• Faith, Prayer, Justice

    Posted by David

    6 July, 2012

    In this post-budget context, it is time to pause from the daily discussion around aid and the poor and reconnect with our God. In a world that does not know God; we must constantly return and be filled with faith in order to constantly renew our minds, our motivations, and our will in Christ. We are players in a battle contending for God’s just will to be done here. We must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), we must let God invade this world through us because God has chosen in Christ to make His will known through us. Prayer is a matter of urgency.

    Jesus says we are to pray like a widow pleading to a judge; like a woman wanting bread who knocks on a neighbour’s door incessantly. I once heard a pastor involved in justice work express distaste for these passages inferring that God was a prayer merchant holding us to an impossible standard. The truth is that prayer is a gift, not an obligation. We need prayer to abide in God. The extraordinary reality is that we receive faith in prayer to continue, to believe, to receive nourishment for our souls and to keep fighting for justice in our world; to be touched and loved by our Heavenly Father who knows the struggle and travailing of all His creation.

    Do we find that we stop knocking or pleading to God when our vision of progress is hindered? Do we let the flesh, our sinful nature weigh us down and quench the flame of the Holy Spirit? Is it not those setbacks to kingdom work where prayer is most crucial to transforming the blight of death on the world, to witness to the coming Kingdom, and to refresh our hope?

    In remembering saints’ lives, we can find a tangible example of what this looks like and how prayer allows this faith to manifest. Bishop Oscar Romero saw the yoke of oppression increase in his life with the massacre of the El Salvadorian people. The violent conflict between Marxism and Nationalism was playing out as death and poverty encroached on the nation. In the midst of this, Romero called out for justice; to put a stop to the bloodshed. He called the different factions to account and saw horrific examples of human sinfulness and rebellion from God’s will on earth. It was in this context that Romero prayed:

    Bishop Oscar RomeroBishop Oscar RomeroBishop Oscar Romero
    This is what we are about:
    We plant seeds that one day will grow.
    We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
    We lay foundations that will need further development.
    We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

    We cannot do everything
    and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
    This enables us to do something,
    and to do it very well.
    It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
    an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.

    We may never see the end results,
    but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
    We are workers, not master builders,
    ministers, not messiahs.
    We are prophets of a future not our own.

     

    Here at Micah Challenge we want to remember all the work, prayers and the valuable contributions so many people have made. The seed that we have sown, however small, has had a real effect on government policy and has contributed to saving millions of lives.

    If it was not for prayer, for remaining in faith and abiding in God and the hope of glory, our faith would have waned, and God’s call for us to be a prophetic voice to the powers that be would go unanswered. Faith allows us to know God and to see the invisible Kingdom and prayer allows us to receive and incarnate that Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.

    Many people stop the sermon on prayer there but we are not left without help. We are not left without a teacher. We have one who helps us to pray and who prays in perfect alignment with the will of God, calling heaven and God’s perfect justice in. The Holy Spirit provides the proverbial water necessary to feed our faith and water the seeds we plant, and to burn out our impure motives, emboldening us to work for justice. Jesus’ death opened the way for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. The Spirit in us empowers our prayers, enabling us to embody and witness true justice to worldly authority.

    “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” --Romans 8:26

    Over this week, let’s set aside 15 minutes to pray for the poor, our government, and the Church. We’d like you also to send us feedback and your prayers, words, support, or if God convicts you, your involvement here at the Micah Challenge. With Voices For Justice also just around the corner, I’d like to make a call for prayer to groan with the Spirit for the new creation and for the strength to finish the race in advocating for Australia to give its fair share in the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals. Let’s be the answer to God’s call for justice in this generation.

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    David Bennett is a Communications Intern with Micah Challenge.