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Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, gave us a measuring stick by which we could determine if our churches were healthy. He called it a “Graceometer.” Here’s what he said:
“The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we judge the amount of divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if He be not there, one of the first tokens of His absence will be a slothfulness in prayer.”
(The Metropolitan Tabernacle, 1873 edition)
According to Spurgeon’s “Graceometer”, I’m afraid 98% of our churches would have to admit the Lord is mostly absent! Any discerning believer will admit that the church in America is far from what Jesus died to make her. And likewise, the truth is: As the church goes, so goes the nation. A culture is always the mirror of the state of the church in a nation. And while there are some healthy churches—most of which are unknown to the national eye—we cannot deny the obvious. Our culture reflects the confusion we now see in the church. More and more churches are trying to redefine marriage so as to “broaden” the “narrow way” into the church. This confusion is the fruit of a deeper symptom of a diseased church: That is, the desertion of the Bible as absolute truth. Only 28% of the churches in America now believe that (Recent Barna-Wallbuilders Survey). And when you give up the Bible as the standard of truth, you give yourself to the whims of man’s shifting standards; and confusion, chaos, and death are the result. The Bible calls that way, the way of the fool. Proverbs 1:7 says,
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
If we believe His Word is true, and it’s promises true, we want to pray. The more we meet with Him in prayer, the more we realize His Word is truth in every matter we face in life. The less we meet with God in prayer, the more we leave His Word as the truth. Is Spurgeon’s “Graceometer” test as to the health of a church, right? I think the answer to that is obvious—if we have the courage to admit it. Let’s ask ourselves: How many minutes of our church meetings are actually given to prayer? Does my church have a special time each week that we actually pray for an hour together (not just “take prayer requests”, but actually pray!). Jesus challenged his disciples, “…couldest not thou watch one hour?” (Mark 14:37)
The Brooklyn Tabernacle in inner city New York has proven that prayer is the most important work we do. Since the early seventies that church has been used to deliver thousands of people from the sins so prevalent in our inner cities; things like drugs, prostitution, adultery, homosexuality, transgenderism, thievery, and many other addictions. By bringing people to Christ, they’ve done more to restore them as good neighbors than all the government programs ever did in this nation! And what is the key to their usefulness? In their early days, Pastor Jim Cymbala declared to his people, “…the prayer meeting…will be the gauge by which we will judge success or failure because that will be the measure by which God blesses us.” (Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, J. Cymbala; Zondervon, 1997, p. 27) They don’t just talk about prayer—they PRAY!! Their Tuesday night prayer meeting is the most important meeting they do each week. And that’s why God shows up in their other meetings!
Will you pray? Will I pray? Remember: As the church goes, so goes the nation.
Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—
and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson, this has been Think About It.