I just got back from an extended trip to England, Scotland and Ireland. And as the Irish would say, “It was grand!” And I came away with a number of spiritual observations. The most significant of which revolved around a sign I saw on the side of a city bus in Edinburgh. It read, “Try Praying. It’s not that hard.”
That spiritual injunction stands in sharp contrast to the overwhelming lack of Godly influence in the British culture. True, there are churches everywhere. Those stone buildings come in all kinds of shapes. The spires are the “pointy” kind, the squared off “Norman influenced” ones, the ones that look like miniature castles and everything in between.
As I drove through the countryside, I noted that some abandoned church facilities were turned into community centers. Others were made into preschool facilities. Churches abound, but the British people are some of the most non-religious folks in the world. Less than fifty percent of the population has any religious interest (and what they do have, might be Muslim or whatever).
With that backdrop, that bus billboard in Edinburgh struck me hard. In a culture that obviously could not care less about spiritual matters, the folks on the street were being urged to pray and encouraged with the fact that it isn’t hard to do. But who are they supposed to pray to? And what are they supposed to pray for? And on what basis should they expect their prayers to be answered?
I am back in the U.S. A. and genuinely grateful for my own church and the abundant spiritual influences all around me. But I am worried. It would not take much for our culture to keep sliding away from a Judeo/ Christian mindset and find ourselves totally immersed in secular thinking. We are almost there now…
So, my encouragement this week is two-fold. First, let’s take a few minutes and thank the Lord for the incredible blessings we still have in this country. We can worship freely. We can still meet for prayer and service. We can name the name of our Savior without fear of retribution. We can hold our Bibles high and declare Christ as Lord of all. We have much to be grateful for!
And secondly, let’s take some time to consider the spiritual slide that is obviously taking place on our side of the Atlantic. We too are slipping quickly into deep secularism. We are ignoring our spiritual roots. We are tumbling down a slope of spiritual indifference.
Christians need to declare their faith in the center of the marketplace. We need to live out our values in public; work with integrity, vote with a sense of spiritual heritage and honor God openly in our communities. And we need to do it now!
And it wouldn’t hurt to do some serious praying. It isn’t hard to do!