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

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. — Romans 13:9-10 (NIV)