If men will pray (4)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2.1, 2
Over the past generation evangelical Christians in every communion of the Body of Christ have been wringing their hands over the state of American morality, culture, and society.
Wringing them, but not sitting on them. Evangelicals have devoted themselves and their time, strength, and treasure to arresting the nation’s drift into godlessness and relativism. Calls for renewal have been accompanied by the creation of organizations, the publication of literature, the flooding of airwaves and cyberspace, and the spawning of movements of various kinds, all devoted to recalling America’s founding virtues and to decrying the present dire state of affairs.
Christian men have preached, written, worked, organized, led, testified, and spent in order to restore the nation’s values and roll back the unwelcome tide of unbelief that is threatening to inundate the land.
And the result is that, today, the nation is worse off and has slipped farther down that dark watershed than before all these efforts began a generation ago.
I believe this is because nothing we might do will restore peace, civility, godliness, dignity, and a welcome reception for the Gospel if Christian men will not pray.
But if they will pray, if you and I can call and urge and cajole men into more consistent prayer, such as I outlined in our last installment, then we might truly expect God to do wondrous things in our midst. For God responds to faith, and prayer – earnest, trusting, ongoing, public prayer – on the part of Christian men, this is the manifestation of faith we presently lack.
We hardly know what it would be like to live in a peaceful and quiet society, where tensions of race and class no longer gripped the populace, where the threat of crimes against persons was reduced to near nil, where neighbors knew and cared for one another, communities were safe and wholesome, and a real sense of quiet and contentment pervaded every place.
We can scarcely imagine a society in which the dignity of human beings is preserved and celebrated, so that poor are cared for with love, women are treated as gifts of God rather than chattel or mere playthings, the arts and culture are devoted to ennobling rather than debasing life, the unborn are safe, civil discourse becomes civil once again, and authority figures from parents to teachers to employers and civil magistrates are treated with the deference and respect they shall have earned, and which they certainly deserve.
And what would it be like if schools, pop music, film, television, and cultural institutions were all devoted to advancing the cause of godliness as of the highest importance? And if churches were packed with people eager to hear the Good News of salvation and to give themselves to Jesus as His disciples and servants? It would be the Kingdom of God coming through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, on earth as it is in heaven.
Even as you read, you doubt that such can happen.
But it has happened before: Fourth-century Rome; Celtic Ireland; Calvin’s Geneva; Wilberforce’s England; Evan Roberts’ Wales; and much, much more.
We don’t believe it can happen again because we have not managed to achieve anything remotely resembling such a state – in spite of all our fretting, fuming, and fumbling attempts to make it happen.
But it’s because contemporary Christian men have not prayed that God has not brought the reviving, renewing, and awakening graces we need.
If Christian men will not pray, why should God reward anything they might do to recover the downward plunging free-fall of our secular and relativist nation?
But oh, what God might do! What God has done before, God can do again.
If only men will pray.
T. M. Moore, Principal