In the above link, Glen Beck offers a challenge. I came across it this morning and I thought,"Wow! this is a great idea." This idea is one that is rooted in Biblical precept and truth, and one that is much needed in our nation. I offer the same challenge to you.
Start today! Go out to Walmart, or Office Depot and purchase a spiral notebook. Or Better yet, get one that you have laying around and tear out all the pages with writing. Then draw a horizontal line accross the middle of each page until you have 40 sections. Put today's date at the top of the first section, tomorrows, at the top of the second, and so forth. Now, start to write down things for which you will pray. (eg. start with repentance and reconciliation, then go on to your thanksgivings, and supplications.) Do not forget to mention this nation, those members of congress, our president, etc.
As you begin to pray, consider such biblical passages as
James 5:16b--"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." We must realize that for prayer to be effective, this passage conditions it upon 2 things.
First, that it be fervent. Prayer is not a series of recited words and phrases mumbled thoughtlessly, but rather it is the method by which children of God approach the Father to honor and worship Him, as well as to allow our requests to be made known to Him.
Second, that it be offered by a "righteous man." The nature of sin is such that it separates us from God. Isaiah 59:1-2 records " Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save' Nor His ear heavy. that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from you God' and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." Thus the importance of praying for repentance and reconciliation to God. We are able,through Christ as our advocate, to have our sins forgiven as Christians, if we will repent and confess them to the Lord (Acts 8:22, 1 John 1:9; 2:1-2).
In addition, Consider the fact that prayers are to be made with thanksgiving. The apostle Paul, through the Holy Spirit's inspiration, penned these words " do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). So often we take time to ask God for things, yet we never take time to thank God for His answer to our prayers. We can trust that if we ask according to His will, He hears us ( 1 John 5:14). Let us always seek to know his well by studying the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15), and making our prayers and supplications according to His divine teaching. When we do that, we truly can pray to God thankfully.
As you are working on renewing and refreshing your faith, another aspect is to dedicate yourself to purity, and godliness. Put away from yourself those things which are sinful. Paul wrote "only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27). Our language, should be free from cursing and "seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6). Dedicate yourself to faithfully assemble with local congregation of the Lord's church (Hebrews 10:25), and continually grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18), this is done by studying His word.
According to the scriptures, in one sense there is only one hope (Ephesians 4:4-6) This of course is the hope of everlasting life. However, in the context of this admonition, we turn our attention to the general idea of "hope" that is encompassed by the greater promise of eternal life. That is things that we may hope for even now. Hope is the idea of eager expectation. Paul wrote to the church at Rome "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Hope, as noted in the link, is rooted in truth. There is no "hope" if there is no eager expectation. If we truly hope we will live as though we posses this hope. We should be honest, moral and forthright.
Charity, in the scriptures is the idea of "agape love" That is an unselfish love. Love that seeks the best interest of others. The apostle noted in 1 Corinthians 13 some characteristics of this type of love. Notice:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth (1 Corinthians13:4-8a)
When we consider the this concept,we can understand the long suffering nature of charity, or "love" it rejoices in the truth, thinks no evil, endures through the roughest of times. We should cultivate and manifest this in our lives at all times.
Beck got his quote of "faith, hope, and charity" from this section of scripture where the text notes "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" ( 1 Corinthians 13:13). In the context, the apostle is comparing the things that are temporary and in part (ie. the miraculous manifestations of the Holy Spirit), with those things that would remain after the end of such things. Faith, Hope and Charity remain. Yet the greatest of all of these is charity. Our actions ought to be motivated by genuine concern for others. We should seek what is in their best interest, even if it means foregoing our desires at times.
Do something "charitable" for each member of your family. Something out of the ordinary, every week during the next 40 days. Surprise your wife with flowers for no reason. Send a card and express you love. If your like me, clean up your own mess, and do the dishes. Do nice things for your kids and other family members. Plan it out, write it down, and follow through.
I would also encourage you do do something charitable for a perfect stranger each week. Maybe pick up someone's ticket at a restaurant, offer to help someone with their groceries, mow a neighbor's lawn. You can be creative, just remember the Hebrew writer penned these words "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2)
So, there it is, the challange. What will you do with it? Will you follow through? There is nothing bad that can happen, yet it has the potential to open a new, better your. Yet more importantly to encourage you to draw closer to the God of heaven. as James wrote "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:8)