Learning To Lead Prayer In the Midst of Crisis
6 Keys To Responding As A Leader
Acknowledging the crisis in our Nation-
Acknowledging crisis doesn’t mean that we have a comprehensive understanding of everything involved, it means that we admit things are not ok and we are in need of divine intervention.
Understanding its impact-
Seek to understand the impact of the major issues. For example, abortion, the redefinition of marriage, racial tensions, national indebtedness, the church shifting from certain Biblical absolutes etc.
A nation in crisis affects all of us-
This is an invitation for all to pray.
Understanding the Biblical response-
As the world hurries for a solution we are called to be an intercessory first-responder people. This doesn’t mean we are not active in society and government, it means that we understand prayer as the primary means by which God ordains change and transformation.
Make fresh commitments-
In the busyness of leadership it is easy to forget to pray. Make a fresh commitment to pursue the Lord in the place of prayer and Bible-study.
Pursue unity within the body-
There is a critical need for pastors, leaders and intercessors to learn to work together in preference, honor and maturity. We will go farther with a team approach.
“Therefore, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” -Rom.14:19
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. -2 Tim.2:22
As a leader our presence and our participation in the prayer meeting speaks volumes. Leaders ought to be the first in the prayer line. Start or attend a prayer meeting that meets regularly to prayer for our nation, city and region. This can be a challenge because of schedule and ministry priority, however biblically speaking, there is no greater priority than the place of intercession
Contending For A Nation In Crisis
Reaching for Spiritual Awakening Through Intercession
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34
Our nation currently finds itself at another crucial crossroads. With the election bearing down on us America scrambles to define herself according to two primary candidates. In the last handful of years, we have witnessed an almost unprecedented erosion of traditional biblical values alongside the rapid rise of militant secularism in the highest positions of influence in our land. Social infrastructures are once again being shaken as deep-rooted fissures are awakened related to a sudden re-emphasis on racial injustices. Our economic future balances precariously on the edge of a global program of nations fighting relentlessly for their own supremacy. Issues such as border protection, religious inclusivism and the redefinition of marriage and gender assignment push their way to the forefront of the current cultural swell. The church has witnessed the downward spiral of a trending in the last decade leading to the increasing influence of postmodernism as a critical hermeneutic as well as, in some cases, a full-fledged retreat from the encroachment of federal regulations in the form of an abandonment of biblical absolutes. Compounded, we have begun a dangerous shift in our allegiance with the state of Israel and the Jewish people and issues such as domestic terrorism, the increase and protection of abortion at a federal and the proliferation of hyper-sexualization in our elementary and middle schools remind us that we have yet to see the full manifestation of wickedness in America.
The good news is that God has a hope and a redemptive plan for America should she return to Him. The scriptures tell us that if any nation should turn from their wickedness and embrace Him, that God would not only relent from judgment, but that He would release tremendous and wide-spread blessing in its place.
“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.” Jer.18:7-10
God has not tasked either the Republican or Democratic parties nor any other social or political movement with the responsibility for turning a nation. Instead He has chosen to grace His own people with such a great trust. He has determined that repentance and intercession would lead the way to massive cultural and spiritual awakening whose cultural transformation would be reflected in the leadership, values and direction of America.
Many of us are familiar with the potential of such glorious passages as 2 Chron. 14:7, “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.” God has chosen the ministry of intercession as the way forward for His kingdom in the affairs of man. Since the beginning God has sought for friends who would seek His mercy and intervention on behalf of those who do not know Him and even His enemies.
Passages such as Joel 2, Is.58 and Mal. 3 tell us that if we, His people, would return to Him with all of our hearts, then He would restrain His hand of judgment and release blessing instead.
Some have been discouraged over the years though, as prayer meetings and intercessory gatherings have seemed to yield little in the way of nation-wide repentance. But we must remember that God is summoning an entire nation to Himself and this takes endurance, clarity of message and real time and effort. If the problem persists than the prayers must persist. We are to be an intercessory first-responder people whose repentance takes the form in real time, of genuine love for Jesus and love for our neighbor. Continued intercession on God’s terms will always produce long-lasting fruit in our words and works. Jesus taught in Lk.18 that we are to pray and not lose heart because He would hear our prayer and in response would bring justice.
The scriptures promise spiritual awakening for a repentant nation as well as protection at our borders, economic and agricultural prosperity, restoration for lost years and a global reputation for mercy and compassion (Joel 2:12-32). In addition, God promises to personally deal with witchcraft and the encroachment of false religions, rampant immorality, the sanctity of marriage and governmental and corporate corruption and greed as well as to insist upon reform in foreign policy (Mal.3:1-5). Is.58 tells us that when our repentance translates to responding in love in practical ways to those around us, in particular to the poor and oppressed that God will respond in great power to our prayer meetings while giving the church supernatural protection from difficulties and using her as a light which gives direction to the nation.
As a church we begin our return to Him when we respond to the Spirit’s exhortation through the word to acknowledge the sin in our midst, to address it clearly, to commit and begin to turn from it and to call others to live righteously. God honors our returning to Him with a returning to us. His return to us involves the release of his presence in our gatherings and the working of His Spirit in our families, businesses and witness.
America’s hope does not ultimately lie in the Oval Office. There is One who sits sovereignly enthroned over every nation, who as He wishes, can turn the hearts of even the most powerful kings (Prov.21:1).
Our job as intercessors extends long past the election. Our righteous actions combined with our ceaseless prayer will serve to guide a nation into encounter with God while we contend for the release of His Kingdom in fullness in the form of an historic spiritual awakening sweeping through every city and every state in our Union.
Standing As A Company of Intercessory First-Responders
Prayer As A Culture
The scriptures make a definitive statement regarding the culture of the church when they declare, “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Is.56:7). In this statement God has by design both worship and intercession in mind in context to the corporate gatherings of His people in His presence.
Paul reflects the values of this statement in Rom.15:16 when he speaks to the church in a city, “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Regional unity in the church exists to serve as a platform for making known the glory of Jesus. Around His heavenly throne right now, there is a corporate worship and prayer meeting whose primary focus is to both sing and declare the un-surpassing beauty of the Godhead (Rev.4-5). We remember Jesus’ words when He taught His disciples to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt.6:10). God leads His people into the depths of enjoyment and agreement with Him by releasing His presence as we worship together. In the place of agreement, we ask Him to release His will; this is called intercession.
Mal.1:11 declares, “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name…” (Mal.1:11). The offering of incense was part of Israel’s worship of God and represented the prayers of the saints ascending before Him (Ps.141:2; Rev.5:3-4). Malachi prophesies of a day when the church in every nation would be identified as a praying people.
The apostolic [first century] church was cut from the bedrock of dependency on the Spirt and longing for the nearness of Jesus (Mt.9:15). Consider the following statement which served to define the priorities of early church culture, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Ac.6:4
The culture of the church is to be a culture of dynamic engagement with the Holy Spirit through the ministries of worship and intercession. As the body of Christ, we have the privilege and responsibility of helping to proclaim and mobilize this glorious aspect of our identity in Jesus.
Prayer In Times Of Crisis
In this age, prayer has two primary focuses biblically. The first is to produce mature love in us as we connect with the deep things of God’s heart. The second is to allow us to functionally stand as a watchmen people on behalf of our generation (Ezek.22:30). Often in the scriptures the call to prayer came in context to great national crisis. This stands true in our day as well. Our nation is facing unprecedented challenges in nearly every sector of society and government, not the least of which is a radical shift from our Judeo-Christian roots and the postmodernization of a church seeking, at many levels, to reinvent itself apart from difficult biblical absolutes.
Even a brief survey of current global events should instantly propel us into the place of radical intercession. The call to prayer summons the people of God into a heart-posture of repentance and seeks to thrust us into the reality of regularly scheduled corporate intercession (Joel 2:15-17).
God first defines crisis as a refusal to respond to His mercy by loving Him and keeping His commands (Lk.19:41-44). Any nation that refuses to do this distances itself from the Lord and will ultimately come underneath His judgment (Jer.18:7-11). Declaring God as a righteous judge is a controversial subject, even within His church. It distorts our view of Him and the message of His Son through the gospels. We have difficulty reconciling two seemingly contradictory aspects to God’s nature. However, we are to understand that telling the truth constitutes clearly declaring both the good and the difficult about God’s dealings with humanity. This is part of what it means to be a faithful witness, as Jesus was and still is (Jn.7:18; Rev.1:5). We are to be faithful with the truth no matter how difficult it is because God desires that all men would have a clear witness of the truth and because He desires to relent from bringing judgment and release blessing in its place (Joel 2:14, Mal 3:1-6).