I am disappointed. I am disappointed with myself. I am disappointed with the church. Why? Because I, and I believe the church as well, have allowed apathy to typify us.
Over the last few years, I have noticed that there seems to be much more turmoil and disaster in our world than at any other time in history. I don’t mean just a little, either . I mean a whole lot! Think about it. In the past dozen years, we have seen:
- the World Trade Center destroyed,
- multiple major hurricanes
- multiple major earthquakes
- multiple volcanic eruptions
- multiple tsunamis
- multiple pandemic outbreaks
- multiple wars
- several ongoing droughts
- wildfires on an unprecedented scale
- nuclear meltdowns
- mass murderers
- teachers sexually abusing students
- students sexually abusing each other
- an explosion in world wide sexual slavery
- a world wide economic meltdown
- accelerated melting of the polar ice sheets
- a significant decrease in ocean currents
- tornadoes on an unprecedented scale
- a political revolution in the middle east involving multiple uprisings
- oil prices climbing to record highs
- multiple shootings in schools
- massive budget cuts for education
- an ever increasing political polarization in the U.S. resulting in unprecedented incivility
- massive bailouts of corrupt mortgage and investment companies resulting in rewarding the very criminals that created the crisis
- a significant drop in church attendance
- the biggest offshore oil spill in history due to a cost cutting corporate culture that values saving pennies over lives resulting in absolutely no criminal charges despite the loss of eleven lives and the despoiling of a significant percentage of the Gulf of Mexico
- thousands of lives lost in the Mexican drug war
- pirates in the Indian Ocean
- multiple terrorist attacks in various parts of the world
- Koran burning in Florida
- racism masquerading as patriotism on our borders
- talk show pundits that have abandoned any notion of civility
- television shows broadcast in prime time that border on pornography
- an explosion of pornography on the internet
- identity theft spiraling out of control
- the rise of an economic superpower in China that demonstrates absolutely no constraint in further polluting our planet
- the rise of nuclear technology in North Korea and Iran
I could go on, but I think you get the point. We are living in an unprecedented time of crisis. I’m no historian, but as far as I know, there has never been a time period of such intense, pervasive, global tumult as that in which we currently live.
So, what does this have to do with my disappointment? Simple. Everything. Over this entire tumultuous period of history, I would like to say how proud I am of the outpouring of love demonstrated by the church through increased giving, calls for world wide prayer vigils, armies of volunteers ready to rush to the aid of the victims of disaster, and believers taking an active role in promoting peaceful dialog to depolarize our civil and political discourse. I would like to say all that, but I can’t. I can’t because it simply has not happened.
That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some loving response from the church to specific disasters. There has. Some of that has actually been a shining example of what the church can and should do to aid those in suffering. The problem has been one of scale. I have seen pockets of the church respond, but I have not seen the church universal come together to rally all believers to truly exercise their faith.
At the very least, there should currently be a world wide call for prayer, lifting up the many ongoing disasters facing countless people worldwide. Where is our faith? Has it grown so lukewarm that we no longer believe in the power of prayer? Have we become so jaded and apathetic, or perhaps overwhelmed, that we simply don’t believe that the Creator of the universe has sufficient power to come to our aid?
Enough! The situation will not change on it’s own. Someone has to sound the wake up call to the church. I even did a search to see if any church leader had stepped forward in an attempt to unify the church in prayer, but when I Googled “call to prayer world”, the top hits referenced a call from the Hopi Nation, muslims, and a few hits from specific christian denominations and one from the Salvation Army specifically for peace. What I didn’t see, at least not in the first few pages or so, was a central, non-denominational organization calling on all Christians from all denominations around the world to cry out to the Lord in prayer for all of the issues facing us.
And remember, a world wide call to prayer is just a minimum response. That doesn’t even begin to address the broader issues of the anemic response of the church when it comes to mobilizing it’s members to respond in a more physical way by giving time, money, resources, etc.
This simply can not stand. We were called by our Lord to lay down our lives for our neighbors. He made it clear that we have a responsibility to provide food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. He didn’t ask us to give out of our surplus. He commanded us to give our all.
Now, I can honestly say that I have failed to honor my Lord and obey His command. While I have responded to the call at times, I have not done so consistently and sacrificially. I can also honestly say that the church universal seems to be asleep at the wheel. To quote from the communion liturgy, “We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not heard the cry of the needy.”
So, here it is. I am not a church leader, I don’t have authority over even one person other than myself, I don’t have credentials from a seminary, and I have no pulpit from which to preach, but nonetheless, I feel compelled to speak out. I feel compelled to be the spark that ignites a world wide spiritual fire. The Spirit simply will not allow me to stand idly by and do nothing, so here is what I am going to do.
It starts with this article. This is a call for EVERY follower of Yeshua – regardless of age, creed, means, or color – to commit themselves, beginning immediately, to pray every day – EVERY DAY – without exception for every single crisis I listed above. Further, don’t just start in praying down the list. Start your prayer by calling on our Lord to move in your heart in such a way that your faith would be stirred up. Pray that the Spirit would pray though you, using your lips to voice the prayers most needed. Seek Him. Praise Him. Thank Him for all He has done. Then, and only then, take your petitions before Him. Cry out. Ask Him to give you eyes to see, ears to hear, and heart that is moved by the plight of our world. Ask Him to fill your heart with the pain He feels when He looks upon the suffering of the many.
Secondly, I call specifically on the leaders of the church, from all denominations, to put aside your petty differences and step boldly forward to provide leadership and further the call for action. We have no excuse in the age of the internet to remain isolated and non-communicative. The time has come to change the rules. The time has come to obey our Lord. The time has come to show the world the Church as Yeshua envisioned it: a force of Love and Compassion changing the world one loving act at a time.
Lastly, to each and every believer that reads this. You must choose. You can choose to ignore this call to prayer and action. You can rationalize that you are only one person and one person can’t really make a difference. You can choose to sit back and wait for someone “important” to step forward and rally the church. You can choose to do nothing. Or, you can choose to stand and be counted. You can choose to believe that the Lord can use only one person to change the world. After all, He already proved it by sending one person: Yeshua.
The choice is yours. If you decide to act, start by simply posting links to this article. Post it in facebook and tag all your believing friends. Next, hit your knees. Go to Him in prayer. Seek His face. Commit to praying daily. Commit to seeking opportunities to serve. You don’t have to look very far. You can serve in your community. There is plenty of need right outside your door (and sometimes inside your door). Choose to adopt a child through World Vision or Childfund. Send a link to this article to your pastor. Start a prayer group dedicated to praying for all the issues in our world. Open your heart, your ears, your eyes to a world crying out for God’s love. Above all, take action believing that you “…can do all this through Him…” (Philippians 4:13)
The choice is yours.