Wednesday, December 9, 2015
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8(NLT)
Among the prayers listed for today’s reflection I found this one for our country:
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech you that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion us into one united people. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in you to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
There is a long list of requests in that paragraph!
· Strength/will to do God’s will
· Prosperity, wisdom, manners (manners? In 21st century USA? Really?)
· Protection from violence, discord, confusion, pride and arrogance (guess we’ll have to
forego the 2016 election)
· Justice and peace…thankfulness and vindication of our way of life
It’s not only a mouthful to speak; it’s quite a pocketful of miracles in a nutshell.
Years ago a lady in our church was called upon to pray for the missionaries during our midweek Bible Study and prayer time. She took about a week to walk up to the microphone, heaved a great and very dramatic sigh, then prayed….O, Lord, please bless all the dear missionaries everywhere. Amen!
Well, Russell, what’s your beef? She did it; she prayed for those missionaries. Do you think a longer prayer is somehow more holy? If she added words would there be more blessings from above?
No…not really; it’s just that we seem to take the easy way out of most stuff, prayer included. After the mass-shooting in San Bernardino last week, the criticisms flying around on social media for people who had posted prayers for the victims raised the issue for me about how much “feet” we actually add to our prayers. Are those critics correct in saying our prayers don’t matter a whole lot if we’re not willing to do something to cooperate with what God might do?
Micah’s three-fold sermon on what God requires is about two-thirds internal commitment (loving mercy and walking humbly with God), but that other part is hard: doing what is right! When there is scarcity of doing, we always fail the loving and walking. And frankly, if one support of a three-legged stool is broken, there will not be a safe place to sit!
Our prayers are important; if they were not, Paul would never have reminded us to pray without ceasing.
But prayer – even unceasing prayer – when there is a lack of action, is much less than our best effort to serve God with excellence. That kind of prayer probably does no more than bounce off the ceiling and echo around the room until it fades away without so much as a whimper of a half-blessing for all those missionaries…or shooting victims.
Do you have an opinion, an urging from God’s Spirit to do right?
What difference will you make today?
Chew on that out on the Rocky Road today…and have a great day!