Politics, Motives and Prayers

Politics, Motives and Prayers

POLITICS

During a weekly conference call where we pray for a particular Washington D.C. legislator, my prayer partner and I prayed about the Republican Convention and the November elections. While he prayed 1 Timothy 2:2 it occurred to me that the verse’s reference to “tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity” is expected of Christians, REGARDLESS of who is in office.

MOTIVES

While I would like my country’s leaders to create circumstances where life is convenient for me as a Christian, I have to be honest about my motivation for praying for these leaders. And when I check my motivation for praying I find myself having to say, “Yes, my motivation is selfish (cf James 4:3)! I don’t want to face the turmoil that 1 Peter 4:12 implies, namely that I should expect fiery ordeals.”  And then I am reminded where Jesus, in Matthew 10:16ff says, basically, “They persecuted me. They WILL persecute you.”

PRAYERS

So how do I make sense of these realities and then let them impact my prayers so that my prayers are true to God’s Word?

  1. I submit myself to the Lord, dying to my desires, daily (Luke 9:23). This means that I am willing to wake up every morning and sign a document that says, “God’s Will For My Life” BEFORE its details of the day are filled in.
  2. I thank the Lord, for every circumstance, difficulty, etc. We know that 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to be thankful IN everything but do we own the reality that we are to thankful FOR everything? (See Ephesians 5:20). You may think that there is NOTHING you can give thanks for, relative to certain issues, but test the Lord. Let Him lay on your heart what you can give thanks for. It will completely change your perspective of your difficulty.
  3. Finally, pray God’s Word, “Lord, You have ALREADY given me everything I need to live a life of godliness, (1 Peter 1:3) regardless of who is in official leadership roles. When they threaten my peace, I simply ask You to consider their threats and give me the opportunity to be bold for You (Acts 4:29).

 

Blessings,

 

Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker
Common Thread Ministries
CTM Publishing, Atlanta
The Pray-ers
E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org

How to Use The Armor of God

ArmorGodTitlePic

 

This week a friend of mine and I were talking about the Armor of God and his view was pretty typical of what I hear in churches. While I don’t “take exception” to the view I believe that the use of the Armor is much more effective when we change our understanding of what it is, and how, I believe, Paul expected it to be understood. Namely, I DO NOT believe that the Armor is something that we “do.” I believe that the Armor is what we have in Christ. In fact, I would go so far as to say that each piece of the Armor is a facet of who Jesus is in my life. I cannot claim originality on that statement, as a variation of it comes from RayStedman.org.

Here’s the way most people describe the first three pieces of the Armor:

The Belt of Truth has to do with acknowledging that the Bible is true. Let me make this real clear, okay, I ABSOLUTLEY believe that this is true, that the Bible is completely true, I just disagree that this is Paul’s meaning here.
The Breastplate of Righteousness is our call to be righteous. Again, I completely agree with this statement on its own, I just do not believe that this is what Paul meant.
Our Feet are Fitted with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace is our injunction to go out and share the gospel. Again, I fully believe that. But in the context of this piece of the Armor, I don’t think that Paul is saying this.

So you get the point. Again, I don’t want to be disagreeable, I just want to share with you another way of viewing, and to me, a more effective way of using the Armor.

One point of clarification (perhaps disagreement) that I need to make, has to do with the order of the Armor. I hear teachers explaining the Armor by beginning with the helmet and working their way down to the shoes, “Because it is an easy way to remember it.” But when we do that we take it out of the order that, I believe, is Holy Spirit inspired, and will directly affect its usefulness for you.

So with all of that being said, this morning, as I was in the Word, I recognized a battle in my heart and mind beginning, and it had to do with purity of mind, purity of thoughts. What I will do below is first, give you what I believe each piece of the armor is, for us as Christians, and then my prayer this morning, putting on the Armor.

But let me be clear, restating this point again. I do not believe that the armor is “something that we do” as each piece of the Armor is a facet of who Jesus is in my life, which means that this (these facets, this Armor) is “what I have in Christ.” In fact, this keeps in sync with the book of Ephesians where the first half of Ephesians is what we already have in Christ, and the second half of Ephesians is how we live, because of what we already have in Christ. The Armor is broken down the same way. The first three pieces are what we already have in Christ and the second three are how we live, because of what we already have in Christ. Another time we can look at the verbs, but do note, that the verb describing the first three pieces of the armor is “having” meaning this is something that you ALREADY have. So when Paul was saying “Put on the Armor” he was NOT SAYING put on something that you do not have on. Again, this discussion is for another time as it is outside the scope of this post.

I want to give you short, to the point statement for each of the pieces of the armor. And then afterward I will give you my entire prayer as I put on the Armor, and in the process, dealt with the attack of satan (not capitalized by personal preference).

Belt of Truth
“You are my truth, so it is in You that I trust.”
Breastplate of Righteousness
“You are my righteousness. Victory is based upon what You have already done.”
Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
“You are my peace, so I stay in prayer and await Your peace, even though I am in the midst of battle.”
Shield of Faith
“You are my shield, and so Lord, by faith, I trust You to deal with each fiery dart.”
Helmet of Salvation
“You are my helmet, the hope of my salvation. You are working all things out for the better (Romans 8:28) so I look forward to what today holds, the good and the bad.”
Sword of the Spirit
“You are the Sword, these are Your Words that I have been able to trust in.”

—————————————————————–

And here is the full text of my prayer this morning (including my journaling tags) as I put on each piece of the Armor:

7/1/2014, in prayer, As I submit myself to You (James 4:7) Lord, what the Armor represents to me is my confidence in You, as I specifically deal with purity of my mind today.

Belt of Truth
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my truth, so it is in You that I trust, and not me.”
Breastplate of Righteousness
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my righteousness. Victory is based upon what You have already done. What Your Son did 2000 years ago.”
Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my peace, so I stay in prayer and await Your peace, even though I am in the midst of battle.
“And Ohhh Lord, I have received such great peace from You just now. I trust You for the grace today Lord, to make sure that when I do not have peace, I realize that it is because I have strayed from focusing on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:6). Oh Lord, thank You, that even now, You have given me that peace as You always do.
Shield of Faith
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my shield, and so Lord, by faith, I trust You to deal with each fiery dart. I trust You to do something different with my brain, by having those distractions of the evil one, by Your Shield, and in faith, be my motivation for returning to You in prayer. I also trust that I will never know all of the fiery darts that came my way, because You stopped them.
Helmet of Salvation
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my helmet, the hope of my salvation. You are working all things out for the better (Romans 8:28) so I look forward to what today holds, the good and the bad. Oh I praise You Lord for this peace and confidence, and excitement for this day. Praise You Lord!”
Sword of the Spirit
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are the Sword, these are Your Words that I have been able to trust in. Paul calls them the Words of Christ (Romans 10:17). Lord because they are Your words I have been able to trust in them. It is Your words that I’ve been able to have confidence in. It is Your words, your Nuggets, that have guided me in this time of prayer. Thank you for the Sword of the Spirit, Your words Lord.

By the way my friend, satan fled around the end of my prayer regarding the shoes of peace, but I recognize, only for a more opportune time (Luke 4:13) which is why I need to be vigilant, knowing that the roaring lion is just waiting to eat me alive (1 Peter 5:8). I wrote the part of this paragraph that precedes this sentence in the middle of my praying on the armor. Now that I’m done, I can report that the evil one returned a few times, but in each case, he fled again each time I submitted to God. And I submitted to God by taking those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), and by not giving them a place (Ephesians 4:27). One could also say, that my mind became renewed (Romans 12:2), from where satan wanted it to go, as I focused on the things of the Spirit, rather than the flesh (Romans 8:6). And what was, and is the result…Peace baby, peace!

And according to Romans 8:6, and the whole record of Scripture, that is EXACTLY as it should be. Focusing on the things of the Spirit, rather than the difficulties that the world the flesh and the devil throw my way give me life and PEACE, praise the Lord! And how is all of it “activated?” By my deeds? No! By faith (1 John 5:4). By faith in what I ALREADY have in Christ.

I hope this has been helpful to you. I do apologize for its length though.

Mark S Mirza
www.CTMPrayer.org
@CTMPrayer

Common Thread Ministries