In February 2016, I penned “How to Pray for Chance the Rapper”. I wrote this after noticing different ways in which God seemed to be moving in Chance’s life. It was a few months before the release of “Coloring Book”; the album that exemplified Black Boy joy, a love for life and city, and a relationship with God that pushed up against familiar church conventions.
A year later in February 2017, Chance won 3 GRAMMY Awards for “Coloring Book”. This led to an opportunity for him to acknowledge God in his acceptance speech. What followed from spectators was conversation. It included criticism and skepticism as well as affirmation and embrace, and everything in between.
My question continuing from my first post a year ago remains, did you pray for the Chance The Rapper?
The call to prayer might seem like unnecessary over-thinking to many. However, it’s rooted in mission. Rooting for the culture doesn’t have to be at the cost of purposefully consuming it. Without this purposeful grounding, our consumption might be building the culture, but it won’t make disciples. This continuation to my first call for prayer, enters the conversation between the skeptic and supporter.
For those toward the side of skepticism and critique:
Did your noting of Chance’s shortcomings help push him into a better practice of confession? Did it humble you in the process through the realization of the common denominator of sin in both you and Chance? Did your critiques of his content convict his conscious? And in the process did the same Holy Spirit necessary for conviction in Him also convict you for all of your own unacknowledged thoughts, words, and deeds?
Did your exclusion of him from Christianity exalt Christ so that the world could be drawn to him? And in the process, were you frozen in adoration of that same Christ? If none of those things happened in the process of invalidating Chance’s relationship with Christ, it might be because your critiques were more about yourself and vain categories than a prayerful process of concern. Because Spirit-led intervention preceded by prayer is the only thing that can birth conviction, confession, and Christ-exaltation in either Chance or you.
For those toward the side of affirmation and embrace:
As much as we’re in awe of his authenticity and transparency in his relationship with God, are you praying for community? In the Christian life, one’s steadfastness in the faith is only as strong as one’s community. Are you praying for a community that holds him accountable to truth and growth? Not for the sake of judgement, but from the stance of a true fan who desires his growth. As much as his artistry and originality captivates us, are we praying for his humility? There’s an observable humility with Chance now, but this sense of humility is unique. Christian humility is necessary to refresh a correct orientation of human lowliness in comparison to a perfect God who yet decides to crown His creation as described in Psalm 8:3-8.
A lot of people want this to be about representation – “we have someone that I can relate to that represents how my faith journey looks”. Others want this to be about categorization – “what grounds can I observe to either validate or discredit Chance as “x,y, or z” category of Christian.”
Our call is much deeper than both, it’s about spiritual formation.
Cultivating growth through Christ-centered and Biblically-based discipleship and spiritual formation. This type of spiritual formation not only leads to a sanctification that produces fruit, but also an infectious zeal that reaches others and impacts culture. If this is our desire, then our part in this is prayer. And because a quick reflection should remind you that sanctification is a journey instead of a transformation that does come instantly, humility should assist you into that role of prayer.
Some starting points from part 1, “How to Pray for Chance the Rapper” are to pray for no reliance on himself, a newness in Christ, a greater comfort in Christ than what’s offered in vices, community, and deep roots of the Gospel. If you’re up for the call to pray, tweet me @LivinBeinMoore and use the tag to share some of the ways you’ll #Pray4Chance.