I typically listen to the radio when I have “mindless” tasks like curling my hair, cleaning the bathroom, etc. to do. I’m an auditory learner, so I really am engaged. This morning I was challenged and humbled at the number of men and women who called in to the Focus on the Family broadcast – not to ask questions, not to air their opinions, not to challenge authority, but to pray on this National Day of Prayer. The response was huge!
Each one of them prayed for our country
our government leaders from the President down to the janitors in the White House
our Congressmen and women
our state legislators
our local officials
our Supreme Court Justices and throughout the court system – I should have added lawyers to the mix.
Other groups I had not thought to add to my original list were the families of the military, especially those who were still grieving the loss of a child, spouse or sibling who had given the ultimate sacrifice.
Interestingly, the biggest challenge and emphasis was not for the President and leaders, but for the church in America that we might be humbled and focused to seek God with our whole hearts. This is indeed a challenging thought. If God is going to be glorified in our nation and if we are going to have any measure of peace and safety, cleansing of hearts and lives will have to begin with God’s people and that includes me. I told you I was challenged. How about you?
If you’ve had the opportunity to visit a botanical garden like Longwood Gardens in the outskirts of Philadelphia, you know firsthand about the fantastic displays both indoors and out. It is an awesome experience. You make your way through the various buildings and flora-lined walkways, but as hard as you try, you just can’t take it all in on one visit.
Can you imagine how many people and how much effort goes into making each garden bloom on cue according to the seasons? (You don’t grow poinsettias in April or daffodils in October.) They do all of this while maintaining the grounds and facility in readiness for a vast number of tourists seven days a week. Think, too, about the challenges these horticultural wizards face between the elements of time and weather alone. It goes without saying they tackle other obstacles on a daily basis. Yet they achieve outstanding results because they continually focus on the plan. To the outside world, it looks easy.
As we go through various seasons in our lives, we, like Longwood Gardens, must adjust to new expectations. At times, this requires a total makeover. All of this reinvention requires prayer, organization, time and action in order for a successful change to take place while life goes on and business continues as usual. Some days you can remain on task and schedule, while on others it seems you meet obstacles at every turn. When this happens, return to the plan (or make one if you started off without one), refocus, make adjustments as necessary and move forward.
Doing this may be difficult. You could find a host of people and situations to blame or throw your hands in the air crying, “What’s the use,” but that won’t get you Longwood results.
What would you say if you were hurrying to catch a plane and saw 36 people walking through the concourse and praying?
A group of that size might not be intimidating if it weren’t for their activity. This scene occurred today at Philadelphia International Airport with Bishop Dwayne Royster leading his interfaith group, Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER). Members of the clergy representing Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths directed their prayers to the need for jobs and in particular, at the Philadelphia airport. Their goal is that the Lord will direct Mayor Nutter to go forward with the proposed expansion of the airport.
Not to detract from their mission, but it does make you wonder if they prayed with their eyes shut – I often pray when I’m driving, so I know that the Lord hears even though my eyes are open and my head is looking forward instead of bowed. Were they praying aloud? Were they taking turns or praying all at the same time? I guess it does not matter. God is all present, all knowing and all powerful, so it would not have bothered Him. Would their actions have bothered you?