I am thankful that the Lord instructs us how to pray. We want to pray what is on God’s heart and mind, agreeing with what He feels is important for us to pray. We want to hear from Him and respond with intercession by praying for others or a certain situation. This can be difficult to do as there are so many things that vie for our attention, so it is encouraging to see the ways the Lord helps us to know what and how to pray.
I had a small encounter that has fueled my prayers concerning praying for the United States. I had a short dream around October 15. In the dream I was talking to a group of people from the book of Joel. Joel is a prophetic book in the Old Testament, and specifically Joel 2 is a Scripture that is insightful to us as to how we as the people of God should respond in a time of crisis. The command in the book of Joel is to gather the people together, cry out to God, and return to Him with all our heart. Then in the dream, a man, who I feel represented the Lord and also faithfulness in the word of God, said to me, “Look at Athaliah.” It was almost as if that phrase was added to the message of Joel I was sharing.
So, who was Athaliah? In the Scripture, Athaliah was a wicked woman, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, two of the wickedest rulers in Israel’s history. She married Jehoram, the son of Jehosophat, one of the kings of the southern kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 8:16-18). Their son, Ahaziah, reigned after Jehoram died. Both her husband and her son “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Ahaziah walked in wickedness like the house of Ahab. His mother, Athalia, advised Him to do wickedly. She was a great proponent of Baal worship which included much idolatry and sexual immorality. In 2 Kings 11:1-21, it is recorded that after Ahaziah’s death Athaliah usurped the throne and killed all the rightful, royal heirs to the throne. From the heirs, Joash was spared and hidden for 6 years in the house of the Lord. At the right time, Jehoida, the priest, along with the military captains and their thousands of armed men, arranged for a rightful coronation of the young King Joash. As a result, Athaliah was slain, Joash took the throne, and the temple of Baal was destroyed. For part of his reign, Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord. Joash even instructed the temple of the Lord to be repaired.
For me, the Lord highlighted this account through this short dream to alert me to pray about some of these things in connection to our current national situation.
First of all, we need to look at what Athaliah promoted. It was Baal worship. This is not pleasing to God. In America, we see the promotion of the evil practices of sexual immorality and idolatry. We need to recognize those who are promoting this in our nation and call it for what it is, Baal worship.
Athaliah usurped the throne. This parallels a real desire in some in this nation to take positions of authority illegally. We need to pray against it. As we look around our nation we see individuals and groups grabbing for authority that is not rightfully theirs, and seeking to overthrow government and authority with violence, rioting, and destruction. This is not godly, but lawless. As we approach this election on Tuesday, there is more and more talk of subversion of authority. I believe that we need to pray for these attempts to usurp rightful authority to be brought to nothing and be made ineffective.
Athaliah also killed the rightful heirs. We need to pray for threats against rightful leaders and godly leaders to be halted. We need to also pray that those who are in positions of leadership would embrace godly principles and policies (I Timothy 2:1-4). We need to pray for those God has “hidden away” to come into rightful places of authority at the right time. I believe this happened with the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett at this time to help preserve the godly principles in our nation’s founding document and to be used to end abortion in our land.
When there is so much going on in our nation, it can be overwhelming to know how to focus our prayers. It can be discouraging and depressing to look around and see the crisis and trouble. Yet as believers in the Lord and because He instructs us to pray, it is imperative that we pray in these times. It is imperative we know His character and ways in the Scripture. We find in the Word important directives of what to pray (for the church, people in authority, etc). Even so, we can be overwhelmed by the mountains of needs/crisis/tumult we need to pray about. I am encouraged that He can reveal to us how to focus our prayers. I am thankful He gives specific direction in what to pray in the Scripture. Let’s ask Him to help us pray about the things on His heart, interceding for others and our nation according to His word and ways.
When I heard about the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg I had quite a different reaction than I thought I would. I heard the news when I was at one of our regular Tri-Cities House of Prayer Friday night prayer meetings. A wave of grief hit me and I wept. I have actually thought many times before about when her passing would be. This influential Supreme Court Justice had fought her way through many health battles and yet she remained on the court at 87 years of age until her death.
Justice Ginsburg was a champion for women’s rights to choose abortion and the LGBT community. Yet, in an interesting way, she won her way into my heart. Let me explain.
I didn’t even know who Justice Ginsburg was until about 10 years ago. I first heard about her when I became involved in a 40 Days for Life campaign in 2010, a movement that focuses on praying in front of abortion clinics worldwide. I was involved in those campaigns for about 9 years.
During those campaigns, we would pray for issues pertaining to life in our region and our nation. We would pray for the Supreme Court, many times praying by name for individuals on the court. I personally would pray for those who were pro-choice to be removed from their seat, retire, or repent. Specifically with Justice Ginsburg, I didn’t agree with her view on abortion and promotion of it as a woman’s right.
I will be honest, I don’t know much about the personal life of Ginsburg or her history. I did find plenty to disagree with when reading about her. I found her statements about the US Constitution shocking and disturbing. I didn’t agree with the pro-LGBT views she supported and backed. Yet I found over the years my heart become burdened for her. Whenever we would pray for the Supreme Court, I would remember her and many times weep for her.
I also knew that Justice Ginsburg was Jewish. Being a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I knew she had not accepted Him as her Messiah. So, I would pray for her to know Messiah. Her life also intersected with my burden for the Jewish people (Romans 10 and 11).
This brings me to September 18,, 2020. I wept upon hearing she passed. I literally was grieving over the lost soul of this woman. Not only hers but many Jews who do not know Messiah, many people who do not know Jesus as Savior. I got up on the microphone and prayed through my tears. I prayed that many would consider their end when they heard of the passing of Justice Ginsburg. I prayed that many Jews would receive the Lord.
I began to see that my heart was experiencing in a very small way the grief God must feel when people reject the very One sent to reconcile men to Himself, the solution for our sinful state.
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36
In order to have eternal life with God we must trust in His Son. So when Ruth Ginsburg died my reaction was to weep. I didn’t want to see her separated from her Creator for all eternity. And as many rejoiced more over a vacant seat on the Supreme court in hopes to be filled with a “pro-life” judge, I was reminded of the state of men’s and women’s souls who do not know Him and the eternity they will spend in torment.
Lord, help us to consider the state of other people’s souls and their need for a Savior. Help us to pray with fervency that they would be won to Christ. Help us to be led by love to the place of intercession for their souls. In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
The Return was a solemn assembly prayer meeting on the Mall in Washington, DC on Saturday, September 26th. The description of this even is: “A movement, an appointed time, and a specific day set apart for one purpose – the return to God, that there be a coming before His presence in humility, in sincerity in prayer and repentance, that there be intercession for America, for each other, and for oneself, for God’s mercy, for salvation, for healing, for revival, for restoration, and for the fulfillment of God’s purposes for America and all who dwell within it.”
It was truly a sacred gathering with a focus of Joel 2; returning to the Lord in fasting and humility. This was the same day that Franklin Graham gathered many on the Mall and led a prayer walk.
If you would like some more information about it, you can go to www.thereturn.org. On the site the mission of the event is explained, along with testimonials, as well as a replay of the event.
Ruth and I tuned in with the Tri-Cities House of Prayer. They hosted a gathering where we participated via webstream. We were tuned in from 8pm to 5pm that day. Julie and our kids tuned in at home. I was particularly impacted by several things about the event.
One aspect of the event that greatly encouraged me was seeing so many leaders in various arenas, ministries, and ministers of different streams in the body of Christ come together under one banner of return to the Lord. Some of which were Carter Conlon of Times Square Church in New York City, Ann Graham Lotz, Dick Eastman, Michael W. Smith, Paul Wilbur, Ben Carson.
Jonathan Cahn delivered a prophetic word to America in the middle of the day that I feel like every believer in the body of Christ would benefit from hearing. CLICK HERE for the link to that message, The Potter’s Jar. God is truly calling us to return to Him; what will our response be in this time of human history?
During the solemn assembly a proclamation came from the White House declaring a national day of Return for America. It was also the same day Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court.
Within the corporate gathering, God was speaking to me, and dealing with me individually. He was helping to change my perspective. He was pointing out areas in my life that need adjusting, areas of sin and idolatry that I need to repent of. It reminded me of another gathering I had been a part of that resulted in a significant shift in my life. I know this event will be something I meditate on for a while.
I shared some reflections on the event at our church, Hosanna Fellowship, the following Sunday morning. CLICK HERE to watch that video.
Matthew or Julie Wine