This morning, I stepped into my church’s sanctuary only to discover that our leadership had decided to change the typical order of service for our Sunday morning gathering.
Instead of a sermon today, what our congregation got to experience was a time of specific and intentional prayer for our nation. I am so thankful that our pastors and elders were sensitive to the Spirit of God and directed us in this manner.
Many came into the service today with heavy hearts that needed to be poured out before the King of Kings. Many came with burdens too large to bear on their own.
Perhaps a sermon on another subject would have been informative, edifying, beneficial. But it was though we all sighed with relief when we realized that the thoughts and prayers and burdens we had been carrying all week individually could be presented before God with our brothers and sisters corporately.
A Call to Pray for America
As children of God from a variety of racial backgrounds, we set our gaze to heaven and sought the Lord. We prayed for the victims of this week’s acts of violence and their families by name.
We prayed for government leaders, publically officials, police officers and department chiefs. We prayed for the African American and European American communities.
We prayed and repented for sins of fear, prejudice, abuse of authority, racism, and hatred in our hearts and in the hearts of our countrymen.
We wept together and pleaded with God to forgive our sins and heal our land. Because underneath every issue we are facing as a nation there is a root problem- it is that we are all born sinners in need of a Savior.
Only the message of the Gospel has the power to bring lasting change into the hearts of individuals who are fearful, imbittered, and angry. Only the blood of Christ can heal us from deeply imbedded generational sins of fear and prejudice, hatred, racism, strife, abuse of power, and more.
What America needs, what we all need, is to have a vision of the Lord, high and lifted up on His throne, as Isaiah did when he said, “Woe is me, for I am lost.; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” – Isaiah 6:5
I am praying for myself and for the Church in America to follow the admonition of Scripture that tells us to “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:9-10
“…weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:15-18; 2
Join with me in praying that the Church in America will set an example in these days – an example of hearts and hands of love and action to foster racial reconciliation, a spirit of empathy and compassion towards those who mourn, a spirit of humility and honor towards our fellow man.
There are practical measures of justice that must be taken by those who are in the positions to accomplish them. Let us pray that they would make life-honoring, God-honoring decisions filled with wisdom:
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” – James 3:17-18
As Saint Francis prayed, “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”