REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on February 20, 2016, is provided by Andy Kim who is the Lead Pastor of Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. Andy is a graduate of Northwestern University (B.S.) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“How Does This Affect Us?”
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’…
I’m not the biggest fan of politics, but it’s hard not to see how much of it has taken over the news. Even in my limited understanding of the current events, I know that Donald Trump has said some ridiculous things—yet manages to have the support of many people. Many of us are concerned about a man like Donald Trump becoming president, because it would affect us—that’s how we’re trained to think. In any situation we may ask, How does this affect us, or what do I have to gain from this? But what about all the other things that are happening around the world? For example, it is reported that there are over 10,000 refugee children missing in the past two years—some have been criminally exploited and others being unaccounted for. So how do we respond to such news? Maybe we can glean from Nehemiah’s experience.
Nehemiah hears that the people of God have been scattered, unaccounted, and without a wall—leaving them completely vulnerable to their enemies. Remember, he has a plush job as a cupbearer to the king, yet his immediate response is to weep, fast, and pray. My intention is not to make us feel guilty or simply invoke an emotional response; instead, we need to see that Nehemiah’s emotional response led him to a bold prayer. He boldly prays for what seems impossible, and it would eventually lead him to be the catalyst in restoring the people of God. Let’s look at such a prayer: He begins with an appeal to God’s character and authority; an understanding of man’s incapability in confession; an intercession for His people based on His promises; and a call to action.
I am not arguing that all our prayers must sound like this, but we need to be reminded that there is power in prayer that supersedes feelings. In the same way, when we hear or see the brokenness in our world, may we respond with bold prayers! Let us take this day to pray not only for ourselves but for the people in our communities, churches, and nations to do the impossible—in accordance with His Word. E.M. Bounds wrote: “We can do nothing without prayer. All things can be done by importunate prayer. It surmounts or removes all obstacles, overcomes every resisting force and gains its ends in the face of invincible hindrances.”
Prayer: Lord, You are above all and knows all. We humbly trust in Your promises and believe that You care for the broken, the sick, and the lost. We want to intercede for these people, just as You, Jesus, intercede for us. Lord, teach us how to pray for others. Help us to be a generation that prays first, then acts.
Bible Reading for Today: Exodus 9