Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Unorthodox Praying

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.” (I Timothy 2:1-6 NIV)

You need to go no further than Facebook and Twitter to see how people feel about President Trump, Congress, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, the NRA, etc.  Almost all of my “friends” claim to be followers of Jesus, yet there is a great divide among many of them.  They often will post articles that back their views, sometimes denigrate those on the other side, and rarely, if ever, admit they might be wrong.  And I have yet to see anyone post anything like what Paul says to Timothy about the leaders and politicians of his day.

As a culture, we have become very divided and I fear have become like those Paul warned Timothy about who gather around them only those who will say what their itching ears want to hear. (II Timothy 4:3)  And, like them, our hearts may have become hardened towards those with whom we disagree.  Yet, Paul says we should pray for ALL people, make petitions and intercede on behalf of ALL people, and give thanks for ALL people.  And he says to do so is good and pleases the Lord, because He wants ALL people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.  

It is difficult to read this passage and not conclude something is missing from the way most of us relate to those with whom we disagree.  First of all, we need to realize the deep love God has for those on the “other side.”  It is not just limited to those who have similar views to us, nor does it mean to be saved they will have to switch to our side.  As human beings, we must humbly realize we do not have the corner on truth.  Secondly, we need to heed the command to go before the Lord on behalf of those with whom we disagree.  Jesus said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  (Matthew 5:44) Thus, it would seem appropriate to spend more time praying for them than debating with them.

This is indeed is to take an unorthodox swim up the cultural stream and anyone doing so will likely take some hits, but following Jesus is often hard and costly.  However, the question we must ask ourselves is, whom do we want to please most—our friends who think like we do or the Lord who is our Savior and the Truth?

Today, consider the Lord’s love for ALL people, regardless of their political views.  If you want to please Him, then start praying for those with whom you disagree.

© Jim Musser 2018

No comments: