“Prayer In Perilous Times”
By Lois J. Stucky (1928 – 2014)
Increasingly these are perilous times and there is need for Christians to be, like Abraham, “strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded” that what God has promised, He is able also to perform (Rom. 4:20-21). “Perilous times” are associated with the “last days” spoken of in Second Timothy 3:1. Some of us may be in the generation through which God wants to bring to consummation His great plans for the return of His Son and the ushering in of His glorious reign! Ought we not, then, to strive to be men and women of strong faith, able to fill well our God-assigned place in His agenda? There is a harvest to be gathered in! Christians, this is our hour to pray, to believe God, to step up to the responsibility to which God has called us – if we are not already doing so!
To be sure, many Christians today are faced with personal, grave concerns such as are facing all people around the world: shortage of finances, troubled relationships in the family or at work or church, unsaved and wayward dear ones, health problems, threats to safety and to our very life, abounding sin in society, etc. But these concerns must not becloud our vision of our almighty God and what He is able to do and what He has promised to do. If our primary focus is not on God, then instead of praying prayers of faith, we will, like many others, suffer from waning hope and worry or depressing acceptance of ill fate. How can our lives then count for God and His cause? Overcoming personal problems through faith and prayer trains us and strengthens us for our King’s service.
Hindrances to Answered Prayer
While strengthening ourselves in faith in God’s promises to hear and to answer prayer, we must keep in mind that a serious hindrance to answered prayer is sin in the life. The psalmist David wrote: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psa. 66:18).
It is good to pray often, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23-24). Then humbly give God time to do that. It is when sin has been put out of our lives that we have “confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:21-22).
That God May Be Glorified
Oftentimes our hearts are deeply touched by needs of which we learn. Our prayers may be sympathetic and fervent, but they might also be tinged with selfishness. For effective prayer, the uppermost desire of our heart and the direction of our praying should be that in this particular life or instance, God be glorified and His will done and His purposes furthered. The answer that would please us most might not be what most glorifies God. The Apostle Paul set a worthy example for us, and he calls God’s people to “Do ALL to the GLORY OF GOD” (1 Cor. 10:31). What an eminent goal!
Every People and Nation
In the church in this hour there are many suffering for Jesus’ sake. As Jesus was, they have been hated without a cause (John 15:25). God help us to carry our persecuted fellow members of the Body of Christ on our hearts for prayer! Because His followers have been chosen out of the world, the world hates them for Jesus’ sake. Though the hatred of the world which falls upon Christ’s followers may cause much sorrow and suffering, the Father in heaven comforts with the assuring word that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
“…Watch and pray…” (Mark 13:33).