What do Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, and the Band Perry have in common? They are all supporting Reba McEntire's new song, "Pray for Peace." She calls her song "a gift from God." It repeats over and over the simple imperative, "pray for peace." Then it calls us to pray for our mothers, fathers, children, leaders, and families, to pray for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. The song's music video had 5,629,031 likes on July 21.
There's no doubt we need peace. The Gaza conflict continues, with disclosures that Hamas is using hospitals and United Nations schools to shelter and fire weapons. Israel has also found another "terror tunnel" containing Israeli uniforms, maps, and weapons.
And we need wisdom. America is pressuring Russia to stop supporting civil war in Ukraine, but needs its help with removing chemical weapons from Syria. The U.S. is trying to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, but needs its help in stopping ISIS in Iraq. Washington is at odds with Germany over allegations of American spying, but needs Germany's help in bolstering the global economy.
However, simply praying for peace and wisdom is not enough. First, we must be sure that we are praying to the right Audience. While I'm grateful that Reba McEntire is a professing Christian, I'm troubled by her belief in reincarnation (she says she was a man in a previous life). Some 12 percent of Americans who don't believe in God say they pray; Pure Land Buddhists pray to Buddha for rebirth; Hindus pray to various manifestations of Brahman. Sincerely taking the wrong medicine won't cure my disease; sincerely taking the wrong road won't lead me home.
Second, we need to be willing to be part of the answer to our prayer. Jesus is the solution to our greatest problems, the Prince of Peace for a war-torn world. But he has chosen to work today through his people (1 Corinthians 12:27), to reveal himself as "the light of the world" (John 9:5) through us (Matthew 5:13). Oswald Chambers: "The one marvelous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh. . . . It is his patience, his love, his holiness, his faith, his purity, his godliness, that is manifested in and through every sanctified soul."
How do we manifest Jesus today? "We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18). Behold the glory of the Lord today in worship, prayer, and intimate communion with your Father. Know that his Spirit will transform you into the image of his Son (Romans 8:29). You will then show the world Jesus' compassion, mercy, and grace in yours.
Abraham Kuyper was a brilliant theologian who also served as prime minister of the Netherlands. He observed: "No service in itself is small / None great, though earth it fill / But that is small that seeks its own / And great that does God's will."
How great will your service be today?
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
Do you want to live a life in whole-hearted pursuit of loving God and others?
Read today's First15 at www.first15.org.