The Interceders Encourager No. 58 - God's Remedy for Today's Emergency
(with acknowledgments to W.C. Moore, Rich Carmichael and J.C. Ryle).
In a short time, this country will be holding a General Election, and the temptation will be to think that our problems can be solved through one particular party being elected.
It is true that we are told to pray for those in authority, that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and holiness; and certainly our prayers can make a huge difference. But even if many good laws were to be passed, the hearts of the politicians and the hearts of most of the people would still be full of selfishness and sin, and the country would still be in danger of God's judgment, for no confession and repentance would have been made.
"God has not made unsaved politicians responsible for averting national disaster. He has placed this responsibility upon His own people. 'If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.'"
Certainly, the signs of God's displeasure with this land are all around us. Financially, our government is in debt to the tune of trillions of pounds, while individually, the people of this land are in debt to an even greater extent. The family, the basic unit of society, is under threat as never before in our history, with high levels of divorce, of unmarried people living together, and of unmarried mothers; the legalization of homosexuality and same gender marriages; with all these abominations not only being condoned but actually promoted by the government. We have become a land besotted with covetousness, sport and entertainment, the things that pass away, to an extent never known before. Criminal activity is now so common, and the refusal of the police to act on what they are told so well known, that most incidents are not even reported to the police at all. Drunkenness is rampant in our city centres, so that the accident and emergency wards at our hospitals cannot cope with the number of cases, and waiting times get longer. Our whole way of life and the standards that used to be accepted in society are fast disappearing. The consideration and courtesy that were once common have been pushed aside by a climate of individualism and selfishness that now dominate our shops and streets, reinforced by the huge number of non-Christian immigrants who have come in to the country. Their numbers are now so great that some parts of our cities are now no-go areas, even to the police. Above all, as far as God is concerned, most of the people are living lives in rebellion against Him. They do not acknowledge Him. They do not honour Him or keep His day. They are saying in their hearts, "We will not have this man to reign over us."
The politicians do not mention such things, for they have different priorities. The election basically centres round money, not principles or moral standards or our Christian heritage or God being given His rightful place. God has been completely pushed out of the picture.
That is why the solution to our problems will never be found in Westminster or any political assembly. It will only be found in His people praying down the power of God. During revival, "God manifests His presence in overwhelming reality. His presence and power are so mightily and extensively at work that He accomplishes more in hours or days than usually results from years of faithful ministry. ...During an awakening, people are convicted of sin and moved toward Christ, people who can be moved in no other way. The very atmosphere is filled with His awesome presence. Christians recognize it as the holy presence of God, while sinners feel a fearsome awareness of God's presence and their own sinfulness."
"Is this not exactly what we need? What hope is there without such a manifestation of God's presence and power? And what potential is there if God does indeed manifest His presence in overwhelming reality. Can you imagine what it would mean for the church and for the lost? He has done it before in various places and at various times, and the impact has been remarkable. Is not the prospect of such a manifestation of His presence and power worth our full devotion?"
We need to tell people that the election will not solve the basic problems in our society, for these are to do with people's selfishness and greed, their pride, their domination of others, their rejection of God and His standards. Tell them what it is like when God moves in revival power. Tell them how He changed selfish, swearing, blaspheming, dishonest, drunken miners who wasted their money on drink, into clean mouthed, clean living, caring fathers who gave their money to their wives and children, who became upright, honest men who wanted to live for Jesus, pray to Jesus and tell others about Jesus.
This is what we should be doing. We have a mission, "we are in an emergency. We cannot afford to be giving our time, our strength and our money to anything but to the one overwhelming need of getting God on the scene in the power of a mighty Holy Spirit awakening.
Time is hastening on! The meeting with the Lord approaches! The time of reckoning draws nigh, when every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:12). Shall we not, therefore, pitch in now and get revival fires burning and blazing in our own hearts, in our homes, in our churches, in our cities, in our nation, and around the world, without delay?
The hour has struck. The times are desperate but the saints are not! Let's agree (Matt. 18:19) from this very moment to call upon God, to stir up ourselves and take hold of God (Isa. 64:7) for a heaven-sent revival to meet today's needs.
How can we drift listlessly along, idly chatting with anyone we chance to meet, wasting, squandering the precious moments God has given us in which to battle through in real prayer for revival! Away with our idleness, our contentions, our wasting of precious moments and money on things that will not count in eternity. Oh, to realize, once and for all, that if we do not shake ourselves from the deadening dust of our shameful lukewarmness, the Lord will spew us out of His mouth! (Rev. 3:16)."
And there are contentions. Christians wasting precious time on their particular pet subjects, such as prophecy, millennial views, Calvinism, baptism, attitudes to the secular state of Israel, the version of the English Bible they think everybody should use, etc. The devil is using these things to waste believers' time and attention, to divert believers' attention away from God's primary concerns, and to divide believers by making people think these are the things that matter most, and that everybody should agree with them.
But these are not the things that matter most. The most important thing is saving people out of the dominion of darkness and getting them transferred into the kingdom of God's Son. It is getting people changed from sinners into saints. It is "spreading scriptural holiness throughout the land." This country was saved from revolution and disaster in the 18th century, not through elections or politicians, but through the prayers of God's people, the raising up of preachers of righteousness and the witness of His people.
"As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children"(Isa. 66:8). We must have a revival of righteousness! We must have God in our midst in the manifested power of His might, in revival outpourings of His Spirit to meet this present day's needs. Wherever you are, never let the devil steal away your burden for revival until you have prayed through and the burden is lifted.
It is in travail that children are born into the world, and it is in soul travail that people are born again into the kingdom of God.
Be true to the burden for revival that is upon your heart, put there by the Spirit of God. God would not put that cry upon His people for revival if He did not intend abundantly to answer as we steadfastly press on."I did not say to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek Me in vain'"(Isa. 45:19)."Shall not God avenge His own elect, who cry out day and night to Him?...I tell you that He will avenge them speedily"(Luke 18:7-8).
Look at the frightful needs, the souls en route to hell all around you, the people in trouble, the wrongs that need to be righted, and pray!
It is going to take God to change things, and God works in cooperation with His people. We are labourers together with God (1 Cor. 3:9). We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).
The Word of God says, "...greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world" 1 John 4:4). Let us, therefore, take God at His Word, and rise up and defeat the enemy, using the delegated authority which God has given us, in effective wrestling against the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:10-20) Jesus says,"I give you authority…over all the power of the enemy" (Luke 10:19). This is a true Word, but it must be put into execution by God's people.
It is the wicked spirits behind the scenes, the "rulers of the darkness of this world" (Eph. 6:12), that are causing the confusion today, and we, taking the whole armour of God, are set to wrestle effectively against these evil spirits by using the delegated authority which Christ has given us over all their power, "praying in the Spirit at all times," (Eph. 6:18).
So let us focus, concentrate and unite in calling on God, in faith, to revive us again! (Psa. 85:6). Let us unitedly, in Jesus' name, resist the devil till he flees from us (Jas. 4:7). Do not fritter away your time in self-indulgence, in useless chatter and gossip, nor in controversies and arguments over non-essentials, but rather "seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near" (Isa. 55:6). Cry unto God! Press on in the battle of prayer. "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17).
May we be among those who in humility, repentance and prayer, earnestly seek the Lord for such an outpouring in our day!
Let us use the words of Bishop J.C. Ryle:
"O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, pour down the Holy Spirit upon our country. Revive thy work amongst us. Increase true religion in the land, and especially in our own area. Touch the hearts of the careless, the thoughtless, and the unbelieving. Show them their sin, their guilt, and their danger. Stir them up to think, and grant them repentance. May thousands this year seek Christ, believe, and be saved"
"Arouse the hearts of all true Christians. Fill them with true zeal for Thy glory, and for the spread of the Gospel. May they be more holy, more charitable, and more diligent in trying to do good. May they pray much and often."
"Pour down the Holy Spirit upon me. Let me not be deceived about the state of my own soul. If I am not yet fully converted, do the work without delay. Create in me a new heart. Show me what I am. Show me what Thou art. Show me Christ."
"Teach me to pray. Give me more grace. Lead me on. Build me up. Stablish me. Strengthen me. Perfect me. Increase my faith, and hope, and love. Grant that I may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ".
"Pour down the Holy Spirit upon all ministers of the Gospel. Make them more zealous and more faithful. May Christ be preached this year more fully, freely, and affectionately, than He has ever been yet preached in our country."
"Pour down the Holy Spirit upon all congregations. May there be more life, earnestness, and fervour in all our religious assemblies. May hearers of the Gospel this year always meet together really desiring a blessing, and always go home to pray."
"Pour down the Holy Spirit upon all ranks and classes, upon the rich and upon the poor, upon the old and upon the young. May there be less Sabbath-breaking, and drunkenness, and worldliness, and covetousness, and pride, and formality, and self-righteousness in the land this year. May there be more thinking, praying, Bible reading, holy living, and diligence in the use of means of grace. May we all feel more deeply the value of our own souls, and care more for the souls of others."
"Gracious Lord, deal not with us according to our sins. We confess with shame that we are a sinful, proud, ungrateful nation. But spare us according to Thy mercy. Pour down the Holy Spirit upon us. Revive Thy work and make us a nation fearing God and working righteousness. We ask all for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."