Prayer Targets: Watchman Briefing Today; Call2Fall; Marriage, Sudan, Elections
May 21, 2014
Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Joel 2:17-18
Dear Praying Friends,
The works of Rev. E.M. Bounds (1835-1913) are essential reading. Bounds wrote to many audiences but most frequently to fellow pastors, for whom he was deeply burdened. He saw the pastors' example as the key to praying churches. In his Essentials of Prayer, Bounds writes:
Is God's work advancing in the Church? Are men and women being made holy? Is the present-day Church engaged in the business of making holy men and women? This is a practical, pertinent, and all important question. The present-day Church has vast machinery. Her activities are great, and her material prosperity is unparalleled.
But is the work of holiness making progress among our preachers... our leading laymen? Are they seeking holiness of heart and life? Are the leading women in our churches patterns of prayer? If some contend that God's work is progressing, why do we now have so few mighty outpourings of the Holy Spirit on our churches? Is the Lord's hand shortened that He cannot save? With the decline of the work of holiness has come the decline of the business of praying. The emphasis in the work of the present-day Church is not put on prayer and with it has been taken the great work of the atonement, holiness of heart and life. The Church is not turning out praying men and women, because it is neither intently engaged in the one great work of holiness.
In a letter to his brother, Charles, John Wesley came directly to the point: "What has hindered the work? ... Must we not first say, we are the chief? If we were more holy in heart and life, thoroughly devoted to God, would not all the preachers [we influence] catch fire, and carry it with them throughout the land? Is not the next the littleness of grace in a considerable part of our preachers? They have not the whole mind of Christ... nor walk as He walked. Therefore, the hand of the Lord is stayed... Is not the third hindrance the littleness of grace in the majority of our people? Therefore, they pray little, with little fervency... their prayer has little power with God. Add to this, that there is much of the spirit of the world in their hearts and conformity to the world in their lives. Nay, many are salt that has lost the savor they once had. Wherewith then shall the rest of the land be seasoned? What wonder that their neighbors are as unholy as ever?" ...Wesley freely confessed that he and his brother were the first cause in this decline of holiness. As go those who occupy chief positions of responsibility, so goes the Church. They give color to the Church; determine its character and its work. What holiness should mark these leaders? What zeal should always characterize them? What prayerfulness should be seen in them! How influential they ought to be with God! If the head be weak the whole body will feel the stroke.
When the chief shepherds and those who directly pastor the people, cease advancing in holiness, panic will reach to the end of the line. As a rule, as are the pastors, so will the people be. If the pastors are prayerless, then will the people follow in their footsteps. If the preacher be silent as to the work of holiness, there will be no hungering and thirsting after holiness in the laymen. If the preacher be careless about obtaining the highest and best God has for him in religious experience, the people take after him. Powerless preaching always flows from a lack of grace. And a lack of grace flows from a lack of praying. Great grace comes from great praying (E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer, Ch. 7. Prayer and God's Work, condensed).
Prayer for pastors must precede revival in our churches and nationwide awakening (Heb 13:7; 17).
Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing - Tonight, (Wednesday, May 23) thru Friday, FRC is hosting the 11th annual Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing in Washington, D.C. I feature this event in the Prayer Targets because it is pivotal from the perspective of God's spiritual economy and His concern for the future of America. FRC President Tony Perkins founded the outreach to pastors in 2003, when he joined the organization. In 2004, he launched the Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing, fully persuaded that pastors and churches are the key to winning the war for the soul of our nation. Please visit www.watchmpastors.org/events and pray for the pastors, speakers and program. Pastors who have attended past Briefings say their lives were revolutionized. Many have returned home to make historic contributions to their communities, states, and our nation.
Tony's goal is to network 40,000 churches whose pastors understand the times, and who have pledged three things:
To Pray -- press into God personally and renew their own prayer lives, perhaps as never before and to teach their church people how to pray, and so make their churches "Houses of Prayer."
To Preach -- proclaim and teach the Word of God without apology as it pertains to the burning issues of our day: sanctity of life and abortion, natural marriage, religious liberty, just to name a few arenas. We trust pastors will preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) on the responsibility to elect God-fearing men and women to office, the rule of law versus lawlessness, various spheres of God-ordained government -- family, church, civil government, as well as a host of other issues, such as the separation of powers, limited government, the power centers of culture: family, church, business and industry, arts and entertainment, education, the media, the military, and we add -- science, medicine and technology. The need for Christians to influence each of these spheres is obvious, but many pastors avoid controversial issues, and in the process fail to equip their churches to be salt and light to our nation.
To Partner -- join with other pastors of like mind in their communities and states, to stand up to their local and state leaders, who without the enlightenment of their communities' pastors, will pass anti-family, anti-church and uniquely anti-Christian laws and ordinances designed to marginalize our Christian churches and the Christian view of morality.
If not attending this year, encourage your pastor to view the live, online web-streamed sessions at Watchmenpastors.org/events, beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday. And encourage your pastor to come next year -- offer to pay the way if you can. The registration cost of $199 per pastor is amazingly low due to generous FRC donors who supplement this three day annual event because they understand that the leadership of our pastors -- or failure to lead -- is a matter life and death for our nation. Only God-called, God-ordained and God-anointed shepherds can provide the leadership that will preserve our nation -- calling us to repentance, faith and obedience to God and His word, and to a courageous witness amid increasing hostility and adversity.
- May God visit this year's Pastor's Briefing with great grace. May He release His spiritual power in the life of each pastor and may each one return to his church with greater vision and anointing than he has ever known -- inspired and enabled to pray, preach, partner with other pastors in a way that changes communities for good. May these pastors contribute to God-sent revival that will change the direction of America and lead to righteousness, justice and liberty prevailing in our land again! (Lev 25:10; Psalm 133; Is 62:6-7; Eze 3:17 ff; 33:2 ff; Joel 1:13; 2:17-18; Jn 10:10-15; 1 Tim 4:12-15; Heb 11:6-7; Rev 12:11)
Call2Fall, June 29, 2014 - FRC President Tony Perkins and FRC's Pastors Council are asking fellow Pastors across America again to lead their congregations in crying out to God for mercy and awakening in America, on the Sunday before Independence Day 2014, by spending at least five minutes of that time, literally ON THEIR KNEES as an act of humility, and to repent and pray for revival in our churches and awakening in America. Individuals and families may participate, but this is an appeal primarily to pastors to lead their people to unite in prayer that morning with congregations across America. Five minutes on our knees will not turn the tide in a nation where moral decline has reached biblical proportions. But this simple act of humility can serve as a catalyst to move God's people toward deeper repentance, prayer, and private and public solemn assemblies. Our website (www.call2fall.com) and Facebook page are up and after the Pastors Briefing we will be adding new material, awaiting your visit. We are asking those who know us to: 1) sign up (click "I'm In." at the bottom of the home page); and 2) help us "go viral" by emailing friends, asking them to urge their pastor and church to participate. The website is loaded with resources for pastors, individuals, and families to prepare heart and mind for a time of sincere turning to God. Pastors can fashion Call2Fall Sunday as they see fit. Our only request is that they call the church to spend at least (for those who are physically able) five minutes on their knees in prayer for our nation -- uniting with churches across the land who will be doing likewise.
- May God use Call2Fall as an agent that leads to deeper prayer, fasting and heartfelt change in the lives of millions of believers in our churches. As we focus single-heartedly upon God, may He hear our cries and heal our land! And may God's people across America acknowledge our r dependence upon Him before we celebrate American Independence days later (Gen 18:20-33; 1 Kg 8:27-60; 2 Chr 7:14; Ps 50:14-15; 107: all; Is 1:8-20; 59:1-17; Joel 2:12-18; Mt 4:17; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; Rev 2:5; 16; 3:3, 19).
Finally, marriage took more hits this past week: Pennsylvania, Oregon (see Par for the Course); our friends at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) are facing a backlash from their pro-marriage work in Maine in 2009. A pregnant former Muslim wife was sentenced to death-by-hanging in Sudan for marrying a non-Muslim American. Her husband has flown to Sudan to intercede for her life. Primary elections are underway, heating up this 2014 election year. Pray that believers will pray and be involved! Thank you for praying!