The world in the church....this is a weary theme in our conversations, isn't it? What a thin avenue prayer is, walking between not caring and becoming dispairing.
In discussion tonight with my wife over this sad video, I began to once again become painfully aware how slow I am to confer first with the Lord over these things. Then, after I try to carry this without help I feel dispair untill it would seem better not to care at all without the avenue of prayer to walk down. (I have to learn some of the most basic lessons multiple times.) And I suppose it would seem a great insult to some of the people from that video that we would even assume they need our prayers.
Yet, my own convictions about this sillyness do not come from a misunderstanding or a cultural gap...I was there and I know the long unlearning that must take place because youth are given a teen Gospel, instead of the real deal. In my experience as a parent, it is the spirit of the age to treat children as if they will be children forever, complete with a seperate gospel message based on "passion" instead of conversion. While realizing they are more tender and inexperienced now, we should point them towards spiritual maturity that expresses Christ's character which is more then enthusiasm or desire. Needful patterns of Christian manhood and womanhood are strangely missing from the youth groups I have known.
Like all Christian parents, who are essentially pastors of a little flock, we are all too aware of how constantly we must swim against the current of our age. Among the popular culture, the government, the education systems, the social care systems there is little sympathy for Godly parenting which is mistrusted as "patriarchial". Well Christians parents are patriarchal indeed! Genesis 18:19, For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him..
Instead the world follows a different 'principle'....
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.
That is the spirit of the world and we do well to have our eyes open wide if we bring children into it's everpresent miasma. Yet, what we Christian parents are not prepared for...at least not initially, is that this rebellous spirit has seeped noxiously into our churches and is bring promoted as the driving genius behind cultural relevance or teen ministry. So, when we bring a concern about music or behavior to the leadership, we are apt to be given a smart lesson that we parents are out of step with the youth of today.
In the end, I feel this worldy leakage is beyond human repair. We could evacuate the building, but it will just follow us wherever we go unless...
...churches are turned back to prayer.
In my heart I am seeing that if God is visiting our churches we will know it when first the Church begins to pray according to her ancient Pentecostal heritage. The greatest danger I fear is not that revival won't come...but that a form of revival will come without tarrying prayer. This would be a final delusion...an apostacy of the worst kind, cementing our Churches in their self-sufficient state.
So, in the midst of the loud hooplah the true remant in these churches can be safely recognized not by their prophesying or their preaching...but by the power and perseverance of their prayers. I feel unworthy to even speak confidently about the callings of others, but I am confident in the Spirit of this; those whose ministries have in some manner the effect or outcome of turning the beloved Church back to broken guileless prayer, are the truest ministers doing God's work for this age. On that 'day', some of the remant will pray for repentance, some for intercession, and some for ministry...but all will pray the entire farm for Jesus to visit...because He is the revival. (You've heard the expression "bet the farm"...it means throw everything you are worth into the gamble. Yet with God prayer is no gamble, so we can safely say "Pray the farm" dear saints!)
Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel.