By Pastor Jeff Evans, MFC Director of Alliances
We’ve all done it. We offer up a half-hearted and generic prayer. “Lord, thank you for so-and-so, and… um… give them all that they need. Amen. Pass the potatoes, please.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. Jesus is in the business of taking our prayers and presenting them wonderfully and faithfully reworked before the Father. Simple prayers are used mightily by God when they are offered in sincerity and trust, regardless of how broken and frayed they may seem to us and others. But, we’re not talking about those.
We’re talking about the prayers that are impersonal, careless, and even lazy. We should know how to pray specifically for our children because we value them and take time to listen to them. We should care enough about our friends to ask them good questions that lead to good prayers. And the people in our church? Yeah, some of them might be a little difficult to get to know, but we should put forth some effort to pursue them and then pray for them. But, too often, we don’t.
Do an honest assessment of what you believe about prayer.
Does God hear them? Is He in the business of answering prayer, often in ways that surprise our narrow expectations? Are our prayers more or less effective when we pray in such a way that shows we’ve been paying attention to the things God says are important?
Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:1-6, says:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, forkings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
As much as Minnesota Family Council tries to keep you apprised of important matters facing those in "high position” so that you can pray and act, there is something more that all of us can do. We can lovingly pursue our leaders, showing our care for them as people and our earnest desire to pray for them. While it may be difficult to get even one minute with the President, it is relatively easy to arrange a meeting with your state or local representative. And, you’ll surprise them when you come to them first asking how you can meaningfully pray for them because that is a matter of first importance to you. What’s more, you’ll be dealing a major blow to a very deep problem in our state: our lack of intentional prayer.
So, here’s a challenge for you.
Pray like you mean it.
Pray like our churches, families, and state depend upon it. Pray not like a preening Pharisee but a humble follower of Christ who has the attentive ear of the Almighty. Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Pray so that "we may lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.” And then know this: "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). It very well may be that our biggest effect for the good of Minnesota will be on our knees.