America! Pray for the Church
While many church leaders are encouraging their congregations to pray for the country, the country should be praying for the church.
Prayer is an intuitive response of humans when important things are threatened. It is an implicit recognition that we are finite. It is expressing a level of faith in a higher power or person. Some prayers are simple gasps of hope thrown heavenward. Others are thoughtful petitions aimed at communicating with God hoping for a response. Praying is good unless it is just a show of personal piety and a display of self-righteousness.
I sometimes wonder what people expect when they pray for the nation to be revived. Is God going to send a cloud full of angel dust to magically fix our ills?
Partnership With God
I think that if we understood how God has chosen to work on earth, we would want the church healthy and praying. Think about it. God has chosen to work on earth through human instrumentality. He has linked himself to humans in accomplishing his purposes on earth. His designation of Adam and Eve as his partners reveal his original intention. The biblical narrative tells how this has always been the way.
At any time, he could have intervened with angels, or he could have instituted another way of running the world, but he stayed true to his purpose. He chose Noah to build an ark to save a remnant when the world was so evil that it was destroyed. He chose Abraham to be the father of a family that would ultimately produce a son who would bring blessings on the earth instead of the curse of human disobedience. He chose Moses to lead God’s people out of Egyptian bondage. He chose David to be the king of the nation. He chose Israel to be the vessel of blessing to the world.
Finally, he came as the ultimate God-man-partnership in Jesus. The Incarnation is God’s declaration that human instrumentality is his way of working on earth.
Today, as always, he works through his own people to bless all people as they manage the earth. Those who have come to know God as Father through Jesus are his “today people.” The church is that entity. They have been given the privilege of interceding for the world.
Having been reconciled to God by the sacrifice of Jesus, they know that the core problem of society is separation from God. They know the message of reconciliation. They want the whole world to be reconciled to God, regaining what humanity lost in the Garden of Eden. They have a promise from Jesus that they can pray in his name and their prayers are heard. They share the life and mission of Jesus as his partners on earth.
In Fellowship With God
God blesses societies on earth when the people of those societies are liberated from the destructive fruit of separation. All people are designed to live in joyful fellowship with God, and when they are alienated, they are fraught with fears, and vulnerable to every demonic suggestion.
When the church prays, and offers the way of reconciliation, societies have hope. If all Americans knew the role of the church, they would be praying for the church to be revived. Peaceable and productive life on earth depends upon the health of the church.
A Healthy Church
Anyone can see that the visible church is not perfect. It is easy to criticize it for its failure. It is designed to show that God loves and forgives sinners; a safe place for anyone. It is made up of humans with all their weaknesses living with each other as forgiven children employed in God’s mission to reconcile all to himself. The healthier it becomes the more effective it becomes. The welfare of any nation depends upon it.
Under the guise of “separation of church and state,” rhetoric, some are trying to eliminate the church. They not only want its influence out of society, they want it out of existence. That is an obvious strategy from hell. Jesus has already said that “the gates of hell will not prevail against his church.” (Matthew 16:18)
Pray for the Church
We pray with confidence that as members of his body, we are privileged to do his work. We pray that individuals who live in alienation from God and will see that he wants them; that he has provided a way for them through the Son; that they will find their role in blessing their own world with the freedom they have found; that their families and communities will see the light in the darkness; that behavior changes to fit their new identity; that laws will reflect the values of God’s order — to the glory of God.
America! Pray for the church. The nation depends on its health.