Prayer Targets: Wilkerson; COVID-19 Church Help; Brazil's Bolsonaro; Boris Johnson
April 08, 2020
When I... send a plague among my people, 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
Dear Praying Friend,
Pastor David Wilkerson (1931-2009) (bio) was called to New York City in 1958 to share Christ with gang members and drug addicts, as told in his book and movie, The Cross and the Switchblade. This led to the beginning of Teen Challenge, now a worldwide ministry. In 1971 he founded World Challenge, Inc. to reach the lost and strengthen believers everywhere. In 1987 he planted Times Square Church in NYC where he nurtured his local and international flock with powerful Bible preaching that encouraged righteous living and complete reliance on God. Strongly burdened to equip and strengthen pastors, from 1999 to 2008 he traveled the globe holding conferences for Christian leaders. This excerpt is from his October 8, 2001 article, "The Towers Have Fallen But We Missed the Message":
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were destroyed.
Six weeks prior to the disaster, the Holy Spirit forewarned our pastoral staff that a calamity was coming. We had scheduled several major events for the weeks ahead, including our Missions Conference and Youth Convention. But God's Spirit prompted us to cancel them all. Instead, we felt stirred to call our congregation to prayer.
We decided to hold prayer meetings four nights a week. From the very beginning, each meeting was marked by an awesome stillness that settled over the congregation. We sat quietly in the Lord's presence, often without a sound, for up to an hour, followed by soft weeping and heartrending repentance. In one meeting, I had to steady my knees with my hands, to keep them from trembling in God's awesome presence. During this visitation from the Lord, the Holy Ghost revealed there was a reason for the weeping in our hearts. We were being so moved because a tragedy was coming. A severe calamity was coming to the nation. And even though we didn't know what it was, our hearts were stirred to intercede concerning it.
Then suddenly, the calamity struck. And it hit not only our city, but the nation's capital. One network anchor declared, "Think of it, our two symbols of power and prosperity have been smitten in one hour." Little did he know, he was quoting Revelation 18:10: "Alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come." As a policeman from our church helped out at ground zero, his fellow officers kept asking him, "What's this all about? What's happening?" Meanwhile, the whole nation has been asking, "Where is God in all this?"
We're right to ask this question. We need to understand where God is in this calamity. And to do that, we have to trust his holy Word alone. Ministers and theologians everywhere are saying, "God had nothing to do with these disasters. He wouldn't allow such awful things to happen." Yet nothing could be further from the truth. This kind of thinking is causing our nation to rapidly miss the message God wants to speak to us through the tragedy...The prophet Isaiah (Ch. 24) speaks directly to what we've just experienced... Consider Paul's words on the subject: "All these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor 10:6-11). Paul makes it clear: the examples of the Old Testament reveal just how God moves in times like ours. But God's chosen nation rejected his call to repentance. "They would not hear, but hardened their necks" (2 Kgs 17:14). These people mocked the prophets who called them to humility. And, instead, they "followed vanity, and became vain...and they left all the commandments of the Lord their God...and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord... " (2 Kgs 7:15-18).
Across America, people are holding meetings for "prayer and remembrance." It's right and honorable (and totally scriptural) to remember those who have died. But why are we so afraid to also call for meetings of "prayer and repentance"? ... Where is the call in America to turn back to God? I believe our window of opportunity to respond to God's call is brief. We all should pray that our nation repents and turns back to the Lord. But our most intense prayers should be for our own hearts: "Lord, let me tremble not at the disasters, but at your Word. I want to hear your voice in all of this. Cause me to turn wholly to you." (Edited for space. Read all of David Wilkerson's 10/8/2001 message)
Dr. Mike Evans ended his recent sermon about the coronavirus by reading this message given him by Dr. David Wilkerson in 1986. It is very pertinent to us in 2020:
As I was in prayer, studying and preparing in my prayer room, I picked up an old Bible and out of it fell a note I had forgotten I even had. As I read it, I found myself trembling and crying. The note was from a breakfast I had with Dr. David Wilkerson in 1986 at the Embassy Suites near the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.
... Brother Wilkerson opened his Bible to Isaiah 24. He said, "every house will be shut up, and no one will be coming or going. The city of confusion is broken down, and every house is shut up that no man may come in (v, 10), all entrances and exits to the city are gone (v.12). In other words, there will be no place to escape. God has shown me that a calamity is coming beyond humankind's capacity to respond. This judgment will devastate the world's economies. Every restaurant and bar will be shut down, and all the drinking and merrymaking will end. All entertainment and churches will be shut down. Isaiah says in the 24th chapter, verse 9, "they shall not drink wine with a song." The mirth of the land is gone. All sports will be shut down. But the prophet Isaiah also saw a great shaking of the olive tree coming in Isaiah 24:13. In other words, God's shaking everything that can be shaken... a time of overwhelming darkness as He exposes the world's idols.
But in the midst of this terrible shaking, a song is heard, a chorus of voices singing praises to the majesty of God. "They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea," (Isaiah 24:14). That's the beginning of the Great Awakening. And then in Isaiah 24:15-16 it says, "from the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the Righteous One." Lukewarm Believers are going to come back to their first love. Their souls will be flooded with godly repentance, falling on their knees with repentance. There will be a great awakening. The song of revival will be heard from the uttermost parts of the earth. From Israel to Indonesia, Africa, from the east to the west, from the north to the south, from China to Arab lands, all parts of the earth will rise up in the midst of this plague.
They'll be feasting on the Word. The idols are coming down. They will see in horror the idols they have worshiped that have blocked them from the power of the Holy Spirit...idols they put their faith in. The greatest cry of repentance will come from God's remnant.
Wilkerson was a prophetic pastor and preacher. He spoke the whole word of God, not just the parts that are easy to hear and leave hearers unchanged. We all need comfort and encouragement from God's word -- as individuals and as a nation. But we need the call to repentance, obedience, and sacrificial prayer that the spiritually careless do not want to hear. We did miss a huge opportunity to repent as individuals, churches, and a nation after 9/11. But sin, obedience, and repentance have become words to avoid for many individuals, churches, and our nation. Our tolerance approval and practice of acts and behaviors God calls sin have persisted and grown even worse during the period sine 9/11. We must take heed of this wake-up call -- as individuals (Eze 18:4; 33:1-16; Jn 3:16-20), as churches (1 Pet 4:17; Rev 2-3 all), and as nations (Jer 18:7-10). We simply cannot keep going as we have been.
- May pastors and ministers all over America lead their followers in serious times of prayer for their own churches and ministries across America and for all nations -- especially those that are not only suffering from the coronavirus but also face persecution by anti-religious or anti-Christian regimes. May pastors lead in the observance of the National Day of Prayer on May 7th, the Call2Fall on Sunday, June 28th, and a National and International Solemn Assembly called "The Return" to be held in our nation's capital and in cities around the world on Saturday, September 26th. May we all repent of every sin (the first word of the gospel) and help our fellow citizens repent and turn or return to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord! (2 Chr 7:14; Is 66:2; Hos 14:1-2; Joel 3:12-18; Zech 1:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 2 Tim 2:2; 1 Jn 1:9)
Pray for Churches at Home and Abroad -- Most of America's churches are surviving and some are even thriving despite the threat of the coronavirus, caring for the ill, the vulnerable, and the needy. Most are complying with state and federal guidelines and are conducting their services virtually via -- Facebook, YouTube, or conference calling. Some are planning to meet physically by means of drive-in Easter services, thus still respecting the call for social distancing. Many are reporting that financial giving remains steady via online contributions. But some are reporting a loss of cashflow as much as 50 percent or more due to lost income from members who have been laid off temporarily or permanently. Missions giving is down and delivering funds overseas has become complicated for some who are in the field. Some who have sought to return to the U.S. have found travel impossible. Some churches and ministries are taking advantage of government loans to allow them to continue to pay church workers through the coronavirus trial. Setting aside the biblical questions regarding church borrowing, borrowing from government is yet another issue. Some churches are prospering and are seeing more people watching their live videos on Facebook than would have attended their brick and mortar facilities in person, were it not for the present epidemic. And many churches have determined to use the epidemic to reach out to the lost and needy (visit FRC.org/church for daily updated prayer points, church resources, media reports on the coronavirus of interest to churches, and stories of how churches are coping and serving their communities). Only 6 percent of Americans hold biblical worldview, but Lifeway Christian Resources sales are up 62 percent despite having closed many of their local stores. Tyndale Publishers' Bible sales are up 44 percent.
- Lord, may every pastor and those who have spiritual authority in America draw close to you and hear your thoughts and plans for their churches and ministries. Give each church your plan and the faith to carry it out, and use this extraordinary hour in history to see revival in churches and awakening in our communities like never before. As men and women are worried about their very lives and the lives of their loved ones, suffering loss of jobs and savings, and many people thinking about and looking to God as never before, may your churches be stirred by the Holy Spirit to serve, lead, and help guide families, people, and communities with the wisdom, grace, and saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This may be the last opportunity we will have to reach our communities in this way. Please help us not to go back to business as usual as most did in 2001. (Pr 11:30; Ezek 3:18-20; 33:6; Dan 12:3; Mt 4:19; 10:7; 28:19; Lk 19:10; Jn 4:35-36; Acts 1:8)
Finally, please consider these matters in your prayers:
1) Nearly half of COVID-19 deaths are among 80-year-olds and older adults. Risk of mortality is greater among those with preexisting conditions. In many cases, physicians cannot be certain whether the preexisting condition or the virus was the cause of death.
2) Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has called for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting for his nation's people.
3) Great Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is improving in intensive care after being stricken by COVID-19.
4) With Bernie Sanders having dropped out of the Democratic Primary, the November election almost certainly will be between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Pray that the American people will be given wisdom to choose who will lead our nation, even as many are driven by fear and anger often intentionally stirred up by a biased media.
5) May God continue to guide our President, Vice President, and the administration to both calm the public and achieve the best possible results in its effort to preserve and protect the American people from the ravages of this virus. Thank God for the many vaccines, treatments, and cures that are being feverishly sought by pharmaceutical research labs all over the world. May God give revelation for discoveries and inventions like those that have defeated so many diseases that are now nearly or fully extinct because of God's grace.
Thank you for using the Prayer Targets and other FRC resources that will help you pray more knowledgeably and effectively. As always, thank you for praying!