Saturday, July 13, 2013
Grown-Up Prayer Requests, Part 2: K Street Christians and Reverse-Lobbying
The history of lobbying is an interesting one. As Ellen Arnold explains it, President Grant liked taking walks to get away from the stressful environment of the White House. Looking for a change of venue/scenery, the retired Union general would make his way to the Williard Hotel (still in existence today) and smoke a cigar in lobby there. Being a creature of habit, others began to take note of his routine and preferences. Individuals with their ear to the street began to approach him in the lobby with his favorite kind of cigar and segue or transition into the particular legislative item they sought to influence him with. President Grant called them lobbyists... and the name stuck.
Of course in our day, there are some other names that come to mind when someone mentions the topic of lobbying or lobbyists. But this is to be expected since even on a good day, lobbying involves the use of education, influence, and yes, manipulation to "encourage" those with power to act on behalf of one and not the other. Sinful and flawed humans seek to gain leverage and access to the clout and control of other sinful and flawed humans who enjoy positions of power. The result is inevitable: sinful and flawed means will necessarily lead to sinful and flawed ends. No matter how well-meaning, the best laws and intentions of mankind ultimately lead to yet more abuse and disorder by those willing to twist even what is good.
But lobbying the Lord through prayer is altogether different. First of all, it is for sure that God is absolutely holy and beyond corruption. Secondly, the Lord is the source of all truth and knowledge. Therefore, any time we take to tell Him about our situation, requests, or condition is merely for the sake of our own need to confess our sins or to express our need for His gracious and mighty acts on our behalf. Thirdly (yes, even in blog-posts, there's always three) and most important, the lobbying effect is reversed. Instead of us seeking to influence God to work on our behalf, lobbying the Lord leads to a completely different goal.
We do not expect God to bow to our rights and privileges as Kingdom Citizens. Instead, spiritual maturity leads us to submit our will to His in an effort that we might serve His purposes in the earth with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. It's reverse-lobbying; He does not come under our sway, but with transformed hearts and His grace which enables, we get a glimpse of His glory and see our plans as poor and pathetic in comparison. Then it makes all the sense in the world to lay down our agendas, putting our hand to the plow to join His. In summary, where the typical lobbyist looks to use a politician, the Lord's lobbyists offer themselves to be used by Him for His glory.
So hopefully I've set this up well enough to start a more intense look at the scriptures. My next blog entry, Lord willing, will begin a five-part series on Bible passages highlighting the Lord's Lobbyists and their grown-up prayer requests. Stay tuned...