Pastors Pen
 
May 2024
 
We have been enduring a period of division and discouragement for many years. The presidential election cycle in 2016 brought about anger and division among families, friends and unfortunately, followers of Christ. When we began to feel somewhat at ease, covid arrived and brought forth further division in both society and the church. We have been grappling with the strain of rising costs while managing familial, relational, work-related, medical, and financial stress. Oh, and more political division among God’s people.
 
Everywhere we turn we are confronted with the realities of the sinful human heart. Amidst unrestrained violence, border crises, wars, human trafficking, and abortions, what are we, as followers of Jesus, supposed to do? Pray!
 
After Jesus gives the disciples a glimpse of the coming Kingdom in Luke 17:20-37, Luke 18:1 states, “And he [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (ESV). While the early Christians lived in a different era, their times were no less discouraging and divisive than ours. Yet, Jesus said “pray and do not lose heart.” Chapter 18:2-7 recounts the story of the persistent widow, showing us how we should be praying for what is us. We need to pray against divisions in our church and the global Christian church.
 
Likewise, Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18). Luke and Paul show us we must pray for our families, especially those who are not Christians, our church, our country, and our leaders. We are to pray for peace, wisdom, and the LORD’s care for politicians, even those we do not like – a task that I, too, struggle with. We must pray for our sisters and brothers in Christ who are suffering in the name of Jesus. Identify what God has put upon your heart and pray for it, often.
 
A good segue into understanding “pray without ceasing”. First, we must understand what it does not entail. It does not demand being awake 24/7, confined to your bedroom until the return of Jesus. Instead, it means maintaining a continuous mindset of prayer while awake; a mental reel always rolling with what you need to pray for. Praying without ceasing means whether you’re mowing your lawn, driving (eyes open please), doing the dishes, or changing diapers, you are praying, sometimes audibly and sometimes silently. This reveals that one way of prayer is not better than another. Jesus hears our prayer even if we are not kneeling! I bet some of you with knee, hip, or leg issues are glad to hear that.
 
As Christians we should be at peace even when the whole world is in chaos. Christians have peace because we have been given peace from Jesus. We have peace because we can unload our heart and souls to Him. We have peace because we know Jesus Christ, the LORD of glory, has the final Word. We know the end of the story. If you need a reminder, read the last two chapters of Revelation.
 
Pastor Steve