As we reflect on 2021 and the various ways we were challenged, it is impossible not to be grateful for God’s daily mercy and loving kindnesses that helped us get through the difficulties of life in this fallen world. At the same time, we have to wonder: Does praying for the state of Illinois accomplish anything? Why, even though there are many concerned Christians in prayer, is our state only progressing further down the path of rebellion and judgment? Does it matter?
These questions often reveal more about us than lead to any real answers. We ask questions like these based on our own selective or statistical ideas. If crime were to drop significantly, if corruption declined, then we might say our prayers are being answered.
We must keep in mind that prayer is not a cake recipe, chemistry lab, or a computer program where we ask, did it work?
Prayer is also not a torture test. It is not moving rocks from one pile and back to another, or an attempt to impress God. Prayer is often difficult. We need encouragement, but it flows from faith.
So, what can be said with respect to praying for the issues that we see plaguing our state?
First, we recognize that we are already facing serious judgment. So, our prayers are like bullets in the midst of a war. Did any single bullet win World War II? Imagine being a solider in the midst of a difficult campaign and saying, well I fired 200 rounds and we haven’t won yet, so firing my gun doesn’t do anything.
Prayer is not like turning on a crock pot and coming back later to a cooked meal. If our Lord tarries, we are in a long-term spiritual battle. This is why Scripture so often calls for perseverance. We are too trained by TV to think after 30 minutes, the problem is going to be solved. No, that is not the war we are facing.
Perseverance is the watchword. Watch and pray! And trust ultimately in God’s purposes rather than your own prayers.
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. ~I Peter 4:7
Second, it probably is the case that the number of seriously praying Christians in our state is a rather small number. Now, God doesn’t need a majority to accomplish His purposes. God used Gideon and 300 men to win a great victory. But when you are in a minority, there is no room for slacking off or quitting. All the more we must resolve to be in prayer for God’s Will to be done in our state and in our nation.
Third, although it may seem that our prayers are futile or not answered, we do have to consider that even in our corrupt state we still have opportunity to worship the Lord, teach our children according to God’s truth, and live a relatively comfortable life. And although we still see so much violence, corruption, and perversion, we still must consider that God is at work. He is always with us. He has not forsaken us. He is with His people.
So, if you know that you have been negligent in praying for this state as we have been called in Scripture, confess your sin and determine to repent. Set aside time on a regular basis to pray for the many situations we are facing. It might be helpful to make a list of needs. Pray and keep praying, while trusting fully in the Lord.
IFI Prayer Team
If you are not already, please consider joining the IFI Prayer Team. On a regular basis, but not to frequently, we will send out an email prayer alert to ask for specific and general prayer for our troubled state, our legislators and local officials, and more. Prayer requests will include public policy issues, praying for elected officials and various statewide needs as the Holy Spirit may lead.
If you pray and believe that God hears and answers prayer, will you join the IFI Prayer Team?
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask
or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory
in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.