A Prayerful Pause

by Phil Ware

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and people. He is the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. (1 Timothy 2:1-6 NLT)

    They're called the winds of war. In recent months, they have been zephyrs -- rustling breezes with the warning stench of death. In the last few weeks, the winds have stiffened and war appears more imminent.

    No matter your country of origin, you receive Heartlight because you are a believer. That means your ultimate allegiance is to a higher call and a transcendent Kingdom. (Philippians 3:20) This Kingdom does not know racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, or language boundaries. (Galatians 3:26-29; cf. Revelation 7:9-12) As children of God, we share our Father's concern and want "all people to be saved" by coming to Christ Jesus who "gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone." So as we hear the rumble of the War Winds, let's take a prayerful pause.

    In that prayerful pause, let's first give thanks. Let's give thanks for our personal blessings and freedoms. Let's give thanks for the age in which we live. Let's give thanks for those we love and hold dear. Let's give thanks for an unshakable Kingdom (Hebrews 12:18-29) that is our security and hope in a world that is subject to death and decay (Romans 8:18-25). Let's give thanks for a loving God who loves us with an everlasting and inexhaustible love and will bring us into his presence in glory with great joy.

    Next, let's plead for God's mercy on those who do not know him or who live in rebellion to him. Some of these people are close to us -- they are in our family, spiritual family, or in the family of those we know well and love deeply. Some of these people are not so close to us -- they perceive us as their enemies and would like to see our destruction. Let's plead for God's mercy on those who are ill and battling disease. Let's pray for the deliverance of those who have been told their illness is terminal. Let's pray for comfort on those who face ongoing physical hardships, handicaps, or diminishment. Let's pray peace on those facing mental and emotional struggles. In each of these situations, pray specifically for people by name or by group, asking for God's mercy to be upon them and our Father's presence to be real to them in their time of hardship.

    Next, let's pray for our world rulers so that peace and quietness will carry the day and not the winds of war. Yes, we know that war must sometimes happen to prevent an even greater horror. We do not want to be naívely complicit in another holocaust, nor do we want to sit idly by while tyrants plan the demise of innocent people or try to block the path of their people to religious freedom. But, God asks us to pray for peace and quietness so that his cause and his people can be known for their godliness and dignity. We pray for peace to reign so that the message of Jesus can spread, so that Christian outreach across the world won't be hampered, and so that Christ's ambassadors will not feel as physically threatened. We pray for peace so that lives won't be lost and so that Christianity isn't confused with geopolitical agendas. We pray for peace because our Father wants us driven to our knees before the shouts of war and the passions of hatred are roused by bloodshed. Let's pray for peace and quietness!

    Please dedicate yourself to prayer this week. If you fast as part of your spiritual discipline, please add a day of fasting and prayer to this week. Let's join together, hearts and prayers linked around the world, and let's ask that war can be averted and a solution can be found to ease the tension and remove the threat of mass destruction.

    As the velocity of the approaching winds mount, let's pray that they can be stilled, that lives can be spared, that families can be re-united, and that peace will open up a highway for those that bring the good news of Jesus to those trapped in darkness, hatred, and unbelief.

One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's cross over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and started out. On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while he was sleeping the wind began to rise. A fierce storm developed that threatened to swamp them, and they were in real danger.

The disciples woke him up, shouting, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" So Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm! Then he asked them, "Where is your faith?" And they were filled with awe and amazement. They said to one another, "Who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?"
(Luke 8:22-25)

Posted: 02/03/2003
URL: http://www.heartlight.org/articles/200302/20030203_pause.html

(c) 2003 Phil Ware, Heartlight, Inc.

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