I have been in a lot of churches in the last year. I have been in little churches and big churches, city churches and country churches. During my visits to these varying churches I have noticed that one of the common great concerns among them is the state of our country. People are very upset with recent trends in our society and the political landscape. Let me just add here that I have those same concerns.
I believe, though, that much of the concern I see in churches actually reveals an off-balance view of most American Christians. Now in the scriptures we are to be concerned with government, I Timothy 2:1-4 says “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” This is pretty much all that the Bible says about government, except that as Christians we are to submit to the government (as long as it doesn’t violate the commands of God). See Romans 13:1-7, I Peter 2:13-17, Titus 3:1, and Acts 5:29.
So prayers for our government, leaders, and our country is a good and acceptable thing. What concerns me, though, is that the focus of American churches on American society and government, when compared to our focus on other things, like world evangelism and missions, shows that we are off center. Consider this: during Christ’s earthly ministry He gave his disciples one prayer request. Only one! Do you know what it was? Jesus tells his disciples this in Matthew 9:37-38 “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Jesus wanted his disciples to pray that God would raise up men to go into the ministry!
Jesus had one prayer request.
I have noticed that it is rare for this to be mentioned in prayer rooms or during prayer request time in our churches. This should be our focus though. We call it “missions” because during this age of the church, the church’s “mission” is to spread the Gospel throughout the world. If this is our mission then it should be our focus, and therefore a great part of our time and focus in prayer should be directed toward this very thing. Think about the last time during prayer requests at church you heard someone say “Let’s pray that God would raise up some more young men for the ministry.” Have you ever mentioned this in a request for prayer?
I’m not saying don’t pray for America, but I can tell you that Jesus is more concerned about the world hearing the Gospel than He is about any Supreme Court ruling, political agenda, political candidate, or America society in general. So when you go to prayer meeting at your church, remember the burden of the heart of your Savior, and pray that God would raise up an army of workers to go out into the harvest.