Seth Udinski, FISM News
Late last week, Governor Bill Lee (R.-Tenn.) signed a proclamation dedicating this coming Friday, September 30, as a day of prayer and fasting across the Volunteer State.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) September 23, 2022
The proclamation’s language is unashamedly Judeo-Christian as it exhorts the citizens of Tennessee to turn to Almighty God. The proclamation states, in part,
We acknowledge God’s sovereignty and the need for God’s grace over our state and our nation; we walk humbly together with God in hope so that we may act with justice, kindness and love, no matter the circumstance; we seek forgiveness for our many transgressions so that our hearts and our minds may be renewed; Scripture tells us that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and the Lord gives wisdom freely to those who ask for it; and the people of Tennessee acknowledge our rich blessings, our deep transgressions, the complex challenges ahead, and the need to pause, to humble ourselves and to seek God’s guidance for the days ahead …
Tennessee is becoming a leader in the conservative movement, especially in the realm of abortion. Last month, the state enacted a near-total ban on pre-birth infanticide.
Author’s Biblical Analysis:
Against demeaning accusations of “Christian Nationalism,” believers should be very encouraged by Governor Lee’s proclamation of prayer. The scripture is overwhelmingly clear — prayer is vital to the spiritual health and progressive sanctification of the believer. The scripture is also clear — if a whole group of people, a nation even, will come before the Lord and humble themselves, He will hear them.
The Lord tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Gov. Lee is acting precisely in line with his responsibility of godly leadership. He is leading his people into the presence of God in prayer.
There is a great encouragement for believers in this report — You must pray, and you must pray continually.
We do not pray to try to get God to bend to our will. Nor do we pray to try to earn any special standing with God or achieve some level of mystical transcendence. So why should we pray? I would submit to you several arguments for why the believer should pray.
First, pray because God tells you to do it.
Some Christians will not be satisfied with the answer, “For the Bible tells me so.” We need to set aside our pride and be confident in the Word of God and the commands of God, even if we do not fully understand them. God tells you to come to Him in prayer, and if you have no other reason to pray other than that, this is still a good enough reason. Pray because you are commanded to do so.
Second, pray because God answers prayer!
Does God answer our prayers exactly as we would like, every time? No. Does God always answer our prayers? The answer to that is a resounding “Yes and amen.” God always answers.
We see very clearly in scripture that God responds to His people’s prayers, and our prayers cause things to happen that otherwise would not have happened.
Please understand, we must accept a level of mystery here, because we serve a God who is totally sovereign, having ordained all things to happen according to His good pleasure. Yet, we see in scripture that God responds to the prayers of His people.
It is a mystery, but praise God He has given us the answer. We must believe, based on the sure testimony of His Word, that God works His perfectly ordained plan through the prayers of His people. So we pray, confident that God answers and responds and equally confident in God’s sovereign plan and immutable character.
Finally, pray because it causes you to grow in holiness.
The great 20th-century Christian philosopher and author C.S. Lewis once said this:
I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.
Lewis’s words ring true. Prayer sanctifies us. Prayer makes us more like Christ. It reminds us of our ever-present, desperate need for God’s grace. Prayer keeps us humble, and prayer brings us into deeper intimacy with God.
Look at the Lord Jesus Christ as your example. The Second Person of the Trinity, truly God, equal in glory and co-equal in majesty with the Father, prayed to the Father. He prayed throughout His earthly ministry. He prayed in the garden before His death, and get this: the Father said “no” to His Son’s prayer. When Jesus asked for the cup of wrath to pass over Him, He knew His Father’s answer would be “no.” Jesus must go to the cross to rescue those whom the Father had given Him.
But then immediately, Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
May that spirit of humble reliance upon our loving and sovereign God be ever-present in us as we go before our Lord in continuous, desperate, humble prayer.
Pray without ceasing… (1 Thessalonians 5:17)