Tag Archives: prayer

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Personal Cancel Culture

(A two minute read)

Simple actions can have long-lasting consequences.

The pond-ripple of the tossed stone has the power to turn back time, change the costume, clean the window.

Last month I moved all my online subscriptions (paid and unpaid) to separate inboxes. It was a ten-hour project to get it all done. But it was important; a thought experiment with dividends.

I inferred some of those in the poem A Full Mind is an Empty Mind. Read it; you’ll get the gist.

Here’s a report from the Battlefield of the Mind. My special inboxes now contain 102 items, all unread. This is a victory song.

I’ll say that again: All unread.

What’s more, every time I’ve tried to work through them I’ve stopped. It turns out I’m really not that interested in them after all. Another few weeks and I’ll arrange to have them simply stop coming.

I’ll sing a victory song as my bridges burn. I’m reconsidering some of my values.

For freedom, I have been set free. 1

One simple change in my environment directly changed my behavior. Yes – it’s my own version of cancel culture.

1. Galatians 5:1 – ‘For freedom, Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.’

A heart formed of barbed wire

Opinion Peace

(A two-minute read)

Leaders need love more than they need to be liked. And, they need prayer even more than they need love. What’s more, they need to know you are praying for them.

I wrote a prayer for leaders a few weeks ago, noting that the Bible is clear that we pray for leaders, 1 even ones I think are in sin, or wrong theologically or preaching ‘a different gospel’. Maybe especially for those! I suggested there was a sermon to hand. Here it is. Don’t worry. It’s very short.

Reading the online debates about Christian leadership can be disheartening: what various religious leaders are or aren’t doing; if we think they are being good or evil; whether they’re preaching the true gospel, or a false gospel; whether they appear more interested in building a ministry than saving souls.

On one hand I observe these things myself. I agree with many points that are made. On the other hand, these debates challenge my ability to remain at rest.

I’m not saying you need to change what you do, or stop posting on social media. Rather, I’m making a confession myself, because I always need to preach to myself. After more than thirty years in journalism, it’s hard to resist weighing in with an opinion or ten. Perhaps the phrase ‘old habits die hard’ is the secular version of acknowledging that it’s all too easy to walk back into a stronghold, even one that was once broken.

Also, my opinions don’t move things in the spiritual realm. Instead they frequently generate strife and division. If there’s argument in a church scenario, the devil is present, chuckling and rubbing his hands. Opinions are the kindling that feeds the bonfire that brings down the church.

We must always reserve judgment until we hear from the Holy Spirit. We need discernment, and patience and time to sit with the Lord until we hear from him.

Noah landed on dry ground six weeks before he and his family left the ark. He waited for the Lord to give him permission. Patience is truly a virtue.

And so we pray all these things for our leaders, as well as for ourselves. Especially for ourselves. Repentance begins with me. Revival begins with me.

1. 2 Timothy 2:1-2 Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty,

Union Jack

A Prayer For Leaders

(A two-minute read)

The Bible is clear: pray for leaders. Despite their failings, or failings we perceive in them, do this without fail, and with humility. Otherwise we, as sinners ourselves, are hypocrites, and our hearts are not right.

In addition, offer these supplications with the single-mindedness that comes when we “avoid foolish debates, genealogies, contentions and arguments about the law, for they are unprofitable and useless”. 1

Be diligent in intercession. Keep an eye out for the spiritual weather of course, but don’t take our eyes off the eternal goal: salvation for a world in great distress.

Some Christians revel in the perception that ‘the world is getting darker’ or that ‘things are worse than they have ever been.’ They use this to point to Christ. This is looking to the Fall for salvation, not to Christ. This is looking to ultimate death for salvation, not to resurrection.

As darkness grows, light grows more. 2 Plant that in your heart and let it take root.

Nothing is happening in 2023 that wasn’t already common in AD 23 and ancient history by 1023, or 1923 for that matter. A close reading of the New Testament against the backdrop of history proves out Ecclesiastes, that there is nothing new under the sun.

Let’s stop pretending that there is.

There’s a whole sermon in that – the pretending that our day and age is different from any other. But I digress…

Finally, let’s take encouragement from that book of wisdom, which says ‘For in an abundance of wisdom is an abundance of frustration, and he who increases in knowledge also increases in sorrow.’ 3

If you are frustrated, or sorrowful, or both, know that it’s because the Lord has granted you wisdom. That’s great news! Wisdom is the coin of the realm. Spend it wisely through prayer and supplication, not by casting aspersions or looking for reasons to call out the dirt in others.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let everyone come to know your gentleness. The Lord is at hand. 4

1. Titus 3:9
2. Romans 5.20
3. Ecclesiastes 1:18
4. Philippians 4:4-5

Read a follow-up here.