We, in the U.S.A., live in a country that is steeped in the tradition of prayer.
Throughout our long history, there are countless examples of prayers to Christ playing a primary role in our history.
So why is it that when our nation is again at a point of great crisis with what some are calling the "the worst environmental disaster in our history" - no one among our national leadership is calling for prayer?
The Pilgrims of Plymouth, to whom we owe a great debt for the planting the seeds of self-government under God, regularly addressed every situation - every crisis - with prayer.
When we visited Williamsburg, VA, a couple of years ago, we saw pillows or cushions under the benches where those that ruled the courts sat. Even though the government of that one-time British colony, was ruled by a state-run religion, there was a strong tradition of daily prayers. When prayer time was called, the justices utilized those cushions to kneel upon.
There is the legend of George Washington being found praying in the woods during that terrible winter at Valley Forge, newspaper articles from the 1930's give an account of the entire nation praying for the safe return of the Lindbergh baby, FDR called for prayer when the nation was attacked at Pearl Harbor, Lincoln often called for days of prayer during the War Between The States, and of course Bush 43 responded to the 9-11 attack with a call for prayer.
The oil crisis in the Gulf is notable because we seem to have no where else to turn. All the other resources we have looked to have dried up.
Innovation, an American Characteristic
Typically in a crisis of this sort, Americans could just count on technology.
Innovation has long been an American hallmark. Because America has a tradition of self-reliance, they instinctively knew how to fix things. But we have spent at least the past two decades focusing heavily on punishing achievers and blaming them.
Americans came up with the idea of interchangeable parts - leading to manufacturing and the industrial revolution. Americans like, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford used innovation and invention to change the world.
However our education system has greatly downplayed capitalism or treated it as an evil. Achievement is labeled by many as greed and those who are successful are scolded as not having "paid their fair share".
We have at least one generation that knows little of the grand tradition of American Know-How. So where do they turn?
The Message of The Great Society
Well, at least since the 1960's- and in great part since the 1930's - the message that has been promulgated is that our government is the best source to address most problems. To test the rabid dependence of a large segment of our population, you have but to suggest the defunding of most any government program. They will come out of the woodwork.
During the Clinton era, the President shut down the government for a few days over budget disagreements and because school lunch programs could possibly be affected, the Republicans were portrayed as "starving our children". That is an example of how our national mind-set seems to be focused entirely on the government for solutions.
Well they don't seem to have any solutions to this crisis.
In fact, the government only appears to have been able to hamper efforts to fix the problem. The EPA halted the use of disbursement chemicals to try and dissipate the oil, Governor Bobby Jindall is still waiting for approval to construct barrier islands to protect the marshes.
Other than expressing his "anger and outrage" and lecturing others - our President has been void of solutions. In a rare moment of common sense, he did take time to lecture us saying we need to spend our energies on fixing the leak instead of "pointing the finger of blame" (logic that has somehow escaped the President when in comes to fixing the "leaks" at our borders).
Clean Up After Yourself
The only other place that we can look to for a solution is to British Petroleum - after all it's their mess. They should have possessed the know-how to correct this type of scenario.
They are trying.
And trying ... and trying.
But nothing seems to be working.
Time for the Nation to Pray
I have slowly arrived at the opinion that all that is going on in our nation today is not without God's constant attention. In fact, I believe that God - like our President - doesn't believe in "wasting a crisis"; God uses them to awaken us to the need for Him. In that sense, a crisis can be the most wonderful gift we could imagine.
This could very well be our "best of times" if we only viewed these crises in that light.
In an example on a smaller scale, our state suffered recently through a protracted period of draught. It threatened drinking water and resulted in the destruction of plant-life and tight restrictions.
A little over a year and one-half ago, our Governor, Sonny Purdue, called the state to pray. Not long after, the rains began to fall and we have surprisingly returned to normal levels again. In fact, people have slowly begun to complain again about rain - for a long time we didn't dare.
We need to understand that we are subject to the Almighty God, He is ultimately in control.
It would be so helpful if those that lead us would begin to recognize and point that out.