One of our church members said that a co-worker shared with him how that this quarantine is making us all like dogs. We roam the house all day looking for food. When we get too close to someone we’re ordered to STOP, and we get really excited when we get to go out for a car ride.
That may be truer than we’d like to think. Most, if not all of us, do have more free time on our hands. What are we doing with it? Many are spending time doing odd jobs around the house, taking care of the honey-do list, cleaning, painting, fixing.
Others are getting crafty, finding ways to channel energy into arty type projects. Some are reading online or real books.
Others are finding time to study topics and subjects they’ve had an interest in but no time for.
Some are helping take care of others, neighbors, relatives, the elderly, the sick and shut-in. They’re visiting, calling, sending notes and cards, showing love and concern.
There are many good ways to use our time, much better than texting, Facebook, YouTube, video games, and television. Yes, even better than the Hallmark channel.
But what if God’s people began to use more of that time in Bible study and in prayer? What might be accomplished in the spiritual realm for ourselves, our families, our churches, our neighborhoods, our country?
Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. A California pastor I respect very much, Dr. David Jeremiah, offered this prayer for America:
“In all history, there was been only one nation like America, founded by pilgrims seeking freedom to worship, dedicated to the proposition that we are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.
“You have delivered us in war, prospered us in peace, and raised up generations willing to offer the last full measure of their devotion for the preservation of liberty at home and abroad. We have been a light for the world.
“But now, America has fallen into darkness, disobedience and indifference. We have sinned, and we, Your people, Lord, humble ourselves, and pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways. Please forgive our sin and heal our land.
“May the torch of liberty continue to burn brightly, inflamed by the goodness of Your people. Amen and Amen.”
On that day last week, I sent this to many in our church and on my email list and asked that we pray a similar prayer for America, not only on the National Day of Prayer but every day.
We learn from the Old Testament prophets that intercessory prayer and confession of sin can be used to turn a nation from evil and back to God. And America needs this more than ever before.
While revisionist history and secular culture would try to downplay the role of faith in the formation and development of America, the truth is that our nation was founded as “one nation under God.” Indeed, no true democracy has ever lasted when morality and the personal involvement and responsibility of the citizenry have diminished.
de Tocqueville said, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
Today’s America would be completely foreign to our founders and is even so different than it was when I was growing up in the latter 20th century…and not different in a good way.
Politics has become a “bad word” and it shouldn’t be. Politicians have given up being statesmen for power and money. There was a natural difference of opinion between political parties in the past, but today it has evolved into hatred and vitriol, to the detriment of the nation.
Money has become our god. Almost everything that happens is based on profit and/or loss. Materialism has surpassed all other attributes in the hearts of too many Americans. And greed is seen to be a good thing, not something to be despised.
We are divided by color, culture, political party, regionalism, speech and/or accent, the name over the church door, religion, and other things that are natural but should not be caustically divisive.
Our churches that used to speak the entire truth of God’s Word, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, completely and without apology, now are watering down or denying the truth of the Word. We preach false doctrine and heresy and people in the pews are so ignorant of the Bible they don’t know the difference.
We change sin to “lifestyle” and culture. We reduce crime to normalcy. We kill our unborn children by the thousands without thought. And those who have the power to change those things let them go … again because of their love of power, prestige and money.
The saddest part is that we all know the difference between right and wrong. We simply ignore what we know.
As a classic country music fan, I remember an old song by Bobby Bare that said, “God bless America again.” That should be the prayer of every American. But before that can happen, America must become blessable again, and that starts at the door of the church and in the hearts of God’s people.
Is it possible? I really don’t know and I confess I’m a bit skeptical and pessimistic. But I’m willing to be proved wrong.
So while this global pandemic keeps us sequestered for at least a little while longer, let’s begin a process that will continue when our nation returns to social normalcy. Let’s become a nation of Christian prayer warriors.
We cannot depend on politicians or pastors. The hope of America is not in the city council, the president or the pope. It is in the prayer posture of God’s people. The Apostle Paul hit the nail on the head when he reminded us that this battle we face today is not a battle of people against people. It is a battle in the spiritual realm, a battle of good versus evil, a battle of God versus Satan that started in eternity past.
People are simply the pawns that Satan is using to foment his evil plans, the hatred of anything moral, good, spiritual. But in Ephesians 6, we’re given the spiritual armor that we must use as God uses us as His Christian soldiers, not to fight each other but to fight the devil and his minions. And we put that armor on each day with prayer.
And let us all remember, as we spend our days in amplified and fervent confession of sin, personal and national, and intercession, Christ has won the battle. When He died and rose again, Satan realized that he was doomed to one day spend eternity in a bottomless pit. But until the day comes when God puts him there forever, he is a wounded and dangerous enemy, determined to destroy everything good that God ever created, as he did in Eden and as he’s doing in America.
As Sabine Baring-Gould penned over 100 years ago: “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see His banners go.”