Pray for World Peace?
“A PATH to Peace Through Prayer.” Thus was captioned the editorial appearing in Life magazine, September 13, 1954. Noting how dark “freedom’s own future seemed,” the editorial asked if there was any ray of hope and professed to see one in religion, since, according to one of the foremost modern historians, only renewed religious faith can save the West.
The editorial then quoted President Eisenhower’s remark to the World Council of Churches, assembled last August at Evanston, Illinois: “The time has come when for mankind there is no substitute for a just and lasting peace,” and told of his suggestion for world-wide prayer as “a mighty, simultaneous intense act of faith.” The council agreed with him and set aside January 18 to 25, 1955, as a week of universal prayer.
Urged the editorial: “Let us all mark it down; let us pray. And let us pray many times in the interim, among others for the millions of Russian Christians. . . . We must certainly pray for Eisenhower.” In conclusion it observed that “he must seek the world’s prayers, time and again, in the hope that enough faith can move even the Soviet mountain.”
Is the path to world peace through prayer? Will God hear and answer such prayers for peace? Will the saying of enough prayers actually move the “Soviet mountain”? What does the Bible say?
What is the condition of Christendom that has set aside January 18 to 25 as a week of universal prayer? Are not its people “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power”? Is there not an “increasing of lawlessness,” and do not the prophets prophesy falsely and the “people love to have it so”? Did not Hosea accurately describe it when he prophesied: “There is no faithfulness or kindness, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds and murder follows murder”?—2 Tim. 3:4, 5; Matt. 24:12, NW; Jer. 5:31; Hos. 4:1, 2, RS.
And what does the Bible say about God’s answering the prayer of such? Note the words of Jehovah: “Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, and you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic strikes you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices.”—Prov. 1:24-26, 28-31, RS.
There simply can be no lasting peace without recognizing God’s “Prince of Peace” and lining up with God’s principles of justice and love. Those who do so gain peace: “Great peace have those who love thy law.” “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever.”—Isa. 9:6; Ps. 119:165; Isa. 32:17.
Regarding an apostate nation of Israel in his day, Jeremiah was specifically commanded: “As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I do not hear you.” Because her doom was sealed it would have been futile for Jeremiah to pray for his nation, and the same holds true today. It being described as Babylon in the Scriptures, God has doomed Christendom to destruction, and so those who understand Jehovah’s purposes did not join with President Eisenhower and the World Council of Churches during January 18 to 25 in praying for world peace. Instead, they sounded Jehovah’s warning: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”—Jer. 7:16, RS; Rev. 18:4, NW.
The headlines of the New York Times on January 26, the day after the week of prayer, said, “House votes 409-3 to back Eisenhower on Formosa”; and the first paragraph read, “WASHINGTON, Jan. 25—The House of Representatives voted 409 to 3 today to back President Eisenhower in any military action to safeguard Formosa from the Communists.” Apparently they figure their prayers would not help.