Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our Nation, Prayer, and Persecution
     "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." - 1 Timothy 2:1-2
     As we consider our nation, our churches, and even our own lives and our families, it is evident that we need to pray.  If we do not have God's help we are in trouble!  Most of us are familiar with a number of statements the Bible has about praying, such as, 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."  I think that we can apply this very specifically to Jerusalem, but can also derive a principle that we should pray for the peace of our own country.  We also have numerous examples of people in the Bible who were praying for their country.  Some of the prophets, such as Daniel, and the Psalmist made prayers for their nation.
      Now, I've heard some people talking about praying that persecution will come to our country so that the church would be strengthened.  I've heard from multiple sources that some of the Christians in China are praying that we will be persecuted for our Christianity in America.  They also don't want us to pray that their persecution will stop.  I think that these Christians are some of the most sincere and dedicated believers.  However, it is a sin for anyone to persecute Christians! Shall we pray for evil that good may come?  God FORBID!!!
     Jesus taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."  If we find ourselves in divers temptations we should count it all joy, and yet, when we are persecuted in one city we ought to flee to another.  David in Psalm 7:9 prayed, "Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just..."  I believe that we should not pray for persecution, but rather, that God would spare us and deliver others.  Nevertheless, if we have prayed wrongfully God can still answer rightfully. 
     When we pray for our country, let us recognize that God hears prayer and that His hand is not shortened, but that His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Let us be humble and confess our own sinfulness and beseech God for His mercy.  We need God to send out laborers into his harvest and revive us again and I think that we need far more than a revival of just renewed dedication and sincerity but we also need a vast reformation of our culture even within many of our churches. 
                                                   But aren't we nearing the end of time? 
     "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."  2 Peter 3:9

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