- - Sunday, November 29, 2015

It had already been a difficult year, that first year the Pilgrims landed in Cape Cod, but now a drought was jeopardizing their corn crop which in turn could jeopardize their very existence. What would they do? The answer was simple. The people were called to a day of prayer and fasting. The Wampanoag Indians had already been first-hand witnesses of the genuine Christian faith of these Pilgrim families, but this day would amaze them even more. Before the day ended, a gentle rain began to fall.

One of the Indians who worked most closely with the Pilgrims was Hobbamock. His testimony was recorded in Cotton Mather’s book, The Great Works of Christ in America, “Now I see that the Englishman’s God is a good God; for he hath heard you, and sent you rain, and that without such tempest and thunder as we used to have with our rain; which after our Powawing for it, breaks down the corn; whereas your corn stands whole and good still; surely, your God is a good God.”

Hobbamock became a Christian and built an Indian village adjacent to Plymouth Plantation, living out his days with them as neighbors and friends.

From the beginning, prayer has been an integral part of America’s history.

In September 1774, representatives of 12 of the 13 colonies met at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia. This was the very first Continental Congress. They were convening to discuss their response to the “Intolerable Acts of Tyranny” being poured out on the colonies by the English crown. Recognizing the crisis they faced, a motion was made that they should pray before they began their work in order to seek God’s guidance and blessing. A local parson from Christ’s Church came on the morning of Sept. 7, 1774, and history records that the very first act of Congress was to hold an extended Bible devotional and prayer meeting.

Over 300 times, either the Continental Congress or individual state governments called for days of prayer and fasting during our War for Independence to humble themselves before God and seek his divine presence. At one time, Americans believed in God and humbly sought His blessings and protection. After 239 years, God has not changed. Unfortunately, the American people have. The air hangs heavy with hypocrisy when we see everyone from members of the media to members of our government asking prayer for the victim’s families after some great tragedy strikes, while at the same time, ignoring the firing of a high-school football coach who allows students to voluntarily pray with him after a ball game.

God is still in the prayer-answering business, but prayer is on His terms. The simple power of prayer is revealed in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

“If my people who are called by my name” — Prayer is a family privilege. God is omniscient, but He only obligates Himself to answer the prayers of His children. How do you become a child of God? By faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16, John 14:6).

“Shall humble themselves and pray” — This literally means to bend your knees before the Creator recognizing that He is God and we aren’t. Then, lay your petitions and praises at His feet.

“Seek my face” — A Jewish term meaning to seek God’s direction. Prayer is not continuing to behave badly and expecting God to rescue us from the consequences of our bad behavior. Living by faith means to walk in His known will as obedient children. We have His Word, the Holy Bible.

“Turn from your wicked ways” — Repentance does not simply mean that you are sorry that you did something. Repentance means a change of direction. Talk is cheap. As Christians, our walk of faith should match our talk of faith.

“Then”, God says, “I will forgive your sin and heal your land.” God is not obligated to do His part, until we do ours. Remember, God is not Santa Clause, just there to give us our every wish. It’s His desire for our will to become more like His. Remember, the Disciples’ Prayer says, “Thy will be done” not “my will be done.”

As the former agnostic who became a great Christian philosopher, C.S. Lewis, once said: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” The problem with America is that we have too many who treat Christ as being only moderately important.

Christianity is not something we join or something we do every Sunday morning. Christianity is who we become by faith in the Biblical and historical truth that Christ, being fully God and fully man, died for our sins and rose again for our justification.

It is great to have friends in high places, and there is none greater than having access to the Heavenly Father through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

Mr. Paul Blair is a retired NFL football player who now serves as the Senior Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, and president of Reclaiming America for Christ.

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