“Pray without ceasing…” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools that we have as Christians. It is a gift of divine communication that profoundly touches our life and the life of others around us. I feel confident that any Christian who has practiced the discipline of prayer, could share a testimony of how prayer has deeply impacted their life. Recently, the value of prayer has come into question in our society. In wake of recent tragedies, especially those involving gun violence in our schools, churches, and society at large, many people have poured out their condolences and expressed their commitment to pray for vic-tims and their families. When people join together to pray for a person (or a group of people) there is a divine power that helps sustain those who have faced traumatic situations and heart-wrenching loss. James witnessed to this power when he wrote in his epistle, “Are any among you suffering? They should pray. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” (James 5:13, 16) Yet, in light of these re-cent tragedies there is a growing sentiment being expressed that prayer is simply not enough. Much of this sentiment expresses the frustration of those who think that our lawmakers and government leaders should take a tougher, more restrictive, stance on gun control. These individuals find it offensive that anyone would offer to pray for the victims but not advocate for a particular legislative agenda. In so doing, their words are slighting the power of prayer and minimizing its effectiveness to nothing more than wishful thinking. Some would go so far as to say that prayer makes us feel better and is an excuse to keep us from taking action to actually help those who are hurting.
Prayer should never be a substitute for taking Godly action. Instead, prayer is a tool that helps us seek to understand, and act upon the perfect will of God. When it comes to the deeply troubling problems of our society such as gun violence, opioid addiction, human sex trafficking, sexual harass-ment, domestic violence, poverty, gangs, and a whole host of other issues, prayer is the very place where we should turn first and foremost. By all means, let us pray! As Paul admonished the Thessalonians, let us pray without ceasing! (1 Thessalonians 5:17) And as we seek God’s guidance, let us listen for his voice, expecting and anticipating that God will guide us into Christ-like responses to the ills that plague our society. (Luke 11:9) As we hear God’s voice, both as individuals, and as the body of Christ, let us have the faithful courage to act. Let us remember that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Let us go forth with the mighty light of Christ that drives away darkness and can never be overcome! (John 1:5)
With that said, prayer is the very foundation of any right action. Prayer should never be reduced to some sappy sentiment or wish-fulfillment. I can say without reservation that prayer is the very method of communication with the living God who is all-knowing and all-powerful. Prayer has sustained this nation through some of our darkness and most trying times and prayer will sustain God’s people into the future. Now is not the time to doubt the effectiveness of prayer, but instead to discipline ourselves in prayer as never before. Our nation needs healing, our people need uniting, human hearts need transforming, and our churches need reviving! Those things will only happen as a result of a mighty move of God. And such a move of God will only be precipitated by the fervent prayers of God’s people.
In conclusion, I invite and urge you to take advantage of the corporate prayer time that we offer on Wednesday nights in our ladies’ parlor from 6:30-7:00pm. If you will come join us in prayer, I believe you will experience a revival in your own spirit. Also, I invite and urge you to attend the prayer rally on May 3rd from 7-8pm in the Angier Depot Square, as we observe the National Day of Prayer for our country. Let us take a bold stand for what we believe about prayer and let us exercise our God given constitutional right to pray in public without hindrance. The future of our nation and the generations to come depends on our faithfulness to stand with our brothers and sisters and call upon the Lord! I hope you will join me at the Depot on May 3rd at 7pm and on Wednesday nights in our ladies’ parlor as together we commit to pray without ceasing!