To say that we were few in number would be quite the understatement. I have grown used to seeing large crowds of people on my TV screen – large, loud, moving mountains kind of crowds of people filling the streets to overflowing, clamoring to be heard.
We did not even fill the parking lot where we gathered to make our petitions known. Not many would have given us a second look as they passed by. We were a group that would defy description should someone attempt to label us. From many different denominations, all shades of skin color could be seen among us as we banded together for our urgent purpose.
We were family coming together to talk to our Father, our Heavenly Father. We came with our hearts heavy with grief for all the suffering surrounding us on a daily basis. We have been witnessing the suffering of others while experiencing sadness and suffering of our own.
This is not a time to stand by and remain silent. And so we gathered together. We gathered to pray, to petition our God and to protest the evil overtaking our beloved country. We assembled and we raised our voices to the One who always hears the cries of His children.
We came together in courage, in hope and most importantly in obedience. You see, 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 gives us this command accompanied by a promise,
“if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”
Our land needs healing. Our country is being torn apart and torn down right before our eyes. And so we gathered together in obedience to God’s instruction to humble ourselves, (admit we can’t fix this) seek His face, (ask Him for His wisdom and His ways) turn from our ways, (which are not only wicked but are obviously not working) and pray – pray to God (not protest to God, making demands of Him as if He owed us something or as if we shouldn’t have to suffer)
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
And so we gathered to cry out to God on behalf of our country and its citizens, ours a ministry of intercession through prayer. Prayer, the most powerful form of petition and protest. Prayer from a posture of humility – bended knees, bowed heads, raised hands, crying, repentant hearts, confessing tongues and listening ears.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great effect.” (James 5:16)
Another translation of this verse in the Living Bible says our prayers have “great power and wonderful results.” That makes me want to pray even more! There is something I can do for my country and all the people living in it. I don’t have to stand helplessly, silently on the sidelines while watching everything burn down around me as people continue killing each other in the streets.
I can pray. I am commanded to to pray. I am called to pray. I have One who is always interceding on my behalf. It seems only fitting that I should intercede for others even as Jesus is continually interceding for me, pleading my case before a holy God.
” . . . Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34)
So we gathered to pray, to intercede for our country and for those living in it – for all those living under its protections and its freedoms that it has provided over the years for those who live within its jurisdiction. There was no crowd, no mass mob, no media – we were petitioning an audience of One.
And unlike the protesters/rioters, the mobs full of angry voices all blending together along with the graffiti messages scribbled, merged and melded into one ugly eyesore over what used to be if not the absence of offense to the eyes, actual beauty in artistic form – unlike the protesters, we have the assurance, the gift of knowing that our voices, our cries, our confessions, our petitions, our requests, our intercessions – are heard, that they are always heard, always – every word.
We were heard that day in the parking lot. “then will I hear from heaven . . . Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:14-15)
“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)
“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.” (Psalm 18:6)
We didn’t add our voices to the din of public discourse that has deafened every ear to the truth. Instead, we raised our voices to the One who always hears us. We cried out to the only One who has the power to change our hearts and to heal our land.
“Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.” (Psalm 139:4)
The protests are continuing. Our praying, our praytests, must continue as well.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, . . . And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”(Ephesians 6:12-18)
Let us rise up by kneeling down, let us not keep silent but cry out – cry out not to each other but to our God who hears us, to our God who can heal us, to our God who can heal our country.
“But for you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” (Malachi 4:2)
sincerely, Grace Day