A poll conducted by LifeWay Research found that many of us are very picky about who we will pray for. For instance, the poll revealed that we typically pray for …
- Family and friends 82 percent of the time
- Our own problems and difficulties 74 percent of the time
- Our enemies 37 percent of the time
- Government leaders 12 percent of the time.
Strangely enough, 36 percent of survey participants said they typically pray for financial prosperity, 21 percent pray to win the lottery, and 13 percent typically pray for their favorite sports team to win.
But I trust that, today, many around the world are praying for the people of Paris. The horrific episode of violence unleashed Friday night on the streets and in the stadiums and against the people of France forced the first curfew to be in place since World War 2. Many leaders around the world are calling this the first major battle of World War III.
Whether or not that is true, I am not prescient enough to say. I am, with the rest of the world, horrified and angered by this unprovoked attack by the ISIS organization. And with the rest of the world, I will say “It’s enough.”
Yet why are we surprised by these things? Jesus told us that there would be wars and rumors of wars before His return comes. He said “nation would rise up against nation” (literally “people group would rise up against people group”). That is what we are seeing.
And we will see more. Probably coming before we think, the headlines will shout similar attacks against America. And so, what do we do?
1) We must PRAY. As never before, we must take prayer to the next level in our churches. This battle will not be won on fields of combat. It is a spiritual conflict that must be waged with spiritual weapons. We must pray….swallow hard here….for the members of ISIS who are so deceived that they believe they will be rewarded for killing enemies of Islam. Their delusion leads them to don suicide vests and deploy them in crowds of innocent people. We must pray for their salvation as never before.
2) We must WATCH. Our Lord’s return is drawing nearer, but as it comes the world will continue to deteriorate politically, relationally, geographically, and even astronomically. And certainly, morally and spiritually. These things, again, have been predicted and promised.
3) We must WITNESS. As never before we must go and as we are going, speak the Gospel….share the Gospel…live the Gospel. The hour is getting late. The final call is coming. Jesus will return.
4) We must be READY. If you are living today in fear over what may come next then may I take this moment to tell you that, more than anything else, you need a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the only way of salvation….there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved. You must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, the sinless Son of God who went to the cross to pay the price and bear God’s wrath toward your sin and mine. You must confess with your mouth Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Christ from the dead.
And you must follow Him. Learn His ways. Follow His steps.
He will lead you into life as you have never known it.