Week 3 – PRAY-ing to Make a Difference
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do,
that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask me anything in my name,
I will do it.
John 14:13-14 NIV
Thank you so much for joining us for Week 3 of His Own Heart’s series-within-a-series, PRAY-ing to Make a Difference. If you trekked with us through the praiseand repentance portions of our journey – weeks one and two – we’re incredibly grateful that you’ve chosen to return. If you’re joining us for the time, welcome to the team!
If you’ve been with us through this effort, you likely have the routine down pat by now. His Own Heart is asking any willing person or group to join us in committed and deliberate action as we pray daily through the remaining time leading up to the November 6 midterm election in the United States of America. We’re praying specifically for the wisdom of its people, its leaders and the nation as a whole. As always, please know that this project is in no way linked to any specific political party or candidate.
What the project is permanently and unapologetically linked to, however, is a staunch commitment to God as Founder of our freedom and to His Word as the non-negotiable Law of our land. So I am compelled to stress to you that the next nine days offer an opportunity that Christ-followers in American culture simply cannot afford to miss. We have, in fact, an opportunity for service that is both critical and crucial to the future of our country.
And to this end it bears repeating: our time and efforts alike are an imperative means of seizing that opportunity.
As this post is published to the website, only one Sunday stands between us and Election Day 2018. With that in mind, I would like to reiterate what the two preceding posts have pointed out: as we weigh the issues at stake, consider the candidates and take our turns voting in booths across the nation, you and I – as followers of Jesus Christ – are called to the pro-action of committing to stay in direct conversation with God through sincere, dedicated prayer about the matter at hand.
So this week, we continue our prayer journey usingas a pattern the acronym PRAY over the coming days as a blueprint for actively seeking to make a difference in conjunction with our Father, the Difference Maker:
- Week 1: Praise;
- Week 2: Repentance;
- Week 3: Asking (or intercession); and
- Week 4: Yielding with thankful hearts to God’s will for America’s future.
As you may have guessed, our prayer focus for Week 3 will look directly at the art of asking – in other words, interceding to – our all-powerful Father through His Son on behalf of our country and the residents who comprise its fabric.
Because the same pattern that Jesus used to teach His disciples to pray – the one that included sections specific to praise and repentance– also included a section of asking for provision (see Luke 11:1-4, Matthew 6:9-13).
Over the years, I’ve heard people – some emphatically – insist that asking should never be a part of one’s communication with God. They reason that because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice – the giving of His life on the cross – mankind has no right to ask for anything more. And while their point makes sense logistically, I always feel a certain sadness when the conversation ends because, frankly, the act of interceding on behalf of oneself or others is a scriptural privilege for any follower of Christ.
It’s also a scriptural responsibility that runs throughout the entirety of the Bible; one that was and is and will forever be a foundational tool for building spiritually-formative faith. I’m listing just a handful here:
- Abraham prayed for Lot’s welfare (Genesis 18:16-33);
- Moses prayed to keep God’s presence and to see His glory (Exodus 33:15-22);
- Gideon prayed that a piece of fleece would be wet…then that it would be dry (Judges 6:36-40);
- Hannah prayed for a son (1 Samuel 1:9-18);
- Solomon prayed for wisdom (1 Kings 3:5-15);
- Elijah prayed for rain (1 Kings 18:41-46);
- Nehemiah prayed for restoration (Nehemiah 1:4-11);
- Zechariah prayed for his newborn son (Luke 1:67-80);
- And leave it to Peter to get himself into a situation that left him flat-out praying he wouldn’t sink (Matthew 14:28-30).
What’s more, you can barely touch a page of the New Testament without seeing Paul or another apostle – or Christ Himself – praying for all kinds of reasons. Think about it this way: Jesus the Son of God tells us outright to ask and it will be given (Matthew 7:7). Granted, the caveat to that promise is that what we ask must fall within the boundaries of His will. We’ll tackle that topic next week, but the point to remember for now is this: we truly don’t deserve to petition God for anything. Through the blood of Christ, though, not only are we given the privilege to ask but we are expected to ask.
Because more than the most doting human parent dotes on their child, your Heavenly Father dotes on you. It only makes sense, then, that your prayers – your requests – are a powerful, powerful thing. Want to see proof? Look at the Christians in Acts 12. If I gambled, I’d bet the ranch and everything on it that these people never dreamed that their prayer for Peter’s release from prison would be answered in such a miraculous way.
That account is an earth-shattering example – no pun intended – of the power unleashed when we, God’s people, come together in unified prayer. Unwavering faith works that way; it has the jaw-dropping, head-turning ability to get results that the most earnest efforts and good intentions alone just can’t.
Christian writer Jim Powell drives this point home in the following statement:
…Scripture says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). If we are continually [interceding], we can be assured that God is [listening and answers], for He “give[s] the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:13), and we know that “He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Yet first we must regularly commit our ways to Him, asking for His guidance and His favor.
Powell also points out a valuable truth concerning hard work and determination. These factors alone don’t seal the deal in whatever change a person or church – or let alone America – so desperately needs and seeks to find. As ambassadors for Christ, you and I must be certain and our lives must demonstrate that we actively walk with the Lord in pursuit of His will. Those two things require us to pray daily that God’s power and presence have full access to work in and through us as we seek to make a difference alongside the Difference Maker.
Heavenly Father, with the words of this week’s post in our minds and hearts, we come before You in humble intercession on behalf of our country, its leaders and our fellow residents. We magnify Your Name and give You glory for allowing us the privilege of our status both as Your children and as American citizens.
In the spirit of 1 Timothy 2:1-2, we pray that in Your mercy You will reveal Yourself to our leaders in and beyond the days ahead: that those who do not know You would experience You in a powerful, personal way; that those who do know You would determine to love and serve You amid the confusion and hostility of current events. Please enable them to stand with boldness and courage in the dark face of evil to uphold the name of righteousness. Surround each leader with Godly counselors, please Father, giving them sharp ears to hear Your instructions, clear vision to see Your strategies, and committed hearts to follow through with Your commands.
In the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14, we fervently pray that Your healing and forgiveness sweep across this land. We do fully realize that this promise does not stand contingent to unsaved souls and their acceptance of Jesus as Savior; that its premise rests completely and squarely – without excuse – on Your followers and our willingness to obey Your call to humble ourselves before You, prayerfully seeking Your perfect face, turning from our own disobedience and disregard for Your law. Far too often, we have chosen unhealthy tolerance and political correctness at the expense of Your unchanging Word. We pray with desperation, therefore, that each of Your followers determines to rededicate their lives to You, return to You as their first Love, and seek Your Son Jesus with all of their hearts.
In the spirit of Proverbs 11:11 as well as Psalm 51:10-19, we ask for Your restoration of America. Please fill this country coast to coast, north to south, east to west, with the guiding counsel and comfort of Your Holy Spirit as only You can. Rescue Your people, Lord; restore the joy of your salvation to our land and uphold it with a willing spirit.Equip us. Give Your followers the tools and the power to teach unbelievers Your ways, so that they too will turn to You and repent. What a beautiful sight it would be to see a unified nation singing of Your righteousness and deliverance; to hear it declare Your praise.
We lift up to You, O God, the sacrifices of a broken spirit and contrite heart of this country. According to Your Word, You will neither abandon nor dismiss either of these offerings. Finally, LORD, have mercy upon us. Do good to America in tandem with Your good pleasure, build her up again as a testament of Your faithfulness to all of creation.
We ask these things in the precious Name of Your Son – our Redeemer – Jesus Christ, Amen.
– Copyright 2018 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.