â€œAnd David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. â€ (2 Samuel 24:25 NKJV)
In 2005, President George Bush called for a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina. Angry over what he perceived to be the governmentâ€™s sluggish response to blacks and poor people in New Orleans, Reginald Jackson, president of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey, accused the president of being â€œa little lateâ€ in his call for a National Day of Prayer. Consequently, Rev. Jackson and other ministers and their churches refused to â€œheed Bushâ€™s requestâ€ to pray, opting instead to lodge a political protest by withholding their prayers from those who desperately needed them.
Granted, many churches had already held prayer services before President Bushâ€™s call for a National Day of Prayer, as Reginald Jackson argued, â€œWeâ€™ve already prayed Mr. President.â€ Still, it seemed strange to me that any church would refuse to pray again, especially when their only reason for doing so was to take a swipe at a President who had called them to prayer.
Jesus said, â€œMy house shall be called the house of prayerâ€ (Matthew 21:13). The Apostle Paul instructed us to pray â€œfor Kings, and for all that are in authorityâ€ (1 Timothy 2:2). Yet, in some churches today politics takes precedence over prayer and political protests takes precedence over praying for those in authority. Maybe this helps to explain the implosion of our country and the impotence of so many of our churches.
Pray that Americaâ€™s churches will wake up to the paltriness of political action and return to the power of the prayer altar.