The apostle Paul calls for believers with holy boldness to enlist in a Spirit-anointed fight against principalities, powers, world rulers of this present darkness, and hosts of wicked spirits operating in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). The call here is for an earthly army composed of regenerated, sanctified, Spirit-filled believers to go against an invisible hierarchy of evil commanded by Satan, the prince of the power of the air.
Just as Satan and his invisible forces of wickedness find human personnel on earth to carry out their evil purposes, so Christ and His invisible heavenly hosts solicit human believers to enlist in His holy purposes for redeeming, renewing, and reaching the world with His Gospel and preparing a people for eternity.
Both Moses and Joshua learned about God’s invisible armies. Before Moses could lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage and before Joshua could lead them into the Promised Land, they learned of these supernatural forces without which they could never have succeeded.
Joshua was coming up on Jericho, the first city to be taken in the Promised Land, when he discovered a man with a drawn sword in his hand, who turned out to be the Commander of the Lord’s army (Joshua 5:13-15). The Lord Jesus Christ had three things to tell Joshua, his earthly commander, about conquering the city of Jericho, as revealed in chapter 6: (1) “Joshua, taking Jericho is not your idea; it is mine;” (2) “Joshua, Jericho will not be taken by your inadequate army; it will taken by my invisible hosts;” and (3) “Joshua, Jericho will not be taken for your glory, but for mine!”
The prophet Elisha also learned about God’s invisible army. When Syria’s wicked King Benhadad sought to destroy Israel, Elisha was led of the Holy Spirit to propose a victorious strategy to the king of Israel so that Benhadad became frustrated and defeated. The wicked king then turned his forces on the man of God. When Elisha’s servant discovered a great army “with horses and chariots,” he went into a state of panic and asked, “What shall we do?” Elisha responded, “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed for his servant that his eyes might be opened. “The Lord opened his eyes, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elijah.” Israel won a great victory because of the overpowering invisible army.
When God’s people have across the ages taken up the weapon of intercessory prayer, they have placed themselves in alliance with a supernatural army, bringing about amazing, mysterious, God-glorifying results: By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if by dry land; but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight (Heb. 12:29-34).
Isn’t it about time for evangelical Christians in America to decide to respond to the Holy Spirit’s urging to join the armies of God for another mighty historic full-scale spiritual awakening? What else remains for our broken, backslidden, divided, debt-strangled nation to try? Who else can we trust but our faithful, gracious, merciful God?
In 1857, even as the Civil War fever was rising, a prayer warrior by the name of Jeremiah Lanphier rallied prayer warriors in New York City for seeking God for a nation-wide revival. Churches, halls, and theaters soon filled with passionate praying for revival. Within weeks, the great prayer revival spread to all major cities on the east coast and touched as far west as Chicago and Cincinnati. Unlike preceding revivals, the prayer movement did not feature prominent preachers such as Charles Finney, Henry Ward Beecher, or D. L. Moody. Even though these evangelists strongly supported the revival, it was not a preaching revival; it was a prayer revival—the kind that attracted the heavenly hosts, the unseen forces commanded by the Almighty One.
Even if the 1857-1860 revival did not prevent the unCivil War, it prepared the way for President Lincoln to wisely and faithfully appoint military leaders, prepare the way for abolition of slavery, preserve the Union, and lay the foundation for reuniting the country.
Christians, God is inviting His people to accept His invitation for us to allow His intervention: If my people, who are called by my name 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 (II Chron. 7:14). We are to meet His conditions, and then He’ll hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land.
Are we humble enough to acknowledge our condition? Humble enough to pray?
Humble enough to realize that we are broken, divided and incapable of fixing our country? Humble enough to confess that we are sick enough that only the Divine Physician can bring us together and heal us up?
Are we ready to pray, confessing spiritual pride, unbelief, materialism, ill will, self-righteousness, prayerlessness, and hypocrisy?
Are we willing to turn from our wicked ways? Willing to change, forgive, ask God for grace to reform, and trust Him for inner strength to adopt loving attitudes?
A word to Christian prayer warriors: In my considered opinion, never in the 236 years of our nation’s existence has America been in such dire straits—depression, debt, division, demagoguery, and depravity. With a broken government, a paralyzed church, and a furious, frustrated, and confused population, we should seriously consider what President Abraham Lincoln called for several times when our nation was locked in an impasse during the Civil War—“days of prayers and repentance reinforced with fasting.” Dear people, the way out of our dilemma is not through the shrewdness of politicians (neither Democratic nor Republican), not through the wealth of the money lords, not through the marvels of science and technology, and certainly not through the religion of the lukewarm church. Our hope is in divine intervention alone! He is ready to move, but the ball is in our court, the onus is on those who have confessed Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and who have been adopted into His family, and in whom abides the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of power, prayer, passion, vision, faith, hope, and love.
Call unto Me, Almighty God says, and I will answer you and show you great and hidden things that you have not seen (Jeremiah 33:3).
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen!
My fellow clergy and my brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s call upon the Lord to help us discover a deeper level of intercessory prayer. Let’s declare a curfew on the criticism of politicians, the bashing of leaders, and the neglect of the secret place of prayer. Let us learn to engage in a new kind of praying—what King David, our Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul, Andrew Murray, E. M. Bounds, Leonard Ravenhill, and Wesley Duewel called Revival Praying. Let’s get serious in our asking. Let’s become passionate in our seeking. And let’s remain desperate in our knocking until revival comes.
America has experienced three mighty historic spiritual awakenings. Time is running out on us. Too many generations have come and gone without seeing mighty moves of the Spirit of God on our nation in revival. We must put on the whole armor of God, become filled with the Spirit, and prepare to wrestle against this present darkness until the heavenly hosts join forces and save our beloved country before we are totally lost. In the three great awakenings it was not the shrewdness of politicians, nor the piety of preachers, nor the goodness of the population that saved us. It was a merciful God! When the fire fell, the people with conviction cried, The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!
With the prophet Habakkuk, let us cry, Do it again, Lord! And with the psalmist David let us plead, Wilt Thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in Thee?
Response to ESTELLE
I am humbly grateful to the Lord for blessing the distribution of the book ESTELLE. The book came out in early January and by the last of February about 200 copies were circulating.
We’ve had about 50 phone calls, e-mails, and letters expressing positive impressions. Thirty individuals have responded tearfully, declaring that the Holy Spirit was convicting them of their “shoddy,” “shallow,” or “cheap” prayer life and avowing to begin to seek God in earnest for personal, family, or congregational revival.
After several volunteer reviews were written, including those of three Christian authors, and entered on Amazon’s website, sales are starting to increase for both the paperback book and the Kindle e-book.
To God be the glory for answering prayer and using Estelle Tharp’s prayer ministry to stir our hearts to pray for our desperately needed revival.
All revenues are paid to Christian Renewal for ministries.