Saturday, June 03, 2006

We Met to Pray

In the weeks leading up to the 2004 election, a group of several friends including Sally and I met for prayer a few times. We recognized the gravity of the upcoming election and the consequences of losing the Whitehouse to a liberal candidate. We prayed fervently on several occasions, repenting of our sins and of our nation's sins, and the sins of the Church, and begged God to have mercy on our nation and allow us to have a man of God for president. These sessions enabled us to enjoy some deep and intimate times with the Lord, and every time, we came away greatly refreshed having been in His presence, and feeling as if we had made a genuine connection with God. We knew that all across our land, others were joining together for this same mission, and we sensed that God had heard and was going to respond.

Our guy won.

We rejoiced of course, grateful that God had once again drawn our nation back from the brink of destruction. We talked of getting together regularly to continue our prayer support of the president and the government in general, but as the weeks passed, we never quite did.

In the 20 months since those days of fervent intercession, we have witnessed the gradual decline of the administration. First we witnessed the Harriet Myers fiasco, then the Hurricane Katrina blunders and the Dubai Ports deal misjudgement, as well as a string of smaller miscalculations that took the wind out of the administration's sails. Of course the ongoing political tug-of-war over Iraq continues to cause great consternation, and now the picture of millions of illegals in the streets demanding their rights has raised the ire of most Americans, demanding that something be done.

Our president seems caught in a fog. Is it his "lame duck" status? Is it the vitriol and hatred continuously launched at him from his enemies on the left and the main-stream media? Is it his stubborness? Perhaps it is a little of each.

I have been a huge supporter of George W. Bush since his first election. But I must confess that over the last few months I have become somewhat disgruntled with him. Why has he authorized so many spending bills from the Congress, sending our nation deeper and deeper into debt? Why does he not seem to want to defend our Southern border with Mexico, and why does he say he doesn't want amnesty, yet still seeks to reward those who have come into our country illegally with a "path to citizenship?" As the last several weeks have worn on, I have grown increasingly upset with him.

But something came in my email this week that touched a deep chord inside of me. An email newsletter with a word from a man named Dutch Sheets opened my eyes to the real heart of the matter. As I read through the text, a cloud of sorts lifted from its rest on my muddled brain and I began to realize that much more than a political battle was taking place. It became clear to me that we are in a spiritual war for our nation.

Of course I always intellectually knew this. But sometimes I become spiritually dense, missing the real message that God is trying to send. Pastor Sheets' urgent call to prayer alerted me to the reality behind the daily, unsettling news and the president's decline in the polls and in my own eyes.

Here are a few of Pastor Sheets' thoughts on Babylon:

"Iraq is modern day Babylon. Babylon means "confusion," which is obviously one of the results of this spiritual war. America's armies had no problem taking out Saddam's physical army. But we are now dealing with an ancient principality, the spirit of Babylon, which cannot be defeated with natural weapons and strategies. This spirit is currently (though I believe it not to be permanently) prevailing against us. As previously stated, the symptoms of confusion and disarray can be seen in the church, on our president, and in the nation in general."

Read Dutch Sheets' entire letter.

The day after I first read this letter, the same friend who had hosted the 2004 prayer meetings 20 months earlier, emailed it to me. She had read it too, and sensed that we needed to get together again, and begin praying.

We did last night (Friday).

The purpose of this blog posting is to report the results of our evening of conversation and prayer.

Babylon: A Military Invasion of a Spiritual Seat of Power.
Having read Pastor Sheets' thoughts on Babylon, it was evident to all four of us gathered for prayer, that much more was going on than insurgents bombing U.S. troops and innocent Iraqis. Iraq is the cradle of human civilization, the place where the serpent beguiled the woman in Eden's garden, and where later, men gathered to construct a tower reaching to the heavens, plotting to disregard God's command to "fill the earth" and instead make a name for themselves by banding together. Iraq is the place where God came down and destroyed the tower called Babel, confused everyone's language, and scattered the people to the four corners of the earth.

Babylon is also the ancient kingdom that conquered a wayward Israel, holding them captive for seventy years. Babylon was God's instrument of judgment on His rebellious people.

In the spring of 2003, America plunged itself headlong into that spiritually dark part of the world. With our overwhelming military might, it took but three weeks to topple a tyrant's kingdom. But in the months (and now years) since, a murderous, suicidal, stealth, ungodly, and demonically driven, ragtag army fell upon us from out of the shadows, and continues to plague our militarily superior forces, and the citizens of that country caught in the crossfire, now, often the target themselves.

At home, the assault on our president and his administration intensified, with his enemies labeling him as dumb, calling for his impeachment, and saying he should be shot between the eyes. Hollywood celebrated Michael Moore's venom-filled, fact-distorting movie, and celebrities spoke out against him, even threatening to leave the country should he be re-elected. (They're still here)

Many in his own party turned on him when he chose Harriet Myers to be the next Supreme Court Justice, and when he allowed a company from Dubai to be approved as the managing entity in many of our ports. Both of those decisions went down in flames.

And members of Congress seem more antagonistic toward one another than I can ever recall in my lifetime, running a close second to those acrimonious days leading up to the Civil War. In May of 1856, things became so intense that South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks caned Massachussets Senator Charles Sumner at his desk on the Senate floor, laying back his scalp and nearly killing him. Let's pray that we don't reach those depths (although one Congresswoman did punch a Capitol Police officer recently).

General civility has rapidly declined in our nation, not only (though especially) in politics, but in just about every walk of life. Could it be that invading that dark hornet's nest of demonic power has unleashed a legion of demon forces upon our own land? I would say that the likelihood is quite good of that question being answered in the affirmative.

Paul teaches us that our war is ultimately not against flesh and blood humans, but rather, "... against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6: 12b NKJV)

I confess that I have been guilty of watching far too many newscasts, and have been sucked in to the venemous vat of America's political struggles. Pastor Sheets' letter has helped tremendously to awaken me from my clouded state of mind. He also wrote:

"It is vital for us to grasp the magnitude of this spiritual war against America and our president, and also to realize that the forces of evil are currently prevailing, though it need not remain so."

From our time of conversation and prayer, we also realized ...

Boundaries and Borders: The Alien Invasion.
In a recent post titled Blow the Trumpet in Zion, I wrote of our nation's influx of illegal, alien immigrants, and the parallel with the 150-year-old invasion of ideas alien to our once-Christian culture.

In this post, I wrote of how ideologues such as Darwin, Freud, Marx, Dewey, Sanger, and others, were given a place in our culture, and particularly in our schools. The ideas they infected us with caused many to question the boundaries set for us by God, boundaries we once respected, but no longer do.

We cast off words like adultery, fornication, homosexuality, envy, greed, and many more. We dismantled God's boundaries through education and art, especially music, film and television. We began to roam "free" of godly constraint and, do "what was right in [our] own eyes." (Judges 21:25) Today, most of our communities no longer reinforce the standards set for us by God. Like Israel in the day of the Judges, we have no King over us (ie: Jesus), but have become "small g" gods unto ourselves, satisfying our own pleasures, oblivious to the dangers.

Now our Southern boundary with Mexico is being overrun by those seeking a better life (which is certainly understandable), yet doing so by breaking the law and refusing to assimilate themselves into our culture as did our legal immigrants from past generations.

Thus we are a nation of lawbreakers (breaking God's laws as described above) invaded by a horde of lawbreakers from an alien culture. We dismantled our personal boundaries, and now our political and geographical boundaries are being dismantled as well.

Read this startling statement from a California organization known as LA COORDINADORA ESTUDIANTIL DE LA RAZA (THE STUDENT COORDINATOR OF THE RACE), "a coalition of over 25 middle schools, high schools, community colleges and universities." Here's a snippet of what's in this radical, in-your-face declaration:

"... FROM NORTHERN ALASKA TO SOUTHERN CHILE WE ARE AMERICANS WHO DO NOT RECOGNIZE COLONIALLY IMPOSED BORDERS ..."

Could there be a connection between Babel's ancient tower, God's confusing of the language, and our own confusion when trying to communicate with a worker at a fast food restaurant? Why are we now prompted to press 1 for English and 2 for Spanish when calling certain customer service numbers? Why does my wife have great difficulty as a teacher's aid in a public school communicating with many of her young students?

Babble on.

The Power of the Tongue: Blessing and Cursing.
Throughout our evening of conversation and prayer, the Holy Spirit opened things to us. Among them was a clear picture of the power of the tongue to bless and curse.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV)

As our nation's leaders squabble and fight, call names, and investigate one another, we reap the harvest of our unbridled tongues. Our president, human and fallible as he is, is at heart I believe, an essentially good man. If I did not believe that, I would never have invested so much prayer time in the fall of 2004, to help get him re-elected.

And yet, there is no president in modern times who has been so vilified, so hated, so cursed, by so many, as President Bush. No wonder his administration appears to be unravelling.

This insight came to us last evening as an epiphany, as a bolt out of heaven.

Even I, a long-time supporter of this man, have found myself in recent weeks grumbling and complaining about his dullness and tin ear regarding the illegal immigration mess we have gotten ourselves into. I have publicly faulted him for not enforcing the law.

Thus, in my spiritual ignorance, I have added to the heap of curses already weighing him down.

Since last evening, I have resolved—we four praying people have resolved—to turn our tongues to blessing this man, and through prayer, to intreat God to break through that dark cloud, that Babylonian lather that now engulfs our nation's Capital.

To Conclude.
However you may have come to this page, please prayerfully consider its contents. Ask God if you, too, might engage in prayer for the soul and future of this nation. We are at a critical time. And if you are already engaged, pray fervently and with consistency.

4 Comments:

At 4:25 AM, Blogger John Jenkins said...

Hey Mark,

I'm sitting here thinking about that quote from your blog:

"... FROM NORTHERN ALASKA TO SOUTHERN CHILE WE ARE AMERICANS WHO DO NOT RECOGNIZE COLONIALLY IMPOSED BORDERS ..."

I was struck by memories -- by our shared study of history and the various books and short stories we have written over the past 13 years -- about how we early colonists who entered this great land via Jamestown and Plymouth continually pressed westward. How ultimately, we developed a broadly-shared belief in Manifest Destiny and claimed that all the land from sea to shining sea belonged (divinely ordained, no less) to us!

Particularly, I recall the Puritan sermons that spiritually prepared colonial settlers to inhabit and take dominion over the open lands of the Americas, our treatment of the American Indians (everywhere...) and all of our broken treaties and agreements with them, our treatment of the Californios (Mexican's living in California during and after the Gold Rush) to take and make California our own.

Perhaps we, the descendants of 17th and 18th and 19th century colonialists are, at last, experiencing what the Scripture says in Gal. 6:7, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

Or maybe to the reality of Matt. 7:12 is now striking home in an unexpected way: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..."

Are we are now experiencing an unexpected harvest of many, many seeds planted over the past 200 years?

Prayerfully asking for mercy,

John

 
At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,
I, too read Dutch Sheets urgent call to pray for our nation and our president and the dire consequemces of not doing so. I, like you, had become complacent and sinful in my lack of prayer for those in Authority and had lent my mouth to the "Accuser of the Brethren - to speak words against our President and to moan about the state of our Nation more than interceeding for the state of our Nation. ONe of the things that was pointed out in Dutch Sheets pray alert and by other Generals in God's pray army - is that everywhere they go - they have discerned discouragement and apathy in the hearts and minds of many of God's people and that we have been worn down by the enemy and have become weary of well doing. This weekend marked the celebration of the feast of Pentecost which was the birth of the church. We need the Holy Spirit's empowering to interceed with the ferverent prayer of the righteous that will accomplish much and a vision and hope for our future which is not related to what we have seen with our earthly eyes. I have turned again to pray for our nation and our president and would love to join you or others in this priviledge to colabor with the LORD for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done in America as it is in Heaven. I agree with the comments John made that we need the mercy of God for what we are reaping and the grace to sow with a view to Righteousness. Thank you, as always for sharing and exhorting us to think and to act with a Biblical world view and with the Mind of Christ. God is faithful to His word and if we, His people will humble ourselves and pray and seek His FAce, HE will heal our land. May we, like Nehemiah, weep over the condition of our society and cry out to OUR God of Restoration to cleanse us, purge us, and renew a right spirit within us - that we may be aligned with His kingdom purposes and Led by the Holy Spirit into truth and into the spiritual battle with the forces of evil knowing our Savior has already won the victory. Thanks again,
Cyndy

 
At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Mary Yerkes said...

Mark,

Thanks for your inspiring and insightful post. I confess, I've grown lax praying for our President and this administration. In the last several weeks, I, too, have complained and griped about his decisions and choices, speaking cursing instead of blessing. Lord, forgive me.

Thanks for sharing your heart, my friend.

Blessings,
Mary

 
At 10:00 PM, Anonymous M.M. said...

Thanks Mark.

You are right.

This is a very significant message. Keep up the great writing. We're listening.

May God help us to spend our time and energy on eternal matters. We are living in critically important times.

 

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