Ethics and prayer (part 1 of 2)



If we are faithful in the way we follow Jesus, then our deepest and truest desires will find their expression in godly, counter-cultural, justice-shaped prayers passionately aligned to the kingdom and mission of God. Our best prayers will be ethical prayers.

In this and my next column, I want to explore the relation of ethics to prayer – what’s distinctive about ethical prayer, and how to do it well for maximum effectiveness and social impact.

We all pray, some more intelligently and strategically and often than others.   And we include ethical considerations in our prayers, whether public or private, silent, written or spoken.

We pray for peace in place of conflicts large and small. We pray for the defeat of evil and the triumph of good. We pray for our political leaders, and for electoral and legislative processes. We pray that God will intervene and bless people suffering in the face of natural and human-induced disasters, epidemics, famine and poverty.

We pray for practical divine demonstration of justice and mercy in our world. And sometimes we pray for the necessary wisdom, money and human resources to sustain moral communities and extend the ethical dimension of the kingdom of God in the world.

Prayer is an indispensible part of the life of a Christian, and intercession on ethical issues is indispensible to prayer (e.g. 1 Tim 2:1-4). When the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, the pattern prayer that he gave them was profoundly ethical in its orientation and content (Mt 6:9-13).



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