A few days ago, our church received notice of a power outage that would occur today. There was an obligatory apology for any inconvenience that it might cause. The timing of the outage coincides with our observance of the National Day of Prayer. I thought it was both humorous and ironic that we would experience a “power shortage” at the time we were suppose to be praying.
Today is the National Day of Prayer. There has been some serious controversy about this day for years. Some are saying that our government shouldn’t be promoting a day of prayer. One judge has even ruled that this day is unconstitutional. Opponents to anything spiritual are passionate about keeping God out of our lives. I am not so sure that 21st century Christians are as equally passionate about prayer.
In Jeremiah, God was speaking to a nation that was in trouble. They had forsaken their foundations (their God-centered beginnings) and had become self-reliant. They had, for years, traveled a path that minimized God and His importance to their lives and future well-being. They had become spiritually destitute and were facing a life-threatening “power shortage.”
Jeremiah’s call to repentance and faith was underlined by God’s call to prayer. He challenged Israel to, “call to Me.” Prayer is the ultimate act of dependence upon God. Prayer says, “I need you, I want you, I cannot live without you!” This was God’s challenge to a self-reliant people. This is God’s challenge to us today.
In this call to prayer, God also extended a promise, “I will answer you.” Far too long Israel had sought and found answers that were not really answers. Their solutions had only created more problems. God was offering real answers, real solutions for the mess they were in. God’s promise to America is the same as it was to Israel then…”I will answer you!” Our problem today was exposed by James two thousand years ago, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (4:2).
God’s message to Israel not only focused on prayer and a promise, but also on power as well. God said, “I will show you great and unsearchable things…” Israel had sunk to the level of merely existing. God said that they should be thriving! Dependence leads to divine intervention and divine power. As a nation, we have become powerless to deal with the events of our day. Our nation is adrift, rudderless and anchorless, and at the mercy of the destructive waves of anarchy, immorality, blasphemy and vanity. Once again we need a demonstration of God’s power to bring us back to our knees…and keep us there.
Join with me today as I pray for our nation. I am praying: “Lord, whatever it takes to bring us back to you, do it! Break our pride, our stubborn wills, our apathetic and complacent ways and our self-reliant attitudes. God bend us and save the world!”