With only a few exceptions, prayer in public school was halted in the early 1960s. As our culture has become more pluralistic, we have moved away from the faith of our fathers. America has chosen to begin the process of eradicating God from public venues. I am always fascinated and appalled by the anti-Christian spirit displayed more and more in this country that I love.
A recent news article revealed new levels of prejudice against Christians in the schools. The report told of Coach Marcus Borden in New Jersey. The coach was stopped from leading prayer with his players some time ago. He adhered to the laws of the land that allow student-led prayers as long as no one is forced to participate. He personally chose to go to one knee while a student prayed. He was stopped from kneeling.
The rationale for such action was that by his kneeling, some players might be influenced and others might feel pressure to participate for fear they might not be allowed to play in games because of prejudice by the coach. Winning the appeal would have given him the opportunity to kneel in silence as a student led in prayer. The litigation made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The court refused to hear the case, thus sustaining the position of the school district. The coach can no longer kneel with his players.
The time is coming when monuments and federal buildings in Washington, including the Supreme Court edifice itself, may well be left mutilated by the chiseling away of every reference to God. Be assured that if it ever happens, there will be much defacing because multiplied references to God are carved into our national buildings.
I stand amazed that the most blessed nation in the world would turn its back on the true and living God. It seems born again Christians who live by biblical truth are perceived to be the most dangerous people in America, the most feared book is the Bible and the most destructive action against our nation is prayer. Strange indeed!
But hold on a minute. There is actually one thing worse than eradicating prayer from the public square and the schoolhouse. That is the silent abandonment of concentrated and passionate prayer in the church house! While we detest the ejection of prayer from the schoolhouse, our churches have forsaken prayer meetings. That is most tragic!
We will have a hard time restoring prayer to the public arena. Laws will be promoted to “protect” the country from Christians. The question is—Will we return prayer to the church house? Will we recognize the dire circumstances of our churches and nation? Will we regularly and fervently set aside time for corporate prayer that is targeted toward cleansing, repentance and seeking the face of God for a spiritual awakening? Will our churches make prayer the vital activity and ministry of the church, or will we continue in our ways of the flesh?
I am brokenhearted that at a school in New Jersey a Christian coach is prevented from kneeling while a student prays. But I really weep when our churches use prayer only in perfunctory ways and do not set it as a central ministry of the church.
Anthony L. Jordan is the executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.