Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians from numerous denominations and independent churches spent at least 3 to 5 minutes in their worship services yesterday falling on their knees before God, praying for America. This prayer event was the brainchild of the Family Research Council, the nation's largest Christian policy organization. Skeptics from the press believed that this event was a PR ploy to draw attention to key issues of interest to the organization. Another secular reporter remarked that the Religious Right had become so discouraged that key leaders of this movement were using prayer as a remedy for its discouragement.

Before we discuss the reasons for the event, let me explain what churches actually did on July 5. The vision of the event was to follow up on our July 4th celebration for the nation's independence with a spiritual act on July 5th that would stand in the hearts and minds of people attending church services. Churches conveyed a simple message to their members that with all the economic, cultural, and spiritual problems at work in our nation, we need mercy and grace from God.

Although individual churches pointed out different problems as reasons for the faithful to call upon God, there was a universal declaration that many of our nation's woes are not the result of "sinners gone wild" but rather the absence of a clear Christian witness from the Church. In various words, preachers declared, "Even though the nation celebrated independence from the King of England on the 4th, the Church is recognizing and celebrating its need for dependence upon its King, Jesus Christ, on July 5th."

Most preachers articulated yesterday the calling that each of us have to be salt and light to our families, our communities, and the nation. In my Call 2 Fall sermon, I told my audience that I was going to teach them how to R.A.P. The word R.A.P. is a device to help listeners remember that one way we can get unstuck spiritually and move into new levels of personal growth is to use Repentance, Alignment, and Promotion. Repentance involves self examination, taking the blame for short comings, and recognizing our need for the power of the Holy Spirit to live a Christian life. Second, Alignment involves acknowledging that living for Christ involves personally deciding that we will walk in Christian love, despite persecution or ridicule. Third, Promotion and increased influence comes to those who walk humbly with God. The Lord promises that He will give grace to the humble, lifting them into position. I stated to the audience that they can change the world by becoming increasingly more Christ-like. "R.A.P.ping" can change our lives and the world around us.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.