Many believers will be joining together during the National Day of Prayer. In some cases I have to confess, the activity reeks of hypocrisy.
Worse, such base abuses of the faith among those with an ungodly agenda – I mean those who tangle, grapple and bite at each other in our daily news cycle – are not great representatives of the faith. One day we see them savaging the President then next day, we see they are leading a prayer breakfast.
In James 4:1-6 we read:
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
You adulterous people,don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Lu. 18-9-14
In another place Christ begins with “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” Mat. 5:43-48
And Paul charges us…
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 1 Tim 2:1-4
In the age of Christian Confrontationalism so prevalent in the Church, we’d best be careful. Thinly veiled political statements, chiding and “Godly Criticism” … Seriously?
Which petitioner am I? Do I need to confess some things and recover in submission to Christ?