"Prayerlessness is an expression of our meager confidence in God’s ability to provide and of our strong confidence in our ability to take care of ourselves without God’s help." - Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition
Kevin tugs at the very crux of Gospel living. Do we really see how we need a savior every day? To be self absorbed, self sufficient, independent, is to be our own savior, the most deadly of sins.
Ezra writes in 3 Chapters of 2 Chronicles (5,6, and 7) about the dedication of the newly build temple that Solomon son of David had built. It's awesome reading. You can almost smell the smoke of the sacrifices. Solomon ends the dedication by praying repeatedly for many sins of the people, that if they commit them, but see the light and come back to God, will He forgive them. He even prays for foreigners that commit sin against God! And of course, after tens of thousands of sacrifices and Solomon's humble prayer, God comes to Solomon that night and answers the prayer, that "YES, if my people, which are called by my name..." And we all know that famous prayer. It is preached on regularly, especially near the National Day of Prayer. However, it is always left right there, and we never hear the rest of the story!
After answering "yes" to all of Solomon's requests, God adds his own ending, and it should leap out of the pages at us, since it is not something that Solomon even prayed about, and is "out of sync" with the consecration ritual that Solomon just officiated over. God speaks, "If you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name." And they did, and He did, and that part is usually left out of the sermon.
"Self reliance" is our modern idolotry that is destroying the church and rendering the Gospel powerless. Let's face it, to the world at large, the American church is now a self help, self seeking support group that basically just supports its leaders. That is the perception. The prosperity gospel has found it's way into many (I don't want to say most) churches in one form or another. Many gospels are preached that require little or no transformation, that are based on how much Jesus loves us, not based on the fact that He died for our sins, that we were chosen by Him. Gospel living, turning from our selves (sin) to Christ each day, trusting Him for our daily bread, is almost non-existant in many churches. A certain amount of self-centeredness is certainly the norm. I mean, this is America, the greatest country on planet Earth. What need have we of a savior?
In his mercy, God eventually forgave Israel. But what price they paid. There but for the grace of God go I. Thank God for the "Gospel-centered" movement. We need our church back.