July 2016: A Plea for Prayer

A Plea for Prayer!

Jerry McCullah, President of Impact Prayer International

Webster’s Dictionary lists one definition for “Mind” in this way: “Propensity” ~ “a natural inclination; or mind-set”

Thesaurus uses these options, among others: attention, concentration, awareness.

God used America in the past because she was both “God-minded” and “mission-minded”. She had, as a nation, a general desire to follow the precepts of God in the forming, and following, a new and bold Constitution. Her propensity, her inclination, mind-set, concentration, desired focus was on the laws of God Almighty. She was “God-minded”!

America also became a Gospel hub, sending many thousands of missionaries worldwide to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. She was “Mission-minded”!

Changing generations and the passing of time, gravely affected these once valued mind-sets, not to mention the advancement of worldly education and behaviors. America’s concentration is no longer on good and godly things; she is in a state of confusion and the worship of self.

I believe, as a nation, America has lost her mind.

It is not that America needs to be "great" again, but when America remembers it is God Who is "Great", she will once again be "good"!

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12

Around the time of the American Revolution, the nation as a whole was in serious moral decline. In addition, the same problem was in the churches. The Methodists were the largest denomination, and they were losing more than they were gaining in membership. Second, were the Baptists and they said, “They were having their most wintry season.” The Congregationalists had not added one young person in sixteen years.

John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the United States, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, Bishop Madison that “the Church is too far gone ever to be redeemed.” Voltaire said, “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years time.”

Kenneth Scott Latourette, church historian said, “It seemed as if Christianity were about to be ushered out of the affairs of men.” It appeared that churches were about to die out. How did God change that situation? It came through the concert of prayer.

Just prior, a Scottish Presbyterian minister in Edinburgh, John Erskine, wrote a booklet titled: “Pleading with the People of Scotland and Elsewhere to Unite in Prayer for a Revival of Religion.” He sent a copy to Jonathan Edwards in New England. Edwards was so moved, he wrote the response: “A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of All God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.”

The year after John Wesley died; the Second Great Awakening began and swept Great Britain. However, in New England, there was a man of prayer named Isaac Backus, a Baptist pastor. In 1794, he sent out an appeal for prayer to ministers of every Christian denomination in the United States. They knew this to be their only hope. The Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Baptist Associations, the Congregationalists, the Reformed, and the Moravians all adopted it and America became saturated with a network of prayer meetings, using the first Monday of each month to pray. It was not long before revival came!

Today, the only hope for families, for our communities, for this nation, for this world . . . is for God’s people, His Church, to go to their knees in selfless, God honoring, Kingdom building, extended periods of prayer. Pastors, we can no longer assume our people are praying. We must teach them; encourage them; lead them; give opportunities and guidance to get into the battle. Pastor, do know your people are prepared for the possibility that government and society ceases to tolerate the Church? What would they do?

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He instructed His chosen disciples, and the other followers (about 120), to gather and wait for power by the Holy Spirits coming. They immediately went to the upper room and stayed and ...prayed . . . and stayed and waited . . . and stayed and prayed! You see, they had a promise of power, and they had expectancy! They prayed until the promise came!

Today, we are less hungry, and so, less powerful. Even in the throes of what our modern world faces, we approach God and prayer differently. We do not like to wait, but we do like to schedule.

Our practice today seems to be that we plan a day, perhaps months in advance, to meet together in modern day PC type of repentance. Our hope seems to be that God will notice all of our planning, advertising costs, high caliber preachers and praise bands, have pity on us and send revival.

What God truly wants of us has a much higher value in His heart. What does God want? Nothing less than hunger, expectancy, and waiting --- salted heavily with brokenness and repentance.

The world needs praying people! God seeks praying people!

“ And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)

“ . . . My house shall be called the house of prayer . . .” (Matthew 21:13)

“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.” (II Chronicles 7:14)

What might happen if God’s people just made a few calls to one another saying: “Meet me at church! We must pray! We must have Jesus!”. . . And, then waited, and prayed, and wept . . . night and day . . . together . . . until power came?

Beloved, would you join me in seeking God for revival and awakening, our only hope?

July 2016: Patriotic Prayer

By: Donald R. Patterson

In his memoirs, George S. Patton wrote that as a boy he frequently prayed God would not call him into the ministry. He said, “You can’t tell God ‘No’”. Patton understood the dichotomy of being a believer in this fallen world. We are citizens of two kingdoms, the earthly and the heavenly. And as the General acknowledged, The Heavenly kingdom takes precedence. Recognizing this dynamic, I believe it is still possible be a patriotic as well as a heavenly citizen. Indeed, allegiance to the Heavenly makes it easier to be truly patriotic and not merely nationalistic.
I find the most difficult aspect of praying patriotically is heeding the biblical injunction to pray for those in authority. (1 Timothy 2:1-3) Praying for those we agree with is a snap. However, it is far too easy to ignore this command when the person in question is someone we don’t respect. We should pray anyway. We don’t have to pray that they get everything their way and have all the blessings they can stand. In the case of those we disagree with, we should pray that righteousness is done by them and they be restrained—even protected—from evil.
Regardless of how I may personally feel about a leader, he is in authority over us. Scripture is clear that temporal authorities are God’s instruments for restraining evil (Romans 13:1-7) There may come a time when authorities fail to restrain evil. Then good men must consider their options. But the Word is adamant that peaceful obedience is what God calls for first. To put it in perspective, the infamous Nero was emperor when Paul wrote those words. Thus, scripture enjoins us to pray for all in authority.
And that brings me to my third point. How should we pray patriotically? I believe that godly prayer recognizes God’s sovereignty. Patriotic prayer seeks God’s will for my country. It cannot be mere “give us good stuff” prayers. Ultimately, the object is that the nation be in God’s will. Sometimes we must confess national sin, calling out in a voice of repentance.
In the current climate I see my country largely turned away from God. Patriotic prayer at this this moment should be a cry to God to pour out his Spirit in revival, lest he visit us in judgment.  That is the essence of patriotic prayer, in my understanding.

Donald Patterson is the pastor of First Baptist Church Warsaw and author of Colombian Kilo.