October 20, 2021
While all of us are still wrestling with the challenges caused by COVID-19, the Philippines braces itself for another election season, which is proving to be both pivotal and polarizing for our nation.
For students, there’s already so much to think about: school requirements, family matters, keeping up with friends, mental health, and maybe even finances. It’s difficult to leave even the slightest room in our hearts to care for things that are outside of our personal lives. But, as Christians, our default is to care.
We care about abolishing corruption, improving the country’s health care system, having equal rights for all, reducing poverty, and ensuring good governance. We care for the country and its people, and we want to be involved in helping foster a better future for everyone.
However, for most of us, our influence and capability to enact change are limited. As much as we want to be able to create brilliant systems that will positively impact the lives of Filipinos on a national scale, many of us do not have that power.
Realizing that we have a lack of options to help is discouraging, especially in a political climate as crazy as ours today. But there is a power readily available for us that is even greater than our situation: the power of prayer.
I already know what you’re thinking. Given everything that’s happening, will prayer really be enough?
In the quest for positive change to happen in a nation that is broken and hurting, will words do anything? Isn’t it lazy for us to just simply pass our national responsibility to God in prayer? As they say, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa,” right?
But what if I tell you that the act of prayer is enough for change to happen in our nation, will you believe me? Maybe not. After all, we know that faith without works of obedience is dead—and I will wholeheartedly agree with you on that.
However, the thing about prayer is that it doesn’t simply end in its utterance. Prayer uttered with the right heart will always transform into acts of obedience. And when we move in obedience to God and His will, positive change will happen in us and in the world around us.
This is the process that comes through prayer: peace in surrender, clarity of calling, and empowerment for obedience.
As Jesus taught us, prayer is first and foremost an act of surrendering to God’s will. It is not merely a way for us to make requests. When He prayed “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” Jesus was teaching us to give up control of our personal plans and allow ourselves to submit and participate in God’s sovereign plan for us, for our nation, and for the world.
This is easier said than done, because letting go of control opens up a world of anxiety. When the future seems uncertain, we tend to overthink and sometimes act irrationally in an attempt to preserve ourselves.
But what’s beautiful about prayer is that when it is done in humility and with thanksgiving, God promises to give us peace beyond understanding as we surrender to His will (Philippians 4:6–7). So even though our country’s future seems bleak, when we surrender our future to God in prayer, we’re saying that we trust Him in what He’s going to do in our nation, through us, and around us. And it’s the peace of knowing that God is in control that gives us the space to replace our worry with clarity so as to hear what He is calling us to do in our current season.
As we pray in reverence and thanksgiving, we open ourselves up to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus says in John 16:13, the Holy Spirit will guide us in truth and will tell us what He hears from Jesus and God the Father.
The Holy Spirit will direct us towards obeying God’s will so we can participate in what He is doing in our nation.
So how do we receive it? We simply ask. As James says, if any of us lack wisdom, we ought to ask God because He will grant it generously to anyone who asks and does not doubt (James 1:5–8). Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to be our guide who will remind us everything we’ve been taught to obey, and it is also the Holy Spirit who imparts to us the wisdom we will receive in prayer.
Through prayer, the decisions we want to make to help our country may be weighed with God and the wisdom He provides.
Do I register to vote? Who do I vote for? Should I get vaccinated? Should I share this post or not? Will this act of mine help my country and show love to my countrymen?
All these questions will be given clarity through prayer.
It is in prayer as well that we become empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow through with obeying God’s call.
Sometimes, the things God asks us to do are simple and easy, but oftentimes, it requires a lot of faith—faith that we might not be able to muster on our own, especially when circumstances aren’t favorable.
The Holy Spirit grants us that faith to move forward in obedience by giving us power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). These gifts allow us to be bold in doing what God is calling us to do because we acknowledge that whatever happens, God will work everything out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
It’s the assurance that God will be triumphant in the end that gives us confidence to obey; and so whatever He asks us to do for our nation, we know that it will turn out well in the end.
So you want to help the nation as a Christian? Pray.
Pray unceasingly. Pray so that God gives you peace, clarity, wisdom, and boldness to act for the benefit of our nation and our countrymen. Pray so that God hears that we care and He may act in and through us by allowing us to participate in His perfect will.
Pray because prayer is enough. In fact, prayer could be your greatest act of nationalism, because, through prayer, you’re trusting and acting in obedience to the One who knows best.