If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
“Early followers of Jesus never said in fear, ‘Look at what the world is coming to!’ They rather joyfully exclaimed, ‘Look who has come to the world!’”
Reading these words today by missionary statesman E. Stanley Jones stir me to read today’s troubling news differently. Yes, our nation is bitterly divided and our culture “Post Christian”, but I consider what it means to serve the King of kings! I look at the power of His Gospel and the Holy Spirit, and I too must say, “Look who has come to the world!”
It is tempting as a Christian today to wring my hands, bemoan the state of affairs, and resign myself to a mounting tide of evil and lawlessness. But I remember that I am a Christian; I must rephrase Mark Twain and conclude that the reports of my country’s death have been grossly exaggerated. “Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world!” “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.” No more black crepe hanging for me, or measuring the size of our nation’s coffin. Look Who has come to the world!
In a culture beset by historical amnesia, it is easy to forget earlier days when Christians stood tall against what seemed the inevitability of evil in our nation! This is not our first rodeo! Shortly after our nation’s battle for Independence, Thomas Paine boasted “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.” Our nation’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, that the church “was too far gone ever to be redeemed.” Shortly before his death, Thomas Jefferson predicted that Christianity would soon be replaced by what he regarded as a more enlightened form of religion that rejected Jesus’ divinity and belief in His miracles. Yale church historian Kenneth Latourette paints a dark picture of those early days: “It seemed as if Christianity were about to be ushered out of the affairs of men and…only about 5% of Americans in 1790 had formal ties to churches.”
But what is also forgotten is the great spiritual renewal about to be ushered in through the Great Awakening and Second Awakening. It brought what historian Latourette describes as “a mass conversion of large non-Christian elements and the re-conversion of partially de-Christianized elements.”
Historians regard Jonathan Edwards book, “A Call to United, Extraordinary Prayer: A Humble Attempt…” as the epicenter of the sweeping spiritual renewal. This is surely a time for us to be HUMBLE and UNITED in EXTRAORDINARY prayer for our troubled nation. Let us be UNITED, forgetting denominational labels, and join together in prayer for our nation. Let our prayer be EXTRAORDINARY, praying as we have never prayed. And, let us be HUMBLE, casting ourselves wholly on the grace and mercy of God!
Let us talk to our pastors about the urgent need for this kind of prayer. Let us schedule times to meet with other Christians to pray. Let us rise earlier in the morning to pray. Let us frequently turn off the television and computer to pray. Let us set aside a day of fasting and praying. The times demand it!
We do this believing that God’s promise to King Solomon stands true: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Let us pray!
A fellow traveler,