Prayer: refusing ‘acceptable’ religion


Credit: Washington Post

Credit: Washington Post

Prayer is about breaking bounds set by secularists, who want to limit Christianity to pious crying.

The day after the April 15 Boston bombings, Christians held vigils for the victims, and the worldly applauded. But the dead stayed dead. Mourning didn’t change our country.

Credit:TheTimes

Credit:TheTimes

Trying to constrain Christ to a reduced role of “acceptable” activities is nothing new. When Jesus saw his dead friend Lazarus, he cried. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” — John 11:36 NIV. Crying was acceptable. Raising him from the dead was not. From that day on they plotted to take his life. — John 11:53 NIV. Jesus was taking their thunder.

the-bible-lazarus-tomb

Credit: The Bible Episode 4

It’s impossible for Christ to remain benign. His followers should not cower either. If you only want to lament the demise of this world, wring your hands. But if you want to see Christ transform this world, get in contact with resurrection power now — through prayer.  I am the resurrection and the life, said Jesus (John 11:25 NIV).

Credit: Prayerprayer.net

Credit: Prayerprayer.net

Break out of the limitations they set on you. (They don’t conceive supernatural power.) Work in prayer for miracles!

You would think they would have rejoiced at Lazarus’ resurrection. To the contrary, it made them furious (because it meant their loss of political power). But Jesus didn’t play their game. He used power. And that same power is available to us today.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing prayer vigils and mourning for victims. I would have participated, had I lived in Boston. What I’m saying is that we Christians can’t limit our activities to religious actions devoid of real power. We must pray for our countries, for our cities, for our neighborhoods, for our churches, for our families.

I’m also not talking about being obnoxious. Is there anything worse than a shrill “Christian” scolding the world for its worldliness? No, I’m talking about crying out to God and making impact, not being a self-appointed moral policeman for people who don’t have slightest idea about morality. First, let’s bring people to God, then teach them the way.

The world is eroding. We must resort to prayer.

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28 responses to “Prayer: refusing ‘acceptable’ religion

  1. That was awesome! I’m really inspired by other believers not content with “playing it safe” in being a follower of Jesus. God Bless you!

  2. When you say, let’s bring people to God–do you mean in prayer?

  3. Very well put. Power in prayer through Jesus. Amen!

  4. If we are the body of Christ then prayer should be used as calling down God’s power and blessing to take action. But action doesn’t necessarily mean chasing down bad guys (though there are those with that responsibility). Action for most of us is the small and simple things that will bring about great things. Promoting a spirit of acceptance and welcome in our own communities is something small that makes big changes. That’s what I love about churches and ministries (at least the majority of them). Although it is good to bring people to Christ, it is equally important to let them see Christ in the way we act and treat them. We may make friends who never have any interest in the gospel, and that’s their choice—but we should always be their friend. I think paradise starts with us.

    I know that’s what you’re trying to do, Mike, and I hope people can see it in your posts. And I hope all of us take the good we find and share it in our own ways in our communities and the world.

  5. Thank you for being brave enough and bold enough in Christ to speak truth.

  6. “First let’s bring people to God, then teach them the way.” YES YES YES!

    What an inspiring message.

  7. Prophetic wisdom. Thank you.

  8. Amen. So sorry to hear of this news.

  9. I wish we could hit the like button again and again on this one! Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Pingback: Whom the Church Has Harmed 050813 | Mennonite Preacher

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