Every Bible-believing Christian I know sees the need to pray for our nation. Indeed, I would guess that most Bible-believing Christians know and have referred to 2 Chronicles 7:14 multiple times in the past twelve months.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
But knowing we need to pray is not the same as praying. As a friend of mine has well-stated, “Praying is the least that we should do for our nation, and it’s the most that we can do.”
That friend is Colonel John Teichert—a man who has served his nation in the United States Air Force for the past twenty years. When he talks about the most we can do and the least we should do, he knows what he’s talking about.
A little over a year ago, Colonel Teichert began a prayer initiative to encourage American Christians to intercede for our country with faithfulness and importunity. It’s called PLUS (Prayer at Lunchtime for the United States), and it is a tool to encourage and equip Christians to pray faithfully for revival in America.
Colonel Teichert was saved through the ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church when he and his family were stationed at Edwards Air Force Base. Although the Teicherts now live in another state, when John was recently passing through Lancaster, he and I were able to spend some time together in fellowship. As he explained PLUS as well as his vision and motive for launching it, I began to think of the far-reaching impact this tool could have in simply reminding Bible-believing Christians to pray for our nation.
I asked Colonel Teichert to answer a few questions via interview format regarding his military background, his salvation testimony, his love for our country, and PLUS itself. I think the interview below will be encouraging to you, and if you haven’t already, I would encourage you to sign up for PLUS updates (more on that below).
What compelled you to join the military?
I grew up with a deep love for my country that my parents had instilled deep within me, and that gave me a natural desire to serve my country. Also from a young age, I wanted to fly, and joining the Air Force was a natural step to becoming a fighter pilot. Ultimately, my desire has always been to maximize my impact on our nation in a life of service.
What is your current rank?
I’m a Colonel, currently in a job responsible for operational test and evaluation for all Air Force fighters, bombers, weapons, and space systems.
How long have you served in the Air Force?
I am approaching twenty years of service. I’ve been very blessed to have had a meaningful impact in the jobs that I’ve had as a fighter pilot, as a test pilot, and as a leader. As a young person, I was able to fly in combat over both Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. As a first assignment fighter pilot it was a formative experience in my life and my career.
I followed that assignment as an F-15E instructor pilot. I trained new pilots and weapon system officers in how to fly, fight, and win.
I then went to test-pilot school, which was when I came to Lancaster where I got saved. I graduated from test-pilot school and went on to be a test pilot for the F-22 Raptor. I eventually became the commander of that organization, responsible for insuring the Raptor’s long-term lethality and survivability.
Will you share your salvation testimony?
I came to Lancaster Baptist Church in December 2002 for the first time. My wife and I were looking for a church, and we found a good ad for Lancaster Baptist in the Yellow Pages, so we visited. We were immediately made to feel welcome and at home, and we enjoyed what I now know is a balance of grace and truth.
I grew up in what I would call a “cultural Christian” church where I had been exposed to the Bible enough to recognize that Jesus died for the world, but my heart hadn’t been touched with the gospel such that I recognized it was me who needed salvation. When Melonie and I asked to join Lancaster Baptist, I knew enough about the Bible to give a salvation testimony (which I did), but had never personally accepted Christ as my Saviour.
Over the following weeks and months, however, as I continued to hear sound, biblical preaching, I became convicted that I had never been saved. At this same time, however, I also began to develop a sense of pride that internally caused me to deny my lost condition. The longer I was in church, my conviction—and the counteracting pride—grew. Finally, a year and a half into this internal struggle, a young lady in West Coast Baptist College gave a humble but powerful testimony during the Sunday evening service. She was a junior in college and well-known in her ministry roles, but she (like me) had come to realize that she had never been saved. Unlike me, she was willing to admit that and accept Christ as her Saviour.
This testimony had a powerful impact on my heart. Throughout that evening and night, I struggled with these issues and the next morning arose to admit my need for salvation and to accept its free gift through Jesus Christ.
How did PLUS originate?
In December 2012 as I was reflecting on goals and priorities for the coming year, I came to the conclusion that though I had a regular prayer life, and though I loved my country, I never had regularly, faithfully prayed for my nation. Also at that time, the Lord brought to my mind the phrase from Esther 4:14, “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
I must have believed that I could do more for my country by working than I could by praying. So I started praying regularly through the course of January 2013. As the Lord often does when you pray for something, He gave me an increased burden throughout that month.
By the end of January, I came to the conclusion that praying for America as a part of my regular prayer time was not enough, but that I needed to have a separate and specific time of prayer for America. Beginning February 1, 2013, and every workday since then, I have found the time to step out of my office around lunchtime to specifically pray for our nation.
During that month of February, the Lord impressed on me that maybe there are other Christians like me who love their country but do not regularly pray for it. That’s when the idea of PLUS came to mind. From its outset, it was developed to encourage others to do what I should have been doing all along—to pray regularly and fervently for our nation. American Christians all need to embrace the responsibility implied by Esther 4:14. We have indeed been placed here for such a time as this.
What is your goal for PLUS?
Ultimately, I pray this tool will prompt Christians to be faithful in prayer such that it will spur widespread revival in our nation. The goal is to change our national spirit so that the Lord can change our national direction.
I’m concerned about our country’s drift away from the foundation on which we were built. I personally believe that those who call themselves Christians are largely to blame because we have failed to stand up for the cause of Christ in our country. We have failed to pray. We have failed to put into practice the principles in 2 Chronicles 7:14. On our watch, we have allowed our country to slip away from its founding Christian principles while it has become increasingly intolerant of Christianity.
I pray that PLUS will help Christians get back to the basics of humbling ourselves, praying, seeking God, and turning from our wicked ways.
How specifically does PLUS aid Christians in prayer? And how can someone become a part?
I’m asking all Christians to specifically, daily, and fervently pray for our nation. The tool I’ve created to help people do that is the website, Twitter account, and the Facebook page that gives prayer helps twice each a week. The prayer helps are meant to be thought-provoking and challenging ways to specifically guide our prayers for revival in our country.
Be burdened to pray for America, and spread that burden to others asking them to pray as well. Follow, like, retweet, and share PLUS—you can find it at prayatlunch.us. Most importantly, put PLUS into practice by praying. Everyone has an influence, and if your sphere of influence includes Christians then use it to challenge them to pray.
Prayer is the least that we should do for our nation, and it’s the most that we can do. You can be a colonel in the Air Force for twenty years and have a large portfolio with a high level of responsibility, but you can’t make more of an impact on your nation than you can by praying. Please do so!