Prayer Targets: Shadow of Sin and America's Hope; State of the Union; Battles for Life; Gen Z
January 31, 2018
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Decision Magazine, published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is one of the most informative, inspirational, prophetic, and evangelistic magazines available today. These excerpts, edited for space, are from the January 2018 issue:
Last Oct. 1, a gunman unloaded more than 1,100 bullets into a crowd of thousands during a music festival in Las Vegas. On Oct. 31, a 29-year-old Muslim extremist rammed a pickup truck into a crowded bicycle/jogging path along Hudson River, killing eight people and injuring 12. Reportedly, he ran from the truck yelling “Allahu akbar!” Six days later, on a Sunday morning in rural Texas, a vengeful, sadistic 26-year-old entered the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and fired more than 500 rounds of ammunition, systematically executing young and old, men and women, boys and girls—and an unborn baby. He shot 46 who begged for mercy and tried their best to shield the elderly and children. In all, 26 people died. Thanksgiving weekend, 44 people were killed or wounded in Chicago gun violence. While politicians decry gun violence, the culture seems blind to the demise of morality that feeds it. Abortion is approaching 60 million since Roe vs. Wade legalized it nationwide in 1973. Six U.S. states and D.C. now allow so-called assisted suicide.
Add to the mix: unprecedented political division, even hatred, along partisan and ideological lines; surging racial and ethnic tensions as alt-right and far left groups bait the public to join the fray; some college campuses resembling Marxist totalitarian enclaves; an explosive list of sexual harassment complaints against powerful men in varied arenas; ongoing turmoil over sexual mores; an epidemic of pornography addiction; the opioid epidemic, etc.
Pastor Tony Evans says, “We are experiencing the passive wrath of God. He is progressively taking His hands off the culture, which automatically allows more deviance and decadence and decay.”
Meanwhile, a nuclear-armed Iran is a viable future threat, and a rogue communist dictator in North Korea is firing intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach his Asian neighbors and the U.S. The spread of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia has made being a Christian a matter of life and death (Jer 17:9).
“When you sin and refuse to repent, God backs away,” says Anne Graham Lotz, whose book, The Daniel Prayer, encourages desperate, fervent prayer for personal and corporate revival.
It seems that God is trying to rouse humanity’s attention through the exhausting run of natural disasters, violence and even natural phenomena. Lotz believes severe judgment is coming and has partly begun. “And I’m talking about something like a nuclear strike, an earthquake that splits us in two, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that devastates our electrical grid, something major that would be a game-changer for America. We are so defiant, rebellious, idolatrous and immoral, and we know better.”
Wherever we are in God’s timeline, Pastor Tony Evans agrees that North America and the West are amid what he terms the “passive wrath” of God, à la Romans 1. “The passive wrath of God is when He releases a people to the consequences of their abandonment of Him. So, we are experiencing the passive wrath of God, where He is progressively taking His hands off the culture, which automatically allows more deviance and decadence and decay into the culture” (Romans 1:18 ff). Evans warns, “God will not skip the church house to fix the White House. By developing “fans and not true followers,” Evans says the church has been a co-conspirator in society’s demise, too often adopting the world’s ways. “If there’s any hope for America,” Evans emphasizes, “it rests with the church. It doesn’t rest with the White House.” Evans takes encouragement from Jeremiah 29, where God reminds the captive Jews in Babylon that He still has a plan for them… He can still restore things if they will seek and search for Him.
Lotz agrees that if repentance occurred among Christians, God might relent from His judgment, based on how He dealt with the Jews in Joel 2. “God tells them, ‘If you will return to Me and rend your hearts, not your garments, who knows but that I will return to you and leave behind a blessing? (see full article The Shadow of Sin is Spreading: ‘If There Is Any Hope for America, It Rests With the Church,’ Jerry Pierce, Decision Magazine, January 2018)
We may enjoy amazing economic and political advances for a season, but if we do not deal with the underlying root cause, our advances will be short-lived. This year, the National Day of Prayer will be observed on May 3rd and Call2Fall on Sunday, July 1st. Genuine repentance and returning to God by those who claim Jesus as Lord, extraordinary prayer for our nation, and God-sent revival and awakening are America’s hope, our only hope (2 Chr 7:14).
State of the Union Address – Three of four Americans who watched the president deliver his State of the Union Address said they approved of what they had heard. It is worth taking your time to read the poll, conducted by CBS News, in which participants responded to specific parts of the president’s message, and answered questions about his performance, policies, and even his motives. Given the resistance movement and the left-leaning news media that most Americans are subjected to, the public expressed a greater level of favor and support for the president than many would expect. The members of Congress on the Left did not seem to share the views of their constituents, and their sour faces, silence at obviously good news, booing, or even walking out when they disagreed were clear evidence.
Yet there was much to applaud in the speech. He declared: “In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is ‘in God we trust.’” He also referenced his efforts to restore our First Amendment freedom of religion. Above all, his stories of patriotism, volunteerism, and sacrifice communicated volumes. One of the best moments in the speech was when he recognized Ryan Holets, 27-year-old officer with the Albuquerque Police Department, and his wife Rebecca. President Trump explained:
Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby. In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him: "You will do it -- because you can." He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. Then, he went home to tell his wife Rebecca. In an instant, she agreed to adopt. The Holets named their new daughter Hope. Ryan and Rebecca: You embody the goodness of our Nation. Thank you, and congratulations.
In that one moment, Trump poignantly spoke of the value of human life and our freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs in the workplace.
- Lord bring a spirit of unity to the U.S. Congress and to the diverse American people; only You can guide us to agreement on issues, and expunge our changing values that disagree with Your eternal laws. Intervene, Lord; grant us repentance and awakening. Unite your own dear people. Draw us near to You, so that You will draw near to us and lead us into a unity you can bless. (Gen 11:5-9; Ps 86:11; 133: all; Mal 3:7; 2 Cor 6:14; Eph 4:3; Col 3:14)
The Abortion War Continues – The young, joy-filled, pro-life marchers who dominated the March for Life surely discouraged “pro-choice” activists. The pro-lifers’ joy flowed from the faith, spirit, and character of the marchers, the celebration of many victories that the pro-life movement has achieved in recent years, and their confidence that life will be victorious, however long it takes. We have a president who supports the cause of life, but his support and readiness to sign any pro-life bill Congress brings him only highlights the narrow window of opportunity before us. Electing a strong pro-life majority in Congress this November is essential to advancing the movement at the federal level. Pro-lifers in the trenches, especially those in the prayer movement, must redouble their commitment to extraordinary prayer – the spiritual equivalent of hand-to-hand combat. Despite the wind at our back, we have not yet ended taxpayer-funding for Planned Parenthood, which should have been achieved by now, especially given the well-documented exposé of the abortion giant’s trafficking in aborted baby parts. But the reality of a narrow GOP Senate majority includes those who are not pro-life. Last year, the Democratic National Committee Chairman declared, in essence, that there is no room in the party for Democrats who are not pro-choice. Please pray over these current events and revelations in the spiritual war for life v. abortion:
- Cecile Richards, 12 year-long Chairman of Planned Parenthood, has announced her resignation. Richards presided over 3.8 million Planned Parenthood abortions during her tenure.
- The Planned Parenthood Annual Report shows their revenue up over $100 million for 2017, with over $500 million coming from taxpayers. (Read FRC Senior Fellow Cathy Ruse’ Another Unhappy Tale; Hear Cathy Ruse and Tony Perkins, start at 17:50.)
- President Trump rescinded Barack Obama’s last-minute order prohibiting states from withholding Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.
- The Department of Justice has finally launched a criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood and its illegal trafficking in aborted baby parts for profit.
- In contrast to what mainstream pro-lifers have long believed, George Barna and Bill Dallas’ research demonstrates that most millennials are not pro-life. We have work to do.
- With 60 votes required to proceed, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act failed by a vote of 51-46. Two Republicans vote against the measure and three Democrats voted in favor.
- Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” May Your people be salt and light to our nation and world. Raise up more champions for life in our churches and the public square. May believing Americans labor to teach the value and sanctity of human life. May we as a people courageously act to protect every human life, from conception until natural death. May we labor to see pro-life men and women elected to every public office in America! (Gen 1:27; 9:5-7; Ex 18:21; Pr 24:11-12; Mt 5:13-15 em>; 5:20-22; Lk 1:41, 44; Jn 10:10; Gal 6:9)
Finally, please add these matters to your prayer list: 1) Christians in some states have given up their sacred responsibility to protect their children from serious dangers and teaching regarding the LGBTQ agenda in their schools; 2) Texas Republicans have censured House Speaker Joseph Strauss who prevented them from voting on and passing a transgender bathroom bill in Texas; 3) A Harvard study found that real Christianity is growing stronger in the U.S.; 4) A Barna study found that atheism has doubled among young people born between 1999 and 2015 – “Generation Z.”
Dear friend, thank you for praying with us. We are sustained in God’s work through your prayers, and God is using them to change our nation for the better.