Prayer. Forgiveness. And Unity.

“The message of the 2021 National Prayer Breakfast,” wrote Bob Smietana of the Religious News Service, “can be summed up in the title of a book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Prize-winning South African cleric: No Future Without Forgiveness.

The National Prayer Breakfast, held on the first Thursday in February, began in 1953, during the Eisenhower Administration and has been attended by every President since, was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a prerecorded message, Andrew Young, former UN Ambassador, and civil rights leader, referenced Tutu’s book and suggested our nation can move forward through prayer and forgiveness despite past struggles. Young said that “praying with other leaders led him to form friendships with those he disagreed with.”

“Our prayers were always confession — we talked about our needs,” Young said. “We prayed for each other and we became friends.”

Young further suggested that prayer is the pathway to both forgiveness and unity. “America has sinned,” he said, “and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Other political leaders, including former Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush, as well as President Biden echoed similar statements of faith, hope, forgiveness, and national unity.

“For so many in our nation, this is a dark, dark time — so where do we turn?” Biden asked. “Faith,” he answered. Then added a quote from philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, “Faith sees best in the dark.”

Addressing the need for prayer and its positive impact, former President Bush said, “Prayer is the language of reconciliation. It has the vocabulary of grace, love, and peace our nation needs to move forward together.”

I don’t recall the source, but these wonderful sentiments remind me of this quote: “That which is prefaced by prayer, needs to be punctuated by practice.”

Although not wanting to be cynical, I’m not extremely hopeful these lofty ideals expressed by our politicians will be demonstrated in future actions.

I am hopeful, however, that Christians can rise about the political partisanship that has characterized our country. Regardless of our personal views, party affiliation, or ethnic origin, we share a commonality in Christ. A belief in something beyond social solutions or political policies. And a hope that is other-world oriented.

We know that true unity, as enunciated in Jesus’ prayer, is based on the Word of God (Jn 17:17-23). When it’s our standard of authority, we can find agreement on the most important matters in life. We also become a witness to the world that glorifies God and exemplifies that we belong to Christ.

Because we’re recipients of God’s grace, we can extend grace to others. Through gracious speech, attitudes and actions, we pursue the things that produce peace and mutually edify one another (Rom 14:19). These behaviors strengthen and enhance unity. And attach wings to our prayers.

The faith needed to change the direction of our nation is not found in human trust, American ideals, or political activism. It is faith in the Faith (Rom. 5:1-2). That faith is birthed and buoyed by God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). It is demonstrated by our actions. But if “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:26), then prayer devoid of practice is pointless and unprofitable.

As we imbibe these spiritual attributes of faith, hope, and grace coupled with prayer, we grow in our love for one another, even those who are unlovable, and tap into the strength needed to forgive one another. When we fail to forgive others, we “burn the bridge over which we ourselves must pass.” Because God won’t forgive us either (Matt. 6:14-15).

When we see others not as Republicans or Democrats, Liberals or Conservatives, Northerners or Southerners, Black or White, Americans or Foreigners, but as fellow human beings created in the image of God, with a soul needing salvation, our prayers acquire a deeper significance. A new meaning. And a greater purpose.

Pray for unity. Then put into practice the principles that will perpetuate it.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

4 Comments

Filed under Prayer

4 responses to “Prayer. Forgiveness. And Unity.

  1. ranger

    Preacher man the message to Christians is always compromise, meet in the middle with us but the ones calling for the meet will not concede at all. Faith in what we should ask, impressive videos from a long line of unrepentant stars

  2. Pingback: Weekly Recap: February 7-12 | ThePreachersWord

  3. Larry W Harris

    Sad that you quote so eloquently the leftist movement that cater to abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism,…in the likes of Biden, Obama, Clinton and now Bush but you can’t even mention President Trump who has fought diligently for Christians and Christianity since day one. Come on Ken you can do better than this. Unity of what? Unity for unity’s sake. No God never has wanted unity when sin is involved. We are in a war against sin and can never cower down to the wiles of the devil. I have always enjoyed your articles and have gotten blessed by reading them. I do not want to make this political but you have. The men you mentioned especially Obama and Biden are taking our country down a completely destructive path in eliminating all the good that had been accomplished over the last four years. These men do not have the Lord’s message in their hearts and must not be put on some pedestal as if they are a beacon of unity, hope and peace which they are not.

    • Larry
      Thanks for reading ThePreachersWord and for your kind words about my posts. I always welcome feedback, even when it offers constructive criticism. Here are some thoughts for your consideration about this post. (1) Quoting any source does not necessarily indicate endorsement of the author.
      (2) While I use political events illustratively, the nature of my blog is spiritually focused and is not designed to overtly discuss politics.
      (3) With regard to President Trump, there have been several references with regard to your observations over the past 4 years. the most recent, https://thepreachersword.com/2021/01/21/the-sanctity-of-human-life/
      (4) My comment with regard to the leftist quoted can be best summarised by my statement “these wonderful sentiments remind me of this quote: “That which is prefaced by prayer, needs to be punctuated by practice.”
      Again, thank for reading and taking the time to comment.

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