Pray for African American Christian Leaders

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Like so many Christians, I thought of the terrible atrocity in Charleston during my time of prayer this morning.  I asked the Lord for the grace needed by so many to bear the pain of such loss, and for mercy to reign in the place of anger and hate.  It occurred to me that I ought to be especially praying for African American Christian leaders, both in Charleston and around the nation.  There are times when only certain people can lead, and this is a time when the opportunity to lead in Christ's name falls on them, since only the community that has been aggrieved can speak with cultural authority.  The rest of us cannot preach to them, but can only pray for them and express our solidarity with them in sympathy, love, and practical help.  And we can pray for the Christian leaders among this community.  I thus prayed that they would highlight the gospel among their broken-hearted people.  May they call not only their fellow African Americans but all Americans to turn to God in renewed repentance and faith.  

The glaring reality is that our society has turned from the Lord; we have sown the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind.  At a time when violence, misunderstanding, and social grievances threaten to tear us apart, may we be summoned to join together in repentance and prayer, seeking our only true help in the Lord.  The slaughter of Christians in prayer out of racial hatred is not a calling to more racial grievance but to a mass renewal of prayer.  For all the ways we may find solidarity with the nine men and women slaughtered in Charleston, our wisest and best response is to join them in the call they were serving on the night of their death: the call to pray before the throne of the God of grace.

At a time of national crisis in Israel, the prophet Joel called for the horn to be blown in Israel: "Blow the trumpet in Zion," he cried.  "Sound the alarm on my holy mountain!" (Joel 2:1).  That call was a summons not to conflict and strife, but to repentant prayer to the holy and merciful God.  God promised Israel the grace that would come through Jesus Christ: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh" (Joel 2:28).  There is no other solution, for either victims, offenders, or a society watching with dismay, wondering when the next divisive blow will be struck, than the cleansing, healing, and restoring grace of God in his Savior Son.  

May God bless all Christians, but especially African American Christian leaders, with voices to call us to repentance, to faith, and to the grace of Christ, which alone can bring restoration to our fractured land and which alone can provide hope to the broken and aggrieved.
Posted June 19, 2015 @ 8:39 AM by Rick Phillips

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