A Response to the Current State of American Affairs…
I have been, as many of your have been, watching the current horrific actions of our national leaders centering around the partial government shutdown and the debate over raising the debt limit. I have been appalled at the petty actions to hurt the American people, and American Veterans by denying access, and even arresting those who cross barriers to national monuments, and denying people access to their own homes or businesses if they happen to be on federal lands.
I have to confess my total outrage and disgust at the pettiness that is being shown on so many levels, and on many different sides of our society today.
My heart is broken for our society in these days, where at a school in Washington State, balls are banned from the playground because they might harm students, and the NSA spying issues, the lack of leadership and the list can go on, and on.
I have to confess also, that I have found myself being caught up into a sense of hopelessness for a time… a negativity that we have seen the last gasps of our great republic. I had thoughts that I have lived to see the descent of The United States of America into a form of government that was never intended by our founding fathers, and that most of us so not want, but have not stood up to defend.
Those are the words that I was reminded of out of that pit of hopeless thinking. I was reminded that this is a perfect time, and a perfect opportunity for the church to respond in an appropriate manner… in the manner that has, in the past brought great awakenings to our country.
I think many American Christians today are not aware of the writings and teachings of the revival historian Dr. J. Edwin Orr.
In a speech called, “The Role of Prayer in Spiritual Awakening,” Dr. Orr describes the conditions in the colonies prior to the First Great Awakening. This is what he writes:
Not many people realize that in the wake of the American Revolution there was a moral slump. Drunkenness became epidemic. Out of a population of five million, 300,000 were confirmed drunkards; they were burying fifteen thousand of them each year. Profanity was of the most shocking kind. For the first time in the history of the American settlement, women were afraid to go out at night for fear of assault. Bank robberies were daily occurrence. What about the churches? The Methodists were losing more members than they were gaining. The Baptists said that they had their most wintry season. The Presbyterians in general assembly deplored the nation’s ungodliness. In a typical Congregational church, the Rev. Samuel Shepherd of Lennox, Massachusetts in sixteen years had not taken one young person into fellowship. The Lutherans were so languishing that they discussed uniting with Episcopalians who were even worse off. The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York, Bishop Samuel Provost quit functioning; he had confirmed no one for so long that he decided he was out of work, so he took up other employment. The Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, James Madison, that the Church “was too far gone ever to be redeemed.” Voltaire averred, and Tom Paine echoed, “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.”
Take the liberal arts colleges at that time. A poll taken at Harvard had discovered not one believer in the whole of the student body. They took a poll at Princeton, as much more evangelical place; they discovered only two believers in the student body, and only five that did not belong to the filthy speech movement of that day. Students rioted. They held a mock communion at Williams College, and they put on anti-Christian plays at Dartmouth. They burned down the Nassau Hall at Princeton. They forced the resignation of the president of Harvard. They took a Bible out of a local Presbyterian church in New Jersey, and burned it in a public bonfire.
Christians were so few on campus in the 1790’s that they met in secret like a communist cell, and kept their minutes in code so that no one would know.
In case this is thought to be the hysteria of the moment, Kenneth Scott Latourette, the great church historian, wrote: “It seems as if Christianity was about to be ushered out of the affairs of men.” The churches had their backs to the wall, [highlights mine] seeming as if they were about to be wiped out. How did the situation change? It came through a concert of prayer.
Dr. Orr goes on to describve how people began to gather in concerted gatherings of prayer, and in response to concerted, humble, desperate prayer, God responded with what we now call the First Great Awakening.
The Word of God is always true in every fluctuation of society, and when He says:
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and prayer and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land – 2 Chronicles 7:14
It is a promise we can count on today…
Are things terrible in our country today? Yes, on many levels. Does any of this catch God by surprise? Not at all! Is any of this beyond His ability to bring revival and transformation to our country? Not in the least.
The question is, what will my response be? What will our response be? Will we wring our hands in fear? or will we pound our fists in anger? or will we get on our knees and humble ourselves and confess that we as the people of God have been part of the problem? Will we cry out to Him in concerted, humble, desperate prayer? Or will we hold on to our own sins and pride, blame everyone else, and watch thigns continue to crumble before our eyes?
I am not claiming to be a prophet, but I know the Scriptures are true, and I know the testimony of history. If we will respond as God directs us, He will be faithful to answer us, as surely as the sun rises in the morning (Hosea 6:1-3).
Now is the time for the church to unite in humble, desperate, united prayer for our nation. Turn off CNN, and Fox News, yes and even Facebook, and gather in prayer with other believers and petition God for the salvation of our nation. It is not too late. The Lord awaits our response.
This is my plea to believers wherever you are…start now… Dont’ let up until He answers with power in your life, in your family, in your city, in our nation…
Cry out for mercy, for revival, for transformation.
Even so, Come! Lord Jesus!