Earlier this month, New York’s Daily News, following the shocking shooting spree in San Bernardino, Calif., ran a headline reading: “God Isn’t Fixing This.”
The paper said it was “not, in any way, shape or form, condemning prayer or religion,” but was instead denouncing politicians who offer “empty platitudes” instead of solutions to gun violence in our nation.
However, I see the headline as symptomatic of a culture that has long forgotten and/or disregarded the purpose of prayer and the capacity of Almighty God to hear and answer the prayers of a nation that humbles itself and calls out to Him (II Chronicles 7:14). Our Founders certainly understood this passage of Scripture.
My friend Tony Perkins of the Family Research Center said recently that we are witnessing “a new era of openly demonizing anyone with deep and sincere faith.” And that is a real tragedy for a nation that has, at times, embraced a culture of prayer.
I would suggest that prayer is exactly what this nation needs. God’s people need to be praying for national revival. God’s people need to be praying for humble spirits that embrace His truth and not man’s. God’s people need to be praying for the souls of loved ones who do not know Him. God’s people need to be praying for the peace of Jerusalem. God’s people need to be praying for so many things.
Yet, sadly, we all fail to pray as we should.
At this time of year when we largely focus our attention on Jesus coming to earth to be born of a virgin, I would like you to also focus for a moment on another key element of Jesus’ life. Let’s look at Jesus’ wonderful reliance on prayer.
In Mark 1:35, we read, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (NKJV).
In Matthew 14:23, we read, “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”
Jesus, who knew no sin and who was one with the Father, still maintained a necessary practice of prayer. If Jesus needed prayer, how much more do you and I need to be on our knees before God each day!
Probably the most important prayer Jesus offered came in Luke 23:34, which reads, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing….’”
You see, even with His awful death at hand, Jesus had his persecutors on His mind. On that old rugged cross as the last of His precious blood spilled to the ground, He was concerned with you and me and even those who have rejected Him through the ages.
Yes, our world is an often ugly place and our prayers may seem to be meaningless because of the darkness in which we find ourselves. But I recall the great words of a wise Christian man, A.W. Tozer, who said, “If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness and the beauty of Jesus … He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship.” No matter what we face, we must continue our daily prayer and devotional life.
The world may discount the power of prayer, but the followers of Christ will not lose hope. We will remain on our knees in prayer for our nation, for our churches and for our families. And we will continue to work in service to the One who hears and answers prayer even in the darkest of times.
Don’t grow weary in well doing, my friends. God continues to empower His people today and there is work to be done before His glorious return.