Monday, January 19, 2009
As America enters transition, remember the most powerful gift is Prayer
Tomorrow, the weather in Washington, DC is calling for flurries at the swearing in of our new President, Barack Obama. If I prayed for snow, not just a snow of flurries, but of a snowstorm that moved the proceedings inside and away from what could be a crazy crowd, would I be doing what is in the best interest of the people. Of course not.
The reason for that first paragraph is a series of videos from Youtube that a friend sent me about one of Focus on the Family’s correspondents praying for rain before the Democratic National Convention and the backlash of what the non-Christian public got offended over. There was one funny video with some guy praying for diarrhea before the Republican National Convention, but I think we’ve all suffered enough from the flu running through the country to share that with you today.
In a few words, I’ve talked about how important it is to be praying for President Obama and any staff that has access to bend his ear. After several letters from some of you about how defiant people are in not wanting to participate in this important aspect for our nation, I think it might be important to give a few reasons why prayer is so important, especially in this time of transition.
The first word on prayer that I usually hear when I bring up the subject is Phillippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I think the first problem that people are having is that they are not feeling thankful that we are getting a new President. I’m not Bush bashing with that comment, but what I am saying is that this is the first opportunity to pray for that real change that Mr. Obama is talking about..
Now, I will issue a warning here. Most people misinterpret these next two verses. Mark 11:20-25 talk about the withered fig tree. Jesus makes a statement in the final two verses. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Let’s make something clear. God did not play the part of the Genie in Aladdin and will not do it for us either. The second half of that statement is equally important. If you are holding grievance against anyone, it’s probably a good idea to study verses on forgiveness.
First Thessalonians chapter five might give us the best advice on prayer. Verses 16-18 state, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” You may ask, how do I pray continually? What is being talked about here is attitude. Attitude is center for prayer. 2 Chronicles 7:14 adds, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Some more staunch people may feel a bell ringing with this verse as it pertains to America and its culture of today.
Have you ever felt unsure or what to pray or feel emotional pain to a point that you feel like you can’t pray? God’s love has us covered. Romans 8:26-27 tells us that “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
A major factor important in prayer is that there is healing for a people dedicated to it. In the letter written by James, chapter five verses 13-16 talk about this healing. “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call on the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” The King James version states that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
If you are finding that you are not agreeing with the Obama Democratic Presidency, then it is even more important for you to pray. Matthew 5:43-45 tells us, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven.” Luke 6:27-28 confirms this, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” President Obama may need these verses for Christian that are refusing to pray for his leadership more than those that are refusing to pray for his wisdom.
Two sets of verses that I love and will discuss in the next two entries that I make on prayer are Luke 18:1-8 and Matthew 6:5-13. I give you these to read and be ready for when I bring them up. But I will close this entry with scriptures that I found today that I thought were great not only for America, but also for the unrest around the world.
The first is how the church is described. God is speaking how salvation is available to all people in Isaiah 56 and describes those that hold to his covenant. Verse 7 states, “these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer, their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for ALL nations (emphasis mine).” God is telling us that as a praying people that salvation and heaven is available for all of us.
The last set of scripture I found interesting because of a show that I used to see almost a decade ago. A man named Zola Levitt used to close his program with these words, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” I always thought that was nice, but never realized until recently that he was quoting Psalm 122. I’ll start in verse six. “Pray for the peace in Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, ’Peace be with you.’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.” May that be our prayer for all warring areas of the world right now.
I love you guys!