This month has seen some huge judicial victories for God’s people here in America, as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of both a Christian business owner and of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in California.
I applaud these judicial decisions, and commend those who celebrate this victory and ready themselves to press on and fight for more victories.
Yet I sometimes wonder: have we forgotten the victory that must precede all the others? I fear that we often do forget.
Now, I don’t mean to detract from victories for our faith here in our country; I only stop to meditate clearly on truth amid the noise of potentially short-sighted pride in ourselves and our own efforts, rather than praise for God and his provision.
Our best intentions and fiery can-do attitudes may deafen us to our need of spiritual victory, which must come first and foremost.
And it all starts with prayer.
Have you ever noticed how often our self confidence leads to a lack of dependence upon the Lord in prayer?
We can get so busy with the issues and movements of this world that we take our eyes off of our Lord. And when our focus is off the Lord, we set ourselves up for spiritual failure.
If you don’t believe me, just ask Simon Peter. Remember before his arrest, when Jesus found Simon Peter sleeping rather than praying in the garden of Gethsemane? Jesus asked Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40). At that moment, prayerlessness was Peter’s downfall.
I believe prayerlessness is one of the biggest issues facing the American church today. We know we need a cultural revolution and that we are headed for disaster unless God’s people return to him. But too often the church tries to fight the cultural battle with physical weapons.
Paul reminds us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). And he urges us to put on God’s spiritual armor to stand against these forces.
If we are thoroughly equipped in the Word and in prayer, we can face anything — victory or loss — with our grounding and peace in He who is sovereign and has overcome all things, including death itself.
So let me remind you that the battles we face as believers are not just stopping abortion, or the postmodern agenda, or the overall demise of culture and morality.
The only way we will win these battles is on our knees in prayer. The mission field starts at home.
The only way America will change is one life at a time, and one heart at a time. And that means God’s people must be in prayer.
Let’s get our eyes off of ourselves and back on God. Remember that without him, and without prayer, we can do nothing.