“Pray”

I remember it so well.

I live north of New Orleans. Thousands of commuters travel the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway everyday. The bridge itself is 24.3 miles, the longest continuous bridge in the world. It has beautiful sunrises and sunsets, pelicans, and even an occasional lost dolphin or manatee, but there’s not much else to see as you cross Lake Pontchartrain.

But after 9/11, the digital signs that give traffic information gave us a stark reminder about how our world had changed. The sign simply read “Pray.” I read that sign for weeks. It was comforting and a constant reminder that we needed God in our lives.

I honestly can’t remember what happened after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, but I am fairly certain that we had the same message. We needed it. Katrina was one of the defining events of life along the Gulf Coast. We needed prayer.

I traveled the bridge not long ago. Now the signs are very different. “Clickit or ticket,” “You drink, you drive, you pay” and a variety of similar messages can be seen.

Nobody asks us to pray. Why? Probably because we are not in the midst of disaster. That’s the way it is, isn’t it? We have a mentality that says to God: “Don’t call me; I’ll call you.” We act as if the only time we need God is in times of disaster. Then, we wonder out loud how God could have let such a thing happen.

We close our hearts and lives to God, and then we complain when He doesn’t do what we think He ought to do.

Our lives need to be so different. We need to spend time in the presence of God. We need to invite Him in and let Him direct our lives. We need to be people like Elijah who stand in the presence of God (1 Kings 17:1).

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

[Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time] Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” — Matthew 20: 17-19 (NIV)