Christians should be among those most deeply concerned about the divided state of our nation. Left vs. right, masks vs. no masks, reopen vs. stay-at-home, virtual school vs. in-person, race, politics, police, abortion, religious liberty, not to mention the remainder of what’s certain to be a brutal presidential campaign.
The issues range from essential to non-essential. On the essential matters, we mourn and vow to fight deception. On the non-essential matters, we mourn and hope to overcome division. God’s people can neither stay on the sidelines nor run away from the struggle. Instead, knowing there is no hope outside of Christ, we ask God to mercifully and powerfully mobilize His people to advance the true and good.
If Christians are to speak with clarity, courage, and confidence and be voices of truth and love in a world of noise and echo chambers, we will need to be prepared. But even perfectly crafted arguments cannot replace, as Chuck Colson said, “the church being the church.” Speaking cannot replace being. To be the people God calls us to be, we must rely on prayer.
Each Wednesday morning between August 12 and November 4, which is the morning after the 2020 election, the Colson Center will host a national prayer time, via webinar. We invite you to join us, each week, to pray first and foremost for God’s mercy, that He would revive His church, that He would bring about renewal of righteousness, that He would empower us to courageously offer protection for the most vulnerable, to champion reconciliation across our deepest divides, and that He would allow us to be instruments in the sustaining of religious freedom and the national recovery of the family.
Each prayer time will feature a devotional challenge and prayer by Christian leaders such as Os Guinness, Joni Eareckson Tada, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, Woodside Bible Pastor Chris Brooks and Watermark Church pastor Todd Wagner, as well as Ed Stetzer from the Billy Graham Center and Heritage Foundation president Kay Cole James.
Due to Zoom capacity, there will be limited live spots each week available to all who register. However, each week’s recording will be sent to anyone who signs up. Come to BreakPoint.org for more details.
In Ephesians, Paul tells us “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” When people see us as their enemies, it’s difficult to remember they aren’t our enemies.
We can only, as Paul instructs, put on the full armor of God –faith, truth, righteousness, peace, salvation, and the word of God–“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication… keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (v. 18).
According to the book of Acts, the earliest church activity was prayer. Thousands of people, from completely different backgrounds, came together in one mind and one heart in prayer “with one accord” (Acts 1:14; 2:42-47). What happened? The Holy Spirit moved and the world was never the same.
Every spiritual revolution in history started with this kind of unified, persevering prayer. From the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts to the Great Awakenings to the Businessman’s Revival to the Welsh Revival, in story after story, we hear the same thing. People prayed and God’s Spirit moved. On the other hand, every Christian in history who persevered in righteousness, despite temptation or persecution, did so through prayer.
Our prayer cannot force God’s hand, of course. But, our only way forward is to seek His will together. Our prayers don’t control God, but rather invite Him in to change hearts and minds, including our own. God is always working in our lives whether we realize it or not, but something powerful and world-changing happens when people pray for God’s Spirit to move.
The great Jonathan Edwards urged his fellow pastors to “be much in prayer and fasting, both in secret and with one another. … [I]t is God’s will that the prayers of His saints shall be great and the principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ’s Kingdom in the world. When God has something to accomplish for His church, it is with His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayer of His people.”
Paul tells us to pray for all things at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and specifically to pray for our leaders, both spiritual and secular. This is what the world needs from the Church right now, instead of the outrage we are too often known for. So that’s what we will do, together, each Wednesday until the election. I hope you will join us.
Publication date: August 6, 2020
Photo courtesy: Milada Vigerova/Unsplash
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.
John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.