Prayer Targets: God's People Shape the Nation; Baltimore; Josh Harris; More
July 31, 2019
"When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes." (2 Kings 22:11)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Henry Blackaby (see bio) has helped spiritually thirsty pastors, churches, and believers around the world. His magnum opus, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (1990), has been translated into 45 languages and sold over seven million copies. The following edited excerpts are from his prophetic 2003 volume, Holiness: God's Plan for Fullness of Life:
It is The People of God Who Can Truly Shape a nation. Many look to great leaders or powerful governments to shape a nation. But most likely, leaders and governments will not restore a nation once it is on the downward slide. While leaders and governments can influence a nation, there is no group of people who can determine the coming years of a nation like God's people. As go the people of God, so goes the redemption of the world. God is therefore working mightily in His own. We are closer either to revival or judgment than we have ever been. There is not an alternative to these two. Either God's people will return to God with all of their hearts, or God will judge our nation. We do not have to guess how that judgment will look or how thorough it will be. The Bible indicates how thoroughly God judges His people. Any nation that forgets God as a corporate people comes under the judgment of God. When God judged Israel, the Northern Kingdom, He completely wiped them out. When God judged Judah, the Southern Kingdom, He destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and put the people in bondage for seventy years. God also took the people in Jesus' day and scattered them so thoroughly that they did not get back together for more than nineteen hundred years, just as Jesus predicted.
As go the people of God, so goes the redemption of the world. If we look at the history of God's dealings with His people, it should cause us to tremble. But it is the loss of the fear of God that characterizes God's people in America today.
Defining Revival -- In 1987 Dr. J. Edwin Orr [an expert on the history of revival], spoke on April 21st. His message was Revival Is Like Judgment Day. That was the last message he ever preached. The next day he passed away and went to meet his Lord whom he had served so faithfully. That message has stayed on my heart, the topic consistent with Scripture -- revival is like judgment day.
But many of us are not thinking about judgment; we are thinking about revival. We seem to have redefined revival in our day as something different from the Scripture's definition of revival. We seem to have consistently changed the definition to the way we want it to be. We have changed God to our own image. We have changed worship, youth work, and family life to what we want. We have changed, for application in our own lives, nearly every commandment of God...
Our nation, our churches, and our family lives need a deep personal encounter with God. I assume as you consider this message that you do have a heart cry for revival. But understand that our nation, our churches, and our family lives need a deep personal encounter with God. We need to be reoriented back to God at every level of life. That heart cry in your life is real and personal, but your involvement in the ways of God does not come simply because you listen to a message. It comes from a deep personal and corporate processing. When you hear the Word of God, it begins immediately a process in you to understand and respond to what God is saying. When you come face to face with God through His Word, you immediately respond, if God says it I must do it.
Blessing or Curse? Remember when the priests were cleaning the temple in Josiah's day and they found the Scriptures? The Scripture says, "When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes" (2 Kings 22:11). When Josiah heard all of the blessings promised for obedience and the curses that would overtake God's people for disobedience (Dt 28: all) he trembled. The Spirit of God that was upon him as king caused his heart to be pierced. He immediately began to weep and tear his clothes. He put on sackcloth and ashes and called for the people to repent. Josiah took seriously that what God said, He meant. He knew there were no favorites and no exceptions. He realized they were standing on the utter edge of destruction. But they had set the Scriptures over in a place where they were no longer being noticed.... covered with debris. All the time the Scriptures were being ignored, the judgment was progressing. They were closer to God's judgment because they had lost any standard for behavior. They would sit and discuss what they thought was acceptable to God. But it was what God had said that was important. Everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes, moving steadfastly toward the utter judgment of God. Judgment was coming just as God said it would. Josiah wisely understood and immediately adjusted his life to God. The king called all the spiritual leaders together quickly to bring the people together and corporately repent (2 Kings 22:11--23:3).
God heard Josiah's heart... "Because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself... when I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants ... I also have heard you... your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place." 2 Kg 22:19--20
What happens when you come up against the Word of God? Do you tremble when God speaks? Isaiah 66:2 says, "But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word." When was the last time you literally shook like a leaf?...
Marilynn and I have prayed from the moment our first child was born, Oh, God, keep us holy, for the sake of our children. Keep us walking with You. Keep us a part of the building of the people of God so that our children will want to serve You also. My heart cry is for me and the people of God around me to come back to God's Word and let Him tell us what the standard really is... (Henry Blackaby & Kerry Skinner, Holiness: God's Plan for Fullness of Life, 2003)
A month has passed since the Call2Fall, intended to remind us to humble ourselves in repentance and to embrace the clean fear of God, not just as a token but a way of life. We must follow our Lord unceasingly with the same posture of humility that Christ displayed in His earthly walk, conducting ourselves in a way fitting for sons and daughters, kings and priests unto our God. We must join with Christ in his High Priestly duties, ever-living to make intercession for God's people and the lost world. If we will be faithful, perhaps God will extend mercy to America, as he did for Judah in Josiah's day.
Tragedy in the Body of Christ -- America suffers badly because of the absence of godly men in the home. Divorce is a scourge both in the American church and every community. Next to spiritual apostasy, the family breakdown is America's greatest tragedy (and they are interrelated). Scripture exhorts fathers, "Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph 6:4 ESV). While there are testimonies of homes and children that have been able to excel despite the absence of a father, many more have sad and often tragic stories. The brouhaha over President Trump's tweet about Baltimore, Maryland, motivated Tony Perkins to discuss the real reason for the city's shocking deterioration: It is not just poor governance, but also the devasting breakdown of the family (hear Tony with Rep. Mo Brooks and Dr. Pat Fagan). In 2016, over 68 percent of Baltimore's children were fatherless. But even more devastating to Baltimore and America is the effect of the public expulsion of God and the Bible, which is growing.
Current news in the D.C. area is especially disturbing and disconsolate. Joshua Harris, former Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland from 2004 until 2015 and author of the much-acclaimed I Kissed Dating Goodbye at the age of 21, has simultaneously announced that he is divorcing his wife and is "no longer a Christian." He also apologized publicly to the LGBT community for his Christian views on sexuality. This is not only a personal tragedy for the Harris family (three children) but a tragedy for the church and America. The enemies of Christianity are having a field day. When one member of the Body hurts, we all hurt (1 Cor 12:26). (See also an article in The Christian Post and a very thoughtful story/commentary by Paula Bolyard of PJ Media, in which she warns: "Get ready for a flood of Christian defections.")
- Father, your word warns explicitly about those who "fall away" from the faith. Indeed, you warn us to "exhort one another daily lest any of us be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." May your people pray for the Harris couple, their children, and the multiplied thousands who will be disappointed and disillusioned by this horrific news. Grant them repentance. Prevent those who despise the Gospel from using this to put a stumbling block to the faith of innocent believers, especially young people. Bolster the faith of the weak and give the parents and church leaders near to this couple strength, wisdom, and perspective. May your people be warned and draw even closer to you, lest they, too, be deceived and err in any way. Use what the enemy of our souls has intended for evil and turn it for good. Draw America back to yourself! In Jesus' Name. (Pr 28:10; Mt 18:6; 24:10-13; Mk 9:24; 1 Cor 10:12-13; 16:22; 2 Cor 11:2-3; Gal 4:8-9; Heb 3:12-14; 12:25)
Finally, please add these to your prayer list: 1) A Gallup poll shows that 40 percent of Americans believe God created the earth some time during the last 10,000 years; another 33 percent that He created via evolution over a longer period; 2) China's forced organ extraction is increasing as their organ trade has become a billion dollar industry; 3) A series of polls commissioned by Heritage Action shows that 57 percent of general election voters believe the Democratic Party has become extreme; 4) Trump judicial appointees have made the radical 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco much more balanced; 5) More on the radical Equality Act; 6) Our military chaplains are essential!; 7) Sun Trust Bank has gone political, refusing further service to government contractors helping with the illegal immigration overload; 8) While 18 state have outlawed gender confusion therapy, experts are warning parents of deception, surgical horrors awaiting kids seeking gender transition; 9) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, infamous for his raucous celebration of an egregious and inhumane abortion law, is now celebrating a measure outlawing the declawing of cats. He said, "Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure... and today it stops. [We] will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures."; 10) Hollywood is intentionally depicting abortions in a favorable light at record levels (see FRC video of Hollywood's hypocrisy); 11) A Minnesota mom is asking the Supreme Court to review her case in which the county gave her minor son a sex change without her consent.
Your prayers are important. Thank you for praying!