America at the Crossroads (Part 4)
America at the Crossroads
Afterwards, while meditating before the Lord, I asked Him about the significance of the 50:50 split of everything in our nation – the Congress, the Senate, even the Presidential vote. The Lord’s response was “The nation has lost its moorings. It is divided. It is ambivalent and doesn’t know which way to go. America is at a crossroads, literally, at this moment. This is the crucial hour. I have heard your prayers and I am releasing mercy, but the Body [of Christ] must deepen and broaden its commitment to worship and prayer, or this will be only a mercy drop that dries on the ground. Only continued prayer will move My hand to bring a sustained outpouring of My Spirit.”
The nation at a crossroads…the crucial hour…deepen and broaden prayer. Most assuredly, God is calling me to deepen my prayer life. And, He is calling you to deepen your prayer life. He is calling us to broaden the prayer movement, calling everyone in our circles of influence to pray. It is imperative that we as believers share this timely message with family members, relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. We must spread the word that now is the hour; this is the day. This is the crucial moment; we are at the crossroads. Even now, four years later, our nation remains more divided than ever. We must watch and pray. We must listen and then intercede; we must hear and heed. The future of the church and the future of this nation depend on it.
I believe the Lord desired to use the intensity of the spiritual battle over the election to catalyze the Church to deepen and broaden the prayer movement. Through Election 2000, God issued a wake-up call to the Church. A call to watch. A call to pray. A call to fear the Lord.
Are We Responding?
How have we as Christians responded to this wake-up call? As you look back on your response to the election, and even your response to September 11th, how has your life changed? Do you fear God as never before? Are you in awe of God as never before? Do you believe Him to move like never before? God is calling us, like Israel of old, to fear the Lord and believe.
I am convinced that another reason the election battle was so intense is that God wanted George W. Bush to know without a doubt that his victory was from the Lord. It was not the victory of the Republican Party, lawyers, or political advisers. God desires that such a revelation continually humble his heart and intensify his desire to seek the Lord. It is my deep conviction that George W. Bush won that election by one vote – and that vote was God’s. One vote – the vote of God – a decree of mercy, and an answer to the prayers of His people. Revelation 5:8 presents a beautiful picture of worship and intercession through the imagery of the harps and bowls. The bowls of incense in heaven are filled with the prayers of the saints. Some initiate, some continue, some consummate, and then what happens? God pours out the bowls to bring about the fulfillment of His purpose. In the battle over the election, I believe God did exactly that!
The Battle Continues
I was out of the country at the time, but friends of mine in the prayer movement in the U.S. said they had never before seen so such prayer mobilized. The Church responded in that moment. And God heard. The bowl was filled, and God poured out his mercy. We must remember, however, that it is only a mercy drop. Unless we press into God like never before, it will surely dry on the ground. Most definitely, a spiritual battle was won, but the war is still raging over this country. A war that has implications and ramifications for Israel, and for the world in which we live. These are concerns that will be taken up in later chapters of this book.
Though the Body of Christ rallied in that moment of the election, we have since slacked off. We have pulled back. We have not stayed in that place of intense prayer. But God is calling us to pray without ceasing. The election was indeed a wake-up call for the American Church in regard to prayer, and I am not sure that we have heeded it. I have friends from many countries who visit the United States and do ministry here. It is always interesting for me, as an American Christian, to hear other believers’ impressions of the Church in the America. Do you know without exception what each one has said to me? “Bill, the church in America is asleep.” Or “The church is in such a deep slumber.” Or most recently, a response that deeply grieved me: “Bill, the church is comatose.”
Beloved, I cannot stress enough the seriousness of this hour. God is saying, “Wake up. Watch and pray. Listen and intercede. Hear and Heed. Respond to me. Let me involve you in My purposes.” It is a glorious calling. Jesus has reminded me this year that I have not just been saved from something, I have been saved for something. What a beautiful facet of the grace of God, that He would want to involve you and me in the fulfillment of His purposes.
The question for us is this: will we confess our selfish indifference? Will we confess our apathy and our complacency? Will we confess an ungodly passivity? What matters more to me – the “micro”-prayer requests on my list (and let me stress, they do matter to Him) or the “macro”-prayer requests that are on the heart of God? We must connect our micro-prayer requests to the macro-prayer requests of God. We must connect our lives, day in and day out, to the purposes of God for our generation. God is calling us to have done with lesser things.
We Need the Gift of Repentance
The Lord has shown me this past year that it is His kindness that leads me to repentance. We do not have to be in “overt” sin to be far from His heart. Religious people can have a heart that is far from the heart of God. That can be true at times in my life, and in yours. Things which in and of themselves are good, or perhaps neutral, become sinful when they matter more to me than He does. The greatest mercy the Lord can show us as American believers is to convict us of sin. The greatest kindness He can grant us is the gift of repentance. The greatest grace He can pour out upon us is that which He poured out upon the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah received a revelation of his sinfulness in light of the holiness of God, and as a result, he was completely undone in God’s presence. But the Lord then touched Isaiah’s lips with a tong from the altar, and he experienced first-hand the mercy of God. The mercies of the Lord are fresh everyday. Praise God! O, that we as believers would see, as Isaiah did, how much we are in need of the mercies of God.
Isaiah became impassioned for God because he tasted something most of us never do. Isaiah was not a wicked man; rather, he was a godly man, a member of the righteous remnant of his day. But, even the godliest of us who have an encounter with the living God are undone. We see the holiness of God. We see our own sinfulness in light of His holiness. We taste of the mercy and grace of God in a way greater than we ever imagined. As a result, our hearts thrill and we respond as Isaiah, “Here am I, send me.” We cry out, “Impassion me, Lord, for what impassions You. Impassion me to watch and pray. Impassion me to listen and then join the intercession of Jesus. Impassion me to hear and heed Your voice. Impassion me to want to take hold of that rod and stretch it forth at a moment’s notice. Impassion me to pray without ceasing. Impassion me to deepen my prayer life. Impassion me to share the word, calling others to pray.”
Beloved, I hope you are both touched and encouraged by the message God continues to speak to us through Exodus 14 and Election 2000. If so, share it with somebody. Help broaden the prayer movement one person at a time. Tell a spouse, tell a friend, tell a coworker that now is the hour. We are at the crossroads even now. We must watch and pray.
Will we rise up in response to the call of God? Will we have done with lesser things? Will we sacrifice “all the vain things that charm us most,” to the blood of Jesus? God is calling us to sacrifice all the lesser things in our lives to the blood of Jesus. O, men and women of God, may we rise up and have done with lesser things. May we, as the hymn says, “give heart and soul and mind and strength, to serve the King of Kings.”