Prayer Targets: Whitefield; Movie; Religious Liberty; IRS; Obamacare; Prison, Colleges, Israel
February 26, 2014
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord... Acts 3:19
Dear Praying Friends,
George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a pivotal leader in the Great Awakening in America and Great Britain. From a working-class home, Whitefield traded work for tuition at Oxford University, doing menial labor for the school and fellow students. He found Christ at Oxford and became a founder of the Methodist movement along with John Wesley. The two were life-long friends despite major theological differences. Whitefield graduated in 1736 and left for America to preach in 1738. His journals reveal a consecrated young man with an amazingly mature Christian temperament. Detained for two weeks in Gibraltar, he used the time to preach. From his journal:
Had near, if not more than, a hundred at morning exposition; and it being the last day of my sojourning at Gibraltar, many came to me weeping, telling me what God had done for their souls, desiring my prayers, and promising theirs in return. Others both gave and sent me tokens of their love, as cake, figs, wine, eggs, and other necessaries for my voyage, and seemed to want words to express their affection. The good Lord note their kindnesses in his book and reward them a thousand fold!
About twelve, went to church according to appointment, and made a farewell exhortation as God gave me utterance, to a great number of weeping soldiers, women, etc. After which, we kneeled down, and having recommended each other to care of God, I left them, and went and took my leave of the two generals; visited the confined prisoner; dined at a gentlewoman's house of the town; left near fifty letters to be sent to England; and, about four, went on board, accompanied to the seaside with near two hundred soldiers, women, officers, etc., who sorrowed at my departure, and wished me good luck in the Name of the Lord. Surely I may now expect greater success abroad, having such an addition of intercessors in my behalf. O Lord put their tears into Thy bottle, and let their cry come unto Thee!
Sampson's riddle has been fulfilled at Gibraltar. "Out of the eater came forth meat; out of the strong came forth sweetness." Who more unlikely to be wrought upon than soldiers? And yet, amongst any set of people, I have not been where God has made his power more to be known... This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes. May he give a blessing to the books disbursed amongst them, and perfect the good work begun in their hearts, till the day of our Lord Jesus! May they be my joy and crown of rejoicing at the last day, and may God's mercies to me in every place make me more humble, more zealous, more thankful, and more steady to do or suffer whatever my dear Redeemer have allotted for me (George Whitefield's Journals, March 6, 1738).
In two weeks, God mightily moved upon the soldiers and townspeople who came to hear Whitefield (apparently mostly women) at Gibraltar. They wept like the Ephesian elders who said their last goodbyes to the Apostle Paul at Miletus (Acts 20:17ff). Whitefield's listeners pledged to pray for his ministry in America. He blessed them in response, and he firmly expected "greater success" because of their prayers. Many American pastors rejected Whitefield, fearful of the emotion they heard took place in his meetings. Their rejection drove him to the streets and fields, where crowds of 25,000 would gather to hear the message of Jesus Christ. In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin refused to believe Whitefield's voice could carry far enough to reach such crowds until he heard for himself (more next week). Whitefield was just 26 years old when God brought him to America. As at Gibraltar, may God hear our prayers and raise up leaders to usher in another Great Awakening! We must persevere, stand in the gap, and battle the evil in our land without fainting, until the tide of revival changes our hearts and the hearts of our countrymen.
Son of God: The Movie - What will God use in 2014 to stir Awakening in America? The young George Whitefield, before he was born-again at Oxford, studied plays and played roles in student productions. Later, he became known for his highly dramatic preaching. In a whirlwind national tour of media interviews, Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) have called their movie a "love story" for an "under-served" audience. The movie, which will premiere nationwide Friday night, will answer the hunger so many Americans have expressed for family-friendly movies, but the goal of the producers is to win people to Christ. The Jesus Film (1979), based upon the book of Luke, has been used by Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU), to win millions of people for Christ. CRU missionaries have taken the movie to cities and villages worldwide, many previously unreached by the gospel. Perhaps Son of God will grip a generation yet unreached here at home and be similarly used around the world (see Son of God Website & Trailer, Christian Post, Tony Perkins on Hannity; The Jesus Film, Whitefield as Actor).
- May Son of God be used by the Holy Spirit directly and as a tool by those who know Him, to lead millions of souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus. May this movie cause people everywhere, like George Whitefield's preaching did, to talk about Jesus in the public square and to be a catalyst to genuine Awakening! (Mt 24:14; Mk 4:33-34; Jn 1:1-14; Acts 1:8; 3:19; Rom 10:9-15; 2 Cor 11:3; 2 Tim 4:2-5; 1 Pet 1:18-25)
25 Pro-Marriage States Now Under Legal Assault - The ACLU, HRC, other pro-homosexual rights groups and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have mounted a full-scale legal and public relations war on natural marriage. According to FRC experts, of the 33 states that have laws or constitutional amendments upholding traditional marriage, 25 states currently have litigation challenging them. Pro-homosexual activists are also engaging in lobbying and legal action to force Christian businesspeople to provide services to homosexual "marriage" celebrations against their religious conscience (e.g., photographers, bakers, florists, marriage venue landlords). They have prevailed in some places, even at the state Supreme Court level. Six state attorneys general have unilaterally declared they will not enforce their state's marriage laws. Newly elected Virginia AG Mark Herring has joined a lawsuit challenging his own state's marriage amendment, ratified by 57% of the voters.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking at a Governors Association meeting this week, encouraged state attorneys general to defy their oath of office and disregard their states' laws regarding marriage, "if they don't agree with them." Lawlessness among elected officials and judges is near critical mass. In Arizona, a full scale assault by pro-homosexual activists is underway against the Arizona Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 1062), a state law similar to the federal law. Current legislation would amend the 1999 Arizona law to clarify that businesses can assert a legal defense against religious discrimination. Homosexual activists are demanding that Gov. Jan Brewer veto the law, saying it gives Christian businesses the right to discriminate (e.g., deny a gay customer an ice cream cone), likening it to "Jim Crow" laws. Experts say, not so (see Holder: Ignore the Law, Follow Me; AZ Religious Liberty Bill, Liberal Journalists to Christians: How You Should Think & Behave; videos: ADF v. Pro-Gay Attorneys on AZ; Tony Perkins on AZ RFRA; FRC's Cathy Ruse on AZ RFRA)
- Lord, intervene to prevent evil from overcoming what you have forever declared to be good! Help the U.S. Senate to pass the State Marriage Defense Act (S. 2024) to protect each state's right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman and prevent the federal government from undermining a state's definition of marriage (Ex 18:21; 2 Sam 23:3; Ps 2:10-12; Is 10:1; 64:1-4; Mt 19:4-6; Rom 12:21; 2 Pet 2:1).
Much more prayer is needed! Electorally vulnerable Senators want the IRS to continue its crackdown on conservative groups; liberal activist groups don't. Obamacare is not only hurting private employers and employees, but public employees, too. Our State Department's feeble efforts have made little headway toward Christian missionary John Short's release from prison in North Korea and American Pastor Saeed Abedini's release from prison in Iran. May God's people continue to call upon our government to act, and hold our imprisoned brothers constantly before God's throne in our prayers. While churches and student groups observe the Collegiate Day of Prayer tomorrow, February 27th, anti-Israeli groups are protesting on campuses as part of "Israeli Apartheid Week." Thank you for praying!