If you have seen the movie, Amazing Grace, you may know William Wilberforce as the man that abolished slave trade in Great Britain in 1807. In his book, “Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness”, Eric Metaxas quotes Wilberforce writing that “God Almighty has set before me two Great Objects: the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners.” Metaxas goes on to write that the terrible evil of the slave trade was only one – albeit the worst – of the social evils running rampant at the time in England. “Reformation of Manners” had to do with the other social evils - Child labor was common with poor children as young as five and six working ten- or twelve-hour days; alcoholism was an epidemic of proportions hard to imagine today; and sexual trafficking of woman had fully 25 percent of all single women in London working as prostitutes at an average age of sixteen. Wilberforce knew these Objects were set before him by God and it would be God working through him and many others that would bring them to realization.
Today in America, social evils are alive and well – alcohol, pornography, sexual trafficking and sexual immorality to name a few, have notched up victories against the family. Half of all marriages are failing; half of all children born to women under 25 are born out of wedlock; and the very definition of marriage as between one man and one woman is under attack. The answer is not just electing the right person or passing the right bills. The answer is turning hearts to a Biblical worldview that will become contagious. That takes prayer!
Wilberforce lived by example with humility and wisdom to know that even with his skills as a legislator and politician he could not win without total reliance on God. At its core, every battle worth fighting is a spiritual battle. Wilberforce prayed and read scripture every day. And he had a solid community of devout Christian brothers and sisters praying beside him for strength and effectiveness to initiate change for good that would endure.
Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence this day. – 1Kings 8:28, NIV. As a nation, we must cry out and pray for heart turning to begin, for all to turn from the secular worldview and the resulting social evils, to a Biblical worldview that will glorify the Father. This is the shift that Wilberforce was able to initiate through obedience and steadfast prayer.
Tips to Stay in Prayer:
- Focus on your personal, passionate and growing relationship with Jesus the Christ;
- Practice the discipline of daily time in prayer and scripture;
- Participate in National Day of Prayer – first Thursday in May;
- Pray for family members by name, the Church and the nation every day.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for men like William Wilberforce whom You used in a powerful way to provide an example for us today. Too often I jump into a situation in my own strength and make a good mess of things. Help me listen well to Your voice, proceed under Your Word and act in Your strength. Keep me out of Your way or in Your way to just the right degree so that You may be glorified where You have me. Amen.
A faithful father stays in prayer for family, the Church and the nation.