In conclusion be strong – not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armour so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (Phillips Version)
It is one of the more beautiful and memorable walks I have made. It’s just a short walk, four blocks on the Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg. I made the walk on a sunny, crisp October day, walking westward from the Virginia House of Burgesses to the Bruton Parish Church.
I thought of that walk this past week as I was reading troubling news about our nation. I thought of another generation of men who made that same walk as they had also read troubling news. They made their walk on June 1, 1774, in the beginning days of the struggle for independence from England. Word had come to them that the British had closed the Boston harbor. They were troubled by what this would mean for their New England compatriots, as well as what this would mean for them and their families.
The future loomed dark, and the lawmakers not knowing what to do, “dissolved” and adjourned in order to pray. They declared it a “Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer”. In my minds’ eye I can picture House of Burgesses members, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Richard Henry Lee leading the procession to the Bruton Parish Church to pray. George Washington wrote in his diary for the day: “Went to Church & fasted all day”.
I’m not going to hold my breath until our Congress adjourns for humiliation and prayer. But “we the People” can rise up and pray! The enemy we face is just as real as the enemy they faced; whether it is the attack on our religious liberty, our Judeo-Christian heritage, or Natural Law and the Constitution.
I confess to being a political junkie from my youth. For me politics have always been important as well as interesting. More fascinating to me than the Super Bowl. But I know that politics will not save us from the dire predicament we are in. I am constrained again and again to return to today’s text: we are in a battle that is ultimately spiritual. We have come up against “organizations and powers that are spiritual…spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil”. In the end it is not the opposing political party or an elected leader that is our enemy. We are contending with “the unseen power that controls this dark world”.
That means that the weapons we must take up are spiritual. Our Founders knew that, and that is why they prayed. I still plan to read more, speak out more, and write more letters; but most of all I’m going to pray more. Symbolically I am going to more frequently adjourn from my work and make that short walk to the place where I can pray. It’s something I’m going to do for my children and my grandchildren. And I’m going to do it because it is right!
Now for the good news! Yes, there is good news for us in this high-stakes battle! The good news is that we can stand strong! “In conclusion be strong,” Scripture reminds, “not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource”.
There’s a “boundless resource” available to us today, if only we will stop what we are doing in order to pray!
Grace and peace,
photo by .michael.newman.