23 September 2000

This last Wednesday, at the request of one of the students, I was blessed to attend the flagpole prayer service at Poyen school. Many students, faculty, parents and ministers were present as the students prayed and read some scripture. We all sang "Amazing Grace" together. One of the other ministers turned to me and said, "We don't need the music for this one" as we all lifted our voices together and sang praise to our God. One of the students was called upon to read a scripture. As she opened her Bible I wondered which one she would read. Tears came to my eyes as she read, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land"-2 Chron. 7:14. Quite appropriate! One of the things I liked about the service was the fact that there were no preachers or denominations trying to get recognition for all the praying going on. It was just a group of kids who wanted to do what was right and approach God. I saw some salt and some light. I was very thankful. On my way to the school I thought of Daniel praying after the king had passed a law that people could not pray and the many changes we have all witnessed in our country over the past forty or so years. I thought of persecution in this country, and how the restriction of prayer was the beginning. When I went to High School, we read a scripture every morning in study hall. Even though one of the favorites was the shortest verse in the Bible, we still gained some respect for God's word and we knew that our teachers did as well. My, how respect for teachers and parents has declined. Do you think the two could go hand in hand? Recently, a preacher told the story of a blacksmith who needed a watchdog. After finding one, he tied him to a post in his shop. As he began to heat the coals and strike the anvil the dog would howl and howl. After a few months, the dog settled down and became accustomed to the activity and sounds of the blacksmith shop. The blacksmith would heat his fire, strike the anvil and the dog would sleep on. Complacency, that is the word. Many of the things that we see today would have caused Christians to howl and howl a few years ago. I enjoyed what the students had to say, their prayers, their scripture and their willingness to soberly bear witness to that fact that God still has people who will call upon His name. Thank you for the invitation. "Dear Holy Father, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, Creator of all worlds. We praise thee for thy beautiful creation, the works of thy hands. We will be careful to thank thee this day for the many years of freedom and prosperity we have enjoyed in this great land of ours. We thank thee for the opportunity that we continue to enjoy, to worship thee unhindered according to the dictates of our own conscience. We thank thee for thy children, wherever they may be found. We greatly need thee in this day of all days. Help us to bear witness unto thy Son, Jesus Christ. Watch over our schools and protect them from violence and harm. Bless our families and help us to set the example for our youth. As Paul has taught us, help us with one mind and one accord to lift up our voices and pray for "kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty"(I Timothy 2:1,2). Bless our homes with peace. It is in the name of Jesus, our redeemer and mediator, that we pray. Amen." Today, we will not gather around the flagpole, but let our prayers become one, assembled around the throne of God. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor