Monday, March 12, 2012

Entrusted to You...

I found some notes on prayer the other day, from one of my favorite bible study teachers, Henry Blackaby.  In the notes, I was struck with Henry's emphasis on a couple of things - we are summoned to prayer by God; He entrusts people to us for prayer.  I find that to be an amazing privilege and sacred trust regarding prayer, which is treated with such a yawning attitude on the part of the Church in America today.  

I used to lead a prayer group and was always amazed at how difficult it was to get people to come out for prayer.  We were often lucky if we had two or three people show up.  An invitation to a pot-luck dinner would bring out the whole church, but a call for people to come and pray - not so much!

Yesterday, I was visiting a church in the area that boasts an attendance of over 4,000 people every Sunday.  The pastor who was giving the day's sermon invited people to come out for some of the prayer meetings that are held weekly (three).  She then added that they are happy if they see ten people show up for these meetings.  TEN people out of over 4,000!  Let that sink in a bit!  As far as I can see, this is where one of the most fundamental indicators of a dead church shines like a blinking red light telling us there's something wrong - seriously wrong.  What's wrong in the church that God's people do not respond to a call to come out and pray with the Body of Christ?  Would Jesus say that we are "lukewarm" about the things of God or, possibly, worse than that, we are dead?

I looked around this rich looking church, with plush cushioned seats and beautiful ceiling lights all over that provided a cozy, modern atmosphere, (in which to take a nap?)!  The church was packed with people, yawning and checking their watches to see when it would be over.  Once over, people flocked to enjoy lunch and linger with friends in the modern cafe that was located right outside the auditorium where the service was held.  No one seemed to want to leave...

I could not help but wonder if the church in America is missing Jesus and settling for poor substitutes.  Coffee at the cafe, soft cushioned seats, pretty lights, do not a church make.  In fact they may be the very things that will distract us and lull us into a stupor that is hard to awaken from.  

Today, I watched a video about the persecuted church, which I have attached for you to check out.  The question I have is this.  How does the Persecuted Church handle the intense brutality of persecution and remain true to Christ?  I wonder, what if that persecution comes to America's churches?  Has all of the pampering of the church in America set us up for failure, should we be asked to stand for Christ in the face of this kind of persecution?  One of the young men in the video was jailed in Saudi Arabia and persecuted for his faith in Christ.  He claims that persecution only strengthens them as believers.  I wonder if that would happen here?  Do they have the real riches and we are really poverty stricken in our "wealth"?

Maybe.  Do you remember, immediately following the attack on America on 9/11, how crowded the churches were?  People were so stunned and hurting - they ran to God in prayer.  Some people don't think that was real.  But, I do.  I believe people will turn to God when all of the lessor comforts are stripped away.  That's when we realize how much we need the real thing.  Nothing else even comes close...  

I hope you will consider who it is that God has entrusted to you for prayer - a sacred trust, indeed.  It could be that, because you prayed, you will see that one in heaven some day and he/she will thank you for an eternity that you answered that call from God and partnered with God for them - you prayed. 

Please add the Persecuted Church to your list of those He has entrusted to you for prayer.  The day may come when America will be on that list and crying out for - not soft, plush cushions or fancy lights, but for someone to PRAY...



  1. I just responded to another friend's post where she wrote about living out our Christianity instead of hypocrisy. I think America as a whole (including myself) needs to get back to the basics of God's teaching. We have become so comfortable with "doing" church that we have forgotten what it is all about. That's why people are yawning and checking their watches - because it wasn't intended to be a time of dry legalism with plush couches and coffee to attract us. (Not that those are wrong...they are only wrong if they become the focus) We need to awaken. We need to fall in love again. We need to surrender. By we, I at least mean me.

  2. So very much agree with you, Shannon. I really believe the leadership of the church is missing the boat. They seem to be following a "marketing" model to draw people into the church. Then they push baptism and getting involved in ministry. But, I believe people are hungry to encounter God. To really meet Him; to know He's real, not just someone they read about in the Bible. But, Someone who has captured their heart and the One they would follow to the death. That's what is going on in the Persecuted Church who worship in broken down buildings with no air conditioning or amenities of any kind. They are simply in love with Jesus. And that makes all of the difference. I pray to be on fire like that in my own life. That is what I am hungry for. The rest of it, I can get at the local gym or coffee shop! Just give me JESUS...


How are you doing on your journey with the Lord? Started yet? Still searching. My prayer is that you will be encouraged to seek after Him with all your heart. Without a doubt, you will find Him. He is searching for YOU!