Yes Pray. By all means pray!

Thoughts have been building in the last few weeks, to the point I need to say something. I may lose a few followers over this – so be it.

It seems to me that in recent months and years we Christians have set up camp halfway up the mountain:
“God’s not going to _( fill in the blank )_. Let’s just wait it out. Society is too far gone. It’s sliding fast down that slippery slope, what’s the use? Maranatha, brother.”
“Amen, Maranatha.”

And we count rests the way we did in band & orchestra back in high school. We analyze current events and try to predict what’ll happen next – and that rather gloomily. I’ve done that, have you?

We talk about things more than we pray about them.
We fret more than we talk.
We doubt even more than we fret.

“America’s not mentioned in Revelation; praying isn’t going to do any good,” we tell ourselves, and to build our case we delve into details God reserves for His own understanding. Impressed with what we know -or think we know- we stop actively participating in the world God’s placed us in. We stop halfway up the mountain. (That’s the root meaning of the word mediocre, by the way; halfway up the mountain.)

“God won’t.

God can’t.

Don’t bother,” we mutter.

Tell that to Joseph, summoned from jail to talk to King Pharaoh.
“Your dream, Sir, about the cattle and the ears of corn, there’s a solution.”

Tell that to Moses.
“WoW! We’re all safe, and now the water-walls are caving!”

Tell Mrs. Gideon that God doesn’t do well when His men are grossly outnumbered.
“How was your trip, Hon’?”
“Darling, let me TELL you!”

Tell Nehemiah that his boss, the king would fire him if he knew why he was so despondent.

Tell Meshak and his Jewish friends,
“Probably best to just lay low and not make a scene. The king isn’t kidding.”

Tell that to Daniel and hear his softspoken reply,
“Thanks, but I’ll keep praying as I have been.”

Tell that to Jairus the Monday morning after Jesus brought his little girl back to life.
“So how was your weekend, Sir?”

Or Ananias. Who answered the door to find a stranger and his friends standing there.
“Hello, can I help you?”
“Is your name Ananias, Sir?”
“It is…”
“My name is Saul. I can’t see right now. I guess I’m supposed to come er-um ‘see’ you.”
“Saul —[gulp]— of Tarsus?”
“Come in. I had word you were coming.”
… “Mercy. I’ve prayed about him , but I never thought to pray FOR him.

Tell Mary Catlett, John Newton’s childhood sweetheart, that people never change.
Her husband, the slave trader turned minister, penned Amazing Grace.

Tell George Meuller, orphanage owner & director that God takes forever to answer prayer.

Tell Charles Colson that Washington officials are beyond hope and there’s no use praying.

Tell Billy and Ruth Graham that praying for their wayward son Franklin was futile.

Now … try to tell me that God’s locked out of Washington D.C.
Madison, Wisconsin (my state’s capital). Your capital city.
The county seat. Town Hall.
That there’s no reason to pray for the salvation, for the repentance of elected officials.

I don’t believe you. I’m praying.
John’s words are true: Greater is He that is in You than He that is in the world. (1 John 1.4)

I don’t know when Jesus is coming back. Neither do you. The apostle Paul strongly urged friends in Thessalonica who thought they’d figured it out, quit their jobs to wait it out. (see 2 Thessalonians 3). No friends, keep going! Pray! Don’t grow weary of doing good!

Mediocrity marches in place (marks time) halfway up the mountain. Claiming not to be neglecting the faith, but not actively pressing forward, you’re not on fire like you once were, but you wouldn’t say you’re cold. We all know what a delight lukewarm water is.

I overheard someone say just this morning – “This country is so messed up. I don’t see how it can be salvaged.”

For the record, I believe America CAN be restored. Rejuvenated. Revived. And I’m talking to the One Who can. He doesn’t want ANYone to perish; I’m asking. Boldly. Join me. I dare you. Yes, for our current President, his entire cabinet. Elected officials I have yet to agree with. The president’s family, including the son whose laptop is causing such a stir. “Whosoever will” is as inclusive as it gets.

Yes, Pray! By all means, pray.
God’s done harder things than this.

P.S. I must give credit to Jonathan, a young friend who accelerated my thinking along these lines a few weeks ago. His speech for NCFCA on how our disrespect for elected officials reveals our true perspective on the sovereignty of God arrested my attention and prompted me to pray for them more earnestly. Thanks, Jonathan!

One Reply to “Yes Pray. By all means pray!”

  1. Gordon Rogers

    Great post, Phil! I want to keep climbing that mountain, living up to the meanings of my first and middle names – “Ascending one” and “Industrious leader”. In ancient times and not too distant past, names meant something to people. God promises to give a new name to every person entered in the Lamb’s Book of Life! Let’s ascend the Hill of the Lord with clean hands and pure hearts, Folks, encouraging one another to faith and good works. The Holy Spirit working through us will give us the endurance, strength and wisdom to do great things for God. Lean on Him and be there to encourage a brother or sister in their time of need! God is good all the time!

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