“Lord, please strengthen and protect the wise who are obedient to you and frustrate and confuse the foolish who are disobedient to you.”
I believe God answers prayers. And I believe we can all be united through this simple prayer, whichever side of the bickering and divisiveness that has engulfed North America we fall in.
This prayer is powerful when we include ourselves in this prayer. This way, we are not praying for or against anyone specific. We are simply appealing to God to guide each of us to doing what God thinks is right and lead us away from what God thinks is wrong.
My faith in this prayer is based on my Christian beliefs. Anyone of other faiths, however, can pray the same. The only common ground we need is our faith in the omnipotent God who listens and acts.
I’ve learned much about prayer from numerous books. I’ll summarize briefly just a few biblical principles about prayer below.
God Wants Us to Pray
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the Bible says: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land” (New King James Version). God wants us to pray and he promises relief from our sins and healing for our land. This especially important when the world is marred from violence, political enmity, COVID-19 and other diseases, hurricanes, and wild fires. We who trust in a loving and omnipotent God yearn for God’s relief and healing.
In the New Testament, or the Greek Bible, the Gospels show us Jesus praying in various circumstances. In the Book of Acts, we read about early church leaders praying. In the letters written by the Apostles, they urge the readers to pray. God wants us to pray.
Jesus Shows Us How to Pray
Jesus Christ specifically models for us in Matthew 6:9–13, The Lord’s Prayer: “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 forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Note in The Lord’s Prayer that Jesus doesn’t want us to pray for or against others. Jesus wants us to pray about our part in God’s kingdom and how we participate in God’s will as we depend on God to provide for us our daily bread, forgiveness, and protection from temptation and evil.
God Answers Prayers
In both Hebrew and Greek Bibles (Old Testament and New Testament), there are numerous accounts that God answers prayers. The following are just a few samples among the many:
· God brought a son for Hannah after she prayed (1 Samuel 2)
· Hezekiah received healing and longer days on earth after he prayed (2 Kings 20)
· Peter escaped from prison multiple times when other believers prayed. One escape was especially humorous because those who were praying were surprised when Peter showed up at the door after having been freed miraculously (Acts 12)
· Cornelius the Roman centurion received the good news of Jesus after Cornelius prayed (Acts 10)
Early Church Leaders Prayed
Early church leaders set examples of praying themselves. In their writings to Christians, the church leaders described what they prayed for. Examples:
· Paul prayed for the Jews that they would be saved (Romans 10:1)
· Paul prayed for Christians to love abundantly and be filled with the fruits of righteousness (Philippians 1:3–11)
· John prayed for health and prosperity for his readers (3 John 2)
Early Church Leader Urged Christians to Pray
Early church leaders teach Christians that they also ought to pray. The leaders not only prayed but also showed we all needed to pray. Some of the teachings follow:
· We ought to prayer in every situation and prayer overcomes anxiety and brings peace (Philippians 4:6–7)
· Prayers are an integral part of practical Christianity along with love, service, empathy, compassion, etc. (Romans 12:9–18)
· Church leaders need the prayers of others (Hebrews 13:18)
· Fervent and earnest prayers are powerful (James 5:16)
There is no Downside
These are just a few principles. These few examples show there is every reason for godly people to pray and no reason to neglect this powerful deed of faith in action.
During these times of divisiveness, protests and counter-protests, demonizing people whom we disagree with, and the declaration of who is or who is not God’s chosen, we are desperate for unity.
Can we join our hearts and minds in unity instead of divisiveness and pray for God to strengthen and protect the wise who are obedient to God and confuse and frustrate the foolish who are disobedient to God?
Next time — whether you’re Republican, Democrat, or independent, whether you’re for or against any politicians, whatever your race, religion, or ethnicity, whatever your gender or sexual orientation — when you read an article or see on TV someone who affirms your views, ask God to protect and strengthen the wise who obey God and frustrate and confuse the foolish who disobey God. When you read an article or see on TV someone who opposes your views, ask God to protect and strengthen the wise who obey God and frustrate and confuse the foolish who disobey God.
Then we wait and trust in faith for God to answer.
There is no downside.