Praying from Peaceby Jamie Donne
Unless you’ve been avoiding every form of media for the last few months, you’ve probably been stirred by the upcoming election. I have certainly been provoked. My hope is that the upcoming 12 hour Heal Our Land Burn will be one of the greatest attended, fiery times of prayer we’ve known. But too often in this season, I’ve found myself moved to a place of unhealthy prayer. I come to the Lord from a place of fear and frenzy rather than a place of confidence. I recite anxieties rather than declaring truth from faith.
We are children of God, invited to come boldly to the throne of grace, confident of the hope that we have. We live in heavenly places and function out of the government that has no end. Can you relate with my moments of realization that I’ve bought into the sky is falling rhetoric rather than eternal truth?
My most convicting moment of this election season came as I realized how small minded I had become. I was scrolling through Facebook and a recent hero of mine posted a photo of a 14 year old Burmese former child soldier from one of the most violent head hunting tribes. This young leader is now living in northern Thailand in a children’s home thriving in his identity as a son of God. Shortly after that, my friend shared news of the death of the Thai king. This signaled the potential for greater instability in Thailand, certainly a cause for intercession. Meanwhile, I was caught up in the latest scandal in this wild election. My heart was grieved as I realized the way I had narrowed my perspective. We are called to be people with eyes open to the world that God loves. I repented–asked God to help me change my thinking. Our prayers shape atmospheres and I want to be wide open to the world Jesus died for. Not because of circumstances, but because that’s the Lord’s heart and I want to pray what’s on his heart.
I realized that not only have a narrowed my perspective, but if I’m not careful, I’ll also miss out on good news of what’s happening in the earth. In the midst of this election season, Mosul, a city full of people taken captive by Isis, is being liberated. In our own country hundreds of people involved in human trafficking were set free and their traffickers arrested. We are still living in the greatest move of God on the earth. The Kingdom is ever expanding and the Gospel is bearing fruit all over the world. There is good news if we open our eyes to be attentive to God’s movement.
Scripture says that we do not fight against flesh and blood but against the authorities and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. How often are we speaking as if people, candidates, and earthly authorities are our enemies? If I’m honest, I have been tested in how and why I choose to honor in this season. We do not honor because of someone else’s behavior, but because we are honorable sons and daughters. We live in nobility that shows no partiality.
The Lord told the Israelites that he didn’t like their fasting when it included pointing the finger at other people. I can imagine him issuing a similar word to many of our political prayers of pointing the finger at those who disagree or even at particular people. The Lord doesn’t say this to condemn us and shake his head at our silly prayers but to invite us to a higher way. He tells us to pray that the earth would look like heaven. So we can ask God for a fuller picture of the culture of heaven and pray that the earth would look like that. We look to reformers of Scripture like Daniel know that we’re walking in even greater power and revelation than the personal prophet who loved an evil king. His fasting and prayer was met with political shifts and supernatural wisdom.
We’ve heard it said that money doesn’t change you, it reveals who you are. Money is a slave or a tool depending on the posture of our hearts. I’m learning in this season that political tension and pivotal moments similarly shed light on areas of growth. None of these principles are new, but we do have fresh opportunities to live into them. We should always pray from the conviction of faith rather than fear. The 24-hour news cycle beckons us to fear but we choose to be people who “hold the newspaper in one hand and Scripture in the other.” (G.K. Chesterton) As we partner with God’s heart, he continues to whisper what’s on his heart to his friends. This surely includes the election, but if we listen closely will likely include the needs of our neighbors, the widows and orphans around the world, and the fruit of the Gospel around the world, among many others. This season invites us to deeper friendship as we linger to hear his heart beyond the frenzy that surrounds us. It lifts us to our seat in heavenly places where the perspective of heaven gives us a more complete picture.
This week let’s fast and pray from the true knowledge of God’s character and heart. We long to see heaven come to earth and we know that the government plays a role in that. This is, indeed, a pivotal moment. It’s a time for the Church to be her best self–full of honor and authority and convicted of things unseen.