Some Truths Are No Longer “Self-Evident” – Issuing a Challenge to All American Christians

In case you missed it, there’s been considerable Internet outrage surrounding the decision of a Wisconsin federal judge that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

There will be appeals and President Obama has not officially cancelled the National Day of Prayer which, since Truman, has been held on the first Thursday in May. (I’m guessing that as a politician, Obama will try to find some way to acknowledge it without actually observing it so as to please, or at least placate, the greatest number of citizens possible. That is, after all, his job. He serves the entire country, not just those of us who follow Jesus.)

According to www.aolnews.com, the lawsuit was brought by a group known as the Freedom From Religion Foundation headed by Annie Laurie Gaylor. Judge Barbara Crabb decided in the group’s favor that the federal law providing for the prayer day proclamation violates the First Amendment. “The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy,” Crabb wrote in her ruling, released Thursday. (Well, no one wants that, now, do we?)

So, this whole thing bothers me on several levels (I’m kind of like a parking garage that way). I mean, at street level, it bothers me that there are so many Americans that don’t even acknowledge the existence of God that we are losing the national discussion on public prayer. We are now a far cry from the people who lined up behind the writers of the Declaration of Independence when they wrote that certain truths were “self-evident” such as “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”.

This truth no longer seems “self-evident” to many in our country and I wonder what happens when the majority no longer believe that certain unalienable rights have been endowed us by our Creator. Does protozoac slime have unalienable rights? Does the murky soup of chemicals and random DNA set forth by Darwinians as our first womb endow us with anything we can protect in court?

Probably not.

So, that bothers me.

It smacks of internment camps, quality of life labels and strange smoke rising from buildings with no windows.

But, park the car of discussion on another level and I certainly don’t want there to be a National Day of Blasphemy or a National Day of Doubting God or a National Day of Chicken-Blood Sacrifice or whatever else some fringe group angry with God might dream up to teach us Evangelicals a lesson. And, I don’t see anywhere in Scripture where God commands us to force Him on others (the Inquisition was decidedly NOT His idea.)

While I exercise my write to vote, to voice my opinion, to state the truth and to engage in worship as I feel led by God, living in a democracy involves respecting the opinions and practices of others and stepping out of their way even if I believe the road they choose to walk is wide and leads to their destruction. I may love them, tell them the truth, defend them and lay down my life for them but I cannot force them into a relationship with the living God and there is no legislation ever written that could rule the human heart.

So, drive the car of this matter into the very bowels of the parking garage of my soul and there you will find what bothers me most about this debate and outrage over the National Day of Prayer. It is this:

Loved ones, when was the last time you devoted one entire day to prayer?

OK, how about twelve hours?

Six hours?

A morning?

One uninterrupted hour?

You see where I’m going, don’t you?

See, I know Christians. I live inside the very head of a Christian and I know what hypocrisy lurks in every corner at this level of the garage.

Before you engage in discussion or outrage about the state of our country or the demise of the National Day of Prayer, look in the mirror and ask yourself about the state of your own prayer life.

There’s a verse that speaks to this in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Salt has much value and many uses, one of which is that it can be used to preserve. One thing I know to be true is that you can’t blame meat for spoiling if you haven’t applied the salt. I think that’s also true in this country of ours that we cannot blame it for rotting if we, the salt, have lost our saltiness or refuse to leave our shakers.

So, let’s let the car idle here in the darkest, lowest level of the garage of this national discussion and let’s have us a little “come to Jesus” chat, just us Christians, OK?

What if,

Just what if,

Instead of spending any energy verbalizing our distress over the potential loss of our National Day of Prayer

What if, instead, we agree that we will devote one hour a day every day between now and May 6, 2010 to prayer?

One hour a day for nineteen days we pray. If you already pray one hour a day, add an hour.

And then, what if, on May 6, with or without legislation, we each agree to observe a personal day of prayer for our world?

Are you outraged over the state of our nation? Tell it to God.

Are you fearful about where we are headed? Tell it to God.

Are you saddened by so many who do not know Him? Bring them before God.

Are you sickened by your own sin and that of others in this country? Confess it to God.

No one, absolutely no one, can stop us from praying – ever. Not until I lie cold and dead can I be stopped from communicating with my God and not even then. Not by laws, not by culture, not by presidential proclamations nor by weapons nor by isolation nor by any other means can I be prevented from praying.

I believe in speaking out but I believe that our voices are useless if they are not powered by God and the best method to access that power is prayer.

Do I pray? You’d better believe I pray. Am I up for this challenge? I’m going for it, baby. Who’s with me? Are you?

If you believe this challenge is good for us as believers and good for our nation and good for our world, spread it to others.

And now, loved ones, let us pray . . .


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5 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. I, too, struggle with the same legal understandings and crave consistency in our judicial system. The problem, as I see it, and as you said, is that we’ve come so far from where we were: a nation founded by believers. I do not wish to force a prayer life on unbelievers, primarily because it does no good. The internal struggle I go through in moments like this relates more to wishing our country was different. Wishing more and more Americans chose Christ and wishing decisions like this weren’t made necessary because of unbelief. Declaring the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional shows you just how altered our country is from where the founders thought it would be.

    All that said – you’re right. Most American Christians are lying to themselves and the world around them if they think they pray nearly enough. When things like this arise, things that remind us just how far from Christ our country is, we should focus our energy into our own prayer lives. I’ll join you. I’m up for the challenge!

  2. I absolutely understand everything you wrote, Shannon. And we should speak up and vote and share our faith and run for office and interact with the culture and build the kingdom of God on every front but without prayer, it will feel as though we’re trying to chop down an oak with a butter knife. Prayer, prayer, prayer. For every hour we spend talking about or defending God, we should remember to spend an hour WITH God.

  3. Vanessa says:

    I am with you!! I pray throughout the day every day. It’s like air and I just cannot go through the day without it. It’s wonderful having a phone line to the Lord. Our nation is going down the tubes at a break neck pace. Prayer can turn things around. No matter what the president says we are still a Christian nation. The problem is Christians have started to fall asleep and the subtle changes for the worse have started to become acceptable. God is in charge so who better to take our problems to. Many blessings to you. Will be upping the prayer 🙂 He can change things.

  4. Welcome, Vanessa! The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world!

  5. Cheri says:

    I’m on board too, Lori! What a great post! It’s about time we put our actions where our mouths are!

    Hugs,
    Cheri