Praying In A Pagan Land

Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens.  Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness.  Psalm 150:1-2

I was beginning to write an article on Prayer for this months encouragement and I wasn’t very far into it when I hit a wall of discontent on how it was coming together, so I stopped and prayed, “Lord if You want me to write this please help because this is not coming together as I had envisioned”
Well, He certainly heard my prayer as the very next day I received Decision Magazine in the mail featuring . . . you guessed it PRAYER! In fact the front cover had the title ‘Weaponizing Prayer’ with a beginning subtitle “When Believers Pray, Demons Flee”. Great meat for the fodder!
Franklin Graham’s article stated… “Prayer is most definitely a weapon — a mighty weapon wielded by believers in the Lord Jesus Christ against our most powerful adversary, the devil.”
I used the title for this article from Erwin W. Lutzer’s article in Decision Magazine.  He is Pastor Emeritus of The Moody Church in Chicago. I couldn’t think of anything better to depict what is happening in today’s world nor where we must turn for the weapons needed to overcome Satan’s lies.  I encourage you to get a copy of September 2019 Decision Magazine at – www.decisionmagazine.com.
If you are like me, you often feel inadequate when praying.  My prayers often revolve too much on me, my problems, my family, my friends, my life!  Sometimes I find my mind drifting off to the cares of the day, trying to come up with solutions in my own strength and knowledge.  Lets face it, our lives are so busy in this pagan land that it is easy to put prayer aside for a later time, all the while thinking “It’s okay, God’s got this!”  Jesus certainly does have it, but then I can’t be blessed by it in any way nor can He use me to accomplish what He is doing or about to do!
Erwin Lutzer writes, “Paganism despises religious tolerance”, and goes on to compare Daniel’s time to what is happening in our time today. “Daniel was not intruding on anyone else’s right to worship whatever god they chose. He was not compelling pagans to believe in Jehovah; he was not even praying in a public place where he might be a nuisance to those who passed by.  He was in his own house, kneeling alone to pray and worship.  But that was not good enough for those who hated the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. . . Let us not be intimidated by a culture that wants to prohibit our obedience to God and worshiping Him. Let us not back off when laws are made that compel us to compromise our conscience or silence our witness.  We may not be thrown into a lion’s den, but we might be ostracized, lose our jobs, be fined.  Or shamed.”
When you pray in earnest expect opposition from the spirit world to intensify.  Do not back down or be intimidated but use God’s mighty weapon of prayer for protection.  We must pray beyond our own lives and families.  Prayers of deep repentance. Confess your own prayerlessness before you begin earnest prayer.
Begin with praise and worship for who God is.  The Maker of heaven and earth and all mankind. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Only He is worthy of worship and praise. Only He died for you.  Only He loves you with an everlasting love.  Only He is a Mighty God who saves!
Focus not on the pagan world around us, but on what God is placing on your heart that is most important.  Talk with Him as you would a close friend.  He longs to have that personal relationship with you alone.
Lutzer hit the nail on the head about how we pray, and how we should pray when he wrote. . . “If Christians were to spend as much time praying for the enemies of Christianity as we do complaining about them, we might yet be amazed at what God would do in our country … The distractions of Babylon must be set aside to focus on what is most important.”

* Pray for undeserved mercy for the sins of our land.
* Pray to be clothed in the Armor of God for His protection.
* Pray for faithfulness and obedience to God’s Word.
* Pray for righteousness, deep repentance, and a right heart.
* Pray for understanding, wisdom, strength and courage.
* Pray for our governments, politicians, our country and other countries.
* Pray earnestly and without ceasing.

Daniel’s prayer in 9:4-7 and 17-19 gives us a good model of how and what to pray.

“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.  Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame. . . because we have sinned against you.  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;
Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.  Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name.  We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.  Lord, listen!  Lord, forgive!  Lord, hear and act!  For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

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