Don’t Give Up on America — Pray!

By Shane Idleman Published on March 2, 2020

With a culture seemingly hell bent on rejecting God — from a new TikTok video showing a girl walking into Planned Parenthood and celebrating killing her baby on camera, to the school district allowing children to change their names and genders without parental consent — we are inclined to ask if there is any hope. The Psalmist’s words resonate with many of us: “You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion” (Psalm 60:3).

As I’ve said before, if we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be impossible to turn the Titanic around — the vessel has been struck, and what’s inside is spilling out. But if God brings revival, if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him, there is tremendous hope.

The Center of the Storm

Revival means awakening, restoration, renewal, or repair. We can’t always run from the fight or move from the battle. Often, God plants us in the center of the storm. God gets his people to a place of desperation so they cry out to Him. We must be practical and vote, yes, but more importantly, we must fight spiritually. You can’t say, “I don’t want to get involved” … you’re already involved. You can’t remain passive, aloof, or carefree against an enemy who doesn’t sleep or slumber.

The classic line from an old Wyatt Earp movie states it well, “You tell them I’m coming! And I’m bringing hell with me!” The same applies to us: when we make a decision to follow God’s principles (like many at the top are doing), all hell breaks loose. Because it is a spiritual battle, our only recourse is to engage the enemy with spiritual weapons, as in Ephesians 6 and 2 Corinthians 10.

When we obey God, He strengthens us. When we humble ourselves, His grace is manifested more abundantly, “Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds you abased and empty, His glory and power flow in” (Andrew Murray). Disobedience leads to desperation and despair.

When All Hope Is Gone

These powerful lyrics from the worship song “Spirit Lead Me” remind us of a great truth that we must look to in these dire times: “When all hope is gone and Your word is all I’ve got, I have to believe You still bring water from the rock.” I don’t know what God has in store for America whether it’s revival or judgment, restoration or affliction for our sin, but I do know that if we are faithful, God will honor His commitment to pour water on a dry and parched land. Praise God the psalmist continued from above and offers hope: “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved” (Psalm 62:2).

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God is looking for faithfulness, not numbers. He doesn’t need the majority; He is the Majority. God often uses the least likely branches to fuel the flames of revival. Throughout church history, God has revived His people at crucial turning points. The greater the darkness, the greater the light. We must get to a point of desperation where God is our only hope. I’m not giving up on America; I’m contending for it.

Revival is God resuscitating His people and filling them mightily with His Spirit so that all aspects of society are changed. (Check out a sermon on the genuine cost of revival here.) Prayer can no longer be a footnote at the end of a sermon — it must be the priority across our landscape.

An Urgent Appeal to Pastors and Leaders

Second Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people pray,” not “If my people preach.” When was the last time a church dedicated as much time to prayer as to preaching? Pastors, wake up! Now is the time to begin a prayer meeting and make it the priority. People don’t need our well-polished sermons designed to impress, they need to see us at the altar. They don’t need to see us avoiding the crowd because we’re “important,” they need to see us leading the way in humility.

The church spent days seeking God in an upper room, and fire fell. I remember when we were not in such a hurry, and basking in the presence of God was biblical; now, it’s too “emotional.” I remember when seeking God through prayer drove the church; now methods, marketing, programs, and potlucks lead the way. I remember when we’d come early to church to pray and lay hold of God; now most come late and leave early.

I remember when prayer and seeking God were assets, and excessive media was a liability; now they’re reversed. I remember when people were excited about seeking God rather than making excuses as to why they can’t attend church; now many would rather watch sports then engage their hearts toward Christ. I remember when prayer changed lives — and it still can, but we must recapture our zeal for prayer and seek God will all our hearts.

The Power of Prayer

Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13). Prayer is the life source of our faith, the building block of our soul. We need people of extraordinary prayer, brokenness, and humility; men and women clothed with power from on high.

When God brings healing and revival, prayer has often been the catalyst. When Martin Luther prayed, the church was reformed. When John Knox prayed, Scotland was revived. When John Wesley prayed, America was restored. When George Whitefield prayed, nations were changed. When D.L. Moody prayed, America fell to its knees. When Amy Carmichael prayed, India received the gospel. On and on it goes. When you pray, you move the hand of God. The current dry, dead, lethargic condition of the church simply reflects an impotent prayer life.

Prayerlessness in the pulpit leads to apostasy and dead sermons. Prayerlessness in the pew leads to shattered lives and depression. Prayerlessness in men leads to the breakdown of the family. “When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live” (E.M. Bounds). We pray daily that God will use our church, located right on the San Andreas fault line (yes, you read that right), to shake California and America. Will you join us in contending for America? Never forget: You + God = a majority.

 

 

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the creator of the WCF Radio Network. His program, Regaining Lost Ground, points us back to God and reminds us that although times change, truth does not. His books, blogs, and sermons can all be found at ShaneIdleman.com.

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