“GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.”
So screamed the headline of the New York Daily News on December 3, 2015, referring to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. The lead article in the paper went on to marginalize prayer as a “meaningless platitude.”
I would like to address why God isn’t fixing this. Why isn’t God fixing the turmoil, the division, the hatred, the misunderstanding, the rioting, the poverty, the political polarization, and the murderous plotting that seem to be erupting all over our nation?
Why isn’t He fixing the racial prejudice? The gender inequality? The sex trafficking? The drug-crazed violence? The religious intolerance? And other societal injustices? Why does our nation, whose motto is “In God We Trust,” seem to be unraveling under God’s watch?
Maybe just maybe it’s because we view prayer as a meaningless platitude. Maybe just maybe it’s because our knowledge of the God in whom we say we trust and to whom we address our prayers has been skewed discounted by evolutionists, distorted by humanists, discarded by secularists, disavowed by atheists, defied by the politically correct, and even discredited by the religious.
Maybejust maybe it’s because the one true living God is waiting for us to sincerely, humbly, earnestly, and intentionally ask Him to fix this.
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Maybe just maybe the problem is not God. Maybe the problem is you and me.
Many years ago I was in Suva, Fiji, at a conference for church workers hosted by Samaritan’s Purse. The people had come from dozens of surrounding islands to attend. I had just finished speaking on the prophet Samuel, presenting the tragic truth that, while he was a judge, a prophet, and a kingmaker extraordinaire, he was not a good father. His sons did not follow the Lord. My challenge to the mostly male audience was not to be so focused on ministry that they neglected their own wives and children.
When I invited them to repent of their sin and to commit to training up their children in the Lord, almost the entire audience of 600 pastors and church leaders surged forward. The result was an outpouring of urgent, desperate, passionate, heartfelt pleading with God to forgive, to have mercy, to bless. The air was electric. People were shouting, crying, pleading with God. Some stood with raised hands, others were on their knees, and still others were prostrate on the floor.
I remember a woman seizing me by the arm and pulling me into her circle for prayer. Pray? I was terrified to pray in such a group. When I opened my mouth, my voice sounded hollow wretchedly anemic.
I had never before heard prayer like I heard on that day in Fiji. Very rarely have I ever heard prayer like that anywhere.
Maybe just maybe the problem is that my prayers and yours are anemic. Maybe our prayers are missing key ingredients key ingredients such as focusing on God for who He truly is and an all-out, no-holds-barred, go-for-broke, nothing-held-back, old-fashioned desperation to get God’s attention.
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Whether the issue is in our family, in our marriage, in our church, in our community, or in the wake of a terrorist attack, instead of buying into pop culture’s attitude that says not only that God isn’t fixing this but also that God can’t fix this, are we desperate enough to stay on our knees until God does?
I am committed to prayer. But not the casual, everyday, pray-as-you-feel-like-it, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety type of prayer. I am committed to praying God’s promises and holding Him to them. Promises such as:
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
Therefore by the blood of Jesus let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:19-22)
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to Your children praying. You have said You would. We humble ourselves. We stop rebelling against You. We seek Your face. We confess we are sinners and choose to turn from our sin. We plead for Your mercy. We claim Your promise of forgiveness through the sacrificial death of Your Son. We believe that You have plans to give America hope and a future of prosperity and security.
Please, Father God. Hear us and answer us as we come to you confidently in the name of the One who alone is able to” fix this.” We pray in the name of the One who will give us peace when “the government is on His shoulders” In the name of the Baby of Bethlehem who is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7). Jesus the Christ. Amen
According to the testimony of God’s own Word the Bible God is a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering, miracle-working God. How will we know that God will hear and answer our prayers? We won’t until we humbly get on our knees, seek God’s face, turn from our own wicked, self-centered ways, and pray.
It’s time to stop discussing prayer and marginalizing prayer and analyzing prayerand pray! Then keep praying until Heaven is moved and this nation is secure.
Anne Graham Lotz is the founder of AnGeL Ministries and author of eleven books, of which her best known is Just Give Me Jesus. She is the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham.