By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
The troubles facing today’s world are not new. Since Biblical times, the future has always been uncertain, and everyone from the time of Noah and Moses to that of America’s founding fathers found the answer to adversity in God.
This Thursday, millions of Americans will unite for the annual National Day of Prayer. Local coordinator Dr. Jack Jacob said Liberal will have plenty of events throughout the day.
“We have a gathering at noon in front of the Seward County Courthouse,” he said. “There will be various pastors and city and civic leaders coming together. We’ll pray over the city, the state and the country. We’ll pray over families.”
This year’s event will be slightly different from those of years past, Jacob said.
“In the past, we just assigned each pastor a specific thing to pray for,” he said. “We asked them just to pray for that. This year, we’re kind of freeing it up a little bit. We’re saying pray for what’s on your heart – within reason. We only have an hour. Tim Long, the mayor’s going to be there. He’s going to pray for the city.”
Liberal Good Samaritan Center will also host a service at 10 a.m. Thursday with pastors and other leaders attending, and Jacob will be leading the service.
Church For All Nations will likewise host a National Day of Prayer celebration Thursday with several activities including:
Noon to 12:30 p.m. – Open and corporate prayer
12:30 p.m. – Youth band and Pledge of Allegiance
12:30 to 12:50 p.m. – Youth leads worship
12:50 to 1:15 p.m. – Prayer and band
1:15 p.m. – Fred Lewis will speak on the nation and/or military history regarding the nation
12:35 to 12:45 p.m. – Youth read Declaration of Independence
12:45 p.m. – Final prayer and words
On Sunday night, Americans learned of the death of Islam terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, and while many may add significance to the prayers said Thursday, Jacob said he does not believe it will.
“Islam advances by the sword,” he said. “Christianity is supposed to advance by sharing the gospel with people and changed hearts and changed lives. Certainly, there’s the sense of this mastermind of terror is gone, but in many ways, my heart breaks for that because I know that he didn’t understand who God was in this life. Now, he’s met him as judge, and that’s for eternity.”
Jacob said like others, he understands patriotism and wanting to celebrate bin Laden’s death as a victory.
“It certainly is, but my thoughts as far as seeking God is we all deserve what he got,” he said. “That ought to make us more thankful for eternal life in Christ. We can’t look down our nose at him because ‘except by the grace of God go we.’ For me personally, we’ll thank God that He minimized the loss of life, and we’ll thank God that He has given the government the sword as we know in Romans 13 and that government was able to lead in that way. As far as actually celebrating over the death of bin Laden himself, I just can’t get there.”
Many people fear retaliation for bin Laden’s death, and Jacob said this may add some significance to prayers for protection, but he believes God is under no obligation to protect people who continue to turn their back on Him.
“We’ve said we don’t want you in the schools,” Jacob said. “We don’t want you in public places. We don’t want you in the courtroom. He’s under no obligation to do anything for us. He’s God. It does kind of create that sense of, ‘OK God, help us to turn back so that you can bless us.’”
Jacob said before God is brought back to courtrooms, schools and public places, He needs to have the right place in people’s hearts.
“We really have come to the point where God’s our ATM machine. The health and welfare people haven’t helped that at all. You just put in your secret prayer code, and God spits out blessings,” he said. “When it doesn’t work, we want to call technical support and find out what’s wrong, or we’re mad at Him instead of realizing that we always learn more about God in difficult times than we ever learn in good times.”
Jacob said while many Americans continue to praise the death of bin Laden, God is not.
“I’m a little bit nervous when Christians start to celebrate the death of the wicked,” he said. “The Bible says ‘God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.’ If we do, we’re not on the right side.”
Jacob said, however, he understands why many people are thankful for the death of the terrorist leader.
“The government was able to flex its muscle and accomplish its goal,” he said. “Even if it was a symbolic stand, it was something that communicated to the rest of the world that we are a force to be dealt with.”