TRANSFORMED SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS .
A social institution is defined as a collection of individuals banded together in pursuit of a common purpose. Examples of social institutions include the family, marriage, religion, education, political and economic institutions.
As such, any hope of transforming such huge entities tests the most expansive imagination. Precisely because of that, prayer is the best place to concentrate our energies. But where can we focus our prayers?
Let’s start with politics.
In our day, politics controls most of what is going on in all the other institutions. Politics is in the middle of the culture clashes such as those regarding the nature of the family and marriage, the free exercise of religion, the purpose and processes of education, and global and local economies. So let’s turn our imagination toward the transformation of political power.
How can politics be transformed to enable the restoration of godly values and practices in the other social institutions?
Someone has said that “all politics is local.” That is largely true, especially in the case of a representative form of government such as ours in the Unites States. So there’s our prayer focus. How can local politics be transformed in ways that will transform these other institutions into godly institutions?
The short answer to that question is that local politics is transformed by virtuous people with godly values who vote into office other virtuous people with godly values. So now turn your imagination loose. It may be a little easier if your focus is on imagining how political people can be virtuous with godly values.
We can imagine current virtuous office holders living in Your favor, Lord, and rising to more influence. So Lord…
•Give them courage to vote and compromise only in ways that uphold or further Your righteous standards.
•Make every effort fail that attempts to discredit, disparage, deceive or depose them.
•Move them into the places with the most long-range impact.
•Surround them with virtuous, values-focused counselors who will help them in decision-making.
•Protect them from insidious temptations to gain power and privilege and stray from a spirit of public service.
•Give them opportunities and show them how to build bridges across various social divisions and create common cause for godly purposes.
•Give them unique and creative ideas that bring about helpful change and that capture the favorable attention of the media.
We can imagine our communities electing new virtuous candidates to public office, and so Lord…
•Raise up humble people who seek office to do good rather than gain power and privilege.
•Bring the strength of conviction to our electorate such that we will not vote for someone who compromises our values.
•Bring forward persons who are so wise, articulate, admirable that they create a whole new image of Christians in the mind of the secular world.
•Steer the news and information media toward topics of public discourse that allow average folks with godly values to engage in conversations that promote those values and build a base of common agreement in their community for electing candidates who share those values.
Little people who think big have been behind the origin of every kind of Christian social service from orphanages, to hospitals, to rehab centers, to … you name it. Literally. If you can imagine it and God endorses it you can pray it into existence. Really? Here's some scriptural support.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
2 Thessalonians 1:11
It’s like God has thrown the door open. Whatever you can imagine to bring God’s amazing, rescuing and restoring grace to people He will bless and fulfill. This is as close as you can get to “name it” and “claim it” and be pleasing to God. So pray this suggested prayer.
Dear Lord, the sky is the limit when it comes to taking action that produces significant social change. I am sure that You are presently most concerned about areas of injustice, harm and human need that are not being recognized and targeted with Your love and resources. So I am asking you to open our eyes. Help us see the gaps. Show us the cracks in our culture that people are falling through. Help our compassion be so great that our imaginations will be forced to break through all mental barriers that would keep us from seeing what’s possible. Help us not be content with small acts of kindness when big plans of social action are needed. Open up not only our eyes but also some new doors that are impossible to miss. We’re ready to forge ahead into great possibilities. Amen.