If We Will Pray
People are finally noticing that America’s check-engine light is on. They’ve heard the motor coughing and sputtering for some time; they’ve felt the roughness in the ride and hoped things would work themselves out. But as the sense of urgency intensifies, shade tree mechanics are under the hood frantically jerry rigging this, jury rigging that, hoping the adjustments they make will keep us moving forward. [i] They figure that if things don’t improve, and fast, America will find herself broken down on the side of the road, having to call AAA or thumb a ride with other nations. As luck would have it though, other nations are in sad shape as well. “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin. [ii]
The Church, rudely awakened by the rough ride, also realizes the urgent hour we are in. She’s scrambling to get out there and finally put feet to the great commission, to be that salt and light on this earth as God designed. [iii] But conditions have gone so haywire, she understands that the odds are now heavily stacked against her.
Outside of a miracle, all are recognizing the fact that fixing America is impossible.
But the good news is, we serve a miracle working God. What is impossible with man is possible with God. [iv] He is fully aware of our dire circumstances.
Yet . . . He waits. Therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] . . . [v]Why? What’s He waiting for? How bad do things need to get before He does something?
According to Isaiah 30, He’s waiting till we tire of trying to handle things on our own, till we no longer look to resources other than Himself for strength, comfort, protection, and help. He waits till adversity and affliction cause rebellious hearts to shift back to Him and stubborn ears to willingly listen. [vi]
Waiting also magnifies God’s character—His great self-restraint in the face of being provoked to justifiable anger, and His longing to be gracious toward us and have mercy on us. He is not only a God of justice but the justifier of those who believe in Jesus. [vii] He waits so He can bless those who wait for Him, “. . . giving us time to repent so He can ‘work gloriously in your behalf’ and be exalted.” [viii]
Gone are the days where passive, mechanical prayers out of a sense of duty inspire God to move on our behalf. He’s waiting for His Church to wait for Him. [ix] Not the kind of waiting where we’re chilling out, watching how things in America pan out, or where we merely tolerate this mess till the day He returns and whisks us out of here. Jesus is waiting till we wait and look for Him with expectant longing. And from that place of longing, we cry out for His intervention, knowing that these are not times we should fear, but glorious times when the world is about to witness God fixing what is broken.
Lord, grace us to expectantly wait for You more than they that watch for the morning: I say more than they that watch for the morning. [x] Grant us prayers like those in James chapter 5—fervent prayers of righteous men and women that avail much, earnest prayers like Elijah prayed and it didn’t rain for three and a half years. And he prayed again and the heavens supplied rain. [xi] Make us tenacious like the desperate widow in Luke 18, where we wear You out with our continual requests until You avenge us of our adversary the devil, and bring plenteous redemption to a nation on the cusp of finding herself broken down on the side of the road. [xii]
No need to call AAA, God is on His way . . . if we will pray!
[i] Jerry rigg – organized or constructed in a crude or improvised manner; Jury rigg – to erect, construct, or arrange in a makeshift fashion (merriam-webster.com) [ii] Isaiah 30:1 NIV [iii] Matthew 5:13–14 [iv] Luke 18:27; Luke 1:37; Jeremiah 32:17 [v] Isaiah 30:18 AMP [vi] Isaiah 30:2,3,9–11,15 [vii] Romans 3:26 [viii] Isaiah 30:18; Matthew Poole’s Commentary [ix] Isaiah 30:18 [x] Psalm 130:5 [xi] James 5:16–18; 1 Kings 17:1; 1 Kings 18:42–45 [xii] Luke 18:7–8; Psalm 130:7