Regardless of the seasons of life, we are called to give thanks. Whether the “sun is shining down on us” or we are “found in the desert place”, as Matt Redman reminds us in his song “Blessed Be Your Name”, we are called to pray and give thanks. Giving thanks for all that God has brought us through and thanking God for His faithfulness to us, no matter the situation or circumstance we may find ourselves in.
In these very unique days as everyone is trying to get back to some sense of normalcy from a global pandemic that has impacted people worldwide, giving thanks and taking time for purposed prayer can be a little lower on the list of “to do’s”. Distractions and concerns fill our hearts and minds. The hours in a day seem to be crowded out with waiting in distanced line-ups, shopping for face masks, and catching news reports to get the latest update on the pandemic “curve” and which way it is heading. In the limited quiet moments we carve out of our day, perhaps we remember to pray for our immediate needs—our family members, our food, our health, our leaders. Wait, what? Our leaders? Yes, Scripture reminds us to pray for our leaders…
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour… I Timothy 2:1-3
Regardless of a person’s political stripe or stance on a certain subject or theological viewpoint, it does not take long before relatively calm conversation can turn into active or even aggressive and heated dialogue. Whether on social media, the evening news, roundtable discussions, letters to the editor in the newspaper, everyone has an opinion these days and too often they can be negative or even destructive.
Jesus taught in Matthew 5 that those who follow Him should be known for being the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”. As the Church, we are called to be both salt and light. We are called to make a difference for the kingdom of God. As Christian examples and message bearers, we are on this earth to take the gospel message to those who need to hear it and we are to go to the Father in prayer, with intercession and thanksgiving for those in authority over us. Personal opinions and judgment must fall to the wayside and prayer must raise to the Father. Our civic, municipal and federal leaders need our prayer. Whether it is the individual or political party that you may align yourself with or not, those in roles of leadership need the help of God to make wise decisions and to navigate through difficult times.
Chrissy Krahn, a PAOC Mission Canada urban worker in Montreal, was moved by God during the COVID-19 pandemic to pray for those in leadership. And, it wasn’t just in the quiet of her personal prayer time that the Lord prompted her heart to intercede on their behalf. Chrissy knew she needed to take her prayers a step further and make personal contacts with those in leadership in her new city. She began contacting various government officials by telephone. As Chrissy was chatting with an administrative assistant at a constituent’s office, the assistant stopped the flow of conversation and directly asked Chrissy why she was asking certain questions. Chrissy’s answer was quite simple, compassionate and genuine. She was wanting to send a card of encouragement to let specific leaders know that they were being prayed for, and that if there was anything specific that they needed prayer for, that they could certainly be in touch with her.
After a few seconds passed, the woman shared how she was usually on the receiving end of peoples’ disdain, criticism, hatred. Rarely was there ever praise. And prayer? Well, that was non-existent. She chatted with Chrissy about how people are often contacting their office to see what they can get from a politician, not asking for a way to help. This assistant mentioned that she wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry learning that Chrissy wasn’t looking for a handout, but to offer a hand up … WAY UP. The phone call that Chrissy made that day was perhaps more about conveying the love of Christ to a woman on the receiving end of the call and reminding her that Christians are different.
How refreshing and challenging to know that in our very unsettled, jaded, volatile world that a simple and sincere gesture of prayer, even intercession, could be a game changer for someone. And even for something. Have we become so distracted by the day-to-day tasks and the distanced line-ups that we are not intentional in what we are communicating to the Father, or who we are lifting to Him as we put our petitions before Him.
The fields are ripe unto harvest. As followers of Christ, we are equipped to do battle. We are positioned to go to the Father, the One who holds absolute authority. And, what does He call us to do?
And to do so with a posture of thankfulness. Scripture reminds us of the power of prayer and the gift of encouragement that ALL of God’s people can expend to others and for others. The transformational power of God will occur when everyday ordinary people spend time daily in prayer for our leaders and the state of our nation. COVID-19 and the recent uptick in racial discord has really brought a new level of angst, uncertainty and fear. People are looking for hope and as Christians we have the only true source of lasting Hope. We need to share that hope with our world. As Chrissy reached out to those in leadership in Montreal, she didn’t just let them know she was praying, but she encouraged those in roles of authority and power to consider what they needed prayer for. That very move is a reminder that we cannot solve issues on our own. We are not smart enough or connected enough to do things in our own strength. Transformation takes place when the One who is the ultimate Authority is consulted.
Much is resting on the shoulders of leadership in today’s unsettled and volatile world. Who is needing your prayer support? Who in your town, city or nation needs to know that you are not only praying for them, but that you would agree in prayer with them for the issues, concerns and decisions that are resting heavy on their hearts and keeping them awake at night?
Is a phone call in order? Don’t delay. Pray first that God would give you favour, and that your encouragement and support would be just what is needed on the right day and at the right time. Pray for salvation. Pray for family members. Pray for safety and security. Send words of encouragement, even Scripture as the Lord directs your heart.
Individually and together, let’s pray for revival in our nation. It starts with us, but it can be so far reaching as we call out to God to change our nation, transform our cities and draw the hearts of our leaders to a place of total reliance on Him. It’s never too late. And no one is ever too far from Him. It all starts by praying … and picking up the phone!