Prayer Targets: PRAY, VOTE, STAND: TONIGHT; Finney; Existential Threats; The Return
September 2, 2020
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)
Dear Praying Friend,
In his inspirational 366-day devotional, Lost Episodes in American History, Dr. Kenyn Cureton gives short accounts of great American leaders (mostly governmental) and how their faith in Jesus Christ impacted their contribution to our nation. Each story stirs believers today and helps us be salt and light for Christ in exercising our rights and responsibilities as Christian and American citizens. A former pastor, denominational leader, and VP for Church Ministries, Dr. Cureton, is currently FRC's VP for Christian Resources (read his bio). From his "Lost Episodes":
Rev. Charles G. Finney was born on August 29, 1792. As an apprentice to become an attorney, Finney read so many Scriptural references in Blackstone's Law Commentaries that he bought a Bible, began to study it, and eventually came to faith in Christ. Finney became a prominent leader in the Second Great Awakening, known for his passionate appeals, altar calls and "anxious seat" for impending converts.
In addition to his innovations as a revivalist, Charles Finney was also a pioneer in the area of cultural reform. Finney formed the Benevolent Empire, a network of volunteer organizations founded to aid in solving social as well as spiritual problems. Among these were the: American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1810; American Bible Society, 1816; American Sunday School Union, 1817; American Tract Society, 1826; American Home Mission Society, 1826; and American Temperance Society, 1826. The Benevolent Empire's budget reportedly rivaled that of the Federal Government in 1834. Finney's Revival Lectures (1835) provided inspiration for George Williams who founded the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in 1844, and William Booth who founded The Salvation Army in 1865.
An ardent abolitionist, Finney frequently denounced slavery from the pulpit. While President of Oberlin College, Finney led the school to become a station on the Underground Railroad to smuggle slaves to freedom and grant the first bachelor's degree in America to a black woman, Mary Jane Patterson.
In his Revival Lectures, Charles Finney wrote: "The time has come for Christians to vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them... Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to their country as a part of their duty to God." Finney concluded: "God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics." *
While not everyone would be comfortable with his revival methods or his theology, Finney made a positive impact on American culture and called Christians to be engaged in the arena of government. The life and ministry of Rev. Charles Finney, born on August 29, 1792, is another lost episode in American history.
Read and reflect: Read Matthew 22:21 and reflect on Jesus' teaching about our responsibility to God and to government and how that thought is echoed in what Finney taught.
Prayer: Sovereign God, teach us how to use our influence for good in the realm of government. Fill us with the courage to get informed and involved in the great moral struggles of our day, in Jesus' Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: From Lecture XV in Charles G. Finney, Revival Lectures (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming Revell Co., 1970), 336-337.
As Christians, we have a mandate from Jesus Christ to be "salt" and "light" to the world; to proclaim Christ to every human being, and to make disciples of all the nations, teaching them everything he taught us, which included all the truth of the Old and New Testaments. We also have a mandate to advance the origins of man's creation and relationship with God, God's laws and wisdom for life, biblical history and prophesies, and the Old Testament truths from which Christ and the Apostles taught. We must teach with words, but also by the example of our lives and priorities -- a big job in every era.
We are now in the thick of an American election that most believe will be the most important and consequential election in our lifetimes. The political parties could not be more disparate in their views or activists more heated in their demeanor. The acidic acrimony, coarse language, blatant dishonesty, sheer exaggeration, and bold meanness of the secular media is shocking. It has had an impact on the spirit of every American and is only getting worse. Some have turned off the news to escape it while others have become enflamed with anger from what they hear either. One thing is for certain: Every Christian and common-sense American must exercise his or her right and duty to vote lest America become permanently unrecognizable (see Rev. Franklin Graham' interview with CBN's David Brody).
Adding to the political melodrama are external threats to America. For example, there is communist China's rising economic and military threat to its neighbors, the U.S., and the world, the persistent nuclear threat of North Korea, the nuclear weaponry ambition of Iran, the efforts toward a Caliphate by Turkey's Erdogan and the regime's antipathy toward Christians, the rise of anti-Christian and anti-Jewish sentiment in the U.S. and worldwide, and the flagrant murder of Christians in Nigeria and elsewhere.
At home, there is the ongoing damage of the China-born viral pandemic that has made over 6 million Americans sick and killed over 184,000 Americans (though most with co-morbidities). The bizarre police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, which, while leading to peaceful protests, provided an opportunity for criminals to go wild with rioting, looting, mindless destruction of property, and wholesale violent assaults and murder of innocent persons (aggravated and inflamed by socialist, anarchist anti-American professional thugs). The sympathy given by some political office holders to these rioters is telling. Even in our nation's capital, a U.S. Senator and his wife were attacked (thank God for sending ministers to protect them). Yet while every innocent American must be protected, several jurisdictions have already reduced funding for police, and others advocate for defunding them altogether.
- Heavenly Father, please intervene to end this wanton criminal violence and destruction against innocent people of every race. You say in Romans 13 that you ordained the governmental authorities, that they "are God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil" (v 4). Lord, you know this criminal behavior does nothing to benefit those it claims to champion. You say "whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves" (v 2). And those who stand by and approve of their crimes, whether misguided laymen, governors, or judges, you say are an abomination to you (Pr 17:15). Lord, grant justice to the innocent victims -- businesspeople and homeowners, renters and workers who have had their businesses burned, their jobs destroyed, their family members and loved ones injured and killed. And Lord, help the Justice Department, the FBI, and other authorities apprehend not just the street criminals, but the kingpins and the wealthy anti-American businessmen who fund this evil racket. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
Pray and Plan to be in Washington, D.C. for The Return -- The Return is a season of repentance and prayer that will culminate in a Solemn Assembly on the National Mall on September 26. The Return has been in the thoughts and prayers of the planners and organizers for decades. All involved have expected troubled times but did not specifically foresee a worldwide epidemic and the related economic crash, the violence in the streets, and the organized rise of socialism and communist agitation that are part of it. Clearly, the U.S. has reached a tipping point. That tipping point is owed to sin, just like similar times outlined throughout biblical history.
Sin is everywhere manifest in our culture: politics, government, our churches, families, educational systems, businesses, and every other institution in American. Our uncivil and hateful public discourse, the explosion of illicit sexual expression and perversion outside of marriage, our radical disunity, the departure of our courts and politicians from the eternal law of God -- all of these are rooted in our sinful departure from God as Lord over our nation, our institutions, our homes, and our personal lives. This cannot be remedied without repentance -- "the first word of the gospel." The election could take us over the edge. But without repentance, a revitalization of our faith, a rededication to our vital relationship with God, and whole-hearted obedience to his word, the best election outcome can only help us temporarily. Sin and the need for repentance in our churches underlies all our problems. For America to survive and prosper, we must strike at the root of sin -- repent and return to God. It must start with God's people. It is time for this Solemn Assembly (2 Chr 7:14; Joel 2:12-18, Lk 13:1-5).
During the week prior to The Return, FRC will host its annual Values Voter Summit, to be broadcast virtually for an hour and a half each evening from September 22-25. Then The Return will be held on Saturday, September 26 in Washington, D.C. (and there will be other weekday events associated with The Return). That same Saturday, September 26, Rev. Franklin Graham will lead a prayer march from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol, right past The Return. He expects that a large percentage of them will join us for the day. And multiplied thousands of churches, prayer groups, and families will be taking part from their churches, homes, and other places across America and around the world, via TV and the internet.
- Lord, you saved your people in ancient times when they gathered in Solemn Assembly when faced with existential threats to their country. When they sincerely repented of sin and rededicated themselves to God, you delivered, revived, and restored your people and saved their nation. We know you will do the same for us if we likewise repent! Help us Lord! (Ps 38:18; Pro 28:13; Is 55:6-7; Eze 18:21-23, 18:30-32; Joel 2:13; Mt 3:8, 6:22-23; Lk 11:34-35; 2 Tim 3:1-4; 2 Pet 3:9; Acts 3:19-20, 17:29-31; Rom 2:3-4; 1 Jn 1:9; Rev 2:5, 3:19)
JOIN US TONIGHT for PRAY, VOTE, STAND on Wednesday, September 2 from 8 - 8:30 pm ET as we host our second in a weekly series of live half-hour events to help equip you, your family, friends, and believers everywhere to make their votes count in the November 3 elections. You'll learn what to know, what to look for, and how to pray over the candidates and policy initiatives you and millions of Americans will decide on in the elections. Click here to watch. While you are at it, download FRC's free up-to-date Biblical Worldview Series by David Closson, Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview. Also, be sure to get this 10-week Election Prayer Guide.
- Lord, in our nation, we have no king b ut King Jesus, from whom many have fallen away or never met. Help us to believe with a biblical worldview and to vote aright and make a difference in the elections, which history tells us have been won and lost by a single vote. (Ex 18:21; 1 Sam16:7; Ps 78:70-72; Pr 14:34, 20:28, 29:2, 31:8-9; Mk 10:42-45; Lk 22:25-26; Rom 13:1-4; 1 Tim 2:2, 3:1-4, 4:12; 2 Tim 2:15; Integrity: Ps 112:5; Pr 6: 16-20; 10:9, 11:3, 12:19-22, 14:2, 21:3; 2 Cor 8:21; Eph 4:25; Php 4:8-9; Col 3:9; Duty: Ex 18:21; Dt 1:13, 17:18-20; 2 Sam 23:3-4; Ps 2:10-12; Pr 14:34, 29:2; Jer 29:7; Dan 4:17; Mt 22:21; Acts 4:18-20; Rom 13:1-6; 1 Tim 2:1-2; Tit 3:1; Heb 11:23; 1 Pet 2:17)
Thank you for praying with us in the past and during this critical season. Urge friends and family to join us by going to the FRC Subscriptions Page and clicking on the praying hands.