Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1st Timothy 2:1-3 New King James Version)
While scanning the headlines of our local newspaper the other day, I could not help but notice the increase of crime, especially homicide in our city. While I certainly applaud our city leaders for their “get tough” stance on crime, it poses an interesting question. What is the role of the church as it relates to these issues?”
The apostle Paul tells us in this text the most important role that the church should play as it relates to issues in society is to engage itself in prayer. In essence, Paul tells us that prayer is the key to success. Prayer is the key to success because when the church prays, it operates within the will of God. The text reminds us that we are mandated to pray for all men, even those that we may not like. In fact, special emphasis is placed on those men who lead people. Paul reminds us that the church is commanded to pray for the Nero’s of our time. We should pray for them because these important people make decisions that shape our lives. In addition, we should pray for their salvation as well.
This mandate leads us to an important dilemma in the local church. Paul informs us that when the church prays for the leaders of the people, the church can experience a quiet and peaceable life. Herein lies the problem, the church and the city is not experiencing peace because the church refuses to pray. Prayer meeting is still the least attended service in the church. Christ has left the church in charge of world affairs and it is through prayer that we receive our marching orders from God. However, many of our local churches are engaged in everything else except prayer. The church lacks power because we breach the mandate of Jesus when he said; “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
So as we monitor the issues that are plaguing our city such as murder rates, homelessness or health care issues, we should not complain, we only need to look at our individual congregation’s prayer life.
“If my people who are called by my name would 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. “ (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Our land needs healing, but will the church pray?
Richard L. Curry, Jr. is senior pastor at True Tried Missionary Baptist Church, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org