What a day of prayer could look like...

Tomorrow marks a day set aside for a national day of prayer.

In community halls, chapels, courthouse squares, and banquet rooms across the country ministers, politicians, and laymen will stand before us and ask us to join them in turning for a moment to pray.  Politicians will make their appearances and whether sincere or not, will likely remark on the founding fathers' faith and a need  for Christian values to dominate American culture.

And ministers will ask for God's blessing on our country.  And prayers will go out for America to return to God, a misnomer really.  We might ask for forgiveness and be repentant of national sin, really a code for all the bad things the church isn't responsible for.  And we will pray for our President and officials....that they will see the light.  And we will pray for the protection of our troops who are fighting for our freedoms overseas.  And everyone says together "Amen".  And thus concludes our national day of prayer.

And so we've done our job.  We've asked God to fix what is broken in America, and we'll help Him out when we turn out the scoundrels in the elections coming up.

What I think should proceed the national day of prayer is a national day of reflection.  A day when we can be honest with ourselves and use the Word of God as a mirror from which we examine our own hearts and actions.  Unfortunately it seems the national day of prayer has become a tool for the church in America to insert itself as the standard for the rest of the nation rather than a purposeful way to bring change to the church.

Because we're not the problem, right?  Those people outside the church are what's wrong with America and they need to face up to the fact that America is a Christian nation.  And of course, if they can't accept that then they should leave.  Then, no doubt God's blessing would return.  This is what we think, and some go so far as to actually say.

The biggest hindrance to people coming to Christ isn't what is going on outside of the church.  It is the collective church in America.  It is the image we promote as a message of non-tolerance is broadcasted by both preacher and "christian" politician.  It is our own embrace of an American culture that runs counter-culture to the gospel of Christ.  And we dare to insert our political demands as Americans above our responsibilities as followers of Jesus Christ.  I think it is time for the church to fall to our knees because we can't possibly stand in the gap for a hurting nation until we remove the mote from our own eyes.

Tomorrow I would ask you, if you are a Christian, to join me in prayer that God would first reveal to the church in America our own shortcomings in following Him.  Pray with me that the church would be broken and that we would understand what it means to live for Christ in our communities around us.  Pray with me that politics are removed from our pulpits and our hearts.  Pray with me that the church is able to discern what in American culture has become a weight and hindrance from enjoying God's true blessing in our lives.  Pray with me, rather than God bless America, God remove greed from our hearts.  For what we may think is our rights and God's blessing may be what is removing us from His favor.  Pray with me that rather than America returning to God........that His church would.


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