Precipice: How does a culture change? “To say that we are living through a time of momentous change,” wrote Wilfred McClay in The Wilson Quarterly recently, “may seem merely to restate the blazingly obvious. But it is no less true, and no less worrisome, for being so” . McClay argues that we are in “a moment of profound social transition in which an entire way of life is in the process of being inexorably transformed, but in which the precise shape of this transformation is yet to be fully determined.” How will its shape be determined? McClay suggests reading Toqueville’s Democracy in America. The Scriptures and history, however, suggest praying kingdom-centered prayers.
City: When Daniel read the scroll of Jeremiah, he went to God for mercy. On behalf of the people, he confessed: “We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled” , and prayed: “O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name” .
Korea: Going to God in prayer for daily bread is crucial for spiritual vitality, but we must go to Him with kingdom-centered prayers if we want cultural renewal. In 1907, a revival in Korea was started and sustained by kingdom-centered prayer, and it transformed the culture: “When the [prayer] meetings concluded and the men returned home, they took the revival with them … All through the city, men were going from house to house, confessing to individuals they had injured, returning stolen property and money, not only to Christians but to heathen as well, till the whole city was stirred. A Chinese merchant was astonished to have a Christian walk in and pay him a large sum of money that he had obtained unjustly years before’” .
Prayer: Lord, We are at a cultural precipice and long for the gospel to shape its transformation. Therefore, we know that we must come to you in power with kingdom-centered prayers. Humble us and do our city good by showing us your face. May your kingdom come. Amen.
(Optional) Post-Reflection Prayer: Not only do kingdom-centered prayers change cultures, they also help us sustain the spiritual discipline of prayer in our lives. As you read Daniel 9, which appears below, pray on behalf of your city, culture and church.