How shall we pray?

Although we live in the world, we are not to be of the world. This requires us to walk a delicate balance wire that is not always easy to discern. We need to be informed and aware of what is going on around us, among those in authority, so that we can pray with understanding. We also need the Holy Spirit to guide us so that we can pray God’s heart.

As we obey the Lord’s command through the letter of Timothy to pray for those in authority over us, the following guidelines may prove useful:

Last weekend’s SADC summit endorse the need for an "election roadmap" to make way for free and fair elections in our nation. We can pray that the SADC leaders will all put their support behind this initiative and will generally commit to a de-militarization of Zimbabwe and the support of peace and democracy.

Pray for all those involved in working for free and fair elections, that those in power will yield to the path of peaceful and fair elections, and collaborate with humility towards a bright future for our land.

Another key issue to pray is for the spirit of forgiveness to prevail in Zimbabwe. Although so much harm, pain and injustice exists, the response of bitter unforgiveness is equally damaging. Pray especially for God's people to have the power and will to forgive and to "turn the other cheek" by showing love and graciousness in response to evil.

In this way, the redemptive power of Christ will be released into Zimbabwe. Jesus' first words in commissioning his disciples after his resurrection were "I am sending you…if you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." The actions and attitudes of Christians in forgiving evil, releasing the pain of injustices and speaking "blessing in response to curse" determines the extent to which the Lord's redemptive move is released.

This applies also to those of us who pray: make sure that your heart is filled with love, blessing and forgiveness even for the most evil offenders on the Zimbabwean scene. This may be hard to do, but nothing is impossible with God.

Remnants of bitterness and unforgiveness nullify the power of prayer. By sharing the gracious forgiving attitude of Christ in prayer, you "come into agreement" with our Lord's heart and release His power.

As you pray, remember also what God is doing with the promise contained in Psalm 68 : "May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him…When you went out before your people, O God, when you marched through the wasteland, the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God…You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor."

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