Dr. David F. Ingrassia // 11.30.2016 // Charlotte Awake
A week before Election Day, pastors, church leaders, and intercessors from all over Charlotte gathered for united prayer at the Billy Graham Headquarters. Together, they came before the Lord in sorrowful repentance, crying for revival and reconciliation, and with a renewed determination to refocus on Jesus, our first love.
At the end of four hours of prayer and worship, together the pastors served the Lord’s Supper. Such a manifest unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace across the Body of Christ in Charlotte does not happen often. It’s as if in response God opened a window of blessing in heaven.
We live in uncertain times. This election revealed the deep divisions within our nation. But this election also revealed the need for the church to awaken to the realities of our own condition.
It is easier to blame the national divisions on politicians, or the political ideologies of a few. But the truth of the matter is, the values and ideologies that now hold sway have been present for decades, only now they are held by the majority of Americans. Why are we surprised?
We seem to miss Peter’s point that as believers we live as “sojourners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11). Though the church is certainly supposed to be salt and light to the world, it was never God’s design that we move in and redecorate the planet. If anything, we should expect opposition and even persecution for living godly lives (2 Timothy 3:12).
The realities of this election should jar the church awake. Are we making churchgoers or disciples? Are we making disciples of the nations, or are we instead competing for market share? Are we truly walking in the love of Christ with words of grace and the power of the gospel, or are our rhetoric and our actions hateful and sinful, making us indistinguishable from the world?
THE LITMUS TEST
Here is a litmus test or metric for a healthy church that follows Jesus— monitor the prayer. Everything we are as Christians and everything we do comes from being in Christ. That means if we are healthy, we should be walking with Jesus. A church that is healthy will not be corralled, harangued, or guilted into prayer meetings, but will be drawn together as those spiritually parched to the well of living water.
A church that walks with Jesus prays. Prayer is perhaps the deepest form of intimacy with God. So, if indeed we are walking with Jesus, how could we possibly be without continual and united prayer?
We say we want peace and reconciliation in our city, but how can we do that without our leaders standing together in prayer?
And it might just be that the most significant event in our city and nation did not happen on Election Day, but began to happen when the Spirit of God moved the hearts of His shepherds and people to united prayer in the weeks and months before the election.
The most significant event this fall in Charlotte did not occur on November 8th, but on October 29th when the church began to wake up.