Published May 1, 2012

Paul's Epistle...
"Who Will Pray?"

This Thursday, May 3rd, will be observed across America as the annual National Day of Prayer, an event declared by Congress in 1952 and this year carrying the theme, "One Nation Under God." Prayer events, attended by literally millions, will be held all across the country.

In fact, John Bornschein, the vice chairman of the NDP Task Force, says this year's event will be the biggest ever: "The National Day of Prayer is experiencing more than 35 percent growth in prayer events over the last year! That means the 61st annual National Day of Prayer will be the largest in recorded history."

Why is this happening? Bornschein says, "This response is definitely a statement to those who would try to take away the very freedoms that our Founding Fathers sought and fought to ensure for themselves and for us."

This is a hopeful sign. Perhaps American Christians are finally waking up to the continual and unprecedented assaults on religious freedoms in our country the past few years from government and others who are clearly hostile toward Christianity, its fundamental tenets and even its public expression. This was a primary concern of the late Chuck Colson, who made the fight to preserve religious freedoms and the right to worship freely — and the need to understand the importance of all that — one of his cardinal goals.

One of our primary responses to such assaults against Christian beliefs and practices should be, of course, earnest and persistent prayer. That's something that can and should be done at any time, all the time. But this year's political races, especially for president, have sharply increased awareness of these issues, as Americans feel the time has come when perhaps they can actually do something, humanly speaking, to stem the obvious downward moral spiral and the accelerating assault against Christians and Christianity in public discourse. Like salvation itself, the right to vote is a gift that, if not individually accepted, is worthless.

Are Christians obligated to get involved? Author Craig von Busek argues in a new book that too many Christians react to all the bad news out of Washington with a feeling of hopelessness and despair. Rather than getting involved, they simply cut themselves off from the world around them and enter their own little cocoon of religious isolationism.

But von Busek, CBN's Director of Ministries, says in his book, "Praying The News,"1 that Christians have an obligation to get involved. He says we are called to be the "salt of the earth" and a Christian example to all, a "city set upon a hill that cannot be hid" (Matt. 5:14,16). He says Scripture makes it plain that we are called to be ambassadors for Christ, as declared by the Apostle Paul. We are to be change agents in our society, using the rights we still have and the abilities God has given us to do so.

This is why von Busek says that instead of being intimidated by the news – as so many are – we should be asking the Holy Spirit to lead us to pray — and to show us what to pray. Satan's task, von Busek points out, is to distract us and divert us from praying. He tries to bring us under condemnation in his chosen role as the "accuser of the brethren." He tries to tell us we are not worthy to pray and that our prayers are just empty words. But, he says, God removes all condemnation and takes our feeble words and makes them mighty weapons of change.

Oh, that we would understand, that we would grasp the power of prayer. Oh, that we would fathom God's promises that He would hear and answer our prayers. James made it clear that "the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Why do we let bad things, bad circumstances, a bad economy get us down? It should come as no surprise. Jesus said, "In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Why, through our prayerlessness, do we continue to reduce prayer to the status of Christianity's most underutilized resource? Why can't we comprehend that all the power in the universe (and beyond) is waiting to be unleashed for those who pray according to God's will?

The Talleys have a song2 out that asks questions like that — and seeks a commitment:

For our children, for our homes
For the lost who long for hope
For this nation so in need of God today
For the lonely, for the hurt,
Those in hunger, those who thirst
For a world that has to hear that Jesus saves...

Who will pray?
Who will lift their heart to heaven?
Who will fall before the throne of grace?
Who will pray?
Trusting He will hear and answer
All who come to Him in faith.
Who will pray?


And I love the determination expressed in the song's response to those questions:

We will pray!
We will lift our hearts to heaven.
We will fall before the throne of grace.
We will pray!
Trusting He will hear and answer
All who come to him in faith.
We will pray.


Will you take up the challenge?  Pray!

- Paul
___

1"Praying The News - Your Prayers Are More Powerful Than You Know," by Craig von Busek and Wendy Griffin, published by Regal Books.
2"Who Will Pray," recorded by the Talleys on "Stories & Songs," written by Rebecca J. Peck, Kenna West, Sue C. Smith, published by Thomas Peck Music, Dayspring Music, CCTB Music, Universal Music Brentwood Bension Publishing. Excerpts used by permission.
ASSIST News Service contributed to this column.

Comments on this? paul@thegospelgreats.com

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