Time for Prayer?
While the inspired apostle Paul stated clearly, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17), it seems strange that during crises we hear with urgency, “We need to pray!” If we’ve been diligent in our praying without ceasing, should there ever be an “urgency” for prayer? Or does this urgent cry suggest a lack of compliance with the commandment?
Like many, I’m guilty of making the urgent plea, “We need to pray!” Recently, this urgency was stated in an email as we shared the sad information regarding the Judiciary Committee’s voting to accept the Articles of Impeachment against President Trump. We purported that regardless of your political preference, this is only the third time in our country’s history a president has been impeached, and the first to have such charges levied by strictly party lines. If nothing else is noted from these results, one cannot fail to see the great chasm in our nation’s elected leaders!
Several people are now quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a “present time necessity.” The passage reads: “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.” But don’t ignore the context of the passage! God made this statement after Solomon’s prayer and the rejoicing ceremonies for the temple. Note carefully verse ten of the chapter reads, “And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.” There was great happiness among the people! They recognized the blessings of God upon their beloved King David, and his son, King Solomon, and upon themselves. There was a distinct unity: a unity of great delight and appreciation for God and His blessings! In this, God makes His promise to heal their land if they continue in humility, prayer, seeking Him, and turning from wickedness. It is clear to the bible student, Israel failed to continue in these righteous actions and therefore divided – never again to unite as a single kingdom! Additionally, God’s promise was stated under the Old Law; a law fulfilled when Christ died on Calvary (Colossians 2:13 – 15). Thus, this promise of God has no present-day application to us. It was made to Israel of that day, and obviously, due to their lack of obedience to its conditions, this promise of God would not come to fruition.
So, is there any hope for us? Is there any value to praying? James answers plainly: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1: 2-8) John adds conviction to this statement saying: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5: 13 – 15) All the faithful who pray without ceasing realize this truth, as the faithful are praying without ceasing!
But let’s realize something of even greater importance: It is NOT the United States the Lord intends to deliver to the Father on the last great day! No, the United States is NOT the kingdom/nation He died to save! Christ Jesus died to purchase HIS kingdom, the church! It is THIS KINGDOM ALONE He will deliver to the Father in that last great day (1 Corinthians 15:24) It will matter not at all if we’re citizens of the United States, or Russia, or Ukraine or Germany, France, China or any other nation on earth. If we’re not citizens in the Kingdom of God, the church of Christ, then we’ve no hope of eternal life at all! It is in THIS Kingdom where peace truly reigns supreme because we pray without ceasing!
Orleans church of Christ
660 South Maple Street
Orleans, IN 47452