Prayer in the Time of War
Today, is the 18th anniversary of the attacks on our country on 9/11. We are still a nation at war, even though there has been a de-escalation in the last few years. The love of a country and desire to see that country succeed, is not necessarily bad as some would have you think. Nor is it bad to have the desire to be able to move about the planet freely. The kingdom has something to say about both these things, and how we view our home and its place in history will affect how we pray.
Prayer, God and the Nation State
God has always included large Tribes, or Families (Israel, Edom, Moab, etc.) as part of His prophetic direction and plan. He has also spoken to, on behalf of and in decisive action against nation and city states (Egypt, Greece, Babylon, to name a few).
There are some who would contend that God no longer has any use for any nation state now that Jesus has brought the kingdom. You find some of these same people longing for a Theocracy in politics, and that politicians be to someone's perceived moral standard. What results, because rarely is someone up to yours or my standard (this is the sin of judgement and pride, but that's another blog post for another day), is that whole swaths of people disengage from any sort of natural process (voting, civic duties, etc.) and subtlety twist the spiritual process of praying for someone into praying against someone.
The distinction in the latter couldn't be more singular. Prayer can be reduced to a weapon - we pray against things, people, situations, nations, politicians, etc. (I've even heard prayers against sports teams...it doesn't help.) This is an application of prayer, but when we make it the focus, it reduces prayer to a tool of our perceived interpretation of the will of God and not what it was made for: relationship.
Prayer Is About Relationship First, Results Only Later
The only reason we pray is based in relationship. Whether it was those first few, halting steps of "God if You're really there" prayers, to the first time we talked with Him and committed our life to Him, or the ongoing fellowship we experience in our "cool of the day", we talk to God because of our relationship together.
I recently had a conversation with a believer on the subject of authority. Authority is not garnered from a technique, or the loudness and intensity of interaction, but from relationship. Prayer, fasting and all we do in life is set towards deepening our relationship with God and from that relationship, we function in greater or lesser specific authority.
We gain authority as we gain access to the heart and mind of Christ. Once we understand how He sees a person or situation, then we know how to pray from the kingdom of Heaven and His resources, rather than from the kingdom of men and its subsequent lack and need.
Janice and I rarely engage in prayer until we can be thankful in the midst of a situation for for a person. We only take enemies on days that don't end in "y". We find that as we get God's heart for a situation or person, we begin to be thankful for some aspect of them, even if it is not the entire situation or person, but the foothold of gratitude begins to shift our focus. This alignment with the purposes of Heaven, shifts our tactical authority in light of our strategic relational authority. In short, we shift our focus in prayer from us and our needs to Him and His purposes and plans, knowing that our needs will be cared for.
Prayer as Stewardship in a Time of War
Prayer is a stewardship. Since we have been given a share in "all authority on heaven and earth" through Jesus' commission, we steward this authority through praying the mind and heart of Christ in a situation - internationally, nationally, locally or interpersonally. This prayer prepares us for actions of love and kingdom that shift the atmosphere even further.
So, what then is our stewardship as it relates to the ongoing war in Afghanistan and elsewhere as an aftermath of 9/11?
1) Get in with God. Open the dialogue with Him. Seek His heart and mind for all the nation states and tribal factions involved. What is the kingdom doing?
2) Watch your G.Q. - not the magazine, but your gratitude quotient. Continue to give thanks for people, situations and nations. Search for the grace of God and reflect back to Him what you find. To quote Graham Cooke, "give thanks until you become thanksgiving".
3) Pray from heaven to earth. We are brokers in the kingdom of kingdom resource - love, abundance, healing, wholeness, purity, holiness, righteousness, etc. We are releasing, in prayer, solutions and not just praying about problems.
4) Evil is real and should be contended against from Heaven's process. Cromwell said during the civil war in England, "Give thanks for Providence, and keep the powder dry." There are something things, situations and even ideologies that we must take stands against. Yet, we pray in a different manner, Ephesians 6:10 - 20; 2 Corinthians 10:4- 6; 2 Timothy 2:4. (Yes, I want you to look them up or you can click on each to go to the Blue Letter Bible). There are "spiritual broadcasts", ways of thinking that we would call the zeitgeist, that are out there for people to tune into. Our weapons are not natural, but incredible mighty and effective to dismantle these thought processes and eliminate the actions that come from them.
Here are more specific action points to pray for:
1) Pray for a just peace from the kingdom's perspective that would benefit the kingdom and therefore mankind.
2) Pray for protection of life - both soldiers and civilians.
3) Where wholesale slaughter is happening against Christian and other populations because of radical, jihadist Islam, pray that divine intervention and military influx would break the strategy and ability of those who think they are doing God a favor by killing "infidels".
4) Pray for the martyrs and families that have been affected by the slaughter. Ask for comfort and grace.
5) Pray for righteous agents to stop this slaughter.
6) Pray for revival. A max influx of believers on both sides of the conflict will dampen what remains. Revival means that there would be a massive visitation by Jesus with those in Islam, the Kurds, the Yazidis and secular, Westerners.
7) Remember the words of Leif Hetland, "Pray about Ishmael as a promise instead of a problem."
8) Pray for healing, stability and peace, so that the gospel would spread. Pray for all the leaders so the same will happen. 1 Timothy 2: 2-7
Take time to pray. Join me right now by clicking on the video link below.