The following was written 10 years ago following a public gathering at which I spoke.
I look back on this with sadness because of all that transpired after the event. The organizer, Shelton Brown (last I heard) became an atheist. Public prayer at football games (and all other school events) was banned. All the prayer gathering did was make everybody look bold for a few moments, but then they went on their way.
Nothing changed because nobody would be a Daniel and pray anyway.
Now, here we are in a day when the government, well-meaning or not, is wielding great power over Christians (and religious people in general) in the name of our best interests, therefore depriving us of the ability to exercise our rights.
It doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether or not there is a virus; we must always be wary of elected officials who deny believers the right to pray in public, specifically in gatherings. And, when necessary, we need to do more than complain. Otherwise, we are not worthy to feed to the lions.
Last night I had the honor to participate in an event of community prayer. I was invited to speak by Shelton Brown, a student at Soddy Daisy High School. If you don’t know what happened, a whole bunch of people gathered together in the park to celebrate our right and freedom to pray, even though it was recently mandated that prayer be stopped before football games. This meeting was organized by students who decided enough was enough.
In my closing remarks (I spoke for 7 1/2 minutes) I brought up the story of Nehemiah, specifically a part in chapter 4, verse 20. Nehemiah, in response to threats from enemies intent on stopping them from rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, set people on the wall as lookouts. Being that the wall was big and spread out, and being that there were few people, Nehemiah came up with a plan. He said :
The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
To me, and I am just little ol’ me, there should have been a lot more people present last night. Why? A trumpet was sounded for the body of Christ to come to the aid of not only Soddy Daisy, but for all of Hamilton County. An attack on our freedoms, as both Christians and Americans, has come to our soil. Why is it that our schedules and programs and our own sections of the wall are more important than stopping the enemy somewhere else?
Last night was your typical “Wednesday night prayer meeting” night. Besides the fact that prayer is rarely the object of attention at most of these meetings, what would have been wrong with jumping in the church bus and heading to where the trumpet was sounding? Where there may have been 500+ at this event last night, there should have been 1-2000. Why were they not there? Because it was more important for local congregations to remain safe and snug in their own little sections of “the wall.” Here was a prime example of LEGALISM in action, for many did not want to participate in an event that featured speakers that weren’t of a particular denomination. Here was a prime example of LAZINESS, for it may have been difficult to get people together to go somewhere on a weeknight, especially if it wasn’t to Ryan’s or the bowling alley. Here was a prime example of DENIAL, PRIDE, and APATHY, for there were others that did not attend because they either didn’t think there’s a problem; it wasn’t their idea; or they just really didn’t care. Folks, what has been “typical” needs to be trashed.
This past Sunday I told my congregation that I would be in Soddy Daisy on Wednesday night because a trumpet had been sounded. I went to stand in the gap with my brothers and sisters that cared enough to make a public stand against the tyranny of a few over the wishes of the people. In the future, when other trumpets are sounded, I pray that the churches of our county and our country will rally together in defence of the few walls we have left in this nation that, for now, claims to be “under God.”
May our God truly fight for us, for we don’t seem to want to fight for oursleves.
…Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses. – Nehemiah 4:14