Something is wrong. That something is manifesting itself as murder, racism and violence that is tearing apart families, neighborhoods, communities, and dividing our nation.
Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas, and most recently Tulsa & Charlotte…sadly just to name a handful. These are cities and communities that have been the front lines of this something. But this something is far more than many of us realize. As terrifying as this may sound there is something far more sinister and damning at work than the violence and hate that we are seeing lived out in our streets.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
Satan is working overtime in our nation to divide and destroy. He is employing any and every tactic imaginable to bring us to our knees and to keep our eyes off of the real problem: sin, death, and Satan.
So how to we combat such a ruthless enemy? What can we do to resolve issues of murder, racism and violence that, truth be told, are just surface deep? How do we deal with the root issue that is at play, that is manipulating and distracting us from the source of the problem. Peaceful protests, conversations, political persuasion, town hall meetings – while they all have their place and are tools that we can use – none of them truly solve the problem that operates at the heart level, not at the surface level.
That’s it. Prayer. Before you write me off as being idealistic or simplistic or naive please make the following considerations:
- In the same passage that the Apostle Paul wrote about who our real enemy is he also provides his solution to the problem: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” Ephesians 6:18 (ESV)
- In explaining prayer, Andrew Murray wrote, “Intercessory prayer connects the King [God] on the throne with the Church at His feet.”
If we – the Church – are instructed to pray at all times and if we truly understand the power of prayer as the very thing that unites the King of kings and the Lord of lords with those who follow and serve Him, then what else should we want to do?
To the Church’s detriment we too often view prayer as our last ditch effort, the thing we do when we’ve run out of options, or we feel like we are unable to do anything else. Shame on us. Seriously, how pathetic do we sound when we reason this way.
- Prayer should be our first response, not our last ditch effort.
- Prayer should be our first and only option, not the thing we do when we’ve exhausted all other options.
- Prayer should be the thing we can do because we are always able to, not because we are unable to do anything else.
What else matters beyond prayer if we get our theology of prayer from God Himself as delivered to us through His Word?
So what do we pray for?
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
Do you realize what Paul is celebrating in these verses? Do you know what he’s referencing when He describes God as being “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think?” You only need to back up a few verses to see where Paul’s mind is at when he shares this truth. He’s celebrating the mystery of the Gospel, that Gentiles are reconciled to God just as they Jews are, through Christ Jesus. The Gospel is for everyone and in that, the Gospel erases anything that can separate or divide us. The Gospel can conquer murder, violence, hatred, and racism as Paul speaks of in Ephesians 3. That’s right! Paul is celebrating the God who can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think because it was unthinkable then – as maybe it is now – that anything could reconcile racial divides. The Gospel can. The Gospel does. The Gospel will.
Let’s commit to contend for our nation on our knees. Let’s realize that prayer is not our last ditch effort but the very weapon that God has placed in our possession to go to battle against our real enemy.
What would happen in our country if the bride of Christ committed to pray the power of God into our nation? The answer is found in our response.
I’m committing to pray at 2 specific times each day until we see powerful and radical Gospel transformation and I am inviting you to join with me.
Let’s pray at 3:20pm every day – as a reminder that God can do so much more than we can imagine in reconciling any and all differences that divide us.
Let’s pray at 6:21pm every evening – as a reminder that what we’re fighting against isn’t each other. It’s not even racism, hatred, violence, and the like. We’re fighting against Satan.