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September 25, 2018

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 25 September 2018

Have you ever heard someone mention a prayer “hit list,” which urges like-minded individuals to pray for the death of their political foes? The hit list may contain the names of various executive, judicial, and legislative officers, who (by their political position) had offended the religious beliefs of someone. For instance, in 1986, a religious leader initiated a crusade against the U.S. Supreme Court. He even commissioned an airplane to have a banner containing the specific name of a justice and the words “pray for death.”

Explanations for such practices were rationalized as prayers initially for either repentance or retirement; however, if such did not occur, then the request would be for God to “take the lives” of the individuals. As bizarre as it is for a Christian to use a prayer “hit list,” so is it incongruous for a believer to petition God for the gratification of entirely selfish desires, with no consideration to the will of God. How evident then is the cause for the non-results of such prayers (Jas 4:3)?

Scripture urges the church to make “entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, . . . on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim 2:1-2). God’s Word instructs his people to pray for the salvation of those who do not believe, and to pray that God would grant guidance and wisdom to our political leaders who do believe in Jesus Christ as Lord God and Savior. In that regard, be encouraged to use Capitol Commission’s prayer website for elected officials: www.Pray1Tim2.org.

A prayer “hit list” is certainly incompatible with the message of the New Testament (cf. Matt 5:44; Acts 4:24-30). The bizarre nature of such practice is startling, yet the book of James contains an account of individual’s behavior that is equally disturbing. James 4 begins with a message of warning. The people described therein wanted certain things yet failed to achieve their desires. Consequently, they quarreled, fought, and coveted with others. James 4:2-3 warned, “You lust and do not have. . . . You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your desires.”

The individuals described in James 4 claimed to be Christians, yet they had attitudes and behaviors that often characterize those who do not believe in God. We must always guard our lives so that we are not self-willed in the pursuit of pleasure, power, and prominence. The will of God is for his people to repent from such actions and thoughts, and to submit to God with repentance and purity (Jas 4:8).

God is a personal being, thus He interacts with humanity and makes appeals to us for our benefit. God’s eternal plan is for us to share in the glory of Christ, and thus his exalting is the moral and spiritual power to live this life in preparation for that blessed day. Let us encourage and help each other to walk humbly before our God, and thus his divine power working in our lives will be evident not only to us but also to others.

Interim Bible Study

is next Tuesday, 2nd of October
Room 123 CAP, Georgia Capitol, @ 12 Noon