You’ve probably noticed a theme in my posts of late. In seeking to minister “grace to the hearers”, I’ve been relentlessly pointing us to Christ, to look to Him, His Word, and to prayer, in an effort to counter the ‘bad report’ of the world.
This little blog island in the middle of the internet sea is a bit like the two spies in the book of Exodus–fully persuaded to give a good report of ‘the land’ even though the other 10 spies only saw and shared life through a negative grid.
Today, if you have some time, I highly recommend watching or listening to Dr. Charles Stanley’s sermon from last Sunday (October 5, 2008), on how to face these desperate times. Go to this link, to watch his message, “A Nation in Need of Prayer.”
I can’t begin to capture the intensity of his message, but if I had to put it into one sentence it would be: “It’s time to seriously pray for your country because God is Faithful to listen and act.”
But please, listen and judge for yourselves. I think you’ll be challenged and blessed.
If you can’t watch it, here’s Dr. Stanley’s sermon notes from his In Touch website:
“Nation in Need of Prayer, by Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 7:11-15
- Introduction: Is prayer a daily priority in your life, or a last resort? No matter how you approach prayer, there is no time like the present to lift up our nation to the Lord.As a country, we have turned from following God; there is widespread failure to obey His commandments or live by biblical principles. Is it just coincidence that our morality suffers? Or that economically, we face one of the most difficult times since the Great Depression? Regardless of what caused our national condition, Christian citizens should care enough about their country to cry out to God on its behalf.
- What should motivate us to pray?
- The condition of our nation is evidence that we need to pray for God’s divine intervention. Economic struggles, natural disasters, terrorist threats, and the breakdown of families are just a few problems our country faces right now.
- Biblical warnings should also motivate us to pray. God sometimes sends adversity to get the attention of His people (2 Chron. 7:22; Deut. 8:19; 2 Chron. 7:19-20). The United States has enjoyed spiritual and material abundance as a result of God’s favor upon us. But there can be little doubt that, as a whole, our nation has rebelled against the Lord and refuses to live by His standards.
- The principles of God do not change. Although it was originally written for the nation of Israel, 2 Chronicles outlines a biblical principle which endures for all time and all situations (Gal. 6:7; Matt. 7:26-27). If God allowed adversity to come to Israel—His chosen people—because of their sin and idolatry, why would He spare the United States?
- What will it take for God to hear and answer our prayers? Second Chronicles 7:14 says:
- “If my people”: In the original context, this phrase referred to Israel. Today, it also includes the church. As God’s children, we have the unique privilege of approaching the Father to ask for His favor and blessing.
- “Humble themselves”: We must acknowledge that we depend totally on the Lord and need Him to intervene in our situation (Job 35:12; Prov. 16:18).
- “And pray”: We should intercede for all residents of our country—not just for the needs of our families, friends, and co-workers. Pray for revival, strong marriages, godly parenting, and honest, capable leaders. In today’s difficult circumstances, believers should be highly motivated to cry out to God, confident that He desires to work on our behalf (Ps. 34:17, 19).
- “Turn from their wicked ways”: God has conditions for when He will respond to our prayers. The word “wicked” includes all deliberate, willful disobedience—not just violent crimes such as murder. If we want our prayers to be heard, we must not only confess our sins, but repent of them as well. In other words, we should agree with God that what we’ve done displeases Him, and we should turn away from wrongdoing.
- What will God do in response to our prayers? The promise given in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is threefold: the Lord will hear our cry, forgive our sins, and heal our land. I believe that if enough people cry out to the Lord, He will restore our country and make us into a nation that honors Him again.
- Conclusion: Do you love our nation and the independence we enjoy? Then I challenge you to kneel before the Lord and cry out to Him on behalf of the United States. Ask God to send another Great Awakening to revive America. If we do that, He promises to hear from heaven and heal our land (2 Chron. 7:17).”