Archive for the ‘#nationaldayofprayer’ Tag

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So, it was the 2016 National Day of Prayer today and I almost missed it. It’s not really a priority for me because I pray every day. Well, that’s not exactly true. I pray all the time. People don’t necessarily know that about me. I don’t raise a flag and announce that I’m having a conversation with God. It just sort of happens in the back of my mind. Sometimes I start out thinking something to myself and then find myself addressing my thought to God. So, I don’t need a special day of prayer to have a conversation with my Savior, so the official Day of Prayer is not a priority for me.

I don’t subscribe to the following sentiment —

We Should All Pray Today

I think genuine Christians pray all the time in the same way that I do. Most of the folks I know who I consider to be genuine Christians admit to the same sort of constant conversation with God that I experience. This is what Christians mean by a “relationship with Jesus Christ.” For us, He’s not some idol far away in the sky that we occasionally honor by bending our knees, bowing our heads and saying some prescribed words. Prayer is a conversation with God that is also a two-way street. God speaks to me all the time and I try to listen and obey, though I’m not as good at it as I might wish. My physical parents sometimes thought I was a naughty child too.

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not a Christian, prayer is sort of ridiculous. According to the Bible, the only prayer of a non-Christian that God will listen to is a prayer of repentence for salvation. (John 9:31; Deuteronomy 1:45; Job 27:8; Proverbs 15:29). It’s sort of like how my son absolutely will not answer his cell phone if you’re not on his contacts list. So, if you’re not a Christian, I don’t expect you to pray on the National Day of Prayer, although if you want to bow your neck to Jesus Christ to ask Him to genuinely enter into a relationship with you, I’m sure He’ll hear you and respond.

Still, I want to make this clear … while I totally accept your right not to pray, I reject the notion that you can tell me when, how, or where to pray or demand that I don’t pray because it makes you uncomfortable.

Keep Your Prayers to Yourself

Unlike this writer, I’ve read the gospel in context and realize that Jesus was not saying we can only pray in private, behind locked doors where those who don’t believe in prayer can’t see it. What He was saying was that when we pray before an audience, our prayers risk being a spectacle rather than genuine prayer. Remember, prayer is a conversation with God … but too often, public prayer is a performance to show how “spiritual” we are for the benefit of other people.

Chris Nye suggests that Christians just cede the public ground to non-Christians and whisper to our imaginary friend in secret. To a certain extent, he’s right in that God doesn’t really need our help to advance His agenda. He can change the world with a word if He chooses and if Christians are silent, the rocks and trees will testify of God (Luke 19:40). Christians are called to be the hands and feet of God and His witnesses to the world. Withdrawing from public is not an option.

On the other hand, some Christians (or those who claim the title for themselves) are obnoxious about their beliefs … kind of like the Pharisees, who didn’t pray publicly in worship of God, but to show how religious they were. It’s a fine line between genuine prayer and Pharisaical grandstanding. We should make sure we’re on the right side of that, but under no circumstances should we cede the field to those who reject God and hide in our homes and churches as if we have something to be ashamed of.

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power to everyone who believes.

2Timothy 1:12-13 – Because of this [gospel of Jesus Christ, v 11), in fact, I suffer as I do.But I am not ashamed because I know the one in whom my faith is set, and I am convinced that He is able to protect that which is entrusted to me until that day. Hold to the standard of sound words that you heard from me and do so with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

 

 

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