Friday, September 21, 2012

Does Prayer Change Things?

An election is happening in about a month. Maybe you heard of it. Hello! It's for the office of the President of the United States of America! I wonder: if we prayed over this election, would it change anything? It's a good question. Throughout Scripture, God often holds people responsible for their choices. For example, in Zephaniah 3:1, God says of Jerusalem, "What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime!" Later, He tells us why this judgment is coming: 'I thought . . . surely they will listen to my warnings. Then I won't need to strike again, destroying their homes' But no, they get up early to continue their evil deeds." (Zeph. 3:7). It is clear that the people of Jerusalem at this time have a choice: follow God or follow evil. We see this often in the Bible. So, back to our question. If we pray for God to place the most biblical candidate into office, will He answer the prayer and actually move the wills of voters to a certain candidate? What if we soup up the prayers and add fasting and more godly people praying to the equation? Will that increase the chances that the right candidate will win?
I think it probably will for at least three reasons with one encouragement:
1. When we seek to pray honestly and humbly, WE will tend to do God's will. The old adage that "prayer doesn't change God, it changes us" is definitely true. I've found that when I'm in a spirit of desperate, worshipful prayer, I conform more to His character, for I have been with Him. He rubs off on me. Therefore, if I'm in serious prayer about the election, I am more probable to vote for the candidate that conforms most to His ways.
2. God has actually caused others to change due to prayer. For example, in Acts 2:42 we see the early church devoted to prayer and the result was that "the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). Prayer moved people to repentance in some mysterious way. If we pray fervently, it is entirely possible that God will actually cause people to open up their eyes and vote for the right candidate.
3. God has used prayer to effect tremendous change in America's past. It is a matter of historical record that both the First and Second Great Awakenings, as well as other huge revivals (ex. the 1857 Revival), relied heavily on prayer. These revivals radically changed our country for the better and brought enormous numbers of people to Christ. Entire regions of America became devoted to God. Personally, I believe this changes a country far more than any election. If the average person gives his or her life to God, we will have fewer societal problems because more people will be living responsible, healthy lives. I love the word "awakening." When the Holy Spirit moves, people awaken. We wake up! This is so needed in America today!
4. (Encouragement) Prayer reminds us that God is our King and at its essence, prayer is request. I forget where I heard this, but someone great said that prayer is, at it's essence, request before a King. It was probably C.S. Lewis who said it because, let's face it, he was awesome. But, bottom line, God is not obligated to answer our prayers the way we want Him to. And there is tremendous comfort in that truth. When I pray, if He says "No," I can rest in the fact that He knows what He is doing. He may not place my candidate into office. He may have other plans. Regardless, when I bow before the King, I get Him. I'm reminded that I serve THE King and one day, everyone will know He is King. There is a new reality coming. He will take over. It's only a matter of time. And there will be no vote on that.
So, I encourage you to pray and fast and get others to do so for our election. Our nation needs it and, guess what, so do you.