Rand Paul's recent talking filibuster unexpectedly seized national attention with his concern over President Barack Obama’s drone program. When I hear the word filibuster, my mind instantly gets the image of the impassioned Jefferson Smith before the Senate in the Frank Capra classic, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. Smith is a gentle and naive man who is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down. He believes with all of his being that what is taking place is wrong; and he will give all that he has to fight against the corruption he has discovered.
A filibuster is a tactic in the legislative process sometimes used in the U.S. Senate by opponents of a bill to block its passage. A Senator, once granted permission to speak by the presiding officer, may continue to speak indefinitely in an effort to delay or prevent a final vote on the bill; however, that Senator must remain standing and speaking. Now that’s commitment to your fight!
With the recent news of David Landrith’s cancer diagnosis, the congregation of Long Hollow Baptist church has been filibustering heaven on his behalf. With special prayer services and a 24-hour prayer clock that congregants can sign up and commit to pray, Heaven is hearing a lot of prayer! In his open and often heart wrenching sermon on March 10, Landrith shared that he does not want to waste his cancer in reference to his acceptance that his diagnosis has the potential to reach those he might not have affected otherwise. However, he shared that when people asked if they could pray for his full and complete healing, he was fervent to answer “of course!” As one who has taken part in both private and corporate prayer on our pastor’s behalf, it has become an ardent time of beseeching heaven. However, filibustering Heaven is without all of the rules of the Senate. Thankfully, we can pray during our commute, in our prayer closet, or on our knees. The most comforting aspect, is that there are no rules, simply that we can go before the Father with our petition.
In his epistle James says, 5:16, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” This from a man who was in constant prayer that his knees became hard and callous, they were said to be like camel's knees because he knelt so often and so long. In the tenth chapter of the book of Acts, just before Peter received his vision to go to the gentiles, an angel went to Cornelius and said, 4 “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” In our time-consuming, self-involved culture it is hard to schedule coffee dates with good friends, let alone spend enough time on our knees to get them dirty, or even come close to building callouses. However, when something becomes dire enough, people find time to pray.
As I have sought the Lord this past week, I have had to ask myself the hard question, why haven’t I been praying this fervently all along? What if I had prayed longer and harder for our President, would our nation be in better shape? If I had prayed for my pastor more, would he be sick? What if I had spent that hour ever night filibustering heaven and prayed up memorials, rather than watching tv or playing Ruzzle?
The nation has buzzed about the fortitude and commitment Rand Paul’s filibuster displayed, but what if God's people showed the same fortitude all of the time? While I would prefer not to have knees look like a camels, I know that God would love the impact that a filibuster of Heaven can bring.