I read an article in Charisma Magazine, a Christian publication, about Billy Graham's latest venture. After last weeks national elections, Graham turned 94, then heard from God. What God spoke to him about is in regards to you and me, how we as the body of Jesus need to pray for those we know living outside of the grace of God. Many of you who read these posts grew up in church and I know some of you are still very involved in church, but a good portion of you are not. Graham's message is that you who believe in Jesus should make a list of those we know who are not believers, and pray for them regularly. Then pray for our neighborhoods, the city in which we reside, and then our state, and national leaders. Ditto. I am sorry to say that I do not do this with any regularity, other than praying for my entire family, and extended family, I pray for those I work with, as well as those programs at church I'm involved in and sponsorees in AA I work with, but not nearly with consistency. Bully for me.
To the Followers of Jesus.
You and I know the importance of prayer, and we know the difficulties associated with consistent praying. We are continuously hit from every side with distractions and obligations that hinder a specified time of prayer. We have a persistent enemy that does everything possible to ensure our prayer life remains in the constant state of "limbo." We also battle with doubts that prayer works in every situation, and we struggle with what to say when we do pray. How do I know what to pray for? What is God's will for me, for my family, friends, community, state, and nation? Where do I find the time to even consider a specific prayer time?
To the believer that is basically uninvolved.
You believe that Jesus is Saviour and Lord, and you aren't ashamed of it. You and God get along fine...but His kids you don't care for. You do not attend church because of hypocracy in churches, and the way they have adopted the worldly attitude of the unbeliever. It is just not how you believe, you have to walk the line. Of course, you could not walk it, so you quit church altogether. You want everyone who follows Jesus to have a sense of personal righteousness, you know, staunch, rigidity that makes all around them know they are "holy." What about your children? Because you do not like certain things about churches, you have taken Jesus out of their lives, and given them a belief you think is right but not based on the Word of God. I've been there, done that. So we take a chance on our children's eternity because we "know" what living the life is. Deceived is the word. Well then genious, what's the answer?
"And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout your time HERE in fear; knowing you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received BY TRADITION of your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb witout blemish or spot." 1Pet.2:17-19
It is understandible for the way people feel who have left the body of believers for various reasons of bad conduct, and it is understandible how the body of believers struggle in prayer. Both the active member and the inactive have issues. Meanwhile, there are multitudes that sit in darkness all around us that we completely ignore...what about them? We have decided that our thoughts and feelings are what matters, our kids will find their way in life, our neighbors, well, that's up to them. But it is when our kids come home announcing they are pregnant, but unsure who the father is. Or the police are at the front door with a warrant to arrest the son for breaking and entering, and the reason for his crime was to pay for his heroin addiction. When the neighbor has guests at all hours of the night, and you discover they have a meth lab going, you wonder where is God in all of this mess?
To both groups.
We need to understand our part in this troubled society, and how we have had so many drop out of church a generation ago, that we have young Americans who know absolutely nothing about God or church. I would not have ever believed this would happen in a country founded on Christ's teachings...but it has. We as active believers, are too busy to share the gospel, and the inactive are not in a position to, spiritually speaking. What we can do is pray, pray as Graham suggest, but also for each other. If you don't know how to pray, and you are a believer, just say "God forgive us, forgive our nation, forgive our children, neighbors, but especially forgive me!" Then at the top of your prayer list, pray for the prodigals of the family of God, that He would have mercy, and call them to return to Father's house. And you who are inactive, pray for the thing that disturbs you the most in churches, their hypocracy, or whatever it is that keeps you away and allows you to play Russian-roulette with the souls of your offspring. Let us all seek forgiveness, and mercy on this nation...one more time.
I really didn't answer all of the questions, because I don't have all of the answers. But I really sense the consumation of all things, and really feel it is past time for us to be bold in our faith and rescue the perishing while there is time. This is our purpose. When I see church people getting involved in programs like Celebrate Recovery, when 2-3 yrs ago they would have looked the other way, my suspicions of the final days are realized all the more. Also, when a man of Billy Graham's stature and full in years is calling for the church to pray and repent, not the sinners, that intensifies my thoughts on end times.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.