It has not been a terribly good week for me. I’ve not been feeling too well, which often gets me down and the worst of that is that I was unable to go to church today which is always a source of comfort. Add to that the seemingly endless depressing headlines and it makes for the need for a bit of escapism. Except that even in escapist fiction there is an element of reality which cannot be avoided.
So what do you do when you don’t have the answers and even if you do, don’t have the power to implement them? Somehow, whether or not you are a person of faith, we all seem to understand the concept of prayer. The Chambers Pocket Dictionary, describes it as, ‘to address one’s god making an earnest requests or giving thanks,’ and ‘an earnest hope, desire or entreaty.’
For Christians, prayer is an essential part of life, not just to ‘address one’s God’ but also for our benefit, because prayer is ‘an earnest hope’, also essential for navigating the minefield that is the so-called post-Christian, secular culture we live in.
The irony that secularism is being touted as a way of life at the same time as the moral compass of the nation and its leaders is swinging wildly, is a sign that it’s definitely time to pray. The Bible has a lot to say about prayer, indeed the book of Psalms is the greatest prayer book I know and it covers every situation in life one would need to pray for. Elsewhere in the Bible, we are admonished to pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, pray for our leaders, and pray without anger or arguments.
Indeed in his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul is urging the church to be vigilant and prayerful because of the ‘the day of the Lord‘, referring to the coming of Christ. This is not some ominous prediction about the end of the world, but a reminder that the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the coming of Christ are that much closer, since Christ is risen and because we do not know when the coming will be, we need to be continually vigilant and prayerful.
I daresay this advice is even more relevant today, since we are many centuries closer to Christ’s coming than they were in Paul’s day. So my brothers and sisters, pray continually; for the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much.