Do You Pray?: Politicians Curse Prayer

Most recently, I read a news article on CBN News, written by Will Maule, Faithwire, “’We’re Not Going to Give Thoughts and Prayers’: 2020 Candidate Cory Booker Curses Prayer,” dated May 14, 2019. Maule wrote, “Democratic hopeful Corey Booker has issued some harsh words of criticism to those who vow to send ‘thoughts and prayers’ in the wake of mass shootings.” Maule wrote that other Democratic politicians have called that prayer is basically ineffective and Booker called it “Bulls**t!”

You can read the entire Will Maule article here: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2019/may/lsquo-we-rsquo-re-not-going-to-give-thoughts-and-prayers-rsquo-2020-candidate-cory-booker-curses-prayer

Let’s discuss for a moment the impact of what these politicians are saying. The Bible is very clear concerning the action of praying to God for help. An author by the name of J.C. Ryle wrote in the 1800’s the following, “I have looked carefully at the lives of believers in the Bible. I cannot find a single one (where we know something of their lives) who was not a person of prayer. Quite the opposite. It is often said of the godly that they ‘call on Him as Father’ or ‘call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;’ we are told that the wicked, on the other hand, ‘do not call upon the Lord.’”[1]

Ryle took this statement from the following scriptures: 1 Peter 1:17, “And if you call Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” Psalm 14:4, “Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the name of the Lord?”

Anyone who professes to be a Christian and then tells the world that he will not pray and encourages others not to pray does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ or with the Father. This person is separated from God. When one becomes a Christian, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, who in turn teaches the new convert how to pray. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and does not pray has no true relationship with God. Ryle wrote, “The Holy Spirit makes us new creatures and adopts us into God’s family, and He leads us to cry out to Him, ‘Abba Father.’”[2] Let’s look at Luke 18:7, “And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them?” Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father.’”

The Bible is full of encouraging promises to those who pray. I will list a few to consider:

Matthew 7:7-8, ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 21:22, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

John 14:13-14, “13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

These were just a few encouraging promises to pray. Now, let us look at what prayer did for those in need and during times of peril.

In the Bible, prayer opened the Red Sea when Pharaoh was chasing the Israelites down after they left Egypt. The Israelites were going towards the Red Sea and they started crying out to God for help.  In Exodus 14:16-17, “Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:21-22, “21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”

Ryle wrote, “Prayer brought water from a rock (cf. Numbers 20:1-13); Bread from heaven (cf. Exodus 16); Prayer made the sun stand still (cf. Joshua 10:1-15); Prayer brought fire from the sky onto Elijah’s sacrifice at Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 18:36); Prayer overthrew armies (cf. 2 Kings 19:20-26); Prayer has healed the sick (cf. Matthew 8:5-17); Prayer has raised the dead (cf. John 11:38-44); He never stopped giving until Abraham stopped praying (cf. Genesis 18:16-33).”[3]

Let us not forget that prayers were answered and Israel won the Six Day War back in June of 1967. God continues to answer prayer today.

For a man or woman that curses prayer and encourages others not to pray, in my opinion, those are not the words of one who has a true relationship with God, with Jesus Christ.  As J.C. Ryle wrote, the wicked does not pray to the Lord.

Folks, we are living in a time where Christianity is on attack. Please join me in prayer to pray for our leaders, that God will change and transform their hearts and that they will come to know the loving and saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are living in a time where spiritual warfare is real and what we fight as Christians are not of this world. See Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

 

References:

CBN News, May 14, 2019, http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2019/may/lsquo-we-rsquo-re-not-going-to-give-thoughts-and-prayers-rsquo-2020-candidate-cory-booker-curses-prayer

[1] J.C.Ryle, Do You Pray? A Question for Everybody (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2018), 14.

[2] Ryle, Do You Pray?, 13.

[3] J.C. Ryle, Do You Pray?, 26.

Copyright May 19, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Do You Pray For Your Leaders?

Just this morning, I had breakfast with a group of older people at a local fast food restaurant. Everything was going well until someone started talking about the anti-Christ. An eighty-nine year old women piped up and exclaimed that President Obama was the anti-Christ. I then told her that he certainly was not the anti-Christ. But this woman was so filled with prejudiced hatred that no one could convince her otherwise. She is a gray headed Caucasian woman who was set in her ways. Although she proclaims to be a Christian, she had a hatred for Obama. My concern for her as well as others like her is that she is truly lost because as a Christian, you cannot have hatred for another. The Holy Spirit cannot occupy your heart and yet one has hatred for others in it.

We can live in a country and say the most hurtful and mean things about POTUS and not worry about losing our lives. This woman said that the country was lost and needed to change and yet she cannot see her own sin because of her prejudiced outlook on people of a different color and race.  If we want to see change in our nation, then the change most start with each individual person within their own hearts. People who are filled with so much hatred for those of a different race, I believe it just shows the true “you” and a dark heart that has no love.

The very freedoms a US Citizen has in America was won on the deaths and sacrifices of the US Armed Forces. Before criticizing your POTUS with hateful remarks, why not consider praying for him? After all, we are called to pray! We are called to pray for our neighbors and get this, even our enemies. Regardless of your political stance, why not consider espousing LOVE as opposed to hate? It is easier to forgive than to carry the burden of a grudge.

The fact that proclaimed Believers participate in this type of behavior means that they still have a heart problem. Maybe they truly are not “real Christians.” Maybe they are even using “Christianity” as a political tool. Whatever their motive, by speaking “evil words” against a man or a woman means that one does not have the Love of Christ in their heart.

I don’t know what kind of god you worship or affiliate with? But my God can overcome! My God can heal hearts! My God can forgive trespasses! My God can help people to overcome!

So, why should we pray for a man or woman in leadership whom we do not care for? Because by praying for them, we are asking God to intervene for us that they will do the right thing. My God can change hearts and can save people from their sins.

Why pray for leaders to fear God? When someone leads and lives their life fearing God, they experience:

1. Wisdom
2. Knowledge
3. Understanding
4. Eternal Praise
5. Victory
6. God’s Protection
7. A Blameless Walk
8. Length of Life
9. Wealth and Honor
10. Humility
11. The Avoidance of Evil
12. Being Untouched by Trouble
13. The Saving of a Crushed Spirit
14. A Life That Lacks Nothing

Credit: Dr. Mark Becton taken from sermon preached on 01/22/2017, at Grove Avenue Baptist Church.

These fourteen points is all the reason to pray for your leaders, regardless of whether you like them or not. We are called to pray and to show the love of Christ to those who do not know Him, even if it is your POTUS!

James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”

Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Matthew 18:19, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

Matthew 6:9-13, “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Remember, before criticizing others, look at your own life. If you are without sin, then cast the first stone! But in reality, your life is just as filthy as the life that you are criticizing. Look at Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all have sin in our own lives. So, before you criticize POTUS or any other leader, consider cleaning up your own life before trying to straighten out the lives of others! This is exactly why we must be praying for others as well as have others to pray for us! GOD CAN! HE CAN OVERCOME!

If you want to see change, then start by analyzing your own life, asking forgiveness, and then living your life for God. Also pray for your leaders, even the ones you do not care for. It will make the difference in our nation as well as in our own lives.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © March 26, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Is Prayer Mandatory or Considered a Supplement to the Christian Walk? Part 1

Is Prayer Mandatory or Considered a Supplement to the Christian Walk? Part 1

Is prayer mandatory in the Christian walk or is it supplementary? I know many Believers who are not comfortable with praying in public. I personally like to pray silently, but there are times I must take the lead and model prayer for others. We often see people requesting prayer via social media and others state that they will pray for them. But do they really pray? This article is geared to sharing some Scripture and some points in how we should be conducting prayer and how prayer does affect our walk with Christ as well as others.

I most recently wrote a short paper on a Personal Prayer Analysis. I did some simple research of the four Gospels and found the following:

“Upon investigating the Scriptures in the four Gospels, where Jesus revealed an approach to prayer, this student used a Bible Gateway word search engine of the words pray, prayer, and praying. The result returned twenty-eight verses or passages. The descriptions were given as the following seventeen topics: Pray for Enemies, Pray Alone, Pray All Night, Early Morning Prayer, Keep Watch, Humble Heart, Exorcism Prayer, Baptism, Pray in Secret, Lord’s Prayer, Children, Faith, High Priestly Prayer, Temple is House of Prayer, Temple Prayer for all Nations, and Forgiveness. Of these topics, two references were found for Pray for Enemies; Four references were found for to Pray Alone; two references were found for to Pray All Night; three references were found for to Keep Watch; two references were found for Temptation; two references were found for the Lord’s Prayer; and three references were found for Faith. The remainder topics had one reference each. Of these references, what stood out the most was to pray often such as all night prayer, to pray in secret, to pray alone, to pray for our enemies, to keep watch or else we will be tempted, to have faith in what we ask, to come to the Father like a child, and if we do not know what to pray, Christ gave instructions by example with The Lord’s Prayer” (Lee, 2017, 4-5).

Of the twenty-eight verses and passages, the following chart was constructed to determine what Scriptures referenced prayer and for what subject.

Description Reference Description Reference
Pray for Enemies Matthew 5:44 Pray in Secret Matthew 6:5-6
Luke 6:28    
Pray Alone Matthew 14:23 Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-13
Mark 6:46   Luke 11:1-4
Mark 14:32    
Luke 9:18 Children Matthew 19:13
Pray All Night Matthew 26:36
Luke 6:12
Early Morning Prayer Mark 1:35 Faith Matthew 21:22
Keep Watch Matthew 26:41 Mark 11:24
Mark 14:38 Luke 18:1
Luke 21:36 High Priestly Prayer John 17:1-26
Humble Heart Luke 18:10-14
Temptation Luke 22:40
Luke 22:46 Temple is House of Prayer Luke 19:46
Exorcism Prayer Mark 9:29 Temple Prayer for All Nations Mark 11:17
Baptism Luke 3:21 Forgiveness Mark 11:25

 

“As this student researched and read through all the Scriptures, he realized that his own prayer life needed an overhaul. Although he prays, it is not often enough. For instance, Jesus said in Matthew 6:5-6 that when we should pray, we should not pray to impress others as depicted in verse 5, but to go into our room and pray to the Father in private and in secret. This student does not spend enough time praying. While Matthew 26:36 shows Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He told His disciples to sit while he went to pray. In verse 27, He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and he began to pray. He prayed for an hour and his disciples could not even keep their eyes open. But the indication from these passages is that people should pray, in private, or even with two or three other Believers, so that they are seeking God during times of trouble. As Jesus was facing ultimate condemnation and crucifixion, his disciples could not seem to pray because of their weakness. In this student’s own life, he strives to pray and stay faithful in prayer, but has been found weak in his practices” (Lee, 2017, 5-6).

How can one start a prayer life? Look at part of my conclusion from this short paper.

“In conclusion, this student must become more disciplined in his approach to prayer. He must find a private and quite place away from technology to pray. When praying, he will start using The Lord’s Prayer and then continue to have a conversation with the Father. He must come to the Father like a child and have childlike faith. He must have a humble heart and pray for not only his forgiveness, but to pray that he will forgive others for any wrongdoing in which they have done to him. He must pray for his enemies. He must pray to keep watch so that he will not be tempted by the ways of the world or distractions from prayer. He needs to become more disciplined to get up early and pray before others rise and the day starts. At times, when he needs to get closer to God, he needs to search Scripture, pray, even if it’s all night, so that he will seek God first in his life. This regimen must be done alone, so that he will have that intimate and personal relationship with his Father. He can no longer use the excuse or procrastinate because this intimate relationship with God is needed in his life. Fasting will also be incorporated as this will bring the student closer to God. He will strive to pray multiple times each day and it should start early in the morning” (Lee, 2017, 6-7).

Now that we have discussed prayer and the types of prayers, let’s get into what John MacArthur et al. states about prayer. Donald G. McDougall states, “Prayer by individual Christians, by Christian leaders, by the corporate body of the church, by small groups, and by men are all necessary. The content of prayers should focus predominately on ultimate spiritual battles with the forces of evil rather than on the mundane affairs of everyday life. A right purpose and a proper attitude should determine the matter of prayers” (MacArthur, 2005, 144).

McDougall states that God’s people need to learn to pray. McDougall reminds us that to get a remedy for problems, you must pray. Look at James 4:2, “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.” Look at the latter part of the verse, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Prayer is quite the remedy (MacArthur, 2005, 145).

McDougal continues, “At the very root of it all is the need for each believer to realize that prayer is foundational; prayer is not supplemental. Believers need to pray more, to pray more often, and to pray over many more issues. The reminder to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 is just as applicable today as it ever was. If we are to experience the blessings that only God can give, we as God’s people must humble ourselves and pray” (MacArthur, 2005, 146).

In conclusion, to set up prayer time, one must know how to pray as well as what to pray for. Jesus gave us a model prayer, which is called The Lord’s Prayer. Here is the prayer:

 

Our Father, who are in Heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day, our daily bread,

And forgive our trespasses and sins,

As we forgive those who trespasses and sin against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

And the power, and the glory,

`                 Forever.

Amen.

The above prayer is an excellent prayer to start with and then start to pray for other things that will glorify God. Please look at the prayer guide and determine what you are to pray for. Read the associated Scriptures and follow the leading of the Lord Jesus in prayer.

This is the beginning of a series of articles, which are meant to help those with determining what and how to pray. The best way to start a prayer life is to read Scripture and then start a conversation with God, through prayer.

Bibliography

Lee, Joseph T. “Personal Prayer Guide.” Rawlings School of Divinity, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, 2017.

MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © December 28, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Espousing Hatred Versus Love

November 8, 2017: Just recently, a woman was seen riding by President Trump’s motorcade as he was in route to a meeting. The woman then stuck her middle finger up at the President of the United States of America. I must say, one must have a lot of guts to do that! Either they do not respect the office of the President of the United States or they are filled with so much hatred, that they just want to tell the President to go to hades!

I visited her Facebook page and she has this picture posted as her Cover Picture on her wall. She apparently is very proud of this because she appeared to enjoy the kudos from her friends and fan base. So many people congratulated her on her actions to the President. Unfortunately, we are seeing this behavior all over the nation. What is so appalling is that this woman was the former Community Liaison Officer for the United States Embassy in Riga, Lativa from September 2007 to May 2009; which was found on her Facebook “About” page.

According to Curt Autry’s NBC12 Facebook page of Richmond, Virginia; this picture was captured by a White House Photographer, which ultimately went viral. It was reported that the bicyclist posted this picture on her Facebook and Twitter accounts and then her employer found out about it. Autry reported that her employer fired her over it because they are a government contractor. She embarrassed them with this gesture. Although she may have had the right to make gestures, she embarrassed her employer, which they in turn terminated her employment.

What would make this woman do this? Hatred is being espoused and spewed from peoples lips every day. It is apparent that the ways of God are not the ways of our nation. People place their political candidates on a higher level than they place God. People have fallen away from the ways of God. I see no love being espoused from the lips of the generation we are living in today. I see  brothers turning on brothers and sisters turning on sisters. What has happened when the man or woman in the highest office on earth has become the most despised and hated?

Isn’t it wonderful that we can live in a country and can say the hurtful and mean things about the President and other political leaders and not worry about losing our lives over what we say. After all, we are protected by free speech, right? Why not vomit hatred and disparaging remarks on social media? After all, it is free speech, right? You know, I believe it just shows the true “heart” and a dark heart that has no love. I am tired of seeing people post hateful things on social media that are hurtful all for the sake of a political agenda. But I guess the people who do this feel that their political beliefs outweigh their Spiritual beliefs. You would be surprised to see what some people write.

The very freedoms a US Citizen has in America was won on the deaths and sacrifices of the US Armed Forces. Before criticizing your President and other political leaders with hateful remarks, why not consider praying for him? After all, we are called to pray! We are called to pray for our neighbors and get this, even our enemies. Regardless of your political stance, why not consider espousing LOVE as opposed to hate? It is easier to forgive than to carry the burden of a grudge.

What is even more startling is proclaimed Believers are participating in this type of behavior. This means that they still have a heart problem. Maybe they truly are not “real Christians.” Maybe they are even using “Christianity” as a political tool. Whatever their motive, by speaking “evil words” against a man or a woman means that one does not have the Love of Christ in their heart.

Last night, in Virginia, the Democrats won in all three of the highest offices, which are Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. This is what the people asked for and what most Virginians wanted. But instead of Republicans being angry and throwing hateful and mean spirited slurs at them, they must come together and pray for our leaders. We must all come together and pray. Whether you are Republican, Democrat, or Independent; prayer will make a difference.

I don’t know what kind of god you worship or affiliate with? But my God can heal hearts! My God can forgive trespasses! My God can help people to overcome! Why should we pray for a man or woman in leadership whom we do not care for? Because by praying for them, we are asking God to intervene for us that they will do the right thing. My God can change hearts and can save people from their sins.

Why pray for leaders to fear God? When someone leads and lives fearing God, they experience:

1. Wisdom
2. Knowledge
3. Understanding
4. Eternal Praise
5. Victory
6. God’s Protection

7. A Blameless Walk
8. Length of Life
9. Wealth and Honor
10. Humility
11. The Avoidance of Evil
12. Being Untouched by Trouble
13. The Saving of a Crushed Spirit
14. A Life That Lacks Nothing

(Credit: Dr. Mark Becton taken from sermon preached on 01/22/2017, The Victory Hour, Grove Avenue Baptist Church.)

These fourteen points is all the reason to pray for your leaders, regardless of whether you like them or not. We are called to pray and to show the love of Christ to those who do not know Him, even if it is the President of the United States of America, Governor, Lt. Governor, or the Attorney General.

By praying for them, we are asking God to guide them and lead them to make the correct choices. By praying for them, God can change their hearts and hopefully, they will lead the people in a way that is honorable.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”

Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Matthew 18:19, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

Matthew 6:9-13, “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Remember, before criticizing others, look at your own life. If you are without sin, then cast the first stone! But in reality, your life is just as filthy as the life that you are criticizing. Look at Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all have sin in our own lives. So, before you criticize the President, Governor, Lt. Governor, the Attorney General, or any other leader; consider cleaning up your own life before trying to straighten out the lives of others! This is exactly why we must be praying for others as well as have others to pray for us!

 

References:

Dr. Mark Becton taken from sermon preached on 01/22/2017, The Victory Hour, Grove Avenue Baptist Church.

Joseph T. Lee Blog, WordPress, “My God Can!”

Curt Autry NBC12, Facebook Page, November 6, 2017.

© November 8, 2017, Joseph T. Lee, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.