Have you ever found yourself refusing to pray for a person you don’t like–or refusing to pray over a situation you don’t like?
I saw a really sad example of this lately, and I wanted to use it today as a teaching moment. If we value the Bible (and we do), then we cannot let our triggers keep us from praying righteously. And as you read this, if you have let your triggers keep you from godly prayers and humble responses to people or situations, then I pray that Holy Spirit will gently convict your heart.
Here’s what happened:
Several days ago, I wrote a Prayer Against Police Brutality that was published by Intercessors for America, a ministry for which I write freelance articles occasionally (mostly prayers for political situations).
I felt strongly led to write the Prayer Against Police Brutality when I did.
I felt by the Holy Spirit that the enemy was planning to orchestrate another high-profile police vs. citizen altercation in my nation. And as we have seen, such altercations in the past have led to mass riots, propaganda, and many other bad things.
As people who pray, it is our job to pray against anything that goes against righteousness and justice, which are the foundations of God’s throne. The Prayer Against Police Brutality was intended to prevent and derail the enemy’s plans for another high-profile altercation.
Related: Find all of the freelance political prayers I’ve written for Intercessors for America here. We don’t usually discuss politics here on this website, but many of these prayers may be useful to you no matter what nation you live in and pray for.
But I was shocked and deeply saddened by the angst and anger some people expressed in the comments underneath that Prayer Against Police Brutality.
In the article, I stated specifically that I am very pro-police. Little-known fact: I used to work for my city’s local police department; the officers were like family to me. I loved them dearly as my brothers and sisters, and I still do to this day.
Also, I stated specifically in that article that:
“… it is essential to acknowledge that not every police officer is brutal. Not every law enforcer in any branch is crooked or corrupt. Many, and probably the vast majority, are simply hard-working people who care about others and care about justice—and who want to do their jobs, keep people safe, get bad guys off the streets, keep the peace, and go home to their families every day.”
Then, I clearly pointed out that:
“But it is for those who need a heart change that we pray today.
We need to pray for those who abuse their power. The Father can touch even them with His love. For officers who hide hatred in their hearts; for officers who use their power as an opportunity to exercise their personal vendettas … these are the ones for whom I specifically feel led to intercede today.”
Did you notice that? I clearly stated:
“It is for those who need a heart change that we pray today.”
But despite this extremely clear communication that I am pro-police; that in no way am I saying that every police officer exercises brutality; and that it is only for those who need a heart change that we are praying …
… People still left all manner of comments expressing their anger and outrage that we would even pray about such a thing. And the express facts stated both in the preamble to the prayer AND in the prayer itself—facts about whom the prayer was intended to impact—were completely ignored.
Why? The reason is simple, but unfortunate.
Over the years, I have learned that, many times, people in Christian culture confuse their feelings and political persuasions with truth.
The Word of God is what defines truth. Feelings and political persuasions do not define truth. And when people exalt their feelings, opinions, and political persuasions against the Word of God, those things become triggers to their emotions and blinders to their eyes.
Take, for example, the legal and social issue of illegal immigration.
Immigration is a real hot topic here in the USA. There is both legal and illegal immigration going on every day, and opinions about it divide the nation.
Biblically speaking, though–because I believe in the Bible ABOVE what any political party says–we can ask ourselves:
Should people enter our borders illegally? Of course not. The law is the law.
Should the American government do everything they can to prevent illegal immigration? Yes, obviously; the law is the law.
And if immigrants cross our borders illegally, is it reasonable to deport them back to their home nation if they are discovered? Yes. The law is the law.
However, the Word of God also says that we should not oppress the stranger within our gates.
Some people reading that one sentence alone probably just got triggered. Their political opinions immediately rose up and became more important to them than the Bible. They became angry. However, even if that’s you, I beg you to hear me out on this.
The Word of God is true. The law is also the law, and righteous laws should be upheld.
So should the law be enforced? Yes. But is oppression necessary while enforcing the law? No. It is entirely possible, though it may not always be the cultural norm, to handle immigration in a humane way that does not hurt people or separate families.
Again: Should the law be enforced? Obviously. But can we do that without oppressing the stranger within our gates—even if we do not allow the stranger to remain? We could, if we wanted to.
But too often, Christians prefer their cultural preferences, opinions, and political biases over the Word of God.
If I were writing a prayer against oppression of undocumented immigrants, I would have Biblical basis and justification to do so. We would pray a prayer that the law would be enforced while also treating the stranger within our gates in a humane way, as long as they are in federal custody.
Sadly, however, some people would not be willing to pray that prayer. The prayer would be Biblical, but the hatred in their own hearts toward immigrants who cross the border using illegal methods would cause them to become angry instead of prayerful on this matter.
In the same way, the topic of police brutality triggers many people’s feelings, and prevents them from becoming prayerful.
I would like to ask every person who commented in anger or even disagreement regarding the Prayer for Police Brutality:
Question 1: Do you truly believe that there are zero law enforcement officers in the USA—whether at the local, state, federal, National Park Service, or school levels—zero officers who need a heart change of any kind?
If so, note that you are equating law enforcement with salvation and Christlikeness. If you are saying that zero officers need a heart change, you are saying that the mere fact that they are officers means their hearts are perfect and exactly like Christ.
Question 2: Do you truly believe that zero officers in the entire US of A harbor any hatred or brutality in their hearts of any kind?
Because if there is even one officer who harbors hatred or brutality in their heart, that one officer is the officer in whom Holy Spirit worked as we began to pray this prayer.
You may not know any officers personally who harbor hatred or brutality in their heart. However, if there was even one person in the entire USA who does hold those things in their heart, Holy Spirit went and began working in them the moment we began to pray.
We do not know for whom we are praying, but Holy Spirit does—and He applies those prayers where they are needed.
Question 3: Is one person who is lost and in need of salvation, heart change, and Christlikeness worth your time to pray for?
Because the prayer was clear. The prayer was a Biblical prayer, line by line, to pray for those officers who needed a heart change. If you can admit that it’s unlikely that not a single officer in the entire United States is lacking in Christlikeness, then …
… Even if there was only ONE person who needs a new heart from Jesus …
… Even if there was only ONE officer in the entire USA who was planning to take their anger out on someone today …
… Then that prayer was worth our time to pray.
Yet, many people’s personal triggers prevented them from seeing the truth … the truth that:
- Just because someone is an officer, that does not make them perfect or Christlike.
- Just because someone is an officer, that doesn’t mean they have no hatred or brutality in their heart.
- And if even one person harbors brutal or violent tendencies in their heart, they are worth praying for. Christ died to seek and to save that which was lost.
Friend, don’t let your triggers prevent you from praying the Word.
We all have our personal opinions and experiences. But we should not worship at the altar of opinions, biases, and experiences. We worship only the Lord our God, and He has magnified His Word above His name. (See Psalm 138:2.)
And if a prayer for a situation that certainly exists in someone’s heart, somewhere can prevent another national crisis OR even bring heart change to one individual who needs it, it is well worth our time to band together in agreement and pray.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. I pray the Lord would soften every person’s heart today to see His Word on this matter, and to see the importance of prayerfulness in all things—even in areas we feel passionately about in one way or another.
Have you been placing your biases and triggers above the need to pray the Word about every situation? Pause and pray about that right now if Holy Spirit is tugging on your heart.