On May 30, 2020, Franklin Graham called churches to pray for America. What does this mean? Are we doing it? Have we really begun? How does it work?
Many things have a mechanical nature to them. Some are physical as in automobiles, washing machines and scissors. Others are figurative as in problem solving and prayer.
“A child learns to speak because his father speaks to him. He learns the father’s own language. That is how we learn to speak to God, for God has spoken and still speaks to us.
“His children learn to speak to Him in the language of their Father in heaven. We begin to pray by repeating to Him, not in the false and confused language of our own hearts, but in the clear, pure language in which God speaks to us in Jesus Christ, and in that language He will hear us,” Dietrich Bonhoffer.
Teach it - then preach it. Model it - then invite others to join in. In Matthew 5:44 we are instructed to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And in verse 48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Go into your closet and pray, but also pray in public. Invite others around you to join on the spot and in scheduled meetings, every Sunday night, Wednesday evening, Thursday women’s Bible Study and Men’s Saturday morning Prayer Breakfast and Youth Group. Hand out appropriate Scriptures to read and pray. Provide a list of needs for prayer – be specific, church family, community needs, etc. In Matthew 5:48 the word “perfect” refers to being whole and complete in your relations as in “growing up to be like Daddy.”
Acts 1:14 explains that “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” Again in Acts 6:3-4, “We will turn this responsibility over to them and give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.”
Do not miss this foundational truth and necessary step in the mechanics of teaching prayer. Certainly do not pray in a pompous way, as found in Matthew 6:5, but in humility and grace. Psalm 25:9 says “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.” And in Proverbs 3:34 we read “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.”
In these times of national confusion, crime and godlessness, let us lead in a call to “arms” – lifted up in praise; to hands – clasped in prayer; to knees – bent in humility. Who is leading and teaching your people to pray? Be the teacher that invites others to come along side and join you in prayer constantly, consistently and regularly.
Pray first, during, last and always!
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