I sometimes grow weary of praying for God’s will.  In some cases it seems like I’ve done it so long and see so little progress.  One of the burdens God laid on my heart years ago is to pray for him to raise up godly people to speak truth and point to God in our government, our media, and in our seminaries.  I pray that God will give them the passion and opportunity to speak his truth in our culture, that it will impact the hearts of our culture, and that God will give his protection to those who dare to serve him and not the world.  This week Rand Paul gave a speech on the rising international war against Christianity.  In it he summarized many of the injustices that rankle my heart, and I wonder if God has heard my prayers and why he doesn’t do what I’ve asked.

And then every once in a while, he gives me insight into the fact that he has heard and he is raising up just the people I’ve asked for and prayed for.  A few weeks ago on CBS This Morning I heard Tyler Perry, a very successful TV and motion picture star, read a letter to his younger self where he acknowledged that the voice he heard as a child telling him he was loved and that he would overcome all the pain in his life was God speaking to him.  Kirk Cameron has chosen to obey God’s call for purity in his life that has cost him power and wealth, but given him a powerful testimony.   Tim Tebow has made his relationship with God, not his football career, the focal point of his life.  Mike Huckabee, a preacher who is also a politician, consistently acknowledges the need for God’s law in our culture.  Ben Carson, a renowned pediatric brain surgeon, makes no secret that he is a Christian and believes our country should return to Christian principles.  Whatever you think of these men politically or athletically, they are men who have been unashamed to stand up and speak difficult truth and associate themselves with God. 

So much our entertainment is centered around immorality and violence.  I’ve seen TV shows and movies, read books, and seen stage plays where there was not one person in it that I could respect, when there was no redeeming theme or choice that inspired me.  Our heroes seem to be less and less authentic, and seldom demonstrate integrity. The media celebrates these characters and shows and declares them to be artistic masterpieces. 

And then I began to recognize that the public is drawn to entertainment that honors God.  The financial success of “The Passion of the Christ” was overwhelming.  “Veggie Tales” is a huge TV and video influence for our children.  TV shows that distanced themselves from the consistent immorality started to emerge.  “Blue Blood” shows a Catholic family praying around their dinner table in every episode.  Every episode of “Duck Dynasty” shows the quirks and stresses of everyday family life and work, but focuses on loyalty to family and marriage and ends every show with the family praying together, thanking God for his blessings and acknowledging their dependence on Jesus.  How many more have the opportunity to speak truth and stand up for God but hesitate to do so for fear of rejection or financial loss? 

And then, in a moment of incredible awareness of God’s grace, I realized that during my years of praying for godly examples and leaders in our culture, when I saw no evidence of progress, God was laying powerful foundation that is only now becoming apparent.  While I prayed, a young Tyler Perry heard and believed God’s voice, and God established his career in TV and movies.  While I prayed, God revealed himself to others and gave them the courage to take unpopular stands that gave a powerful testimony.  While I prayed, God raised up writers and producers that would bring the name of Jesus and their personal testimony to my TV screen.

I can’t tell you my prayers were the reason, or that God wouldn’t have done the same thing if I hadn’t prayed.  But I can tell you that Jesus saw prayer as a powerful discipline, not an optional last resort.  He prayed in the face of evil, and he defeated it.  If I hadn’t had that burden to pray, I would not have recognized God’s hand in my culture, and I might have despaired at the power of the evil I see.

There is a new movie coming out in the spring – “God’s Not Dead”.  I would encourage you to begin now to pray for all that is involved in this project: that truth would be spoken in it, that truth would take root in all who see it, and that God would give his presence and protection to all who are working to bring it to the public.  I honestly can’t say how much I think that the success of this movie depends on your prayers, but I can say that when you pray for God’s will, he gives you deeper access to the awareness of his power and presence.  And that awareness gives us, not only joy and peace, but understanding of him who has overcome this world.

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