Ted Haggard and praying the way Jesus taught us to pray
I have read a lot and listened to a lot of discussion about the current scandal that resulted not only in Ted Haggard resigning from the NAE and being fired from his church, but also in a lot of grief to all of us who share the passions to which he dedicated his career in the public eye. My overwhelming response is simply a call to prayer.
We are a people who give lip-service to our belief in the idea that God does things in response to prayer that He would not do otherwise, but for the most part we don't live as if we really believed that.
Ted Haggard accomplished everything he accomplished that was real because he did practice a life of prayer -- both listening prayer and prayer of petitions to the God that he wanted to honor. But he apparently never found an effective way to deal with temptation in prayer. Perhaps the rest of us should take heed and actually pray the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray!
I have two "exhortations" -- pray the way Jesus taught us to pray, and add to those prayers specific prayers for Ted Haggard and all the rest of us:
Begin our days with real prayer the way Jesus taught!
1) Praise God for Who He is and thank Him for our relationship to Him.
2) Intercede for His will and purposes to be accomplished in my life, the lives around me, and in the rest of the world.
3) Ask that He meet our needs for today -- physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, sexually, and every other type of need we have -- whether we feel the need or don't even know we have it.
4) Ask for forgiveness for the sins we can confess and for the ones we do not even know we've committed, and ask for help in our effort to offer the same forgiveness to everyone who has offended or hurt us in any way.
5) Ask for protection from temptation and harm: protection from our own sinful nature and desires, protection from those of others, and protection from the evil in the world, and protection from the "accidental" things that can get in the way of our safety and God's purposes. Ask that God would not allow anything -- within us or outside us -- to get in the way of His purposes in our lives and through our lives.
6) Remember "the rest of the story", and praise Him for His kingdom and power and glory forever! He is the only lasting source of real joy, peace, excitement, passion, intimacy, or anything else that we crave!
And add to those prayers these prayers for these days:
1) Lord, accomplish Your purposes in this election, despite and even because of these events!
2) Lord, let all the rest of us regard Ted Haggard with eyes that truly understand our own sinfulness, and let us offer him the forgiveness that we are commanded to offer if we are to receive Yours!
3) Lord, teach us all to pray effectively, that we might experience the Spirit-filled lives You want to give us!
4) Lord, bring healing and transformation to the mess of Ted Haggard's current situation, and glorify Your name in him and through him!
5) Lord, do the same for us, in the messes that are public, and the ones we've managed to hide. Expose the messes that must be exposed for Your healing to come!
6) Lord, empower Your church to be the church You want it to be in this day and in each place where it exists!