Wednesday, November 9, 2016
It’s Time to be in Constant Prayer
In the aftermath of the attacks on New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC on September 11, 2001, we saw a tremendous surge of patriotism and interest in religion. People filled churches and sought to understand how Christianity might seek God’s intervention. Patriotism, fear and a general anger against evil rose up across the nation. Citizens have historically looked to government to keep the nation safe and it was manifestly unable to do so.
In leading up to the 2016 Election, many thousands and tens of thousands of Christians dropped to their knees in prayer and repentance, citing 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 as their guiding principle:
"When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13, 14 NIV)
Christians have been earnestly praying during the election process for the bright light of truth to emerge from the darkness of the evil that has overtaken America. Prayer has been voiced under the authority granted by Jesus Christ to resist the Devil and his minions; to thwart the initiatives of demonic agents to interfere with the democratic process, and to seek the Lord’s intervention to confound evil.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. (Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV)
Last night, it appeared that we have been successful. The candidate with the least known flaws was selected by the people of this nation to become our next President. We must continue to lift up our country’s leaders as they address the multitude of challenges our nation faces. Scripture records exhortations to seek the Lord with every challenge:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:1-8 NIV)
And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:2 NIV)
Reading through the book of Judges in the Bible, example after example is cited of people being saved from destruction as they returned to seek God’s intervention and avoid destruction. Every ten to fifty years, God would raise up a righteous person to lead the nation of Israel after they committed themselves to forsake idols and unrighteous behavior. Just about every time, when the immediate danger passed, the people would return to their unrighteous ways. Compromise, complacency, and apathy would become once again the hallmark of the nation as they felt safe again. Then the Lord would allow Israel’s enemies to oppress and attack them.
So it is with America today. We have returned to our former sins of unrighteous tolerance, complacency, and apathy, allowing the acceptance of behaviors and ideas that are foreign to God’s plan. We face threats from ISIS, world finances, initiatives pushing a one-world government, ignorant acceptance of bad science undergirding climate change, and the dangers of the influx of foreigners entering the country illegally without a commitment to assimilate into our culture and values.
So, Christians, we need to continue praying and committing ourselves to intercede for this nation so that it may become great again as a “city on a hill” and beacon light to the world. We dare not let down our guard.
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-8 NIV)
I encourage all Christians to keep short accounts with God, recognizing and repenting of sin as we humble ourselves and pray after the pattern of 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Humility, vigilance, and a warrior's heart are what it will take to survive until the Lord’s return.