Wednesday 6 July 2016

Who needs prayer?

That is the question, Who should Christians pray for and why?

Our enemies
Jesus says this in the Sermon on the Mount:
"5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Our enemies are in need for salvation, repentance and need Jesus to in order to be saved and covered by his blood. They are not enemies for the sake of being such, they are enemies because of the fact that they are under Satan's heel and need to be set free.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ
As Christians, we will face many adversities and adversaries that will get us to compromise our beliefs and get us to fall or in some instances, have caused us to fall and need to recover again.
Christians who are truly in Christ will suffer in one way or another, be it large or small and even hated by people for Jesus' name's sake (Mark 13:13, Matthew 10:22, Luke 21:17). This would include the following:
  1. Christians in other countries: What I mean are Christians who are abroad and in zones where the fight against Christianity is thickest, especially impoverished areas where there is a totalitarian government that is pulling the strings. Christians may end up being attacked and killed so they will need protection. This includes Christians who are attacked indiscriminately even when they have done nothing wrong.
  2. Christians at work: In the workplace, Christians will be under pressure to do things that may be detestable in God's sight, thus Christians need prayer that they have the grace to refuse to do evil, even if it cost's them their job. Hopefully the best case scenario is that you'll be respected for holding to good moral principles.
  3. Christians in our own nations: This is especially so considering countries that have hatred towards the Gospel, including America and Britain, both of which spew venom at God every single day. 
Our apologists, ministers and elders
They definitely require our pray and attention if they are biblical Christians in the faith, namely to never give in and that they may continue helping and and strengthening Christians in the biblical faith, especially when those who are not in Christ seek to undermine the faith. They are there to strengthen us so that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). Elders are there to hold us accountable and encourage us to live holy lives, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2), exegeting the scriptures to their audience.

It is NOT just the apologists, ministers and elders who need to defend the faith, WE ALL have to defend the faith, the three groups of men are needed to strengthen us.

Our friends and family
Same as above if they are not in Christ. If they are in Christ and brothers in the faith, they will need protection so that they will not fall.

Our leaders and governors
"2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth."

One of the many things we could pray for with respect to our leaders would be protection from those who desire their lives. It is also worth praying for them to make the right and good decisions for our country, albeit godly ones for our countries. If there are Christian politicians, then they could be the Christian equivalent of Daniel that they would influence the decisions of the nations without falling into the idolatry and immorality of a pagan and secular nation. So we also need to pray for them to be a great light for the glory of Christ in the political world.

The poor, sick and afflicted
I should think this is obvious. We are to be hearers and doers of the world, thus it logically entails that we do good to them AND pray for them to be saved or if the Lord Wills, be free from the ailment that they have.

The heretics
This would also count as praying for our enemies and witnessing to a heretic is very important, as long as fellowship with them is not exercised lest we be guilty of supporting their wicked works (2 John 11). 

Ignatius of Antioch demonstrated a perfect attitude to how we should see the false teachers as well in his letter to the Smyrnaeans:
"Chapter IV.-Beware of These Heretics.

I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that ye also hold the same opinions [as I do]. But I guard you beforehand from those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this. But if these things were done by our Lord only in appearance, then am I also only in appearance bound. And why have I also surrendered myself to death, to fire, to the sword, to the wild beasts? But, [in fact, ] he who is near to the sword is near to God; he that is among the wild beasts is in company with God; provided only he be so m the name of Jesus Christ. I undergo all these things that I may suffer together with Him, He who became a perfect man inwardly strengthening me.

I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that ye also hold the same opinions [as I do]. But I guard you beforehand from these beasts in the shape of men, from whom you must not only turn away, but even flee from them. Only you must pray for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance. For if the Lord were in the body in appearance only, and were crucified in appearance only, then am I also bound in appearance only. And why have I also surrendered myself to death, to fire, to the sword, to the wild beasts? But, [in fact, ] I endure all things for Christ, not in appearance only, but in reality, that I may suffer together with Him, while He Himself inwardly strengthens me; for of myself I have no such ability."

Some may perceive it unkind or hurtful to refer to people as "wild beasts" or "vile" or such a similar set of terminology, there is a biblical allowance for such language. See my previous article on this issue:

To further expand on that issue, Ignatius encourages the congregation to pray for the salvation of the heretics, so that they maybe saved.

Let us pray for all.

Answering Judaism.

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