Daily Devotions

Praying for Revival in America – Day 22

“And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.” (Isaiah 64:7)

THE CONFLICT

The prince of darkness and legion

go forth in this world to win

the invaluable prize of the conflict

the immortal souls of men.

Heaven aligns its forces.

The battle lines are drawn.

Eternities hang in the balance.

In fury, the war rages on.

Humanities blind to the conflict,

though they the victor’s spoil;

insensitive to the battle,

due to lives of earthly toil.

Where are God’s gallant warriors,

who wax valiant in the fight,

who turn back the torrents of darkness

clad in the armor of light?

O Lord chasten your children,

in haste wield the rod,

force to their knees your people

that they might rise and take hold of God.

Then God’s mighty princes

who are destined to prevail

will scale the citadels of evil

and snatch men from the clutches of hell.

Pray that God will stir us up to take hold of Him for our land.

Praying for Revival in America – Day 21

“My house shall be called the house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13)

Jesus did not say that His house would be called a house of preaching. He did not say that His house would be called a house of music. He did not say that His house would be called a house of fellowship. Jesus said that His house would be called a house of prayer.

In light of this, isn’t it strange that in most churches today there is much more preaching, music and fellowship than prayer? In addition to this, how do we explain the fact that no service of the church is less supported and more poorly attended than the prayer service? While it’s no problem to get people to come out for a potluck supper or a church singing, it’s practically impossible to get people to come out for a prayer meeting.

The Bible teaches us to pray “always” and “without ceasing” (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Why, then, do we do so little of that which the Bible commands us to do continuously? Do we see prayer in a lesser light that the Scripture shines upon it? Undoubtedly, we do; otherwise, we’d pray more.

If revival is to come to America it will come on the wings of prayer. But what chance is there of revival in America when its churches have so minimized prayer? Contrary to popular Christian opinion, the biggest obstacle to revival today is not the profaning of our culture, but the prayerlessness of our churches.

Pray that God will drive our churches to their knees, for it is only when we are on our knees that revival can rise in our land.

Praying for Revival in America – Day 20

“And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. ” (2 Samuel 24:25 NKJV)

In 2005, President George Bush called for a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina. Angry over what he perceived to be the government’s sluggish response to blacks and poor people in New Orleans, Reginald Jackson, president of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey, accused the president of being “a little late” in his call for a National Day of Prayer. Consequently, Rev. Jackson and other ministers and their churches refused to “heed Bush’s request” to pray, opting instead to lodge a political protest by withholding their prayers from those who desperately needed them.

Granted, many churches had already held prayer services before President Bush’s call for a National Day of Prayer, as Reginald Jackson argued, “We’ve already prayed Mr. President.” Still, it seemed strange to me that any church would refuse to pray again, especially when their only reason for doing so was to take a swipe at a President who had called them to prayer.

Jesus said, “My house shall be called the house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). The Apostle Paul instructed us to pray “for Kings, and for all that are in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2). Yet, in some churches today politics takes precedence over prayer and political protests takes precedence over praying for those in authority. Maybe this helps to explain the implosion of our country and the impotence of so many of our churches.

Pray that America’s churches will wake up to the paltriness of political action and return to the power of the prayer altar.

Praying for Revival in America – Day 19

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

Someone has astutely observed, “As long as there are tests in school there will be prayer in school.” The Supreme Court may have outlawed prayer in the classrooms of our public schools, but it is powerless to prevent it in the hearts of students.

J. Sidlow Baxter once said, “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons; but they are helpless against our prayers.” America, in spite of its recent secularization, is defenseless against our prayers. Our government, along with its courts, may have tossed prayer from the public square and our public schools, but it can’t touch it in the heats of the American people. Our government, just like all others, is completely incapable of policing prayer in the hearts of its populace.

Although many bemoan the prohibiting of prayer in our public schools, the real problem in America today is the absence of prayer in our hearts, homes and churches. “And who,” I might ask, “is to blame for this?” It’s certainly not the Supreme Court. Instead, the culprit is us; after all, only we can prevent prayer in our hearts, homes and churches.

Pray that our hearts, homes and churches become bastions of prayer for revival in America.

Praying for Revival in America – Day 18

“Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.” (Nehemiah 9:1-3)

The National Day of Prayer is annually observed on the first Thursday of May. It was designated by Congress as a day for Americans “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” The law which formalized this annual observance was passed by Congress and signed by President Harry Truman in 1952.

Long before 1952, national days of prayer had long been called for by American leaders. In fact, before our country was even founded, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation requesting that “a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer” be observed on July 20, 1775. Numbered among the American presidents who have called for a National Day of Prayer is John Adams and Abraham Lincoln, the latter designating April 30, 1863 as a day of “national humiliation, fasting and prayer.” In his proclamation, President Lincoln went on to say, “It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

In today’s America, the National Day of Prayer has been ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crab, whose ruling states that the statue establishing this annual observance is “an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.” Furthermore, unlike his predecessors, President Obama has refused to hold any White House observance of the National Day of Prayer since taking office in 2009, this despite the fact that he has held a special White House dinner to mark the end of Ramadan—the Islamic month of fasting and prayer.

Adding insult to injury, Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of famous evangelist Billy Graham and a staunch evangelical Christian, was disinvited on this year’s National Day of Prayer from praying for our troops at the Pentagon. Although the official reason given was Graham’s description of Islam as an evil religion, the real reason was his refusal to say that “all religions are equal” and his insistence upon Jesus Christ being “the only way to God.”

If America’s only hope of survival is revival, and if all revival is born in prayer, what hope is there of revival in an America that has outlawed its national observance of prayer? Truly, our hope is not found in any public observance of prayer in the White House or at the Pentagon, but only in personal and private observances of prayer in our individual prayer closets.

Pray personally, privately and persistently for revival in America, remembering that your prayers are our nation’s only hope.

Praying for Revival in America – Day 17

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Jonathan Goforth, who was a Canadian Presbyterian missionary to China, once said, “If revival is being withheld from us it is because some idol remains still enthroned; because we still insist in placing our reliance in human schemes; because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that, ‘It is not by might, but by My Spirit.’”

What idol “remains still enthroned” in your heart? What takes precedence over God in your life? To what do you devote most of your time and energy? What is your first and foremost daily aspiration? Is it to please and glorify God or is it something else?

What “human schemes” are you relying upon. Do you think that the answers for your own life are found in your own ingenuity, resources and abilities? Do you think that the answers for America are found in politicians, political parties and polling places? Are you looking to God for all that is needed in your life and nation or are you looking to your own means and human schemes?

Neither our lives nor land can be saved by our “might” or “power.” Only God can save us! If salvation is to come it will be “by [God’s] Spirit.” Herein, lies the only hope for America. It lies in a move of the Spirit of God across our land, but such a move will never occur until we’ve rid ourselves of idols and schemes.

Pray that Americans rid themselves of idols and schemes and throw themselves on the mercy of God, who alone can save us!

Praying for Revival in America – Day 16

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

A few weeks ago thousands of Americans gathered on the Mall in Washington D. C. to pray for revival in America. Their motive was the salvation of our country. Notice, it was not the salvation of souls for the glory of God, but the salvation of our society for the good of its populace.

Their method was to call all Americans to return to belief in God. What God? Well, no particular god was specified. Any generic god would do, just as long as some god was believed in. It could be the god of the Muslims, the god of a cult, one or more of the Hindu gods, or even an imaginary god conjured up in your own mind and tailored to your own liking.

What is the most condemned sin in the Bible? Idolatry, which is the worship of any god apart from the one and only true God. What is the first of the Ten Commandments? It is, “You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20:3). It was the worship of false gods that brought God’s judgment down upon ancient Israel. Far from bringing revival, idolatry always brings divine retribution. Yet, in today’s America, many believe that bowing before false gods will bring down God’s blessings upon our nation.

Make no mistake about it; revival only occurs when men are seeking the one and only true God, not national salvation or some other thing. When it occurs, God alone will be glorified by it. No nation’s flag will be unfurled over it; no, not even the Stars and Stripes. Although revival can result in the transformation of a nation, it is never to be seen as a means to this end, but rather as a side effect of men turning from their sin with broken hearts and to the one and only true God with all of their hearts!

Pray that America will repent of its idolatry and turn with all of its heart to the one and only true God!

Praying for Revival in America – Day 15

“O LORD, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” (Daniel 9:16-19)

With today’s entry we’ll complete our consideration of some essentials of national prayer gleaned from Daniel’s prayer for the nation of Israel. We’ve already learned that serious consecration, steadfast confidence and sincere confession are essential to our prayers for America. Today, we’ll look at one final essential to be gleaned from Daniel’s prayer; namely, our spiritual concern.

As much as it may have meant to Daniel, it was not his desire to return from captivity to his homeland with his fellow-Jews that formed the heart of his prayer for Israel. Neither was it Daniel’s hope for a prosperous future for his nation. Instead, it was his concern for God’s glory that fueled his prayer for the Jewish people. Knowing that the Jews were “called by [God’s] name” and that their becoming “a reproach to all that [were] about [them]” was detrimental to the name of God in the world, Daniel prayed primarily for the restoration of Israel for the “Lord’s sake,” not Israel’s.

We need to ask ourselves: “What is at the heart of our prayers for revival in America?” Is it our economy? Do we want revival so that more people will find work, fewer people will lose their homes and all of us will do better financially. Is it national security? Do we want revival in America because we believe it will result in God putting an impenetrable shield over our country, a shield which will protect us from all enemies, both foreign and domestic? Or is it civil rights? Do we simply want revival in America so that everyone will be treated fairly, equally and justly?

Although all of these things are good, none of them should be at the heart of our prayers for revival in America. At the heart of our prayers for revival in America must be a spiritual concern. It must be the glory of God. If our prayers are fueled by any other motive, regardless of how good it may be, there is no chance of our prayers being answered or of revival coming to America.

Let us ask God to send revival for His sake, not our own; for the glory of His name, not the mere good of our nation.

Praying for Revival in America – Day 14

“And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord…We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled…And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel…” (Daniel 9:4-5, 20)

Along with serious consecration and a sure confidence, there must be sincere confession in our prayers for America. Continuance in sin will certainly bring judgment, but confessing our sins results in forgiveness, as the Bible promises in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Notice, it was not just the national sins of Israel that Daniel confessed, but his individual sins as well. If America is to corporately turn from sin and back to God, then, it must begin with Americans individually turning from sin and back to God. This means, IT BEGINS WITH YOU! Before you can pray for America to repent and get right with God you must repent and get right with God. Confession and repentance will never occur collectively in this country until it has first occurred individually among its citizenry.

Take the first step toward revival in America; namely, sincerely confess your sins to God.

Praying for Revival in America – Day 13

“To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.” (Daniel 9:9)

A second essential in praying for America is confidence. The Bible teaches us that confidence is always a prerequisite in prayer. For instance, consider the following:

(1) “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must            believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek    him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

(2) “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the    sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive   any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)

(3) “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know     that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

Perhaps, the bigger question for Christians in America is not whether we have confidence in God or in Him answering prayers prayed according to His will, but how we can pray confidently for God to spare our nation when it is so steeped in sin. Notice, Daniel prayed for his nation on the basis that even though they had “rebelled against” God, the Lord still possessed “mercies and forgiveness.”

It is here alone that we find any basis for confidence in our prayers for America. It is not found in our nation’s merits, but in God’s mercy. It cannot be found in our goodness, but in the possibility of forgiveness, thanks to God’s grace.

Let us pray with the ancient Prophet Habakkuk, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2)