Prayer

Why Pastors Should Lead the Way in Praying for the New President

"When an administration changes... we have the chance to show a watching world that we remain committed to following the instructions of our Lord through His apostles, regardless of party affiliation or what we had hoped for an election’s outcome." - F&T

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A Suggestion About How to Pray

Many Christians struggle to pray. How do you pray without it turning into a laundry list of needs? There are all sorts of good models out there. I’d like to recommend one that’s easy, and probably more helpful than anything you’ll ever do. If you follow it, you’ll never run out of things to pray, and the Holy Spirit will help you grow.

What is it? Simple. You pray through a passage of scripture. Any passage of scripture. That’s why you’ll never run out of things to pray, because God’s Word always has more to teach us. After all, God’s word is the Spirit’s sword to wage war against the fiery darts of the evil one (Eph 6:16-17).

How do you pray through a passage of scripture? Easy. You use a four-step process:1

  • Instruction. What does the passage teach you? Recount to God what you feel the passage is telling you, and ask Him to give you insight into what the text means.
  • Thanksgiving. Thank God for something in your life, especially if it’s related to the passage.
  • Confession of sin. Confess and admit your sin as you ponder what God tells you from the passage.
  • Prayer. Pray to God and ask him for the strength and perseverance to do what the passage says, and thank Him for His love and patience.

What does it look like? Consider Romans 5:1-5:

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Tens of Thousands fill National Mall on day of prayer and repentance

"Tens of thousands packed the National Mall in Washington Saturday (Sept. 26) to cry out to God and repent. The gathering stretched from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol." - BPNews

See also: 50K Pray for Nation ‘in crisis’ to Return to God at DC March

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Does Belief in Divine Sovereignty Deter Prayer?

Some Christians think that a belief in God’s absolute sovereignty discourages a healthy prayer life. In reality, though, God’s sovereignty provides us with some of the greatest motivations to pray. I’d like to highlight just two of those motivations from Proverbs 21:30-31:

There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD.

God’s Sovereignty Keeps us from Despair.

At first glance, verse 30 appears to describe a sinless environment. Only in a world without sin can it be said, “There is no wisdom, understanding, or counsel against the Lord.” Such a condition existed prior to the fall and will exist after the return of Christ. In contrast, we see plenty of opposition to the Lord in our day. In the language of Psalm 2:2, “The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed” (NAS).

However, Proverbs 21:30 is not teaching the absence of opposition to God. Actually, it’s teaching the non-existence of human wisdom, understanding, or counsel that can prevail against the Lord (see NIV, NLT, ESV). It’s expressing the same truth expressed by the Scripture writer in Psalm 33:10-11: “The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation” (NAS).

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Why We Should Wait!

Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are You not He, O LORD our God?
Therefore we will wait for You,
Since You have made all these. (Jeremiah 14:22)

We’ve all heard versions of the prayer that goes, “Lord, help me to be patient, and please hurry up about it.”  In my life the lesson on being patient has been probably the hardest one to learn.  In fact, I must confess that I have not learned the lesson very well, and have constantly to relearn it.  If I were to put my finger on the problem it would have to land on the truths brought out in the verse above.

Jeremiah knew a lot about having to wait.  During his ministry he had to preach for God to a people who had set themselves against the truth.  His words often seemed to bounce off the surface of the ears of his listeners.  Moreover, he had to contend with false prophets who would tell the eager hearers what they wanted to hear; the bad times were coming to an end; the Babylonians would be beaten back; God would come to the rescue of Israel.  These were not the messages that Jeremiah was given to proclaim.

Given that Jeremiah had an unpopular message to preach, he had to be a man of patience to continue, day in, day out, to be a herald of, this verse gets to the heart of why we can wait on the Lord, giving over to Him our propensity to rush things or to see matters change overnight. 

The prophet poses two questions about the way the world works. 

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