Prayer Targets: Repentance and the Election; The Caravan; What the Meaning of 'Sex' is; More
October 24, 2018
The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. Jeremiah 18:7-8 (NKJV)
Dear Praying Friends,
Abraham Lincoln was elected on November 6, 1860. War clouds were heavy over the land. On December 14, President James Buchanan called for a National Fast Day on January 4, 1861. Lincoln took office March 4 and the war began April 12. Dr. Benjamin Dorr, D.D., a Rector at the famous Christ Church in Philadelphia, the church the Founders often attended, delivered The American Vine, perhaps the best known sermon of that day:
The immortal Washington, in his first address to Congress after his election to the Presidency, made this characteristic declaration: “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of these United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
For years we have been rejoicing in peace and plenty; feeling perfectly at ease and secure in our possessions; when, suddenly, a dark cloud overshadows the land and fills every bosom with dismay. The glorious structure which our forefathers reared, and which they and their children thought as enduring as the everlasting hills, is threatened with immediate destruction, by the whirlwind and the storm.
But I need not dwell on the calamities which have come upon us, or the greater calamities which we have cause to fear. You know them all... My duty is, at this time, and from this sacred place, to say to you in the words of the prophet: “Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” Your duty is, earnestly to inquire, “Why hath all this evil overtaken us and How shall we be delivered? Who will come forth to help us?”
I suppose that all of you, my brethren, will admit that our present calamity is the consequence of sin... You acknowledge, too, that it is a manifestation of the divine displeasure, because of our individual and national transgressions... No intelligent Christian could look upon it in any other light. We have come up to this house of prayer, by the advice of our chief magistrate, and with a conviction that it is our solemn duty, to humble ourselves in the presence of our great Creator, to bewail our manifold transgressions, to seek his renewing grace, to beseech Him that He will not deal with us after our sins, nor reward us according to our iniquities ; but that, after the multitude of his mercies, He would look upon us and visit us with his salvation...
What moral grandeur was there in the voluntary humiliation of proud Nineveh, that “exceeding great city of three days' journey” when aroused by the warning voice... They “proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” Their king... “sat in ashes.” And he commanded his people, not only to “cry mightily unto God,” but to “turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that was in their hands ... God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them...” ...
[He] is a God who heareth prayer, and never turns away from those who supplicate his aid. And, if He is on our side, it matters not who are against us...
A praying people is invincible. If a nation bends the knee in prayer for divine guidance and protection, “no weapon formed against her can prosper.” The prayer of Abraham would have saved Sodom, if only ten righteous men had been found in her. They were not found, and therefore Sodom was destroyed; but, even then, righteous Lot escaped. The prayer of a single individual has saved cities, overthrown armies, and brought the counsel of princes to naught. Prayer — I speak it reverently — is all but omnipotent; because it prevails with God to lift up his almighty arm.
Hear what he has declared, and put upon record in his own Book, for our encouragement: “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” This is the grand charter of our rights and privileges, by which we, as Christians, sons of God and heirs with Christ, must abide.
Let us, by God's grace, do our part, and his promise shall be certainly fulfilled. He will pour upon us blessings more abundant than we can ask or think.
The precious vine (America), which his own right hand hath planted, which now droops and withers, and seems ready to die, will then revive and flourish, and become more vigorous than ever... stretching out its branches northward and southward, and from the Atlantic to the Peaceful Sea.
And as untold millions, living in separate communities, from the sunny south to the frozen north, yet knit together by ties of kindred and love, repose under the shadow of this one vine, without any to molest or make them afraid, this will be the feeling of all hearts, this the confession of every tongue — “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Dr. Benjamin Dorr, D.D. The American Vine; These are excerpts; the full and rich sermon can be found HERE, or read online HERE.)
Amidst our national division in 1861 and now in 2018, this scenario of spiritual bliss seems impossible. Men argued then that slavery was a political issue, not the intensely moral and spiritual issue that it really was, much as politicians argue over the lives of the unborn now. But God is not a politician. He is our eternal Judge, Lawgiver, and King. He judges according to His own moral law and extends grace and mercy to the repentant, based upon the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Just over four years after Dorr’s sermon, in his Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865, President Lincoln declared:
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’” (Dt 28: all; Ps 19:9; Jer 18:7-8)
Indeed, over 600,000 Americans (including civilians) died in the Civil War after Dorr’s appeal for prayer and repentance. How unthinkably heavy is the weight of guilt upon our nation for the scourge of abortion after 45 years and 60 million pre-born children murdered.
America has hope if God’s people will wholeheartedly REPENT and RETURN to Him. At this juncture, we who believe must cry out to Him for mercy and in this hour PRAY, VOTE, and STAND for our biblical values. We cannot say this enough!
Those who demand that God’s laws pertaining to human sexuality be abandoned have already done untold damage while those who hold to biblical faith are now being persecuted in our land. Our cultural institutions are decimated from the consequences of what the Bible calls sin, yet those on the political left demand more and more sin while they seek to crush those who attempt to practice or preach any semblance of biblical morality. The economy may be moving in the right direction, and we have made progress for life in some states, but the consequences of abandoning God as a people continue to accumulate.
The civic complacency of those who claim biblical faith has given room for those who boldly advocate evil to prevail too often. That complacence with respect to our duties as Christians in a nation “of, by and for the people” is tantamount to complicity with lawlessness. God appeals to us: “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” (Ps 94:16), 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” (Eze 22:30). Believers must understand that the current political clash we see is a clash between the values of those who believe in the rule of law (as influenced by God’s fixed and eternal moral law) and those who are either ignorant of, or reject, much or all of that law. Which side wins is a matter of life or death for America. Politically astute intercessor, Lance Walnau, referring to the upcoming election, observes: “America is always on a razor’s edge decision on these things, so it’s really going to come down to whether or not there’s enough awakened, engaged believers and whether or not there’s enough turnout. I really do think it comes down to whether the church shows up.” (CBN News)
- Heavenly Father, have mercy upon our nation. Move those of us who believe to humble ourselves, pray, and repent, not of some things you condemn, but to return to you with wholehearted commitment to observe “all things” you have commanded us. Please stir every registered voter who fears you during the 12 days remaining before the critical mid-term election to pray ceaselessly, vote despite every effort to deter them, and to stand for biblical values with every vote. Help each one do their homework thoroughly so that their votes count for righteousness. May they know the candidates for their state and local offices and how they will deal with the moral issues and existential threats America faces. May God’s people be like the sons of Issachar. May they understand the times and know what America ought to do. Help us, Lord! (2 Sam 23:3-4; 1 Chr 12:32; Ps 110:3, 146:3-9; Jer 18:7-8; Mt 28:18; 1 Th 5:17; 2 Tim 2:15)
Finally, 1) The caravan of over 7,000 immigrants (Mexican authorities say 14,000) continues to march toward the U.S. border despite warnings of rejection by federal troops if necessary. Experts say leftists are behind the effort to create chaos. GOP leaders in Congress are working to arrange a third country refugee plan. Secretary Pompeo promised that the caravan will not successfully breach the border illegally; 2) In a new poll of 3,000 people by Lifeway Research, while 54 percent of all adults say abortion is a sin (up from 49 percent two years ago), an encouraging 57 percent of millennials (18-34 year-olds) say it is a sin – up from 50 percent two years ago; 3) If you are not listening to Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch radio program, you need to, especially during the next two weeks running up to the election; 4) The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is considering a huge change in HHS policy regarding how the word “sex” is defined in federal regulations. Pre-Obama administrations defined “sex” as “gender – a male or female.” President Obama changed the meaning of all regulations and policies to define sex to mean the range of sexual “choices” in the LGBTQ dictionary. The change would return the meaning of the word “sex” to mean what it has meant for millennia. Needless to say, LGBTQ activists are up in arms; 5) A new study reaffirms that couples who have had the fewest number of sexual partners before marriage enjoy happier marriages; 6) If you did not read last week’s Prayer Targets, please take time to do so. Please join believers across the country in taking The Pledge to 1) Pray 2) Vote and 3) Stand for your biblical values. Pray using Tony Perkins’ Prayer Guide, and if you can, join us for THE EVENT on Sunday evening, November 4!
As always, thank you for praying!