Throughout history, countries have agreed to stand in the gap for each other. Military, political, and social alliances abound.
They have ranged from the days of King Solomon forming an alliance with Egypt by marrying the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1) to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the U.S. and 12 Pacific Rim countries. The United States has agreed with 27 countries (NATO) and Russia with five countries (ODKB) in mutual defense pacts. Current multilateral free trade agreements include ASEAN (Asia), NAFTA (North America), and the WTO (World Trade Organization). The European Union (EU) is one of the largest economic-political alliances encompassing 28 nations. Numerous times over the last decade, the EU has stood in the economic gap for Greece.
International agreements to stand in the gap have proliferated as countries seek security, strength and advantage. The past is littered with alliances that have come about by negotiation, convenience, threat, intrigue, conquest and even marriage. In the absence of coercion, all parties believe at the time of signing that benefits exceed costs. Sometimes these net benefits are realized. Sometimes they are not. Outcomes are dependent upon the details and integrity of the parties.
As citizens of the kingdom, we have a responsibility to stand in the gap through prayers of intercession. We have been called to stand in the gap through prayer for:
"I sought for a man among them who would build up the hedge and stand in the gap before Me for the land so that I would not destroy it, but I found no one" (Ezekiel 22:30, MEV).
"Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty ... " (1 Tim. 2:1-2, MEV).
"Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may quickly spread and be glorified, even as it did with you" (2 Thess. 3:1, MEV).
"Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He will send out laborers into His harvest" (Matt. 9:38, MEV).
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you" (Psalms 122:6, MEV).
"Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much" (James 5:16, MEV).
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone merry? Let him sing psalms" (James 5:13, MEV).
In addition to prayer, we are to stand in the gap using our natural talents, assets, and resources. We can bridge the chasm between hunger and satiety, poverty and sufficiency, loneliness and befriended, despair and hope, lost and saved. As we support out churches, the poor, Israel, and missionary efforts with our earthly resources, we are standing in the gap between the kingdoms of darkness and light.
As we demonstrate the power of Christ through prayer and His love though action, we are standing in the gap between heaven and hell. We are living in the latter days for such a time as this. Let us be faithful soldiers, stewards, watchmen, and citizens of the kingdom.
Dr. James R. Russell is professor of economics and chair of the Undergraduate College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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