Sometimes I am afraid we who live on this side of the Enlightenment, with the emphasis it brought on the individual, forget the influence that heritage brings into our lives. God knew how influenced we would be by those around us, especially in our early years. That's why His instructions to Israel included these guidelines to parents in Deuteronomy 6:
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.We learn to determine what is normal and right by what is presented to us as normal and right. It's not that we can't learn new things later - Paul wrote of the importance of renewing our mind, and God's word is powerful enough to change our wrong patterns of thinking. But when there is a large scale level of compromise such as that seen in most of the Austrian churches in the wake of Hitler's invasion, the impact on society is significant. As we pray for the church in Austria today, let's pray for God to guide them in tearing down this stronghold and lifting up once more the banner of Christ's Lordship.
My prayer for today: Oh, Lord, You have been good to Austria. We thank You that Austria remained free politically and did not have to live under 50 years of communism. We thank You for the healing You have brought from the wounds of war in so many areas of Austria's life. But Lord, our hearts are grieved over the gaping spiritual wound that remains. We cry out to You, along with those evangelical churches that are bold and vibrant, for the spiritual health of Austria. Lord, we ask for these churches to have wisdom in lifting up the name of Jesus and fighting the spiritual battle that was set in motion many years ago. We come against the negative heritage of compromise and spiritual neutrality, the heritage that gave up truth for the sake of survival. We pray that You will once again restore truth to its rightful place in the Austrian church, and that You will be lifted up as Lord of all. We pray that You will establish Austria in such a strong spiritual place that never again will the church compromise on such a large scale. We pray for You to raise up leadership, laborers to the harvest that You will bring. We pray for the refugees and young people, and thank You for their openness to the Gospel message. Be glorified in Austria once again Lord Jesus, in whose name we pray, Amen.