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Prayer and national challenges

Published:Saturday | January 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Some Jamaicans contend that prayer is not enough to tackle the problems and challenges of this nation. They probably cast aspersions on the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast that was held Thursday , January 21 and concluded that it was a sham, a mere show of politico-religious pomp and pageantry without any consideration given to purposeful concerted action. This perspective on prayer is not without merit and substance given the prevailing theology and practice of prayer.

I would like to suggest, however, that the issue is not that prayer is not enough, but that we do not pray 'enough'. 'Enough' to me means that the quantity and quality of our prayers are adequate and results-producing.

From one angle, it is not that we merely pray without acting, but that we fail to pray without ceasing (quantity).

From another angle, any solid biblical theology of prayer would include the notion that genuine prayer is persistent, action-generating, and transformative (quality).

palpable results

My understanding of the essence of Christian prayer is that when it is done within the ambits of integrity, penitence, humility and confident expectation, it produces tangible and palpable results regardless of the complexity and intractability of the contextual ills. Lest we forget, it was Jesus who stated categorically that there are certain perceived difficulties and apparently insurmountable challenges that cannot be tackled successfully without prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). Indeed, on another occasion he said, "Men ought always to pray and not to faint" (Luke 18:1). Was Jesus a mere prayer fanatic?

Many nations around the world have experienced positive transformation and economic development on the foundation of authentic prayer. Those who claim that prayer in Jamaica is not bringing about any results might be on to something, but they should not be impetuous in their analysis and evaluation. They must be reminded that wherever genuine prayer is uttered something happens.

I am, etc.,