Today I will be speaking to pastors and church leaders at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for the National Day of Prayer, and I think this quote by former president Reagan is especially relevant: “America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
We need a spiritual awakening in America, and I believe there are two secret weapons that the church can use if they want to see a nationwide revival. Find out what they are by watching the live webcast of tonight’s service, beginning at 7:00 P.M. Pacific.
My message is titled “America, This Is Your Wake-Up Call!” and here are some of my notes:
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan said, “We can’t have it both ways. We can’t expect God to protect us in a crisis and just leave Him over there on the shelf in our day-to-day living. I wonder if sometimes He isn’t waiting for us to wake up.”
America needs a wake-up call–a spiritual awakening. Does that seem impossible? With God, nothing is impossible. He can even turn around the United States of America.
Do we believe that’s really a possibility, or are we resigned to the notion that things are just going to get worse? We see the violence in our streets in cities like Baltimore and Ferguson, and we wonder “Will our streets ever be safe again?” There are acts of terror by ISIS and other groups, even happening in Texas! Add to this the very real threats from Iran and North Korea who vow to destroy us.
Yes, we can look at enemies on the outside, but we would be wise to look within as a country. Historian Will Durant, in his book on Rome’s history Caesar and Christ, said, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has first destroyed itself from within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people and morals.”
The difference between Rome and the US is that we were founded on Judeo-Christian values. We’ve strayed from the original vision of our founding fathers that produced America. What was once “freedom of religion” has now become “freedom from religion.” We have succeeded in getting God out of our schools, sporting events, public spaces, and workplaces.
Then, of course, there is the breakdown of the family. So many of our social ills today can be traced to broken homes, and specifically fatherless households. Most children born in the US are out of wedlock now.
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
- 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
It’s been said, “A family can survive without a nation but a nation cannot survive without the family.” We in America need to turn to God in prayer and turn back to His Word.
The Supreme Court is deciding if they should strike down the historical definition of marriage. George Washington warned that we can never expect the “smiles of Heaven” on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.
Peter Marshall, former chaplain to the US Senate, once said, “The choice before us is plain: Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration.”
We need a spiritual awakening in America–a nationwide revival. The prophet Habakkuk understood this when he prayed, “I have heard all about You, Lord, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things You have done. In this time of our deep need, revive Your work, as You did in years gone by. Show us Your power to save us. And in Your anger, remember Your mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NLT).
America needs God’s intervention.
We saw many turn to the Lord after 9/11. Remember those prayer vigils on street corners and packed churches? Remember the members of congress spontaneously singing “God Bless America”? This gives me hope that there could be at least one more great revival in America’s future.
By the way, the song “God Bless America,” written by Irving Berlin in 1938, is a prayer: “While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free. Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.” Then the familiar refrain: “God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home.”
Yes, I have hope for America!
We need to pray for God’s blessing on America, “through the night with a light from above.” And that will come when we have a national spiritual awakening. That is what we must pray for. But how? God gives the answer in 2 Chronicles 7:14. It is His cure for a sick country. Contextually it was given to Israel, but in principle it applies to any nation:
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Notice that God says if we want our land to be healed, it starts with His people. God does not point His finger, so to speak, at the White House, but at His house. It is easy as Christians to put the blame on Hollywood or Washington, but God says that we need to be living as true followers of Jesus Christ. We must “turn from our wicked ways.” If you have unconfessed sin in your life, your prayer will go nowhere.
I trust you have heard of Pastor Saeed Abedini. Today he is in an Iranian prison for his faithfulness to Jesus Christ. He has been beaten and tortured for his faith and unwillingness to turn to Islam. He wrote this letter for us on National Day of Prayer.
“Change starts with us. Revival starts with us. The first step to revival is praying together in unity as a nation. The National Day of Prayer is a great opportunity for us to come out and use the freedom that we have been given. So many Christians around the world are imprisoned and martyred for their faith in Jesus. You have the freedom to gather across the United States at your state capitol to pray. Please use this opportunity. Please use your freedom for the kingdom of God!”
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Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.