Our society is facing no real problems. Life is good at present and the prospects for the future are bright. Occasionally we encounter health issues, and from time to time someone is hurt in an accident, but apart from that everything is going quite well.
If you don’t believe that, just attend almost any evangelical church on almost any given Sunday morning. You will hear virtually no mention of the problems confronting our nation or prayers for deliverance from them. From the inside of evangelical churches on Sunday morning one gets the impression that Joe Smith’s upcoming operation constitutes the only pressing issue facing us.
We live in desperate times. Government spending is unsustainable and yet no strategy has been put in place to stop it. Liabilities from pension plans have brought many states and cities to the brink of bankruptcy, with Detroit already having gone over the edge. Our government continues to expand itself and pay itself more, while it strangles the private sector that finances it. We have a President who blatantly disregards the constitutional limits of his office, using these powers to advance his personal agenda. The homosexual movement is virtually taking over our nation, and any opposition is viewed in many quarters as a punishable offense. The American Dream reports this regarding abortion: “Every single day, a silent horror kills more Americans than were killed on 9/11. Every single year, this silent horror kills about as many Americans as have been killed on all the battlefields in all of the wars in U.S. history combined.” And these murders, inflicted on innocent babies, are brutal. Our Armed Forces are increasingly weakened while China is rapidly building its military capability. The American family is disintegrating and American morality is in precipitous decline.
In light of all of this, I find the typical Sunday morning worship experience jarring. One would think that a major segment of every Sunday morning would be devoted to prayer about our plight. This is especially the case because no one has yet devised an effective means of getting us out of this mess on the human plane. Many scholars, even some that are not especially religious, are convinced that only God can help us. And that help must come through the prayers of God’s people.
In light of that, it is truly amazing that most evangelical Christians go through most Sunday mornings with virtually no prayer about our desperate situation, or at most a sentence or two. We are bent on limiting our prayer times to 3 to 5 minutes so that prayers do not encroach on the really important things. Many pastors bemoan meager attendance at prayer meeting, if one exists, viewing this as a display of spiritual weakness on the part of parishioners. However, most churches convey that prayer is insignificant by the minor role they assign to it when the full body is joined together on Sunday. This trend is especially troubling in light of the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:1, which many commentators view as providing instructions for public worship: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men….”
Though God is omniscient, nonetheless some things amaze Him. The prophet Isaiah noted regarding God in Isaiah 59:16, “He…was astonished that there was no one to intercede….” Isaiah 59 describes times in Israel that morally parallel contemporary America. I believe that God is equally as astonished at the absence of intercession in evangelical churches today.
This prayerlessness at a time of crisis prompts us to ponder the cause. I believe that this is a symptom of a deeper sickness that must be diagnosed and cured. In other words, the solution is not simply found in scheduling more prayer time in the Sunday service.
I agree that the only answer for our nation resides in the church. However, only a praying church can save America, and only a church healthy enough to pray will meet that challenge.