Amid societal polarization, American churches are dedicated July 7th to pray for the country.
Polarization has been trending for a long time. Especially in politics, but also in education, religion, economics, race, and more.
Even suggesting a place in the lonely middle-of-the-road can spark accusations of compromise and capitulation. Like the North Pole and the South Pole, polarization is about opposites that never meet and can’t even see each other. When it’s summer in the northern Arctic, it’s winter in the southern Antarctic.
Introduce a big What If.
What if Christians could set aside the cultural categories and extremes of our generation to center on the faith we all share in Jesus Christ? What if we could do something that demonstrated our Christian hope more than popular despair? What if together we made Jesus the winner rather than seeking victories for our sides of the lines that are dividing so many?
The proposal straight out of Washington, D.C.: Pray Together Sunday. It wasn’t my idea, but I was there when a staff member of the National Association of Evangelicals who is trained as a lawyer proposed a very Christian and biblical antidote to divisive polarization. She suggested choosing a summer Sunday for churches across our nation to pray together for God’s blessing in America.
Good idea with lots of reasons to say no. Of course it’s a good idea for churches to pray. No true Christian should object, but it’s easy to come up with a quick list of why it won’t work:
- The idea is already taken. We already have a National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of every May.
- Prayer is already part of every weekend church service. Asking churches to pray is like asking dogs to bark — it’s what they already do.
- Getting lots of churches to do anything together is tough to coordinate. Most churches like to make their own decisions, do what they are already doing and value independence over cooperation.