We need help.
Our country is a mess, our families are a mess, our lives are a mess. And the easy answer is to blurt out, “We need God back in America!”
But that’s the problem- that’s the easy answer. And if we’re honest, that usually doesn’t get anything accomplished.
We American Christians are putting our trust, money, and social media statuses in the hope of our own opinions. We try to find a Presidential candidate to cling to, or a fund to support, or a hashtag that will not only show everyone where we stand, but hopefully get some “likes” too.
In our frenzy of looking around and telling everyone what we believe will help our nation, that they need to follow God’s rules and obey Him, we’ve ignored His opinion. His command.
2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (KJV)
We’ve been wanting to look to non-Christians to “get their act together”. If they would just turn their lives to the Lord we wouldn’t have mass shootings or bad Presidents or broken families.
But that’s the thing. God’s promise isn’t “If my people, who are called upon my name, will convince everyone else that they’re stupid…”
He says if we pray. And I think it’s for a couple reasons.
One. So He gets the glory. Us Christians can be kind of sick sometimes. I remember hearing a preacher say last semester that there is a sickness about us that doesn’t want to do something if no one else will see it. We feel like unseen acts or sacrifices are unimportant. But let’s look at the verse again. It doesn’t say, “If my people, who are called upon my name, will do really obvious things for me.”
It says if we pray.
Two. So hearts are actually changed.
I was talking with some friends about this last night, how the fact that people who aren’t saved commit sin can, in a weird way, be a good thing.* If the lost didn’t sin…how would we know who needed Christ? We’re supposed to be able to tell a tree by its fruit- so when we see bad fruit it serves as a good sign to tap in and see where that person’s heart is at. It’s always, always, always a heart issue. So, when we try to solve things through force, through political opinions or rules, we are in danger of going back to legalism. And we saw how well that worked.
(Pause, to say I am definitely not saying we shouldn’t have rules or godly people serving in political roles. It’s also super glorifying to God when the rights of the oppressed are protected.) But what I am saying is God didn’t say, “If my people, who are called upon my name, would make rules for non-Christians to follow…”
He said if we’d pray.
I was listening to this Newsboys song as I was driving home last weekend and one line instantly grabbed my attention. Game changer.
It’s called “That’s How You Change The World” and the line that got me was:
“It’s a prayer in an empty room.”
That’s what the issue is. That’s how we’re supposed to change the world, but we what want are impressive rules and leaders and victorious arguments. We don’t want humble conversations with God, pleading with Him when no one else can see.
We don’t want to get our hands dirty and actually talk to people who believe differently than us, because that probably means shutting up for a bit and loving them the way Christ loved us- patiently.
We are so impatient. We want results now- we want those who don’t know Christ to act like Christians, even though they aren’t.
But what God is calling us to do is to stop expecting non-Christians to change the world, and start asking Him to.
It’s not as glamorous, it’s not as fast, and it’s certainly not as easy.
It’s humbling, and hard, and going to take some discipline.
And He knows prayer is hard for us. So He’s equipped us.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (KJV)
It’s not about us having manipulative words and knowing where to start. It’s about us obediently shutting ourselves away for a while and showing Him we still believe that He is the ultimate answer.
Because in the end “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” (2 Cor 10:3-4, KJV).
It’s a prayer in an empty room.
It’s an hour or two out of your day to get to know the lost and see what’s actually going on in their lives, and in their hearts.
To spend some time with them and listen to what’s hurt them and what they need and where they’re struggling.
And then it’s going back into that empty room and praying again.
Not glamorous, but obedient. Obedient and fulfilling. And effective.
“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16a, KJV.
Okay, last thing because this is important. I used to think that verse didn’t apply to me because I messed up so much. But really, what the beautiful flip side to that verse is, if you aren’t right with God, get right with Him. If you’re His kid, and you feel like you’ve messed up, and haven’t talked with Him about that- then do that. And then, start praying for the rest of us.
Jesus makes you righteous.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
It all links back to Him. It always does.
Thanks for reading.
*I’m sure this is worded way wrong, and someone is going to private message me about how all sin is bad and I totally agree. I mean to say the fact that we can SEE sin is a good thing. Not the actual sin is good. Sin is bad sin is bad sin is bad. Very bad.