Shane Idleman on Why the Heart of the Present-Day Church Must Change

As we all know, America is in a spiritual decline with no recovery in sight. Many churches have a form of “microwave” Christianity: service times last just over an hour, prayer is glanced over, and worship is designed to entertain the masses. Many pastors avoid offending their audience and seek to be motivational rather than convicting. If we truly want to see revival, the face of the present-day church needs to change. Granted, there are wonderful churches, but as a whole, we have drifted significantly off course. For example, do you ever wonder how a Christian (let alone a pastor) can embrace gay marriage and encourage it? Listen to this Fox News interview archive to find out how.

“People are bored,” they say, “so our services need to be more appealing.” Church is boring because the power of God has vanished from many congregations; there is a lack of desire in the pulpit as well as in the pew to pursue Him. Like Samson, they don’t realize that the Spirit of the Lord has departed (Judges 16:20). But there is hope. We can once again position ourselves to seek God: “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

To seek in this context means to “find what is missing.” The Hebrew word for seekbaqash, has a very strong meaning. Imagine losing your child in a crowded mall. Your entire heart would be engaged. How would you spend your time? Where would your energy be concentrated? Now parallel this with seeking God. Pastors and Christian leaders, we must again seek God as if our nation and the future of our children depend on it—because it does. Where is the weeping? Where are the early morning prayer meetings? Where is the fasting?

Remember when the church sought God in an upper room for days until fire fell? Remember when we were not in a hurry, and extended worship services drove us to our knees? Remember when seeking God through prayer drove the church? Methods, marketing programs, and surveys now lead the way. Remember when prayer and seeking God were assets, not liabilities, to church growth? Remember when people were excited about seeking God rather than busy making excuses as to why they can’t attend church?

While five-minute devotions and prayers have their place, we will starve in these dire days. We need powerful times of prayer, devotion, and worship. “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees” (Al Whittinghill). Prayerlessness in the pulpit leads to apostasy and dead sermons. Prayerlessness in the pew leads to shattered lives and depression. Prayerlessness in men leads to the breakdown of the family. Prayerlessness in Washington leads to the breakdown of society.

God is not too busy, He’s not on vacation, and He’s not sleeping. He is an ever-present help in time of need. You can call out to Him in the deep of the night or in the midst of the storm. He hears the prayers of His children, but we must once again cultivate a life of seeking Him via prayer, brokenness, obedience, and humility.

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Source: Christian Headlines