Altar Call - Opelika-Auburn News
September 30, 2001
Most preachers love Max Lucado. Not many of us know him personally, but we love him because of his books. Over the past decade or so Max’s prolific pen has provided us some of the best Christian books on the market. The man has a remarkable gift for writing inspirational stories.
I tell my people not to buy his books. If they will just come to church regularly, they will hear most of Max’s great stories in my sermons. Once you begin reading his books, his insights and ideas simply beg to be preached. And I am not ashamed to admit how much this preacher’s writing has helped me.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack upon our nation, most of us have prayed many times. We have listened to many other prayers offered by others on television in services of remembrance. We have read even more prayers that have made the rounds on the internet.
One prayer that was shared with me by several people via e-mail was a beautiful prayer by Max Lucado. Titled "Max Lucado’s Prayer for America," this is the kind of prayer that every preacher wishes he could pray when he calls on God. My heart was touched by it and I share it in the hope that yours will be too.
"Dear Lord, we’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, ‘What a horrible dream.’ But we won’t, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad.
There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only three years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)
We are sad, Father. For the innocent are buried, our innocence is buried as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better. But we didn’t. And so we come to you. We don’t ask you for help; we beg you for it. We don’t request it; we implore it.
We know what you can do. We’ve read the accounts. We’ve pondered the stories and now we plead, ‘Do it again, Lord. Do it again.’
Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord. Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children too, Lord. Do it again.
And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them. Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him. The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope. The doubts of Thomas? You took them again. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
You changed Daniel from a captive into a king’s counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today, Lord. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.
Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here last Tuesday, you saw there that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the smoke eclipsed our morning, so the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced. And by dusk, heaven’s sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.
But you did not waver, O Lord. You did not waver. After three days in a dark hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Grant us a September Easter.
We thank you, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Christians are praying with Jews. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank you for these hours of unity.
And we thank you for these hours of prayer. The Enemy sought to bring us to our knees and succeeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before you. And he has no idea what you can do. Let your mercy be upon our President, Vice President, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain.
Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe. And look kindly upon your church. For two thousand years you’ve used her to heal a hurting world. Do it again, Lord. Do it again. Through Christ, Amen."