[forthright] Did We Think to Pray?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2008 14:27:34 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

Did We Think to Pray?
by Tim Hall

The name Dmitry Medvedev became more prominent
this week as he was elected to follow Vladimir
Putin as President of Russia. Putin's actions in
recent years have been a source of concern, as he
steered his country back toward authoritarian
policies of the past. As Medvedev prepares to take
office on May 7, questions arise about his
policies. But as we contemplated possible
scenarios -- did we think to pray?

Other world leaders were in the news this week.
Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, captured
attention with militant statements about his
neighbor to the north, Columbia. Tensions are
mounting in South America as Columbia seeks to
quell rebel activities. Chavez and others blame
the United States for fanning the flames, and
worries are mounting about what will follow. As we
ponder the inflammatory rhetoric -- did we think
to pray?

Last week Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran,
made a visit to Iraq. Ahmadinejad's name has
frequently been in the news as his nation pursues
nuclear objectives. The direction he is plotting
is a cause of concern to many. When we watched
images of this visit -- did we think to pray?

Our prayers regularly include the obvious: healing
of diseases, safety for loved ones as they travel,
help for difficult tasks. The Bible endorses all
of these as reasons for which to pray. But there
are many other things we're taught to include in
our prayers. Do we?

Paul spoke clearly about Christians praying for
political leaders: "Therefore I exhort first of
all that supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and giving of thanks be made for all men, for
kings and all who are in authority, that we may
lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness
and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in
the sight of God our Savior" (1 Timothy 2:1-3,
NKJV).

We're tempted to chuckle at the suggestion that we
can do anything to affect world affairs. These
rulers are removed from ordinary people. Attempts
to reach them with messages and suggestions
usually prove futile. What hope do I have of
influencing the decisions they make or the
policies they follow?

Do we walk by faith or by sight (2 Corinthians
5:7)? As Paul pointed out, it is God's will that
his people pray for "kings and all who are in
authority." It may not be obvious to me how my
prayers can translate into earthshaking actions,
but must I understand? Should I not rather be
doing what God has commanded and trust that he
will take it from there?

Why aren't conditions in the world better than
they are? Perhaps part of the reason might be what
James suggests: "... you do not have because you
do not ask" (James 4:2).

Instead of passively watching the news and
anxiously wringing our hands, let us think to
pray.

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