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How Prayer Changes Things

Lord, I ask that you would close that place. Put it out of business, Lord.

I prayed that prayer nearly every day for seven years. My wife reminded me about that the other day because the Lord had answered my prayer. I hadn’t realized it had finally happened.

The Dirty Sock

The Silk Stocking was a strip club down the road from our house in College Station, Texas. In fact, as far as I know, it was the only strip club in town. I had to pass it every time I went pretty much anywhere, so I made a habit of praying for its closure every time I saw it.

I had actually started praying that it would close back when I was a college student and some of my classmates lovingly referred to it as “The Dirty Sock.” I prayed that it would close and that none of the people I knew would ever go there.

After seven years of praying almost every day and another decade of praying anytime I thought of it or saw it, it finally closed.

Why Prayer Works

Prayer works. It just does. It does not work because of some etherial forces. It does not work because it makes us feel better. It does not work because we become more aware of the need for change within us. It does not work because our minds are cleared from wrong thinking.

Prayer works because there is a real God who really hears our prayers. Some of those other things may be good by-products of prayer, but they make prayer a waste of time if that is what you expect. Prayer should only ever be thought of as communication with a loving God who actually hears and desires to respond.

Planned Parenthood

In 1999, when Planned Parenthood decided to expand their clinic in Bryan, Texas to include abortion services, the churches in Bryan and College Station banded together and started an organization called the Coalition for Life. Their main goal was to pray for the closure of the Planned Parenthood in Bryan.

The organization grew to do more than that, but it never lost its focus. It prayed. We prayed. The city prayed. Groups would almost constantly be in front of the building praying for the women inside and for the clinic to close. In August of 2013 the clinic closed, but not until after it made some national headlines a few years before.

Abby Johnson (http://www.abbyjohnson.org) was the clinic director and had been asked to assist in an abortion for the first time in her career. After seeing a little baby die live on the ultrasound monitor, her world changed. She went from being one of Planned Parenthood’s most outspoken and prized clinic directors to one of the nation’s most firebrand pro-life advocates. After the procedure, she walked across the street into the offices of the Coalition for Life and asked what she could do next. They were shocked, to say the least.

Even the clinic building is now owned by some of the pro-life doctors who supported Coalition for Life, Haywood and Noreen Johnson. Check out their website, http://brazosmedical.com.

The answers to our prayers don’t always look that dramatic, but when we do not give up, our prayers will always be answered.

Faith Defined: Keep Praying

The power of fervent, consistent prayers over years are amazing. Praying for the same thing for a long time is hard, but that is actually how God ordained prayer to work.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I donʼt fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she wonʼt eventually come and attack me!’ ”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Luke 18:1-8

I don’t know why God made it to where we have to pray consistently over time, sometimes years, but He did. That’s just how it works, and He’s the one who gets to decide how it works.

But it works.

It really changes things, because we have a loving God who really hears and He really acts on our behalf, and on behalf of our faith. He defines faith not in what we ask, but in whether or not we will continue to ask.

The Better Solution

The most amazing thing about how God works is that He is way better at accomplishing what we ask for than we would be if we just tried to do it ourselves.

When we get belligerent and militant about not getting our way, we do more harm than good. We turn people off or lock their heart in opposition. When abortion doctors are murdered, it only emboldens abortion advocates. When “Christians” remind strippers of how terrible they are, or how women walking into an abortion clinic are going to hell, it only hardens peoples’ hearts.

But when we pray, and ask God to change things that seem too far above our pay grade, He gives us a clinic director who knows how to offer people working in clinics who want out a way out. When we ask for God to close a strip club, He does it and then provides a church in town that goes out of their way to reach out to every stripper and help them find new work to provide for themselves and their families (that happened for the strippers of Silk Stocking, by the way).

The 7:14 Prayer

The Lord spoke to me about the dire situation America was in back in 2003. I wrote a book titled The Year of the Lord’s Favor based on that encounter, and out of that book I started a prayer movement to encourage people to pray with me.

Now I pray twice a day, at 7:14 am and 7:14 pm, a prayer based on 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“Lord, have mercy on America and Your church for our wickedness. Give us humility and raise up a praying church to seek Your face. Forgive us and heal our land, Lord.”

I pray this twice a day because I know the power of consistent, fervent prayer over years. I have seen it work, and I know why it works. The God who hears our prayers is way better at answering them than we are at making what we want happen by ourselves.

I encourage you to join with me in praying for America. Go to 714Prayer.org and join the movement to pray twice a day with us.

Or maybe you have something bigger than yourself you want to see changed? Lost children, hurting family and friends, or injustice in your city? Begin praying, and set your mind to pray until God answers, even if the answer comes beyond your years.

Because prayer works.

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Articles Saving America

After The Election…

Tomorrow, barring any kind of “hanging chad” controversy, our long national tragedy will be over.

The election results will be in and around 50% of Americans will feel the nation is on the right track and 50% will believe it’s about to completely fall apart. That’s nothing new, at least not for the past several decades. What is new is that most Americans will not be especially happy with who will occupy the White House, regardless of who wins.

Regardless of who wins, there is a sense among almost everyone that our nation is sliding. Depending on who you ask, that slide will take many different forms, but that sense is very prophetic. The Lord is stirring people’s hearts to understand that something is very wrong.

The candidates that were chosen are not a mistake, but a perfect reflection of who America is and where we stand. After the election, when only one is left, we will not be better off, no matter who is elected. The Lord is trying to use this process to awaken us to pray. To return to Him. To seek His face.

Outcome #1: The Donald

History gives me little faith that this is what will happen. What I foresee happening is that if Donald Trump wins, most Christians will rejoice that “God’s man for the hour” has been selected and the nation will be on its way back to God and trust that the politicians we have chosen will return to us the nation we think we deserve. Evangelicals will fall lockstep with the Republican party in wanting to support our president in whatever he chooses to do, because God gave us a man who will “make America great again.”

Christians who have been praying for this outcome, not necessarily for America to repent and return to the Lord, will settle in and either stop praying for our nation altogether, or pray very little. They will make excuses when Republicans do little to move the causes of religious liberty, abortion and fiscal responsibility in the right direction. They will simply assume that since the “right candidate” won, God is on our side.

Outcome #2: A Clinton

What I foresee happening if Hillary Clinton wins is that every evangelical Christian will throw their hands up in disgust and prophesy the end of America as we know it. They will call the nation to prayer and fasting so that God will have mercy on our souls, but use those prayer times mostly as opportunities to speak evil against her. Instead of praying and fasting for God to forgive us and heal our land, they will lament what could have been.

Why I See This

That is what I foresee, not prophetically, but from experience. I watched as George W. Bush, “God’s chosen vessel,” was elected to end the years of the evil Clintons. I watched as people stopped gathering to pray for our nation. I watched as we were attacked and people chose to put their faith in “God’s man” to do the right thing rather than to weep between the porch and the altar for our nation.

As the Lord shook our country, instead of falling on our faces before the Lord, we chose to believe that He had given us the right leadership because our president went to church. We watched in near solidarity as we attacked countries that had nothing to do with 9/11, as the pro-life cause legislatively stalled out almost entirely and as government was expanded in ways never before imagined.

I watched as Barack Obama was elected how so many threw up their arms in disgust. They believed that our nation was headed for the toilet. It motivated people to fast and pray, again mostly to bash the wrong man that God could not have appointed, but people did pray. I watched as the pro-life movement doubled down and began to see real change, not just legislatively, but also in action.

For both of our past presidents, I have seen complacency and pessimism, respectively, among most believers as to the direction of our nation. I see that happening again regardless of who is elected.

A More Excellent Way

That is what I foresee. But there is a better way.

The truth is that regardless of who has been in our highest office, our nation has continued to slide. The candidates we have now is a mirror reflecting our current state as a nation. The Lord is trying to get our attention to fast and pray for the direction of our country.

What I pray happens after the election this year is that believers would gather together to fast and pray regardless of who is elected, because they see the truth that neither candidate will be able to right our ship. Our nation’s trouble is bigger than either candidate. We are in a place where only supernatural intervention can spare us from the fate we have before us.

If Donald Trump is elected, will you choose to pray for our nation and pray for our leader that his heart will be humbled to the point where God can use him to direct our nation down the path of the prayers of the saints?

If Hillary Clinton is elected, will you choose to  pray for our nation and pray for our leader that her heart will be humbled to the point where God can use her to direct our nation down the path of the prayers of the saints?

The Lord’s Choice Is To Motivate Us

That is our path forward. That is our path toward healing. Prayer that the Lord will humble our leaders to the point where they can hear His voice and follow it, regardless of who is elected. Neither candidate is beyond being humbled by God so that they can hear and respond to His loving voice and direction.

Neither is worthy of our full trust and neither is worthy of our complete scorn.

The one who wins will be the Lord’s choice for the direction of our nation. That direction will not be their policy platform, but the sum total of the prayers of the saints for this land. The Lord will choose one, and His choice is not a vote in confidence of their character, but a tool to motivate His people to pray and cry out.

Will you commit to praying even more for the direction of our nation than you have been before the election? Now is not the time to let up, but to double down and seek the Lord for mercy over our nation.

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Articles Saving America Year of the Lord's Favor

A Sign And A Seal

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Articles Saving America

Do You Want A King Or The Lord To Fight Your Battles?

This has been burning on my heart the past few days and I wanted to share it with you. Please take time this week to pray for our nation.

Head on over to 714prayer.org if you’d like to join in praying for America twice a day.

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Saving America

Is God On Our Side?

It was a common thought during the civil war that God was on the side of the Union. Equally as common was the notion that God was on the side of the Confederacy.

The same was true during World War II. The same could be said in countless other struggles, political battles, and just to throw in the depth of absurdity this reasoning takes, between two professional sports teams. How can two groups of people claim that God is on their side when they are opposing each other? Doesn’t one have to be wrong?

The Lord Is On His Side

The truth is that normally both are wrong. Let’s hear what Abraham Lincoln had to say about the conflict between the North and South in his day:

Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”

Abraham Lincoln in his second Inaugural address

Abraham Lincoln seemed to be the only person, North or South, who expressed the correct sentiment: that God was judging the nation for the specific ill of slavery. He was not on either side, He was on His side, waiting for the nation to join Him.

We seem to be in a similar situation today. We have two candidates that no one in good faith can swear by, yet we hear it every day why we should vote for one or the other. It is generally in terms of how God can only use this person or how if one or the other is elected, God’s favor will surely be removed from our nation.

We would do well to listen again to Lincoln’s powerful words. Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump as our two choices for the most powerful person on earth is no coincidence. It is a setup from the God who chooses every leader, great or small.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Romans 13:1

Process, Party and Person

I have been hearing many Christians clamor about how we must vote for Donald Trump, or else, as well as Christians and others say just the contrary, all invoking the name of the Lord, whether in sincerity or in vain. Instead of realizing just how sad a situation we are in, many people are doubling down and trying to rely on a process, a party and a person.

The Lord is trying to get the attention of His people. He does not want us placing our faith in anyone other than Him. When our hope grows more and more misguided, He will at first gently, then later less gently, correct our path.

Wake Up!

Donald vs. Hillary is a wake up call from the Lord. Not a wake up call to save the nation, but one that beckons us to understand that we are already so horribly askew that we should fall to our knees. Unfortunately, I see just the opposite today. More people seem to be trusting in the process, party or the person.

God is showing us that we need to be repenting and praying, yet we further indebt ourselves to the problems that have gotten us here. I hear the Lord speaking to His people, “when will my people seek My counsel?” How long until we ask the Lord where these things are leading us?

George Mason, one of our founding fathers, made a salient remark about slavery, but one that aptly applies to today as well:

Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven on a Country. As nations can not be rewarded or punished in the next world they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes & effects providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.

National Judgment

No nation is judged before the throne of the Lord in heaven, but in this age on the earth during their appointed time. America is under judgment, and our current election is proof of the Lord for this. It is not the wayward decisions of some tea party crazies or liberal elites. It is the Lord.

How many sins can we think of that are approved of, and even funded by, our government today? If the Lord was willing to judge the nation for slavery in such horrific terms, how much more so for our shedding of innocent blood that happens every day?

It is time to wake up. This election has already been lost, no matter who wins. It is time to earnestly seek the Lord, repent and pray for our future. Who knows, maybe the Lord will have mercy on us and leave a blessing instead of a curse.

Complicity

One final thought: George Mason was a slave owner himself, which should give us pause to our situation today. How much greater should our repentance be when we, as the church, realize how complicit and institutionally involved in the very ills of our time we have been?

We are no different from George Mason; in no less a time of peril than Abraham Lincoln, although we may not know it yet. We need the Lord alone to step in and change our course. No process, party or person can change that now.

Lord, forgive our many sins and have mercy on us.