“The cause of justice and peace in society is a noble one, and evangelicals should be in forefront of it.” —Carl F. H. Henry
We can take a lesson from the conversation between Dr. E.V. Hill and a White House staff member regarding the inauguration of former President Nixon. As if eavesdropping in on the conversation, listen to the truth found in these words:
White House: Dr. Hill, we have not yet received a copy of your prayer.
Hill: Well I haven’t prayed it yet.
White House: Dr. Hill, we need a copy prior to the event. And you know you can’t mention any names of deity (meaning Jesus) in your prayer.
Hill: I always pray in Jesus’ name because I plan on my prayers being answered. If you need to, tell the president to get somebody else.
Dr. Hill prayed in the powerful name of Jesus, and they left him alone. We can learn a lot from Dr. Hill’s conversation, for it is only at the name of Jesus that the moral decline of our nation can change. No other name has the power to change the climate of our nation, but Jesus.
For it’s Jesus that has power to cast out Legion from the man in the tombs; it’s Jesus that has the power to cause Jairus’ daughter to live again; it’s Jesus that has the power to calm the raging sea by saying, “Peace be still.” Surely, since he has done all of these things, he truly can bring peace to our nation.
It is tragic that the landscape of our country is strewn with the debris of social unrest. Various communities have experienced moments of hostility and division. These include cities such as Cleveland, Ohio, Baltimore, Md., and most recently McKinney, Texas. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of agreement or disagreement concerning the actions and subsequent reactions in each city, the common denominator is the moral decay of the “greatest country” in the world. It has become more and more apparent that our country is in need of a great awakening.
The family is in disrepair due to high divorce rates, single parent families and continuing economic decline. The redefinition of the family is not the only issue, but the laxity of our commitment to family stands as a glaring reminder of the plank that is stuck in the evangelical eye. The Pew Research Center reveals that evangelicals account for 28 percent of divorced and separated adults among Christian denominations. Within the evangelical tradition, Baptists make up 10 percent of the divorced and separated, the highest percentage in the evangelical tradition. Not to mention, evangelicals have a higher divorce and separation percentage than all non-Christians combined. This divorce rate includes Muslims, atheists and humanists, to name a few. We see a continual moral decay of the “greatest country” in the world, and it has become more and more apparent that our country is in need of a great awakening.
We have a unique opportunity to reignite the Christian fervor of our nation. Carl F.H. Henry tells us that evangelicals should be leading the nation in spiritual renewal and establishing justice and peace in our society for all people. Renewal is a daunting task; however, as evangelicals we have the responsibility to lead the way in the pursuit of a new Great Awakening. The unspoken question on many of our minds is how do we start the process of renewal?
Acts 4:23-31 gives us a blueprint, anchored in prayer. Peter and John had just been released from the Sanhedrin council after healing a lame beggar and preaching a bold gospel. Just as Dr. Hill was asked not to pray in Jesus’ name, Peter and John were asked not to preach in his name.
The boldness of Peter and John to speak put them in harm’s way, but also got them released. It is that same boldness that they prayed would permeate all of the believers. Just as the boldness and power of prayer shook the foundation during their prayer meeting, evangelicals should come together in fervent prayer before a living God and allow him to fill us will the boldness to preach the uncompromising Word of God as he heals the land.
Prayer has the supernatural power to bring about a new Great Awakening, one that will bring healing to our land, peace in our communities and unity among humanity. Evangelicals must be bold enough to come together, to pray and to be uncompromising in their belief that their prayers will be answered and our nation will be healed. The antidote is praying with boldness and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, which leads to spiritual transformation that will result in social transformation.