Day 2, District 2 – Senator Art Swann

Senator Art Swann Represents Blount, and Sevier Counties. He is a member of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and has served on numerous boards, committees, associations, and councils.

Yesterday, we prayed for District 1, represented by Senator Steve Southerland.

Praying a long time for something is a challenge that can present its difficulties in more than one way. The difficulty of praying for abortion can be sandwiched between the extremes of the person who is praying out of habit and possibly with less conviction than when they began praying, and the person who at some time began to pray against abortion and for life, but tuckered out and stopped praying. This person could have forgotten to keep praying, or they could have become discouraged in their praying. Either way, they stopped praying.

Today, lets talk about the habit-prayer. The person who is praying out of habit might be accused by less charitable prayer guide writers of making vain repetitions.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Matthew 6.7 KJV

The big question here is “Who are these Heathens Jesus is talking about?” In this instance there is a good chance that Jesus was talking about the Romans. But really, he could have been talking about most of the ancient religions in the area.

You see, the priests of other religions were formula prayers. If there had been snake-oil and covered wagons and an American West, these priests would have invented cowboy boots and made a living selling snake oil.

You’re so vain, you probably think this guide is about you

The idea behind these priests’ careers as professional vanity-prayers was that they could pray so thoroughly and properly that their prayers would act like combination prayer-math-formula-magic-spells. As long as they didn’t forget anything, the “prayer” would cover it. They repeated prayers constantly, just with different people and with different people’s sacrifices. And since they were praying to Gods who can’t hear them, the prayers were in vain.

A big difference between heathen prayer and Christian prayer is the experience of the person who prays. Heathens believe their prayers control the heavens on a one way street. Christian prayer, however, is formative. Look at the Lord’s Prayer. It is first confessional – it states the Glory of God, the attributes of God, and our submission to God.

Then, the Lord’s Prayer takes a turn towards molding us: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors… deliver us from evil.” When the Christian prays these prayers, they are seeking to be molded. We’re not looking for snake oil to pour on people to change their mind about abortion. We’re asking that as God changes our hearts, he would draw other people to Himself – to Jesus.

The irony of some of our prayer points being repeated today is not lost on us, but we know from Luke 18.1-8 that Jesus doesn’t condemn repetition in prayer – only vain repetition as we discussed today.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for Senator Swann. Ask that the Lord would bless him spiritually by increasing his longing for God’s word and presence, and that he would do the same for you.
  • Pray for the physical needs of all of District 2’s Constituents, and that the Lord would provide for believers so that they can faithfully minister to spiritual and physical needs.
  • Pray for women considering abortions. Pray that the Lord would draw them to men and women in His Kingdom who can minister to them. Pray that their babies would be born happy and healthy, experience a full life, and know the Lord Jesus.
  • Pray that Senator Blount would vote for SB1236 – the Personhood Bill. Pray that he would support the God Given Marriage Initiative.

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