Week 4 – PRAY-ing to Make a Difference
Our God is in heaven;
He does whatever pleases him.
Psalm 115:3 NIV
Wow…here we stand on the brink of Week 4 of our effort, PRAY-ing to make a Difference! As His Own Heart nears the end of its journey toward Election 2018, I’m so glad you’re here with us for one of the most important steps on our path.
Whether you’ve been with us for four weeks or four minutes of this project. His Own Heart is so honored that you – yes, you – chose to join your fellow sojourners in this committed, deliberate, proactive prayer vigil of time leading up to this Election Day – November 6 – that may well be the most pivotal midterm election in the modern history of the United States of America.
Together, we’ve prayed specifically for the wisdom of its people, its leaders and the nation as a whole with a staunch and unapologetic dedication to God as Founder of our freedom and to His Word as the non-negotiable Law of our land. Thank you, thank you so much for being here; your time has been well-invested. We’re now down to a remaining three-day window of opportunity that you and I as Christ-followers in American culture simply cannot afford to miss. The future of our country depends on it.
So as previously stated, it bears repeating that our time and our efforts are an imperative means of seizing that opportunity. Because we’re down to the proverbial wire and because this post is so important to the equation of prayer described below, His Own Heart is publishing a day ahead of schedule.
This election is that serious.
Before moving any further ahead, though, I would like to reiterate what the three posts leading up to this one have already underscored: our responsibility as we weigh the issues at stake and consider the candidate names on our ballots. When we take our turns voting in booths across this nation, you and I – as followers of Jesus Christ – are called to act upon what we’ve gleaned from four weeks of direct conversation with God through sincere, dedicated prayer about the matter at hand.
So this week, we conclude our prayer journey using the pattern of the acronym PRAY as a guide 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 we adjust the lens toward our prayer focus for Week 4, we’re going to take a step that requires a good amount of faith, trust and patience. Often and to the detriment of so many well-intentioned efforts toward communication with God, the practice of yielding with thankful hearts to His will falls recklessly by the wayside.
Think about it. We have direct access through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, to an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, never-changing Father Who knows infinitely what’s best for each and every one of His children; for all of His creation – which He created – by the way. Why on earth, then, would we not turn over to His perfect will every last mismatched, mixed-up fiber of our country and the residents who comprise its fabric? God wins; His will wins; He triumphs at everything He does. Look at history. Leaf through His Word. There isn’t a page in the whole of those Pages on which one thing done within the parameters of His will fails to work successfully and to His glory.
Go ahead; leaf away. I dare you to do it. I’ll even wait here while you do. But meanwhile, let’s also make sure we don’t miss the point that Scripture also instructs us to commit our lives to His will. In the same pattern that Jesus used to teach His disciples to pray – the one that included sections specific to praise, repentance and asking (interceding)– He also included a section in which we welcome and submit to God’s will (see Luke 11:1-4,Matthew 6:9-13).
Face it. We live in a culture so bent toward individualism and self sufficiency that the act of yielding isn’t a popular pastime in vehicles or in life itself. I mean, really, what’s so important about the will of God that we should yield to it even when yielding seems blatantly inconvenient?
I’m glad you asked, and I’d like to use Ligonier Ministries as a source building a foundational answer.
In the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructs us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This request flows from the petition for God’s kingdom to come. The Lord’s kingdom is present where we find righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (see Romans 14:17). Such fruits are possible only as we do the will of God.
It might seem strange to pray for God’s will to be done. Scripture is quite clear that God’s will, at least in some sense, is always done. After all the Lord works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:1) and does everything He pleases (Psalm 115:3).
But there’s more to the story than meets the eye, as scriptural context reveals. As it happens, the will of God is both decretiveand preceptive. Stick with me for some brief theology here because this is important.
Passages like the two mentioned above actually apply to what is commonly called the decretivewill of God. The term decretiverefers to God’s sovereign decree of whatever comes to pass. For the most part, in other words, this aspect of His will is hidden from us, but it includes everything that actually happens in creation. If God ordains something in His decretive will, it will certainly come to pass, as Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us.
The Creator’s preceptivewill, on the other hand, refers to those things that He finds morally pleasing in and of themselves. Think for instance of the Ten Commandments and the plethora of positive things they link to: preservation of life, chastity, contentment, and so forth please God. It is His will that such things be done because they allow us to experience the kind of life He intended us to experience. They also enhance our ability to fully serve Him.
At the same time – and because God didn’t create us as robots – His preceptivewill is routinely broken due to the human tendency toward rebellion. You know we have it; I know we have it. We violate His commandments and go against His preceptive will. But even on those occasions, we lack the ability to go against His decretivewill.
Christ’s crucifixion is a good example of this. God ordained that those who murdered His Son would do their evil deed. Considered in itself, He hates that act of injustice (Acts 2:23). Those men who had Christ killed violated God’s preceptive will against murder. Even so, God decreed the crucifixion for a greater final good, namely, our salvation and His glory (see Romans 8:28-29).
So to pray for God’s will to be done is both to pray for His preceptive will to be kept, and also to ask that people would choose to keep it not merely out of duty, but because they want to serve God with all their hearts, souls and minds.
This, I believe, is one of the most touching and effective ways in which a Christ-following American will ever honor both God and country all at once.
Thank you, again, for standing with His Own Heart through this effort. You are absolutely precious in God’s sight!
Holy, Just and Loving Father, we bow before You, worship You and trust Your decretive will in these final days before the 2018 election. We pray that, in tandem with Your preceptive will, America experiences a renewed and unquenchable desire for your perfect will to be done in the days ahead for our country. We love You, God. We need You. We are nothing without You. Our country is nothing without You.
As such, we pray that:
Hearts in America turn submissively toward You and that You beglorified in the outcome of the upcoming general election.
That America commits to demonstrate a spirit of repentance and prayer – individually as well as corporately, in accordance with 2 Chronicles 7:14.
That as Americans we see our spiritual poverty; that we will awaken to our great spiritual need and our dire need for You, according to Joel 3:12;
That our citizens will elect godly men and women to positions of authority so that our nation can rejoice as instructed in Proverbs 29:2;
That the leaders we elect will be just, fear and reverence God instead of mankind, and that the country itself will depart from evil, honor the sanctity of life, love and marriage as You designed it, as guided in Genesis 1:27; 2:24;2 Samuel 23:3; Psalm 139:13-16Proverbs 1:7and Romans 1:18-32;
That we elect wise leaders who listen to biblical counsel, as prescribed in Proverbs 1:3-5;
That we will vote with godly wisdom and discretion, as advised in Proverbs 3:21;
That truth will prevail in the media, in tandem with Proverbs 12:22;
That Christ-followers will put their confidence in God rather than any political candidate, in agreement with Psalm 118:8-9;
That we will look to You to overcome the enemies of truth and righteousness, as promised in Psalm 60:11-12 Psalm 60:11-12;
That those who love righteousness and truth will fulfill their responsibility to You to vote, in light of Matthew 22:21;
That leaders will allow You to work through them to keep the doors open for Your Gospel to be proclaimed, according to Colossians 4:3;
All honor, praise and glory to You we humbly give in the blessed Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Whose blood was shed for our sin, Amen.
– Copyright 2018 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.