Yesterday, May 7th, was National Day of Prayer here in the United States. I was encouraged to wake up and watch our government officials talking about Jesus Christ and the power we as Christians in this country as called to display.
I must admit I was a bit disheartened by the focus of the Congressional hearing. I was not surprised of course, but I guess I do not share the interest of focusing my attention on an agenda against homosexuality, abortion, etc…I am not saying that these areas need not be dealt with, however I often wonder- maybe our issue is that we have not properly set foundational principles and spend our time dealing with periphery details. Yes, I said it. I believe those to be periphery.
Before I get into all the details of how I endeavored by the grace of God to walk worthy of calling each and every one of us to “pray for our nation”, I want to share that as I began to ready myself to write this blog, I came across the tragic story of Madison Holleran. This beautiful young lady, due to depression and a failure to understand her role in the world, killed herself at 19 years old in 2014.
Do you think the legislation of marriage between male and female, or homosexuals, or the de-legalization of abortion, would have radically altered her life? I’m sorry, I don’t.
That’s not the Gospel. Sadly, the majority of the Christian community in America fails to “give reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15), or make known the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10), and instead focuses on legislation in areas of morality – something I imagine we have retained from our Puritan brethren.
A powerful quote I heard from Senate Chaplain Barry Black, “We need as people of faith to make prayer as natural as breathing.” Amen. However, what are we praying for?
In a meeting the other day with another local Christian leader, it was shared with me that the statistics of Christianity on Long Island, New York (where I live and pastor) has the same average as the countries we commonly send missionaries to- what we refer to as “unreached people groups”.
In my own backyard?
After hearing that, I immediately felt the “tug” that we need much more evangelism, and we must reach these people! “Silver and gold, I have none; but what I do have I will give to thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk (Acts 3:6).”
As I began to pray and come up with some exciting ideas (a new ministry venture referred to as #LongIslandMissionary, I did not find myself praying with urgency against homosexuals or women who seek abortions. Instead, I found myself praying about the lack of Biblical foundations in our land, a lack of proper and full proclamation of the Gospel- in and true and reasonable way.
It is in this task, by His grace, that I endeavor to walk worthy.
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I say all of this because just as Chaplain Black reminded us that we must see prayer as natural as breathing, it is important to know what we should be praying for. Breathing in poison defeats the purpose of the need for oxygen, and I believe losing our focus on what we should be praying for and about- is in line with that.
As I concluded my “missional” activities of praying in public yesterday, I found myself praying and praising at the Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch). I led us into a focused night of praise and prayer and these were the areas that came to mind:
1- We must ask that in all we do, the Lord go before us. This was demonstrated in the Lord’s dealing with ancient national Israel, and is highlighted in the prayer of Saint Patrick:
“Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”
I shared the testimonial that I have had the opportunity of seeing this at work, as Christian leaders begin to humble themselves, challenge themselves in line with the Word of God instead of the traditions/teachings of men, as well as the desire for unity.
Another area we focused our prayers on is the need for, and the understanding of, a strong Biblical foundation. As the Word says, “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)” We need more Christians to be diligent in their studies of the Word, and we need Christian leaders to expound upon the importance of a “whole counsel of God” foundation.
I do not find the “life giving Spirit” in focusing my thoughts and prayers on “political hot topics”, but instead seeking out the “life” of the Christian message. Therefore, it’s high time for Christians to stop being focused on and producing more and more “poison in the air”, and instead spend time praying and breathing in the life of the Gospel.
We must go “into the land” and demolish the idols. If we are not producing life through our message, the message that is Life itself, we are producing vanity, which equates to death. I will say it simply, as I mourned the loss of Madison Holleran, I realized- the legislation of marriage or abortion, would not have compelled this young lady to find LIFE – therefore that is not the Gospel. Let us work on making the Gospel priority- and the details will fall into place. Let us make our prayers about the Gospel!
Maybe, National Day of Prayer calls for a humbleness to occur. Are we exemplifying a message of LIFE? Are we making known the manifold wisdom of God in a way that compels others to leave their idols, and see the truth of having a foundation based upon understanding and living in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
(Go do a study on how often Christ talked about homosexuality and abortion, and that alone should cause some humility).
I’ll end on this note….I firmly believe and know the Divine and miraculous power of prayer, just as I believe and know that breathing keeps me alive. In the same respect, I know the danger of breathing in poison…
Lord, hear our prayers, and allow them to be clear and life-giving, not toxic and filled with the poison of our own making.
In His Service,
Pastor Michael Miano