- - Sunday, November 29, 2015

There is a beautiful painting of Jesus standing outside the door of a home, waiting for someone on the other side to open the door. The curious thing about the painting is that there is only one doorknob, and it is on the inside of the door.

Jesus stands as a gentleman, waiting as He does, to be invited into a human heart.

For 2,000 years, men and women have been opening that door, learning that when the Good Shepherd is invited in, they become acquainted with the most powerfully gentle, magnificently kind being they have ever known. He understands. He knows. He cares. He heals. He leads. He guides. He corrects. He protects.

For millennia, genuine but flawed believers have come to know that when limitations, weaknesses and wounds are placed in the hands of the Shepherd, trust activates His power. Transactions occur. Transformation happens.

As friendship with Jesus grows, gratitude takes hold of a life as it becomes more and more acquainted with the beauty of the One who laid down His life to set me free to be all that I was created to be. And no matter what comes my way, I know that the best friend I have ever had is with me in and through it all — every challenge, tragedy, triumph or joy.

As with anything of beauty, we humans instinctively want to share it with someone, especially those we love. But we fumble and stumble in our efforts to talk about Him and often fall short. How do you describe the indescribable? How do you talk about Him so that someone could grasp the magnitude of a being like Jesus? There is no one else like Him.

All you can do, really, is become as much like Him as you can in thought, word and deed, and hope that others will be encouraged to open the door. It is a high bar. The highest. And we falter. But it is worth the effort because that door leads to fulfillment.

Our founders, almost to a one, were men who opened the door. Many attempts have been made to discredit and obscure the profound faith of our fathers. But we know what they believed. They were men of letters. George Washington wrote 10,000 letters and speeches. We know what he believed.

The founders were highly biblically literate. Over half of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were graduates of seminaries or Bible schools. The founding principles and constitutional roots of our country were borne out of what remains to this day the best-selling book of all time. It is a book about the lineage and history of Jesus. It is a history of the relationship between man and his Creator, including conversations between them throughout the ages. We call it prayer.

America is different. In a world where sovereigns and kings ruled over commoners and peasants, America was founded on the exceptional idea that all men are created equal in dignity and worth, and that our rights don’t come from other men; they come from God. It caused quite a stir.

What emerged out of those ideas was the birth of the American spirit and an explosion of human potential that brought forth the most innovative, industrious, creative and productive people the world has ever known. With less than 6 percent of the world’s population and less than 2 percent of the world’s land mass, the United States of America produces one-quarter of all the goods and services in the world.

But this country is about way more than the material. We export more missionaries, volunteers, teachers and doctors than any other country on the planet. America has done more to raise the quality of life for more people in more places than any other country on earth — ever. There isn’t a remotely close second to American generosity, financial and otherwise.

When America goes to war, it is not about hate. It is about love for the freedom and welfare of others as well as our own. When America prevails, she doesn’t conquer and enslave; she helps rebuild and sets people free.

When America makes a mistake, she eventually faces it and fixes it. The bloodiest war of all was the war we fought among ourselves. Not that long after our founding, 600,000 Americans died during the fight to make sure that all men were free in America.

Abraham Lincoln talked about the fact that both sides in that conflict were praying to the same God. As we look back, we can see that God honored the prayers of those who agreed with Him.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into the effort to do away with any reference to God in this country. Secular forces behind the effort are organized, strategic, technologically advanced, well-financed and deadly serious — and they have been at it for decades. Those who would resist the secularization of this country are outnumbered, outstrategized, outorganized and outfinanced.

But so were our founders.

In their own words, they prayed to “The Almighty” and to the “Lord Jesus Christ” for guidance, direction, protection, wisdom and aid in the time of their greatest challenge.

Our time is now. Will we turn to the One who answered their call? Will “we the people” get real and get serious with the God who guided the birth of the greatest nation ever known to man? Unless Americans connect or reconnect with the God of our forefathers, we will remain vulnerable and susceptible to the gods of others — be it secularism, materialism, socialism, atheism, communism, terrorism, pantheism or any other “ism” that would attempt to gain prominence over the glory, the power, the truth, the beauty and the lavish generosity of the God of the universe.

Prayer activates that God. Prayer also activates the one who prays. If George Washington had stayed on his knees, the United States of America wouldn’t exist.

If we get on our knees, He will meet us there. And if we get up and act on His guidance, there is every reason to believe that we — with His aid — will reclaim, redeem and rebuild the real America.

There is a fierceness in the heart of a genuine believer who is awake to those things that attempt to stand between a man and his Creator. A fierce protectiveness against deception, division and destruction. A fierce love for that which is good. A fierce love for the truth that sets a man free.

While evil would have the world brand the Christian as a close-minded, judgmental, intolerant, bigoted weakling, the Christian is called to love his enemy and to pray for those who would persecute, divide, deceive and destroy.

Why would anyone fear or attempt to eliminate the influence of a weakling whose greatest weapon is prayer? Because at the other end of those prayers is a power greater than any other this world can comprehend. It is the power that created and owns every square inch of this place. A power that knows what is best for the people and the planet He created. A power that will let things go only so far before He acts.

Nancy Schulze is a co-founder, with Vonette Bright, of The American Prayer Initiative. She is the founder of the Congressional Wives Speakers and is married to Dick Schulze, who served 18 years in Congress. She is a fellow of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

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