It is impossible to look at our culture as a whole today and not see how far off center we’ve become as a nation to our original Christian mores. Everywhere we turn we see the fruit of sin and depravation, increasing lawlessness, anxiety and fear. Our foundation as a nation seems to have fractured with each subsequent election and overall despair is on the rise. When a nation is debating the very sanctity of human life in our courts, the sickness in our nation’s soul is indeed severe.
“But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
When the Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, historians believe he was being held at the time in a Roman prison. Paul saw first-hand the culture and decadence of Rome, and how it flew in the face of scriptural truth and wisdom. In 2 Timothy he gave us a snapshot of what the culture would be like in the future – our future. It was not unlike the culture he was currently observing in Rome. Like many have said, history has a peculiar way of repeating itself.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Even though I’ve painted a bleak background to our current culture I believe that there is great good happening in our world as well. The gospel is still being preached, lives are being changed, and reports of revival are coming from all directions. The Spirit of the living God is still present and active in the affairs of men. However, it is still vitally important to stop for a moment and take our culture’s “temperature” so we know how to pray.
Consider the Source
Every destructive, diseased and devastating seed of sin has a sinister source. We are not in a war against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus illustrated this to His followers in His parable of the wheat and weeds.
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30
“An enemy did this.” We have an enemy that has studied us, followed us, knows our weaknesses and vulnerabilities and has customized a strategy to kill, steal and destroy us. But our Father has declared LIFE over us, and He expects a return on His labors (John 10:10). We may grow up side-by-side with the sprouts of sin and destruction, but the story is not over. Harvest time is coming!
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
The solution to the overarching sin in our culture, cities, communities and homes is prayer. When we come to our heavenly Father in faith and expectation, miracles happen. The first miracle is that peace returns to our hearts. From that place of peace wisdom and creativity begin to manifest. Suddenly the problems we see in society become “opportunities” as we begin to see from God’s perspective instead of our own. We suddenly see every ungodly situation as another place where God’s grace and redemption can flow. In Matthew 6:10 Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we commune with God in prayer He begins to give us a vision of what that looks like. He helps us to dream for our families and communities again, and this in turn influences the heart of our culture.
The Apostle Paul himself knew the value of prayer in the midst of a perverse culture who worshiped a multitude of gods, not unlike our own. He recognized that prayer was the antidote, the very kryptonite to an enemy who had stolen the heart of a nation. Pray for our leaders and all those in authority, receive God’s plan, then move forward in faith. We are all called to bring the knowledge of the truth to those God dearly loves. As Jeremiah 29:7 says, “Seek the prosperity of the city to which I have sent you as exiles. Pray to the LORD on its behalf, for if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Lori Anderson-Bowen is the co-director for the Christian Chamber of Commerce in Charleston and a publisher with Best Version Media. Her passion is to see the Church of Christ grow and connect with the heart of God through prayer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 843-513-5392.
To get more information and join the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3) movement, go to www.sc-c3.org and become a member today!