Summary: Here’s how Believers can bring God’s peace in a world of turmoil.
Whether it’s the war in Iraq, or millions of displaced people in Sudan, the terrorist bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, or the threat of terrorist attack maybe even in our own country – current world events can play heavily on the minds of people.
My grandmother used to used to say, “I don’t know what’s happened to the world today – whatever happened to the good old days.” But I would remind her that it was her generation that took the entire world to war, not just once, but twice! So globally the world may be in turmoil, but has that ever been any different?
Never-the-less, there are times when global events place us under great pressure. We may watch the news and feel helpless, and powerless to change anything.
As Believers then, how are we to represent Jesus Christ to the world in such a climate? What should we do, how should we behave in times of global pressure? Can we really make a difference in world events anyway? What is the Believer’s responsibility when peace is under threat?
To help us get some answers, let me first bring these global issues down to a scenario that may be easier for us to grasp.
1. LEARN TO MAKE A PRIORITY OF PRAYER (2:1)
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Immediately they ran toward the nearest fence. The storming bull ran after them in hot pursuit, and they realised that they were not going to make it. Terrified, one man shouted to his friend, “Say a prayer, John. We’re in trouble ” John said, “I’ve never prayed out loud before. I don’t know what to say. “But you have to ” yelled his companion; “The bull is catching up to us.” “All right,” said John, as he ran with all his might; “I’ll say the only prayer I know. My father used to say it at the table: Oh Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful
There are sometimes in life, when the pressure is on, and we have to learn to make a priority of prayer.
When the pressure is on globally, what should be our first response? The world community approaches pressure with politics, diplomacy, or peace talks. People in the street might protest or organise a peace a rally.
But the Lord says that our first reaction to global issues must be prayer.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone
God wants our first response to be prayer because although the pressure and turmoil we see at present may look like it’s grounded in politics or even religion – in actual fact it is a spiritual battle. And spiritual battles must be fought with spiritual means – like prayer.
In describing the armour of God used for spiritual warfare, the Lord instructs us to ....
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:17-18).
So the point is this, if we want to make a difference in a climate of global pressure we must make prayer a priority.
And the Lord has spelled out for us here just how we should pray under pressure.
“Requests” - This part of prayer focusses on ourselves. We are to ask the Lord to meet our needs. We should ask the Lord to help us to live for him in a world that is antagonistic to him, and to all that is good and upright.
And it’s not selfish to pray like this – it’s wise. We ask God to help us because we cannot help ourselves. In fact we said this just the week before last – if we’re not relying on God to meet our needs then who are we relying on? If it is anyone less then that is idol worship. It’s ok to pray for yourself – it’s not selfish.
Our times of meditation should also include an element of worship. This is what is meant here by the use of the word “Prayers.” This part of prayer focusses on the Lord. Prayer should include an act of worship not just our shopping list of needs. And worship in prayer helps us under pressure because it reminds us that God is present and it reminds us of all his almighty qualities. Reflecting on just who God is can settle any anxiety we may have about world affairs (He’s got the whole world in his hands).
Then there’s “Intercession.” This is prayer focussed on others. Believers are invited into the presence of the king to pray for others. We are not helpless to come to the aid of people around the world – we can pray to the Almighty who knows them intimately and who is powerful and able to help.