I’ve noticed something unusual about politicians. I sense I have your attention now (or maybe you’re wondering what’s taken me so long!). When I say unusual I don’t mean to say it’s uncommon, as if this is a trait that is rare – not often seen. Rather, I’m meaning it in this sense – it’s bizarre. There’s something about it that isn’t quite right. Take our very own First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for instance. Not that I have any axe to grind about the SNP or Scottish politics because that isn’t for here or now. But what I have noticed is repeated statements along these lines; ‘my prayers are with all those involved in this tragedy’. Or, ‘the prayers of the Scottish people are with everyone affected.’ Now here’s the thing. Prayers to whom? Ms Sturgeon is a women who leans towards atheism. She neither believes in God nor lives her life in His ways. What is it then that compels her in tough times to pray? Is that not odd? And not that she is the only one of course. I think I should make that clear just in case you think I’m engaging in political bashing. Far from it. Regardless of the colour of the political rosette this is the statement that appears…we’re praying!
Might I suggest to you, without meaning to offend, that there is a very real sense in which many of us are the same. I sense this very trait springing up in my heart. Most of us, you see, have phases when we live without God. Our lives tick over and all appears to be fine. We get up in the morning and usually we manage. We make it. We survive. We get along. We cope. We earn. We make deals. We have houses and cars. Often we are blind to our deep sense of need. And the knock on effect of course is this…we don’t pray! Our self-confidence is such that we do not depend. Almost as if we’re a terrible concoction of Christian on the one hand and atheist on the other!
But it is not always this way! And we do not always ‘get along’. Quite suddenly, out of no-where, our sturdy walls start to tumble. And there in those times we don’t manage or cope. We don’t make it. We don’t survive. We DO feel our need. And the knock on effect of course is this…we pray! Just like Ms Sturgeon and millions of others we are finally confronted with this reality – we’re frail.
Here then is a lesson for all of our lives. We need God! And not just in tests but literally ALL of the time. For instance, do you need breath today? Of course you do. Pray! Are your times in His hands? Of course they are – you should pray! Are there unbelievers close to you? What a crisis! You should pray! Is the enemy a prowling lion? Are you prone to wander? Are you involved in warfare with the spiritual forces of evil? Our politicians might make sound bites out of prayer in national crisis. But healthy Christians should make a habit out of prayer every day.