Having recently re-activated my twitter-account, I’ve been able to follow the comments of quite a few people around the world in regards to current global affairs, and have been able to establish a general pattern: if it’s not anger or fury, its fear and anxiety; if it’s not pain or hurt, it’s uncertainty and/or – and that might be the most dangerous of all- ignorance.
With all the things happening around the world, however, I felt it important to stress one thing: Prayer will NOT change it! Or better said, praying it “away” will not actually make anything (terror, plagues, etc) go away! We need to be clear on this. I like emphasising the importance of understanding Scripture and praying with understanding. There are way too many Christians praying idle/futile prayers. Know what you’re praying for/about, when you come before the Lord. There are things written (from the foundations of the earth) that cannot be un-done. God will never- as a matter of fact, he couldn’t even if He wanted to- go against His own Word! He will not take back what He has said, He will not re-write the seasons of our lives simply because we pray and beg for Him to do so. In Yoruba God is often described as “Alewi-lese, Alese-lewi” which basically means “He will do what He says”. God and His Word is One (see: Jesus). If He went against His own declaration, He wouldn’t be God. We must understand this. Terror, famine, war and pestilence will come but He promised never to leave nor forsake us in the midst of these; to reassure us, He gave us the command “Do not fear!” Surely, that implies that situations will arise that could give rise to fear- and indeed would be valid reasons for us to fear.. if we did not have Him. There is no point praying against terror for it must come, but we have the assurance that in the midst of terror and catastrophe, we are safe. And that exactly should be our prayer! I am really not going to preach now. Here a few Scriptures I think would be wise for you to read, meditate upon, and perhaps use as a prayer.. for yourself, your loved ones, and your friends (especially those that have not yet come to believe) and I’ll tell you why:
1.) When the Israelites went into (voluntary) exile in Egypt to join Joseph, he gave them (as inspired by God) the land of Goshen to inhabit, and told them he wanted them near him; with God’s hand so mightily upon him, that covenant of protection and blessing was automatically upon them too (Joseph as a type of Christ; one paying the sacrifice for all) Now, we all know that the Israelites were children of God; but notice: Israel (as a nation) did not exist until that time. It was in exile that their heritage as God’s children was established. They obeyed, and entered the place they were told to inhabit.
10And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: (Gen. 45: 10)
Note: Had they not disobeyed and settled in a different place, they would not have been spared (see point 2) from the destruction that was awaiting..
2.) When the Lord started sending the plagues, the Israelites were not completely exempt from these (see first couple of plagues; Exo. 7-8); however.. there came a time when the Lord needed to draw a line. He needed to prove a point; both to the Egyptians and the Israelites alike: There are blessings common to men (sun, rain, sowing and reaping); and then there are those you need to enter into; those that does not depend on your power, strength, intellect or even righteousness.. but (with God being utterly fair and just) your faith!
20 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them. 22 “‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction[b] between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’ (Exo. 8: 20- 23)
21And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 22And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: 23They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. (Exo. 10: 21- 23)
Note: You need to understand that destruction is bound to come. But He has promised shelter and protection (Psalm 91) for those who dwell in His presence. Terror and destruction are nothing to fear as long as you are His; for He has promised to keep, guard and guide you.
3.) After that the Lord had made a clear distinction between His people and those who were not his, and while the plagues were yet visiting Egypt- having understood that the God of Israel was supreme- there were a handful of Egyptians that began to fear the Lord and heeded to the warning:
15For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. 16And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. 17As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? 18Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. 19Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. 20He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: (Exo. 9: 15- 20)
..and let’s not forget: When the Israelites finally did leave, there were other people, from different tribes, nations, backgrounds that went with them! Having seen what great victory the Lord had brought for His people, they could not but leave too..
38And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. (Exo. 12: 38)
In conclusion: There is no point praying against plagues and terror, and destruction and what-not. Our prayers should really be focused around different things: Firstly, being kept safe in the midst of destruction. Just as God spared the lives of His children then, so shall He spare the lives of His children (spiritual Israel) now, in this day, wherever we may be (spiritual Goshen). Secondly: That the Lord might draw a clear distinction between those who are His, and those who are not. There has been a line so blurry, it is hard to tell who is on the Lord’s side; and it angers Him. We are to be the light of this world, and not join in dancing with the darkness. The Lord is looking for a people completely and totally devoted to Him. As that line is being drawn, on what side will we be found? Examine and adjust Self. Lastly- and most importantly, this is what it is really all about: There are sheep that are not yet of His flock (John 10:16), He desires for all men to be saved. What the Lord does in this season, in your life, is for a reason: It is to draw others to Him. Let Him use you to do just that.. and as they come, receive them, shelter them, and keep them, even as He has received, sheltered and kept you.