Our Sin of Prayerlessness | 2014-2

 

I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord (Ezekiel 22:30-31).

 

The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene (Isaiah 59:15b-16a).

Anyone who holds a Biblical view of Almighty God has to believe that in His absolute holiness our Creator-Redeemer is deeply grieved by both the wickedness of the world and the weakness of His Church. Reading both our Old and New Testaments, we learn that God is aghast at the degradation of the world and appalled at the sins and prayerlessness of His people.

In Noah’s time The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth (Genesis 6:5-7a).

But God found Noah, who would stand in the gap between divine holiness and human depravity, and those who believed (only eight souls) were saved. Noah built an ark, but all those who scoffed and rejected their only means of salvation were destroyed by the flood.

The apostle Paul, under divine inspiration, foretold conditions of the last days:

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power (II Timothy 3:2-5a).

But in the last days, God sent His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to a lost world already condemned, already marked for eternal destruction. As Jesus told Nicodemus, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:16-18).

To all who receive Jesus Christ as Savior He has promised the Holy Spirit. On His departure, Jesus ordered His followers to go back into Jerusalem and tarry (wait before the Lord in prayer) until you have been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). His final words were: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Throughout the book of Acts we see a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit in the church that was filled with the Spirit as it spread the Gospel in power—winning thousands to Christ, working miracles of healing, raising the dead, casting out demons, and demonstrating the plan of God for advancing the kingdom of God throughout the world.

But the most tragic sin of the church across the centuries has been its failure to remain empowered by the Holy Spirit. The strange cycle of the backsliding and renewing of the people of God through the centuries is a haunting phenomenon. Just as the Old Testament people of God failed to meet the conditions of its covenant with Jehovah, so the New Testament Church has also grieved, quenched, or ignored the Holy Spirit of power. The resulting apostasy has written tragedy into its history.

Our God of mercy has promised His people the miracle of revivals to restore His Church to new life, fresh faith, renewed vision, and amazing power for reaching a lost world with the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a God of Grace and Justice, He gives His people a choice—either Revival or Judgment. Revival is not only a means of preserving His Church; Revival is also a means of preserving the nations His people inhabit. Revival is not only the divine means of restoring Christian believers to New Testament life and power; with true Revival God brings a moral and spiritual healing to the land: 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (II Chronicles 7:14).

Jesus warned about the condition of the times leading up to His Second Coming: As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37-39). Despite the moral and spiritual conditions requiring divine judgment, people today—just as in Noah’s day—are going about as though there has been no warning from a merciful God.

The moral and spiritual indifference today is not confined to unbelievers. People who profess to know Jesus Christ can go to church on Sunday and then live prayerlessly and carelessly through the week with no apparent consideration of what their Bibles tell them they should be doing. Let us hear what Jesus calls us to do: Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:34-36).

Come on, Christians friends, let’s not take this lightly! I believe the Spirit’s most urgent call at this late hour is a call to prayer! In Isaiah’s time, He declared that God was appalled that there was no one to intervene. What must our heavenly Father think of the millions of professing evangelicals here in North America who prayerlessly sit by and watch our beloved America implode in spiritual backsliding, political corruption, and economic bankruptcy? Surely He is grieved by our unconcern about our own spiritual condition of apathy, worldliness, division, and emptiness. It is high time for us to plead for the fulfillment of God’s promise to pour out … a spirit of grace and supplication (Zechariah 12:10a) on His people.

Do we realize that our eternal God has conditioned some of His own sovereign actions to the prayers of His redeemed children? Revival is one of those great promises He gives to His Church that must be prayed to pass. When He gets ready to heal His Church of its spiritual backsliding and the world from its moral sickness, He calls on His people to pray: If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray. Without God, we can’t see revival and healing. Without us, God won’t revive and heal our land. What He promises to do is conditioned on His people called by His name.

This is more than a call to vote in an election; it’s a call for Christians to confess their sins so that God will hear their prayers. Of course, Christians should vote responsibly, but that’s not enough. Revival does not begin with politicians.

This is more than a call to march against a social evil; it’s a call for the Church to come alive and call on God to demonstrate His power, beginning in purifying His people. Of course, we should speak out against evil, but that’s not enough.

This is more than a call to attend church; certainly, we should not fail to assemble ourselves together on the Lord’s Day and worship Him in Spirit and in truth. But God is calling us to solemn assemblies of humility, repentance, confession, and reconciliation.

Revival cannot come without the prayers of God’s people. But the Holy Trinity will help us pray: The Holy Spirit will inspire our praying. The Holy Son will present our praying to the Father. And the Holy Father will hear our praying. He will then hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land.

God has warned us in Ezekiel 22:30 that unless He can find intercessors who will stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land, He will have to destroy it. How much longer will it take before God’s cup of wrath is full?

Christians, what will it take to stir us to revival praying? Please! Let us individually come before the Lord, confess the sin of prayerlessness, humble ourselves, pray, and seek His face. We could yet see the greatest spiritual revival in the all of the 238 years of our nation! God is still calling. Who will cry out to Him, “Lord, teach me to pray”?

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