grace. There is, of course, every imaginable point along the line and a stream of faith that defends that point between the two extremes.

      I grew up on the far, far right. No rights. None. Nothing but filthy rags. So we hoped for mercy more than asked for it.

      As I moved into the deliverance movement, I saw the differences of theology more clearly. There are those who want nothing to do with demons, but request that Jesus do it all. At first, it seemed like a huge amount of reverence, but then I realized that in a lot of cases, there was basic unresolved identity issues in the prayer minister. They wanted Christ to do it, since they were quite sure the demons would take kindly to their giving orders.

      And on the flip side, the people who were ordering demons around on their own, tended to be over sure of their importance, and rather lean in their relationship with the glory of God.

      So I went to Scripture and looked at the subject of requesting and receiving. I found a spectrum. For sure, there is a fair amount of passive receiving whatever God wants to give with no requests made. And there is abject begging for mercy. There is also respectful petitioning for resources to do Kingdom work. There is asking out of relationship. And I feel there are examples of asking based on the value of what we have brought to the table.

      Now where it all begins to make sense, is what sector you are asking from. In the sector of salvation, there is only the grace of God. This much is clear. But in other sectors, there are other options.

      So I fully understand that inviting people to ask God to reward me for anything I have done will cause some people to cringe. That is why these are weekly commitments. When you reach a point where my theology weirds you out, check out for a week. No offense. On the other hand, there are those who feel it is quite valid and lean into it.

      But for all, I suggest you consider exploring the issue of petition ion Scripture. There is a lot you never learned in Sunday School, and at the end of the day, you will see that most people’s form of petition is a reflection of their self-image in the spiritual realm, more than God’s theology.

      Finally, ponder Nehemiah. He flat out asked for God to vindicate him based on what He had done. And in the letter to the church at Philadelphia, God flat out said that He would give a huge gift to that church because of what they had done. And finally, in the High Priestly prayer of Jesus, He uses that argument. “I did this well, therefore I am asking for that in return.”

      Ponder it.

      • nancy says:

        No ruffled feathers here, I rather like the tension. A hammock has tremendous tension….only when someone is resting in it.

      • Anthony says:

        Arthur, I am not qualified to pray but I believe that father waits for and is delighted when our trust in Him and our relationship encourages us to request favour from Him. I believe that our ability is related to our ability to weigh our relationship with Him as a son as well as friend. From that basis it is valid. Part of our hesitation is based not just how we see ourselves but also how we see Him.

      • jane62 says:

        Thank you for this! And also so grateful for everything I have learned from your teachings that now I am now so tightly woven with Pappa God, friend Jesus and glorious Holy Spirit.
        I can so identify with thinking only Jesus can do anything. I still have to remind myself that I have authority because of His work on the cross! So I try to be mindful and try to walk in repentance with proper humility, and knowing His ongoing mercy and grace. Then I am blown away by His gifts, and so I’m asking for Him to bless you with tremendous breakthrough in this, shining His light brighter than ever before, that even you, who have seen His immense power more than most of us, will be in awe as never before.

  13. Sally Sugrue says:

    Hi Arthur, a friend recently commented on my spiritual ‘clarity’:- now that’s not something that anyone has seen in me before:- I know that a large part of that is because of the healing & growing I’m continuing to receive from your CDs. Your teaching has always been beautifully clear to me, as long as I put the work in. So I was able to go to the courtroom of God and confess that I’d been ‘oppressed and hungry’ and that your material is freeing and feeding me and, therefore, I asked Father for the increase ‘your light’ in the ways you requested. I am continuing to pray for you.

  14. Deborah says:

    Arthur, I am so very thankful for the life changing impact your heart and your teachings have had on my life for the last 6 1/2 years. It will be an honor to ask the Righteous Judge of the Universe to release to you one or more of the four effects of light.

  15. Ron Wagner says:

    Arthur, I read this post and the Lord took me into an uncomfortable area. I began to review areas the Lord has given me to be faithful in. And despite my best intentions there has always been room for improvement. That put me into a bit of a tailspin. But then He showed up in His mercy and His grace. He reminded me that perfection is the end result of His work in me. In me He is looking for the desire, He is judging the thoughts and attitudes of my heart. And in these He is pleased. So, Arthur, my prayer for you is that Father answer your pray not based on merit but rather on what He sees in your heart and out of His great mercy and grace.

    • sange says:

      agreeing that The Righteous Judge ,our Father will add His grace and mercy to our prayers and manifest his goodness in answer simply because we are His workmanship his children accepted in the beloved

  16. Debbie G. says:

    Early this morning I had a most unusual dream, The Lord as the Potter, only it wasn’t clay he was shaping, it was a mass of light between his hands. I strongly feel and believe that it is something he is preparing to give you Arthur. I will continue to pray. You, your materials have contributed to my growth in a significant way. This is something I can do to give back, in thanksgiving.

  17. Barry says:

    And I do not know you personally Arthur but the resources I have obtained through Sapphire Leadership Group have certainly been food for the hungry, and I do mean spiritually, long-term famished. These resources have satisfied me while I was oppressed and given me strength to look to the journey ahead of me. So I do have personal examples of those causes and because of the I simply have to ask the Lord to release to you all that He has for you from the four effects of light. Lord, may it be so, abundantly more than we can think or ask in Jesus’ name.

    • jane62 says:

      Me too, so I will pray the same. Also, this is a hugely significant piece of scripture the Lord gave me over 10 years ago, and I’m still not fully clear on it, But this was a wonderful exposition. Thank you, Arthur.

  18. LL says:

    This presents some incredible insights on a “seemingly” straightforward verse. I will definitely pray for you Arthur.

  19. Serina says:

    I will definitely do that!

  20. Franna says:


    …Got a bit of work to do.

  21. Dana says:

    With immense pleasure!

  22. sange says:

    Arthur ..agreeing and praying through the light scriptures with you

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