God has been stirring something in my heart about prayer. We are called to be interceding people. God has declared that His house will be a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13), and yet so often, we are distracted and busy – even busy doing good, Godly things, and we don’t pray like we should. Today, on Human Rights Day, I am reminded that prayer and justice go hand in hand. There are many issues facing our world and many ways in which human rights are violated in the most appalling ways, and often, we are lulled into apathy or paralysed by the enormity of the problems around us because we think there is nothing we can really do. We are surrounded by corruption, oppression and injustice, and we feel helpless.
I am reminded at times when I feel helpless of Ezekiel 22 and God’s desperate plea to the people of Israel. Their nation and world was also full of extortion, robbery, oppression, xenophobia and injustice and God was anxiously seeking someone to make a difference…
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says”– when the Lord has not spoken. The people of the land practise extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and ill-treat the foreigner, denying them justice ‘I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so that I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.’
We are called to stand in the gap. We are called to be people of intercession – to be the go-between between God and humanity. We are called to PRAY and we are called to ACT.
Pete Greig and Dave Roberts say it like this in their book about prayer, Red Moon Rising: “Maybe this is what prayer is all about. One minute you’re kneeling in quiet contemplation, the next you’re kneeling by an unconscious girl; one day you talk to God about people and the next you talk to people about God. This marriage of intimacy with active involvement in the mess of life makes sense of the literal word ‘intercession’. To ‘stand in the gap between God and his world must surely mean having a foot in both camps, not standing on God’s side and yelling at the other…”
On this Human Rights Day, may we be challenged again to stand in the gap for our world and to pray with everything we’ve got – continually, unceasingly and boldly… and may our prayers move us to action to make a practical difference wherever we find ourselves.