Prayer Targets: Appeal to Leaders for Solemn Assembly; Nevada Massacre; Religious Liberty in Court
October 04, 2017
Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. (Joel 1:14 NIV)
Dear Praying Friends,
When Hurricane Harvey became the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, topping Katrina and many other weather catastrophes, I wrote about the need for a National Solemn Assembly. A growing number of Christian leaders have become aware of the biblical solemn assembly, called by the prophets and kings of ancient Judah. When sin had brought their nation low and God was sending remedial judgements, such as threats from other nations and natural disasters to warn them, some leaders called the people to radical repentance and a renewal of covenant with Almighty God.
From the wilderness wanderings to the Judges to the time of the Kings, the people of God went through a seemingly endless cycle of drawing near to God, then growing dull in heart, embracing idolatry and sin, experiencing God's judgments, hearing the prophetic call to repentance, then crying out to God for relief, and experiencing God's gracious deliverance, then with time, falling away from Him again.
Especially during the time of the Kings, they were challenged to repent by God-sent prophets, sometime responding, but most of the time persisting in their sins. If they persisted, God sent warnings by way of natural and unnatural disasters, famines, pestilence, disease, enemy attacks, costly wars, and even captivity. Sometimes, these calamities, mixed with the words of the prophets, shook them to their senses and they returned to the Lord as a nation. But, more times than not, they were slow to respond. However, when they were humbled and ready, their spiritual leaders guided them to return to the Lord as a people by consecrating a solemn assembly. Many solemn assemblies were called and consecrated during the history of the Kings of Judah. (Read The Solemn Assembly, by Rev. Richard Owen Roberts, 1989, viewable and downloadable HERE.)
Unfortunately, we do not have many examples of solemn assembly in America today. During the colonial period, the biblical worldview of the pastors, people, and civil leaders motivated them to call for colony-wide days of prayer that included all the elements of an Old Testament solemn assembly. The Prayer Proclamations outlined the specific themes to be covered in prayer. The people, guided by their clergy and God-fearing civil leaders, kept short accounts with God. Obviously not every person embraced these prayer days and solemn assemblies from the heart, but a sufficient percentage of the people did, and God responded with renewal and blessing.
That was the promise God made to Solomon on the night that the temple was dedicated in Jerusalem:
If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 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. (2 Chronicles 7:12-14)
Over the past 30 years, as more and more Christian leaders have become acquainted with the Bible's teaching on this subject, a few denomination-wide and many community-wide and local church-wide solemn assemblies, as well as many national days of prayer have taken place. Yet relatively few believers have understood the importance of such gatherings, and too few have prepared their hearts with repentance and wholehearted returning to God. After 9/11, churches were full to overflowing for weeks, but things have gone back to business-as-usual far too quickly. Like Jesus' parable of the demon cast out and returning with seven others, America's moral downward spiral since 9/11 has accelerated exponentially.
There have been exceptions, periods, and pockets of wholeheartedly repentant people, families, and churches. Yet for the most part, American believers have not reached the place where they understand the seriousness of sin -- personal and corporate, church-wide and national. Thus, there has been little outcry for a National Solemn Assembly to repent and return to God as a nation, as prescribed in Scripture, despite our precipitous fall into sin and its consequences, and the obvious escalation of natural and unnatural disasters, including mass-murders, terrorism, and numerous cataclysms.
We must pray that a substantial remnant of respected national Christian leaders in the church and government, together with Christian leaders in the cultural spheres of family, education, civil government, the media, entertainment (the arts, sports, etc.), and business (economics, agriculture, science, technology, etc.) will congeal to organize a National Solemn Assembly. We need "critical mass" among our de facto leaders on this issue. There will be strong resistance. But how many more national tragedies will it take to motivate us to turn back to God as a people? The pagan Ninevites, given just 40 days to do so, repented immediately, and God relented of his promise to destroy them. Will we, with our awe-inspiring Christian heritage, repent and see God forgive, heal, revive, and restore America?
Prayer days here and there, while good and needed, are insufficient. We need leaders to come together, get on the same page, and lead God's people in a National Solemn Assembly, and soon before it is too late. Yes, God's people will need consecration through teaching, preparation, and prayer. And after a great gathering, perhaps in Washington, D.C. and our state capitals across America, we need to return to our homes to lead our states, cities, towns, schools, and families, to become "One Nation Under God" again. We may be reaching critical mass! Even the lost world is catching on. (See Fox News Poll: Nation going to hell in a handbasket; USA Today: We have to wonder: 'What's next?')
Las Vegas Massacre -- It is disgraceful for the press and politicians to politicize this evil mass murder, what President Trump called a "national tragedy," to perpetuate "the resistance" or to advocate "gun control," etc. CBS acted responsibly to fire one of its executives who publicly stated on Facebook that she had no sympathy for Vegas "because country music fans are often Republican."
For Bible-believing Christians, our responsibility is to pray for the victims and their families, to extend help financially if we can, and to cry out to God for a biblical awakening that will change our culture and restore the fear of God to the American people. We also need to be a part of it by sharing the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ with everyone we can. Who knows if someone we reach might not otherwise become a mass murderer or the victim of one, without Christ? When asked about the victims of a mass murder in ancient Israel, Jesus told his hearers: "Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Lk 13:1-5). (See A Concert of Evil; No Sympathy; Can 'Thoughts and Prayers' Stop the Next Shooting?)
- Lord, we pray for the tens of thousands directly impacted by the massacre in Las Vegas. For the wounded and their families, for the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, be with them and send them men and women of God to counsel, support, and help them. Help them to believe in you so that they can understand the mystery of evil and the mystery of faith, hope, and righteousness. You are trying to get the attention of the entire American people, beginning with your Church. Lord, you are working to convince Americans of sin, righteousness, and judgment; that the cup of our sins is overflowing and only You can wash away our sins as individuals and as a nation. Send a great move of Your Spirit, especially to young people in this time of need. Expose the false philosophers and teachers, the humanists and nihilists and atheists, the socialists and the anarchists and rabble-rousers in whom they have trusted. Reveal Jesus to them! We join in with the thousands of young people who will be on the National Mall this weekend for Awaken the Dawn in praying for another Jesus Movement, another Great Awakening! Please do it Lord! The time is ripe! In Jesus' name, Amen. (Ps 17:7; 40:11; 51:1; 107:43; Joel 2:28; Lk 13:1-5;24:47; Jn 14:6; Acts 22:16; Rom 15:14;1 Cor 1:17-31;6:9-11; 2 Th 2:7; 1 Tim 3:16; 6:20)
Finally, please add these matters to your prayer list:
2) Lackland Air Force Base now has a chapel service for humanists, atheists, and agnostics.
3) A Mississippi law affirming the religious liberty rights of those who do not support same-sex marriage is being challenged by LGBT activists.
4) Thankfully, the Department of Defense has officially expunged all references to the SPLC from its training materials.
7) Jack Philips' Colorado same-sex wedding cake case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Watch and pray for Justice Kennedy.
8) Florida grammar school honors parents' wishes by transferring teacher who insisted studen ts use gender neutral pronouns and titles.
9) Young college grad pushing back on SPLC after they put her on their "Hate List."
11) Pray that the FBI will launch a criminal investigation into the Planned Parenthood baby parts selling operation.
12) Sex change patients are having regrets, but too late.
13) The 2017 Values Voter Summit takes place next week in Washington, D.C. It is not too late to register; call 800-225-4008.
As always, thank you for praying! (1 Th 1:2-4)