Reflecting on what is happening to the country now under this dictatorship, I have had to confront so many things about myself—impetuousness, anger, rage, refusal to love, refusal to forgive. In prayer, I have brought all these to God and yet, they remain.
This has led me to reflect even more why they remain and I am reminded of the exhortation in James 5:13-18:
“Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.”
It speaks of praying in season and out of season; it speaks of prayer as the first and only imperative in the life of one created by God in love and for love.
Many times, I have looked at prayer as a “quick fix” or a “magic wand.” Many times, I have asked God, in prayer, to change the many things around me I do not like—the current situation with the dictatorship is one of many things I pray about. Yet, they remain and do not change. Yet, James in his exhortation speaks of prayer having great power in its effects.
Of course, I could always say that James spoke of a righteous man and I am not a righteous man (spoken like a lawyer) and, therefore, my prayer is not great in its effects. While this may be true, yet, I do not think that is all there is to it.
Perhaps, instead of praying that God change what is going on, my prayer should be that God change me.